One of the big enterprise mobility stories of late is the ruling by a California court that companies who require employees to use their personal smartphones for work must reimburse those employees "a reasonable percentage" of their monthly bills. As CITEworld's Nancy Gohring reported last week, similar legal challenges are happening in other states, including Washington, New Jersey, and Michigan.
The impact of the ruling remains to be seen, and a lot will depend on how -- and how well -- companies have crafted their enterprise mobility policies, which may or may not include officially sanctioned BYOD options.
Developing a clear policy that passes legal and regulatory muster where needed is a great first step. Organizations with solid HR and employee relations programs are most capable of rolling out a program across the organization. Other companies might favor a gradual phase-in, perhaps one department at a time, or gradually growing a program based around specific job roles. Either way, it's pretty easy to find examples, case studies, and guidelines for rolling out mobile-first initiatives.
But there's one aspect of this process that is often left out of the BYOD or enterprise mobility discussion -- the interviewing and onboarding of new employees.
There must be an effective mechanism to introduce mobility expectations to new hires: Who will be issued devices, who will be expected or allowed to use their personal devices, what platforms and devices are supported, how devices will be managed, and how (or if) costs will be shared.
In some ways that sounds exactly like an initial rollout. But with initial rollouts, there is often an all-hands-on-deck approach, with IT and HR working together to educate users, and extra resources like live or recorded training, added helpdesk support, and extra staff devoted to ensuring that devices are selected and enrolled properly. There's also often a sense of excitement among workers as the rollout moves along, generating a lot of peer support with users exchanging tips and advice.
But once that rollout is over, those resources and excitement go away.
Bring it up during the interview process
The temptation in many organizations is to add information about mobility programs and mobile policies into the welcome or new hire packet, or have a new employee's manager facilitate their entrance into the process. But this simply adds mobility and BYOD to the wall of information, forms, and agreements that a new hire has to deal with as they are onboarded.
Although that may seem to be the simplest approach, it will probably leave new team members without necessary knowledge.
Delaying an introduction of mobility programs and policies till after a new employee is hired is also a bad idea. The topic should be broached during the interview process to set expectations from the beginning, particularly if the user will be expected or required to use their own device. This offers a candidate an opportunity to ask questions, the answers to which may determine whether they wish to continue interviewing for or accept the job.
The model for integrating mobility into the hiring process shouldn't be completely foreign: It's like discussing a requirement that a candidate have a car or truck that can be used for work-related travel.
When this is a requirement, it is acknowledged before and during the interview. When it is brought up in an interview, key questions are asked and related information is discussed -- the type of vehicle, insurance requirements, the estimated mileage to be driven, gas or mileage reimbursement -- and both the candidate and the hiring manager understand those requirements and whether the candidate is open to or able to meet them.
Once a candidate is hired, it may be appropriate to discuss the a BYOD or mobility program or reinforce expectations in an offer letter or call. As much as possible, the onboarding process should match the roll out experience. Companies should provide training videos or other materials, a walkthrough of the program, and enrollment by an HR or IT staff member. The process needs to be interactive and it needs to provide a similar level of specificity and resources to the initial rollout. The ideal result is that a candidate will start with the same level of proficiency around corporate mobility as all the employees who are already at the company.
Being transparent and open about a mobility program from the very beginning of the hiring process is the best way to ensure that and it allows expectations to be set, questions to be asked and answered, and enrollment to be performed in a streamlined fashioned. It is another example of how mobility is reshaping how we work.