Why you should incorporate wearable tech into your HRMS

All new technology impacts on the workplace sooner or later; it isn’t a question of ‘if’, but of ‘how’. Google Glass might have failed ignominiously but according to the Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey 2015-16, the debate on wearable tech at work – watches, gloves, sensors in clothing, and so on – is beginning to hot up.

Some say that all wearable tech should be banned at work. Why? Two main reasons and they both relate technology’s capability for easy recording of external information. First, it opens the door to employees storing and sharing confidential data. Now this of course has been an issue since the invention of the handheld camera, but wearable tech (remember Google Glass?) makes it almost too easy.

Second, there’s invasion of privacy. Many companies are comfortable installing CCTV and monitoring employees, they’re not so happy when the shoe is on the other foot.

But…let’s look at the other side of the coin. How could wearable tech provide benefits (both current and potential) when linked to your HRMS?

Time and attendance

No need to clock in when your security pass tells the system when you’ve arrived at the office. Also, in practical terms, it makes buddy punching (clocking in for a colleague) practically impossible. Perfect for ensuring your time and attendance data is as accurate as possible.

Recommended reading: encourage your employees to engage more with your HRMS with these six steps to HRMS self-service success.

Location tracking

The use of GPS identification for mobile and field workers is already reasonably commonplace, with benefits for employee safety.

Virtual induction and onboarding

Prepare new hires for their first day with virtual reality headgear that provides office tours, meet’n’greets...

Virtual recruitment

...and while we’re on the subject, why not use virtual environments for recruitment testing as part of your assessment center process?

Who’s at their desk?

The flipside of monitoring toilet breaks is that the same tech can be used in call centers to notify the team when a colleague has had to step away from their desk, enabling the team to pick up their calls.

Health awareness campaigns

Healthier employees equals more productive employees, and wearable tech can gamify an individual fitness program into a fun competitive team activity using Fitbits and similar gadgets.

Calendar notifications

Never miss a meeting with notifications through a personal device; let’s face it, this is already what we use our smartphones for, why not a wristwatch or pair of spectacles?

The Cedar-Sierra survey found that 10% of organizations are already using wearable technology to track productivity, improve workforce safety and for audit purposes. Furthermore survey respondents expect a 30% increase in those incorporating wearable tech as part of their HR strategy over the next year or so.

As with any integration of a new technology into the workplace, the key is the relationship the organization has with its workforce. If the employees trust the business, then you’ll see the hoped-for efficiencies. If not, then wearable tech will only erode an already-broken relationship.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall