By Erin Lively
Here’s a quick behavioral quiz (Like Buzzfeed…but not): In the past hour, how many times have you checked your phone to see if you missed any messages…even though you just checked it four minutes ago (has it really only been four minutes?)
- When sitting alone in public do you…?
- Stare mysteriously off into space
- Become absorbed in your phone because you are a very important person who is having a very important conversation (Guys, look! I really do have friends…people like me, I promise!)
- Nod if the following situation has ever applied to you: I swear my phone just vibrated but it says I don’t have any new messages…and its on silent….weird.
- In the past week how many times have you watched an episode of TV without touching another digital device?
Congratulations! I’m going to assume you answered as expected: you’re a very typical 21st century individual. We’re all one, big digitally obsessed family…but for good reason. Our technological devices are the gateway to our lives. They hold our most precious memories: my nieces first day of Kindergarten and those 110 times my dog looked insanely cute. They allow us to stay socially connected, eliminating the barriers of time and location. We can track our sleeping and exercise habits with no effort on our part. We can make payments, transfer funds and adjust our thermostat all while sitting in traffic. As our devices become smarter and smarter we reap the benefits.
Thanks to a wonderful development called the Internet of Things (IoT), the concept of “right time, right place” has been tossed out the window. Constant connectivity is the new norm. The list of devices we can use to access applications and information is expanding and while we’ve been embracing these technologies and capabilities in our personal lives, much of the professional world has been slow to adapt.
Many employers realize they’re now dealing with a digitally obsessed workforce and that catering to this behavior presents endless opportunities for improved employee engagement and productivity. In all the hype, many employers have pigeonholed their definition of Worker Experience, focusing only on simplifying the tasks associated with employees’ job descriptions. And while moving towards cloud-based, real-time collaboration platforms is a giant leap in the right direction, the Worker Experience is more than just day-to-day responsibilities; it’s comprised of every single interaction with the company. This means that great internal employee-company relations are critical in worker satisfaction and optimizing HR processes is key in achieving this.
Digital HR is the future. Marrying HR with IoT is a chance to set your company apart in employee engagement…and accomplish some pretty cool things along the way. As HR systems like payroll and benefits are integrated, the Worker Experience will become connected across more devices satisfying employees’ desire for constant connectivity. This means accessing pay stubs, W2 forms, and benefits information anytime, anywhere and on any device. To ensure a smooth adoption, employers need to focus on mimicking the user-friendly interfaces that employees have become accustomed to in their personal lives. The systems should be as intuitive as any social media platform.
The potential of HR and IoT goes beyond simply improving age-old processes. Using the sensor technology and data-collecting capabilities of wearables like Fitbit, employers can push the boundaries of traditional HR responsibilities. By collecting information about employees like sleeping and exercising habits, companies can promote, incentivize, and reward healthy behavior. Dedication to your workout schedule could result in a year-end bonus—how awesome is that?
Technological advancement and digital innovation show no signs of stopping or slowing down anytime soon. As employees adapt and adopt to this era of constant digital disruption, employers must adjust their strategies and systems to allow employees personal digital practices to align with their professional practices.