How to select the best HRMS for your mobile HR requirements


In case your last name is Van Winkle and you’ve spent the last X years asleep… the future is here, and it’s mobile. Not least in the realm of HR technology. The proof is in the fact that most major HR software vendors, in fact, most vendors in general, are offering a mobile app as part of their products, and have done for some time. But with a marketplace overflowing with apps; how do you choose? Here we walk through the essentials of mobile HR applications, from benefits to vendor suggestions.

The rise of mobile HR

The fact that mobile devices have become integral to the workplace is no surprise in a world of rapidly escalating smartphone ownership and a corresponding rise in the number of mobile workers. We can see this in the rise of BYOD policies in the workplace as employees use their own (comfortable) hardware for work purposes.

Advantages of mobile HR

Leveraging mobile HR carries a number of benefits:

  • A more connected workforce – the modern organization employs a variety of workers over and above those ‘in the office’ and an increasing proportion of your employees are likely to be found off-site. In such a situation, mobile communication and access are essential, both for the employee to stay connected to base, and for base to keep track of its human resources.
  • Mobile expectations are high – put simply, the people coming into your organization right now expect mobile HR. Mobile technology is such an integrated part of everyday life that new recruits take it for granted that you’re using that technology as the norm. Think about when they were hired. Quite possibly the process was tech-heavy, with a social media-driven talent pipeline, online application, gamified assessments, and a video chat interview. Mobile technology is the new black.
  • Employee engagement – greater connectivity with and throughout your workforce offers the potential for greater employee engagement. Of course, it depends on how you use that mobile connectivity, but the tool has great potential to bring your employees together despite them being geographically scattered.
  • Anytime-anywhere HR – finally, the most obvious advantage is the opportunity to access HR information and functions 24/7. For a generation that grew up online, this is taken for granted.

Mobile HR requirements to consider during HRMS selection

So, what to look for when you’re researching the market, drawing up a shortlist of potential vendors and viewing and testing individual systems?

Specific mobile functions

If you’re to take full advantage, there are certain mobile-related functions that are a must:

  • Employee self-service (ESS) – ESS is the biggest driver behind the ongoing rise of mobile HRMS, usually via some kind of online HR portal, offering remote access to personal data and records, time off requests, and access to paychecks.
  • Time and attendance – with an automated, and often biometric, time clock, the problem of buddy punching becomes almost a thing of the past and mobile technology means that off-site workers can still punch in, monitor their hours worked and be monitored by the relevant supervisor or manager. 
  • Request management – for the average worker, management approval is still required for a variety of requests. And with the right mobile app, off-site workers have equivalent access to their office brethren, able to request paid time off, training and learning activities, reimbursement of travel expenses, and potentially any other routine worker-management administrative interaction.

Identify and prioritize your mobile HRMS requirements using this fully customizable requirements template

Device access

With any external access to your business systems, there’s a risk of that access falling into the wrong hands – either because of loss or theft of the device, or maybe because the employee themselves are disgruntled for some reason. When choosing mobile HRMS, look for features that will reinforce your security (and therefore the security of your data) such as role-based access control, secure mobile login, and regular back up of data. What’s more, look for vendor apps that allow you to lock, delete or otherwise control any company information that might end up on an employee’s personal device – very useful when they leave their smartphone on the train!

Mobile features

Moving away from the specific mobile-related functions, think about the features of the mobile app design and how it can be used. First of all, you’re looking for an app compatible with all platforms, Android, Apple, and BlackBerry. Users should also be able to use the app offline. They won’t always have a connection but they may be able to carry out HR transactions offline, with the app automatically synchronizing when the connection is regained. Another useful feature is push notifications to give off-site employees real-time updates, replies, and other necessary information. Finally, look for an intuitive, easy to use interface – no need to make things more difficult than they need to be!

Check out our free HRMS features guide to find all the features your business needs your HR software to have

HRMS software with good mobile functionality

  • ADP –  ADP was one of the first business software vendors to offer mobile support. Using their mobile app, employees can access their payroll data, carry out time and attendance transactions, and utilize easier communication with colleagues. Meanwhile, managers can use the app for workforce scheduling.
  • BambooHR – focused on small and medium-sized businesses, the Bamboo mobile app offers limited but reliable and useful functionality: just time and attendance and access to the company personnel directory. 
  • CezanneHR – also aiming at the SME market, Cezanne’s mobile app is essentially an employee self-service portal, allowing users to check calendars to see who’s in, make time off requests, access the company directory, and view ‘pending tasks’ for straightforward work management.
  • Fairsail – Fairsail’s goal was to offer a full HRMS mobile experience, including real-time communication, notifications, and reminders; central control of system access for better security, and it’s also fully customizable to your own branding.
  • PeopleStrategy – PeopleStrategy’s eHCM app has the standard emphasis on self-service with access to pay information, tax and benefits statements, and facility for making time off requests. It also has some functionality around onboarding new hires.

Future trends for mobile HR

So, if the future is already here, what does the future hold? (The ‘future’ future?) Online there is no shortage of pundits, commentators, and crystal ball-gazers predicting the next cutting edge development. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Unlimited mobile access – so far, the limits of technology and security have resulted in a limit on the mobile functions on offer. however, the direction is clear and sooner or later we will have full HRMS functionality via mobile devices.
  • Closer teamworking – in the past, off-site workers were often virtually ‘second-class citizens’ with impoverished access to data, decisions, and even colleagues. However, as mobile apps and mobile HRMS make access and communication so much simpler, such geographical barriers to teamworking will vanish.
  • Continuous performance management – at the opposite end of the performance spectrum to the old, once-a-year appraisal meeting, mobile apps allow managers to track and monitor performance on a real-time basis. Thus giving a much truer and more nuanced picture of each individual’s job performance.

Originally written by Heather Batyski

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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

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