Finding the Best Platform for HR Technology
No matter how useful HR self-service tools are, users — both employees and HR professionals alike — won’t take advantage of their full benefits if the platform the portal resides on isn’t convenient for them to use. Here is a crash course on the pros and cons of using an employee self-service (ESS) solution on a web or mobile application. While traditional desktop ESS tools are still available, they are quickly fading from the marketplace.
Web applications offer the most comprehensive functionality and best usability of available ESS platforms. Not only are they expected by younger employees, such as millennials, but they also provide a sweet spot of accessibility and usability.
Features of a web application:
- Accessibility. Can be accessed both at work and at home.
- Stability and bandwidth. Despite advances in technology, desktop and laptop computers still offer greater bandwidth than smartphones.
- Easier to navigate. Most websites are still being designed for desktop first, mobile second, although this is starting to change.
- Easier to type. Typing on a physical keyboard has numerous advantages over an onscreen one, especially when there are multiple forms to fill out.
- Easier to see. The larger screens of desktop and laptop computers allow for easier readability of forms.
- Not very portable. Not everyone is going to be lugging a laptop everywhere, which limits accessibility on the go.
While mobile apps and mobile websites are great in theory, the usability and functionality of ESS on mobile apps and mobile websites are notably limited when compared to web applications. The small screen and keyboard leave employees more likely to make errors when entering data, such as a new address or direct deposit information. One option for employers who want to offer mobile ESS is to have a read-only site with very little functionality.
Features of a mobile application:
- Accessibility. Can be accessed almost anywhere.
Fast and convenient. The main selling points of mobile applications are speed and convenience.
- Small screen. A smaller screen can lead to user frustration, especially for those with near vision issues.
- Hard to navigate. Even the most responsive websites can be hard to navigate, and this goes double for ESS portals, which may be filled with information delivered in block text and small type.
- Hard to type. Imagine filling out forms on a tiny onscreen keyboard.
If an HR department is really struggling with which platform would be best for employees, perhaps some combination of both platforms is the answer. ESS vendors are constantly upgrading and improving their products in order to stay competitive. It may be worth asking vendors if their product has dual functionality across two or more platforms.
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