Half of employees use mobile to engage with HR

What can employers learn from shifts in staff working habits?
1 April 2019

The boundaries between work and our personal lives are blurring. Source: Unsplash

Whether it’s requesting vacation time, calling in sick, or letting your company know you’ll be working from home, HR often serves as the bridge between our work and (often private) personal lives.

As the workplace becomes increasingly digitized, this premise seems to be impacting how employees engage with the HR department. A UK survey by HR solutions provider SD Worx revealed that 56 percent of employees use their mobiles to complete basic HR-related tasks.

According to the study, employees request sick leave (65 percent), submit sick notes (64 percent) and even government holiday certificates (62 percent) via their own devices.

This demonstrates how staff methods of interactions differ among various departments. But the SD Worx study also opens up a discussion around the wider topic of the changing working habits of staff as a result of generational shifts.

When it came to those under 30 years of age, for example, a whole 80 percent would use their own device to submit sick notes; 53 percent to reserve a parking space, and 42 percent to reserve mobile workstations.

On the flip side, employees over 50 years of age were unlikely to use another device apart from their work devices for such tasks, while 53 percent of this group would request a change in working time on a work device, as compared to only 30 percent of employees who are aged under 30.

“As technology becomes even more ingrained in our personal lives, it’s not surprising that the lines may blur between personal and work devices,” said Brenda Morris, MD of SD Worx UK and Ireland.

Morris believes that organizations must ensure that they give their people the opportunities the freedom to work in a fashion that suits them best— if their role allows, of course.

“Businesses have to make efforts to make the personal and working lives of their employees easier,” Morris said. “If they do not, engagement levels will suffer and people will leave for a company where their expectations are met.”

The HR Manager at GfK Belgium, Lore Breden, said that as work and life are becoming increasingly intertwined, the “nine-to-five mentality” is fading into insignificance.

Those that overlook the changing working habits of their employees should be warned. A recent study by Speakap, focused on the subject of employee engagement, recently found that three-quarters of HR professionals are seeing increased average staff turnover rates of 30 percent a year.

Accommodating the changing tech skills and consumption habits of Generation Z and millennial workers— whether through flexible working, social media-like communications methods and providing “meaningful” work— was considered one of the best ways to ensure staff remains engaged and loyal.