The future is showing signs that the workplace environment is likely to be different to what we are used to today. Digital technology is gradually taking over, and the diminution of desk jobs is inevitable. Use of mobile phones has dramatically increased in the last few years, and it is undeniable that this has had an effect on workplaces. Most mobile devices are now capable of tasks that computers do, and it is safe to say that mobile devices are a smaller and cheaper but still effective way to conduct work.
Developers are looking to create applications that are capable of handling the day to day challenges at the workplace. The younger generation in the workforce takes this news positively as they readily accept the new innovative and less cumbersome approaches to work. This report will look at how mobile devices are revolutionizing the workplace and the challenges and opportunities that the future workplace will present to the employees, the human resource management and the leaders in the workplace environment.
Implications To The Workplace
- Opportunities to the Human Resource Management
Technology has revolutionized the way Human Resource is being managed. Before the information age, human resource had to rely on traditional practices such as print media to do everything (Saoji, S., & Agashe, M., 2015). These days computer applications have taken over all activities, and it seems that they almost see the end of their days due to the advancement of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (Abbasi, M., Tabatabaei, S., & Labbaf, H., 2016). Most people are now hooked to their smartphones and tablets and statistics show that people spend a significant amount of time on their mobile devices (Jung, 2014). Here are the opportunities/benefits that a human resource management team would reap from the advancement of mobile apps.
Before the internet era, companies used to advertise job openings on traditional forms of adverts such as newspapers and other print publications such as magazines. These methods could not reach a large number of people at once. Then the internet came in, and companies can now post job adverts to all corners of the web and utilize tools such as social media to boost the viewership potential. With the inevitable use of mobile devices about work, HR departments in future will have to come up with ways of incorporating mobile systems such as having social media handles to advertise for job openings (Pande S., & Gomes, N., 2015).
Human resource departments have always had to deal with a lot of data. Before the information and still today in some cases, a lot of paperwork is still involved, and companies have to store and retrieve this data. With the incorporation of cloud computing, paperwork has been significantly minimized. The future workforce will involve mobile systems that can access cloud data, as well as computers, do (Obeidat, 2016). This will be an opportunity for the human resource department to reduce its workload.
Forward-thinking companies will understand that most employees, especially the younger generation prefer mobile HR solutions, as they make working more comfortable and convenient (Ally, M., & Tsinakos, A., 2014). Companies are already acknowledging increased productivity that’s directly related to endorsement of mobile usage for activities such as submitting reports from employees in distant field works. Moreover, a huge chunk of employees nowadays relies on smartphones to access pay information that provided by mobile HR solutions applications.
The mobile generation has a whole perspective towards work and being tech-savvy has resulted in being flexible individuals especially in work related issues. Work flexibility is a major factor affecting the current generation and the coming generations. That being said, future HR departments will have to consider accommodating this young generation heavily, and they won’t have much of a choice as competition is fierce and companies will use all options at their disposal (Snell, S., Morris, S., & Bohlander, G., 2015). Mobile HR applications will have the benefits of better managing times employees check in and out, view payment records, create and revise employee timesheets and better track employee task schedules.
Traditional means meant that an organization had to wait till the annual review is done so as to assess employee progress, growth, and talent. Shortly that will be water under the bridge as mobile HR solutions ensure that employees are logged on, and this provides real-time assessment of the employees' talent and growth (Conti, M., & Giordano, S, 2014). If the data is harnessed properly, areas that need improvement can be identified immediately and worked on in real time.
Opportunities to Employees
Mobile applications are versatile and can be customized to perform any task. Human resource departments can adopt mobile applications that help an employee better manage his or her activities regarding time management. With the aid of this apps, future employees will save time by not having to manually check in or out of the workplaces as the mobile apps will be automatically synchronized with a GPS (global positioning system) thus automatically checking an employee in or out.
A huge percentage of current employees in any given workforce already own a tablet. The figure is growing, and the future employee will be relying on this gadget. Companies that will have embraced mobile application use in the workplace will have their employees experience utmost convenience. For instance, with a branded mobile application an employee won't have to access to company's database using a desktop computer (George, G., Haas, M., & Pentland, A., 2014). They will be able to access relevant information using the mobile app regardless of where they are or whenever it is.
