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    Where's the Employee Handbook again?

    Although I recently took a bit of a swipe at the Apple iPad, even I would be foolish to deny the current and certainly near-future impact that the iPad and increasingly other tablet devices like the BlackBerry PlayBook and even the Motorola Xoom will have on the enterprise IT landscape.BlackBerry PlayBook

    Whether it is the potential for Apple to support the creation of restricted and IT-managed enterprise App stores, the emergence of third-party tools to facilitate the development and distribution of company created and approved apps, or the likely shift from one size fits all enterprise portals to more individually created and defined tablet or smartphone environments, there is clearly a growing trend towards more specialization, personalization, and well, I hate to say it again, consumerization of enterprise systems.

    With the continuing proliferation of smartphone ownership in the US and elsewhere, and the preferred and accepted means for accessing, consuming, and creating content on these devices (and their tablet cousins), it seems apparent that any forward-thinking organization would start to strategize and develop its own response to this 'appification' of information consumption. 

    When an employee sends an email or makes a call to the HR support desk because they can't seem to locate a copy of the company bereavement leave policy, (leaving aside the certainly questionable decision to even have such a policy, 'two days for an Uncle' - absurd), the typical response from the HR administrator will almost certainly be one of the following:

    1. All the HR policies can be found on the shared Network drive, just navigate to:

    J:/Corporate/Resources/Employee Resources/Information/Policy/Staff/PTO/Bereavement.doc

    2. The bereavement policy is sub-bullet 4 of the overall Time-Off Policy, just find the PTO policy. If you don't want to page down through all 39 pages, just do a search for 'death'

    3. The bereavement policy is in the Employee Handbook you were given on your first day.  What's that? You started in 1997?  You didn't save your copy? 

    4. What is your email? I can email you the latest copy of the policy.  Make sure to archive it though, since the file is 8MB, it will take a big chunk out of your email storage allotment.

    You get the idea.  While many forward thinking organizations have rightfully moved beyond this state of affairs and deployed searchable, personalized portals for employees, even more haven't.  For those organizations still struggling with file shares, dead Sharepoint installs, and mainly sending file attachments around in email; the next few years will present both a choice and a challenge.

    Figure out a way to adopt yesterday's technologies to solve today's problems, or try to see past the current state, anticipate both where the market for tablets and smartphones is heading, coupled with the needs of your anticipated workforce mix (will they be more geographically diverse, more mobile, younger), and develop and deploy technologies and more accurately, build methods to support your organizations with the needed information how and where they are most apt to consume it effectively and efficiently.

    In three years when that same employee rings up asking 'Where can I find the bereavement policy?', chances are the savviest HR organizations will answer:

    Employee Policies?  There's an app for that.  It should be on the home screen of your PlayBook. Open up the app, and search for 'ludicrous', it should take you straight there.

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      Awesome Website, Carry on the very good work. Many thanks!
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      Steve's HR Technology - Journal - Where's the Employee Handbook again?

    Reader Comments (5)

    Awesome. Your post not only reflects my world today, but also the world I'm working towards. Although I'm fired up to get my HR organization into the modern world, many of the support functions outside of HR also need to buy-in to the fact that the future of e-work is forever going to be in the palm of your hand. Bring on the apps!

    February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay Kuhns

    Employee and Manager Self-Service meet Alien Technology. I'm in.

    February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin W. Grossman

    @Jay - Thanks very much for the comments and for reading as well. Great point about how often these initiatives require buy-in from the larger organization.

    @Kevin - Don't forget robots!

    February 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Oops, you should have waited until today to post this so you could include the new HP TouchPad (aka iPad killer) as well. Technology waits for no one. Anyway, great post and I totally agree that for companies that do not already have a well defined employee portal it might be good for them to leapfrog to something like an HR App on a tablet. Well designed "touch" oriented apps are fantastic and need no training. I'm seeing Touch Tablet Kiosks instead of the usual PC/Keyboard/Mouse combo. Easier to use and less moving parts to break. Okay, I'm not seeing BlackBerry PlayBook kiosks unless RIM sells them dirt cheap in volume.

    February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Krupa

    I'm in runescape gold!

    June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersinreal

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