Time registration and scheduling via mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. Eight experienced managers and HR administrators see far more advantages than disadvantages as regards Workforce Management on mobile phones, but it is crucial that the service is perceived by employees to be simple to use and relevant
A digital revolution is full under way at major companies – and the same is true for Workforce Management. Within this area, smart phones and tablets are assuming an increasingly significant role in the automation of core administrative processes.
Mobile time registration provides many benefits
Interviews conducted with eight managers and HR administrators from companies such as Orkla Confectionery, Schneider Electric, SDC, Sydbank and Kverneland, all of whom have extensive experience in Workforce Management processes, have revealed more advantages than disadvantages with mobile time registration.
The interviewees concur that there are ample benefits to be gained in the form of automated administration processes and increased insight into the organisations' productivity patterns.
Despite evident obstacles such as hygienic conditions in, for example, the food industry, they are all optimistic regarding the future of time registration and scheduling via mobile devices.
However, for employees this is highly contingent on user-friendliness and the experience of the individual user. In order to achieve the best user experience possible, time registration and scheduling via mobile devices should be viewed as a service to employees.
Jan Weber, CFO of Kverneland, manufacturer of agricultural machinery, explains: "I'd much rather talk about dialogue than time registration. If one views mobile time registration from a slightly broader perspective, we can think of it as a service to users, who also then receive feedback on their actions."
Focus on good user experience
Time registration or Workforce Management on mobile devices should be simple to use and relevant for employees. This is something all of our eight interviewees agree on.
At present, there are three specific areas of interest to the experienced users of Workforce Management solutions, where access to these solutions is by means of fixed terminals or online via a PC:
- Prioritisation of functions
- Communication and dialogue
- Development and vision
Deliberate prioritisation of functionality
HR specialist Ann Katja Starup from the energy optimisation company Schneider Electric believes that the prioritisation of functions has an effect on the overall user experience: "It would, of course, be ideal if our employees could access the portal from their mobiles like they currently do via their PCs. But this is probably impossible."
"It is a conscious decision to prioritise the most appropriate registration options and user functions on mobile devices while taking into account how quickly and easily an end-user can access these. At the same time, we hope that the usability will minimise the risk of inaccurate registration so that the quality of the compiled data is first-rate,” explains Morten Janum, CIO of Mark Information.
Support for data-driven dialogue
According to our interviewees, communication and dialogue should be a natural part of the service for employees who regularly need to report on assignments and register working hours via mobile phones or tablets.
Kristian Petersen from the transport company Viggo Petersens Eftf.: elaborates: "Employees may perceive time registration on mobile devices as a form of control, unless you can also offer some useful communication and feedback features such as being able to draw attention to the inexpediency of a particular route, or by including emojis so that an employee can quickly and easily share their current mood when they register."
In this context it is worthwhile to emphasise that Workforce Management is a management tool which should facilitate data-driven dialogue between managers and employees. And, according to Morten Janum, this also provides opportunities for more independence in terms of swapping shifts and shift planning, and allows for end-user services such as simple news feeds and push-notifications in Android and IOS apps.
Long-term development plan
The vision for the product and the provider's development plan is another topic of interest to the interviewees. They feel it is important to understand how the provider intends to develop the product so that it is equally beneficial to managers and employees.
Some of the most important questions for a mobile time registration provider include: "What plans are being formulated to further develop the product?" "Is this technology being invested in?" And "What other services can we expect to offer our employees further down the line?"
”All new functionality is developed in collaboration with customers, which means that – right from the start – we work closely with users in developing the right solutions for specific challenges,” explains Morten Janum. "Questions concerning functionality either come directly from customers or are collated in conjunction with user group meetings and user conferences."
IT security and data protection are considered to be of primary concern with regard to mobile time registration.
"Security is certainly a cause for concern. As a bank, we naturally are apprehensive that someone may be able to hack into our system, if something can be accessed externally,” states Poul Mai, HR Administration Manager at Sydbank.
The concerns relating to IT security elicit a response from Mark Information: "It is an understandable concern. Therefore, it is imperative to address one of the most pressing issues as early as possible: 'How will employees be connected to the system via their mobile devices?' This – along with many other prerequisites – is something we address in our preliminary analysis prior to project commencement."
That being said, it is important to note that the actual security risks pertaining to the disclosure of business-critical data or personal information in Workforce Management solutions is negligible. The solution itself does not contain any sensitive data but, by means of standard integrations, augments the company's HR and ERP systems with current data, which increases efficiency and allows for rapid response, control and correction.
Poul Mai from Sydbank adds: "Any issues relating to IT security can undoubtedly be resolved. There are many other companies currently using mobile time registration. And if they can, there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to. It's just a matter of having the right set-up."