Being constricted to a desktop computer can be frustrating and to add insult to injury the additional paperwork can demoralize an employee thus increasing turnaround time. Branded mobile apps will enable instant decision-making by reducing time-consuming paperwork.
Trying to find someone in a large organization using traditional means can be a back-breaking activity as an employee will to have to be physically present at the workplace and manually go through the records. With an HR app, an employee directory can be made available for quick access using just a mobile device.
Desktop means of requesting for vacations can take forever as an employee has to fill out a leave request form and email it to his or her superiors. The bosses then take the time to go through the form and either approve or reject the request, and it is then sent to the human resource department for processing (Date, 2015). The HR mobile app will ensure the future workforce has a more direct and time-saving approach to requesting for a vacation hence improving employee satisfaction.
Interactive applications are usually designed for several reasons, among them to reduce human error (Schwalbe, 2015) (Date, 2015). As a result, employees are guaranteed that the work they do will mistake-free.
Employees of the future will have reduced issues related to their vital personal information such as their salaries. HR mobile apps will ensure that a worker can monitor his or her payroll information using his or her mobile device hence eliminating problems regarding their salaries.
Opportunities for leaders and managers
Today's tech-savvy workforce are relying heavily on mobile apps that help make work easier by performing tasks from taking notes, syncing and sharing files to communicating with peers and colleagues. Employees will use any application regardless of the source if it gets the job done. Future leaders and managers will need to acknowledge this fact and develop applications that will company branded and that will solve the need for employees to use open-source software. This is an opportunity for managers and company leaders to develop their apps that will make workflow smooth and guarantee employee satisfaction.
A mobile application management system allows managers to easily evaluate how different workers in different positions perform their jobs and hence determine how the use of these applications can help streamline work processes and improve efficiency and employee productivity (Mata, E., Mata, M., Capon, E., & Miranda, J., 2014).
The I.T leaders will have the burden of conducting upgrades and scheduled maintenance lifted off their shoulders. This is because the IT department doesn’t have to be physically present to conduct repairs and upgrades, as in desktop applications, but rather just send the upgrades to the end user directly for them to install the upgrades on their mobile devices regardless of where they are at that moment.
Developers are coming up with new applications to always keep managers in the loop on their companies' and employees' progress. Utility managers will be able to keep track of employees' current statuses especially those out on fieldwork (Sparrow, P., Brewster, C., & Chung, C., 2016). IT leaders will have the opportunity to develop applications that will be synced with employee mobile devices and show real-time feeds of their progress.
IT leaders will have the opportunity to secure valuable company data by developing apps that will be able to remotely turn on or off applications on the end user’s device that could potentially be used to access sensitive company data (Tyson, 2014).
Challenges that will face the human resource management
As with any human resource management team, early adoption is always a huge consideration, especially when talking about the digital reforms that can take place in an organization. HR will be reluctant in adopting new digital systems as in the mobile application systems for fear of legal issues.
Human resource management will have to deal with the overflow of information. Especially regarding recruiting, as having applications do the advertising for job openings one might expect an overflow of applications coming in and human resource will need to have an effective way of sorting and filtering out the required information (Stone, D., & Deadrick, D., 2015).
Having employees physically present at the workplace makes it easier for HR to monitor communications made. But when the employees are elsewhere, say at home or on the move, and are using company equipment, it can be difficult to guarantee the safety of company information (Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S., 2014). The company will want to monitor employees to ascertain that they are not exposing sensitive company information to risks.
Challenges to employees
This has to be the most sensitive issue here. Having a mobile app that hosts sensitive employee information requires top-notch security protocols. Employees will get weary of working with these apps due to the high risk of having their personal data falling into the wrong hands (Gatewood, R., Feild H., & Barrick M., 2015).
In the corporate setting, employees don't have a choice of applications that they will use. This is an important consideration to make as there could be some technophobic employees in the workforce. Hence, the developers should consider such people and make the applications easy to use.
It is understandable that management would want to keep tabs on their employees' activities in regards to the wellbeing of the company. However, during this process, an employee might feel as if he or she is being watched and this could cause problems if the company does infringe on the employees' rights to privacy.
