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The CIO Challenge: People, Not Devices, Are Driving the Future of Mobility

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 9/03/2016 Daniel Newman
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Mobility is an enormous trend in the modern workforce. It seems everyone who works is now connected via a mobile device. With phones, pads, phablets, tablets, and ultra-lightweight laptops, there's no shortage of mobile devices being juggled about the workplace. However, simply using these gadgets hardly means an organization is embracing the power of mobility.
Many businesses believe the misconception that employing mobile devices means mobility. The truth is that while innovation may be the catalyst for mobility, what really drives the concept are the people behind it. As we move into the future of work, enterprises are looking for ways to make employees more connected and accessible--and thus more productive.
Today, many companies still consider the mobile opportunity as keeping employees constantly connected to their work. However, we need to rethink what mobility truly means; it's not a collection of gadgets, it's a lifestyle. Or in this case, a work lifestyle.
Mobility as a Retention and Engagement Strategy
The mobility lifestyle is about transparency and interconnectedness. Everything is connected to everything else, and seamless integration allows for better accessibility. Employee engagement has become the number one concern for businesses, and embracing mobility is one of the best ways to improve engagement.
Two-thirds (66 percent) of businesses are currently updating their engagement strategies. Oddly, not many are reporting an improvement in employee retention. Perhaps this is because many don't understand mobility as it applies to today's workforce. For example:
Contemporary employees work more hours from more places. Mobile technology has allowed for that and has made employees more productive. However, collaboration must remain a priority. Businesses need to ensure that, although employees have the tools to work from anywhere, they also feel as though they're working in a collaborative environment.
The average employee isn't motivated by the same factors as generations past. Today's workers put a huge emphasis on work/life balance and a sense of purpose. Again, mobility has birthed this trend and given us the tools to fulfill it.
Businesses need to keep these two considerations in mind when updating their engagement strategies. It's one thing to offer flexibility in the workplace, but it's another to offer a fully integrated, collaborative, yet mobile work environment. Perhaps one of the largest parts of mobility potential many businesses aren't thinking about is that mobile isn't simply a workforce tool--it's a way for brands and people to make deeper connections when it's convenient.
Mobile platforms fuel a more on-demand approach. We can access the information we want when we want it on the device of our choosing. We can empower happier, more productive workers and forge stronger bonds with our customers--all while making more seamless experiences for each and every person who touches our enterprise.

Integrating Mobility Into the Workplace the Correct Way

How can businesses expect to integrate mobility in a way that actually means something to employees? Mobility is a fantastic strategy to increase engagement. Personnel want a more mobile workplace, and when you give them what they want, they become happier and more productive. But what exactly is it that makes a business mobile?
Find New Uses for Apps in the Workplace
We live in an age where there's an app for everything. Employees use them for a variety of things, whether it's for collaboration and communication, making a particular task easier, or fulfilling simple administrative requirements. For example, HR apps are somewhat new technologies that streamline HR processes and employee interaction. These self-service programs allow workers to change a schedule, track expense reports and wages, and more. The ability to use apps for a variety of tasks, increasing productivity and accessibility, is what drives mobility in the workplace.
Make Data Accessible to Everyone
Transparency is important to modern employees. Using analytical platforms to make data available to employees is one way businesses are addressing this. For example, real-time analytics platforms can deliver sales and marketing data to sales teams on their smartphones or tablets. Supplying team members with up-to-the-minute sales tools allows them to make more informed pitches. It should go without saying that a salesperson with higher sales is likely more engaged with his or her employer, and vice-versa.

Invest in Your IT Team

With today's technology, employees expect dependable IT support and capability. Mobile devices are becoming more accessible as prices drop, and more and more people are using them to work from anywhere. Employees must have secure connections, pleasant user experiences, and dependable networks. The demand for experienced IT professionals is on the rise and will continue to grow. To embrace workplace mobility, employers must invest in their IT departments.
Integrating mobility is mostly about collaboration and cooperation. Starting with a supportive infrastructure and ending with company policies, mobility is about expanding possibilities through connectivity and convenience. The same mobility that entices your customers can also be used to attract and retain employees. It will continue to greatly influence the way we interact with one another. Brands and customers, employers and employees, and people as individuals will develop more meaningful connections with one another.

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