From the Palm Pilot to the iPhone, mobile technology has made the world less patient. People want answers immediately, and for human resources teams, this means delivering information on everything an employee could possibly want to know within seconds.
If you look back to the days when HR teams lived on desktop computers, landlines, and fax machines, communication was limited to cubicle hours and the absence of one team member might bring work to a grinding halt. The emails of, "Where is my pay stub?" "When is the next open enrollment?" and "Does my insurance cover ___?" would quickly accumulate, creating a backlog of repeating questions.
Self-service websites and automation have begun to make on-demand information more readily available, but many of these problems still linger when comes to direct communication between employees and HR teams. So where will mobile HR technology be five years from now?
Conversations Make A Comeback:
Mobile apps and mobile-optimized HR website have already made benefits, training and hiring information available on-demand, 24/7, without the need for one-off email replies to every employee at the company. But HR conversations and their ability to deliver answers faster and more accurately are making a comeback when it comes to reaching employees largely due to the emergence of chatbots.
Automated communication in chat means that instead of trying to find health insurance policy data on your HR portal, employees can just ask the bot, "What is my insurance premium for a regular doctor's visit?" These conversations can help prevent repetitive emails flooding the HR email inbox while still allowing HR team members to deliver personalized answers to employee questions.
Email is (Officially) Dead, Messaging Thrives:
Text messaging has been used in talent acquisition for some time now and it is finally entering the mainstream of HR communications because it averages 99% open rates and 40% response rates when used on job candidates. Compare that to the 4% response rates of recruiter emails and the decision is even easier. On top of that, HR teams can now integrate their HRIS and track opens in text messaging. So the next time an employee says they didn't get that message you sent to them you can politely point out that they did.
Blurring of Work and Personal Time:
Whether you like it or not, the line that has traditionally divided work and personal time is fading with more people working from home and fewer people keeping to the 9-to-5 schedule. Mobile HR technology is likely to mirror this trend with more HR teams opting to use the communication platforms that are most convenient for employees, regardless of whether they were built specifically for businesses. Text messaging, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other dominant communication platforms will be used to share and collect information, and manage conversations. The popular messaging services with which you message your friends and family will soon be open to co-workers and managers.
HR teams should be excited about the way A.I. is growing and can make their role more strategic. While the first steps might be saving HR teams from a barrage of frequently asked questions, A.I. offers much more in the form of eliminating bias from decisions, organizational design and hiring talent. Mobile HR tech will be critical to collecting data from employees to inform the learning process and pushing information to humans to help them make better decisions.
Five years from now, mobile HR technology will still be pushing the pace at which teams operate. Determining how HR can make better decisions and share information more efficiently will drive that evolution. Businesses that can deliver a more personalized and mobile experience for their employees, will only boost engagement and retention over the long term .