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Employee Self Service Portal VS Mobile App: 5 Reasons Why HR Should Supplement ESS with Mobile App

With the use of mobile apps has grown in popularity due to the increasing number of smartphone users, more and more businesses are planning to establish a mobile presence to capture the market. Nowadays, mobile apps are not only developed for retail clients, but also employees for internal use. HR mobile apps allowing employees to access HR-related self service is one of the most common examples.

At this point, you may wonder why HR mobile apps are necessary if Employee Self Service (ESS) web portals have been widely used. According to the research of ORTEC, a global and leading suppliers of mathematical optimization software and advanced analytics for data-driven decision support, mobile apps are able to reach employees outside of office in their personal time while the use of web portal has a steep peak after employees arriving at work and drop rapidly after 4pm closer to the end of work. The answer is clear: mobile apps seem to be a better medium to keep employees engaged anytime and anywhere.

While a HR mobile app has its own advantages, an ESS portal also provides a full set of functionality that cannot be replaced. In fact, there is no absolute answer on which option is the best strategy as both options have their own pros and cons, and they are more likely to supplement each other to deliver the greatest benefits to HR. Before discussing how an HR mobile app can supplement an ESS portal, it is also crucial for us to learn the difference between the two.

Difference between ESS Web Portal and Mobile App

What is an ESS?

ESS, commonly known as Employee Self Service Portal or Platform, is a web portal that enables employees to perform various HR-related functions on their own. ESS is commonly delivered through a browser and requires an internet connection to access. Some of the ESS portals are not responsive which means they are not designed for handheld devices and display. In other words, their interface cannot rescale to fit the sizes of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Despite its “mobile unfriendliness”, ESS offers most functionalities that HR may need, particularly good at data processing tasks. Only a few mobile-specific features, such as GPS checking, camera for face recognition, are unavailable currently on web portals.

What is a HR Mobile App?

To use a HR mobile app, the users are required to download the app from Apple Store or Google Play and install it on a mobile device. The app is able to extract content and data from the internet like an ESS portal, meanwhile, it can also store data locally (on the device), which allows the users to access it without internet connection except for some specific functions such as GPS. The stored data can be uploaded to the system when the user is connected to the internet.

In general, web portals offer similar functionalities like mobile apps, such as OT and expense claim management, attendance taking, leave application etc., except there is a limitation on clock in and out features i.e. facial recognition and GPS checking functions are unavailable in web portals. With the introduction of mobile app, HR can integrate the advantages of both mediums to present the best user experience for their employees. Here we would like to share 5 main reasons why HR should consider introducing HR mobile app to supplement an ESS web portal.

The 5 Benefits to Supplement ESS with Mobile App

1. Overcome Communication Gaps via push notifications

One of the major advantages of using mobile apps is definitely the push notification function which allows HR to send instant and direct reminders to their employees anytime. HR can also set automated push notifications and notify employees of their application status and results. By sending reminders directly to employees’ mobile phones, the open and click rate of HR announcements can be boosted due to increased convenience, which helps HR to keep their employees engaged and connected anytime and anywhere.

2. Provide Seamless and Enhanced Employee Experience

With mobile apps, employees can access HR-related self services anytime and anywhere on the go via their mobile devices without internet connection. It is particularly suitable for employees who are required to work outside the office to stay connected with the company. If only an ESS portal, which is not responsive, is available for use, on-site employees may find it difficult to access the service via mobile devices as the portal interface cannot automatically adjust its size to fit the display of mobile devices. Most importantly, some ESS portals may have restricted access, which means employees can only login with company internet connection. It is therefore difficult for employees to access ESS outside office in case of emergencies. Yet, the introduction of a HR mobile app can resolve the above problems by offering a seamless ESS usage which in turn enhances the overall employee experience. Moreover, the switch to mobile HR is now a prevailing trend which cannot be neglected. It is thus the time for HR to catch up with the global trend to consider mobile HR service which may help enhance company reputation and image further.

3. Guarantee Higher Accuracy of Attendance Records

Another reason that HR should consider having a mobile app is to enhance the accuracy of attendance records. Aforementioned, ESS web portal has limitations on clock in and out functions as it does not support facial recognition and GPS. Yet, with mobile apps, employees, especially those who work outside the office, can easily check in and out at different locations. Facial recognition and GPS functions can verify the identity and working locations of the employees to avoid “buddy punching” as well as to ensure the employees are working at the right places. HR can therefore obtain a more accurate attendance record even with a highly-mobile workforce.

4. Ensure Higher Level of Security

Since ESS portals contain a lot of confidential and personal information, it is crucial to maintain a high level of security to protect the data. Yet, traditional ESS portals only require a password to login, it may be easily hacked or accessed by a third party if the employee has saved his or her password in the company browser. Some portals with better security may offer two-factor authentication. To further enhance the system security, HR can introduce an HR mobile app with biometric authentication, such as face and fingerprint recognition, to ensure only the account users can access.

5. Offer Personalization

Another advantage of using HR mobile apps is customization as mobile apps offer a more personalized user experience to employees. They are welcome to customize the background colour, wallpaper, font size as well as other settings, such as display of frequently used icons, based on personal preferences. Such personalized experience may strengthen users’ sense of belonging and thus increase the usage of ESS via mobile app which helps decentralize HR work further.

Enhance Your ESS with Mobile App

With the surge in mobile app users around the globe, an ESS web portal alone is not enough to provide a comprehensive HR self service to employees under the limitations of a web portal. Yet, with mobile apps, HR can expand the functionality of employee self service and extend the service coverage to employees working from home, onsite and even abroad. Mobile apps offer features that are currently unavailable in web portals which can provide a more comprehensive service to the users. Push notification is definitely the biggest advantage among all. It can not only keep the employees connected anytime and anywhere, but also help HR overcome communication gaps between company and employees. Moreover, a wide variety of clock in and out features, such as facial recognition and GPS, are provided to increase the accuracy of attendance records which in turn contributes to efficient payroll processing. Mobile apps also offer enhanced security and data protection with biometric authentication like fingerprint and facial recognition which is beneficial for HR and users to avoid data leakage and misuse of personal data by third parties. Last but not least, a more personalized user experience can be provided to the employees via the introduction of mobile apps in which users can decide various app settings according to their preferences and habits, which may strengthen a sense of belonging and boost ESS usage.

Decentralize HR work with digital transformation in HR management

All in all, equipping with a comprehensive ESS platform supplemented by a mobile app, HR can share many of their administrative workload to the employees and managers, such as leave application, OT & Claim management, attendance tracking etc., as both employees and managers can access ESS to handle HR-related tasks anytime and anywhere with ease. The mobile app can serve as a good medium to boost the usage of ESS even outside of office hours which help further decentralize HR tasks. With less administrative burden and manual work on the shoulders, HR can now participate more in strategic HR planning and talent management which is beneficial for the overall HR policy and company development in the long run.

If you would like to learn more about the features of BridgeBuilder HRMS Mobile App and how it can enhance your HR operation and employee experience, please click HERE for a complete guide or contact us at 3798 4400.

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