Apart from creating user-friendly applications, the company must create programs to educate users on how to use the applications effectively. Some employees might be slow and not be aware that for seamless communication to be achieved, all applications within the workforce have to be regularly updated. The company should create means to send updates to each and every user in the workforce and create awareness on how to proceed with the technicalities of the updates.
Challenges to leaders and managers
It is not about the coding. It is about having a team of developers that will create an application that ensures a clear path towards the realization of a company’s goals and objectives. In this regard, the management has the challenge of ensuring that the app is tested and approved before being rolled out (Ventola, 2014).
- Finding the right developers
Managers will be tasked with finding developers with the right skills for the job. Leaders in the IT department need to perform a thorough research to determine the most suitable team of developers for the creation and maintenance of the applications (Delahaye, 2015).
This point cannot be over-emphasized. If a company’s mobile app was to be hacked and sensitive information, say, the company’s financial projections, is made public, it would be detrimental to the company as major stakeholders would choose to leave. Thus, a company’s mobile application’s security protocol is of utmost importance (Kearns, 2016).
It is undeniable that the advancement of mobile technology has been one of the most crucial reasons the platform has had such a profound impact on the organizational structures in the business environment today. It is no doubt that with the fact that we have seen more advantages than disadvantages of using mobile devices based applications and the fact that developers are keen to mitigating the problems encountered so far, the future workforce might fully rely on these systems. It is safe to say that the digital revolution is getting rid of cumbersome and traditional approaches to the way we handle activities at the workplace and that all sectors of the workforce, be it a regular employee or a human resource manager or the C.E.O himself, we can all agree that the mobile-based applications in the corporate environment will make the future workplace a more efficient machine and a better place to work in.
Abbasi, M., Tabatabaei, S., & Labbaf, H. (2016). Identify Future Changes in Human Resources Management: A Delphi Study. Human Resource Management, 3(1), 36-44.
Ally, M., & Tsinakos, A. (2014). Increasing access through mobile learning.
Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S., (2014). Armstrong's Handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.
Conti, M., & Giordano, S. (2014). Mobile ad hoc networking: "milestones, challenges, and new research directions.". IEEE Communications Magazine, 52(1), 85-96.
Date, P. (2015). Leave of absence for personal reasons. Policy, 7, 01.
Delahaye, B. (2015). Human resource development. Tilde Publishing.
Gatewood, R., Feild H., & Barrick M. (2015). Human resource selection. Nelson Education.
George, G., Haas, M., & Pentland, A. (2014). Big data and management. Academy of Management Journal, 57(2), 321-326.
Jung, Y. (2014). What a smartphone is to me: understanding user values in using smartphones. Information Systems Journal, 24(4), 299-321.
Kearns, G. (2016). Countering Mobile Device Threats: A Mobile Device Security Model. Journal of Forensic & Investigative Accounting, 8(1).
Mata, E., Mata, M., Capon, E., & Miranda, J. (2014). Knowledge Management I Process Improvement and Best Practice Sharing. IEEE Latin America Transactions, 12(3), 469-474.
Obeidat, S. (2016). The link between e-HRM use and HRM effectiveness: an empirical study. Personnel Review, 45(6), 1281-1301.
Pande S., & Gomes, N. (2015). Leveraging mobile devices for human resource information systems. International Journal of Business Information Systems, 20(1), 23-40.
Saoji, S., & Agashe, M. (2015). To Study M-HRM (Mobile Human Resource Management) Practices and its impacts on Workforce Through Smartphones in Selected Information Technology (IT) Multinational Corporations(MNC's) in Pune Region. KHOJ: Journal of Indian Mangement Research and Practices, 389-394.
Schwalbe, K. (2015). Information technology project management. Cengage Learning.
Snell, S., Morris, S., & Bohlander, G. (2015). Managing human resources. Nelson Education.
Sparrow, P., Brewster, C., & Chung, C.,. (2016). Globalizing human resource management. Routledge.
Stone, D., & Deadrick, D., (2015). Challenges and Opportunities Affecting the Future of Human Resource Management. Human Resource Management Review, 25(2), 139-145.
Tyson, S. (2014). Essentials of human resource management. Routledge.
Ventola, C. (2014). Mobile devices and apps for health care professional: uses and benefits. PT, 39(5), 356-64.