Your Own Worst Enemy: Don't Inadvertently Discourage BYOD Adoption
Do you want your multi-generational, global workforce to embrace BYOD? If so, your company needs to make sure it’s not inadvertently discouraging adoption. BYOD, the acronym for "bring your own device," is an IT policy by which employees are allowed to use their personal mobile devices for work applications. Getting the full benefits of BYOD, like increased productivity through efficiency, depends on communicating policies, providing training and putting state-of-the-art security in place.
Millennials are entering the workforce in record numbers, joining baby boomers and Gen X to create a multi-generational workforce with varying levels of exposure to technology. And it's millennials who are largely driving BYOD adoption. Recent Forrester research shows that over half of North American and European companies are putting BYOD programs in place. BYOD is a competitive strategy and not just a convenience for workers. The use of mobile devices increases productivity by allowing access to corporate back-end systems and keeping employees connected to customers, suppliers, co-workers and management without regard for location.
BYOD numbers would likely be higher if employers understood how they are inadvertently discouraging BYOD. For example, consider the different generational perspectives on tech support. A recent CompTIA survey indicated all generations are using more technology to do their jobs, but 58 percent of millennials expect more IT support and 58 percent of baby boomers expect less. Millennials, soon to be the largest workforce group, are more likely to opt in to BYOD when there is solid IT support available.
Need to Know
Failing to communicate policies on security encourages BYOD resistance. Assume you choose the option of giving employees access to corporate applications, but with IT control over the personal mobile device's apps and data. If employees experience surprise data wipes of personal and work information because they didn't understand BYOD policies, the word will quickly spread throughout the workforce. Employees won't adopt BYOD if your company develops a reputation for inadequate encryption or for using outdated technologies with outdated security that could lead to a loss of personal data.
Getting employees of all ages to embrace BYOD requires enterprises to develop BYOD policies and procedures that can be clearly communicated and frequently reinforced through training. Lack of information breeds uncertainty. The Society for Human Resources Management also reminds enterprises to revise current policies and procedures impacted by BYOD. Revise policies on record retention, expense reimbursements, harassment, data breach protocols and employer monitoring of personal equipment.
Are there people in your organisation who want to opt-in to BYOD but cannot? If your business can't accommodate common mobile device operating systems or devices, people are automatically excluded from BYOD programs. Global companies face even more challenges, depending on the country of operation. For example, BYOD IT policies may include the popular Android and iOS operating systems, but the Blackberry OS is more common in parts of Africa and India.
Security issues present additional challenges to BYOD opt-in. You need a mobile device management plan (MDM) that reassures employees you have their backs when it comes to security on their personal devices. MDM is a type of security software that enables IT to inventory, manage, monitor and secure large-scale mobile deployments. The software works across a variety of mobile devices, even if employees use different service providers.
State-of-the-art MDM SaaS software also manages content and applications, giving BYOD users immediate access to corporate back-end systems and policies. Select the back-end systems that enhance productivity, make the apps as enticing as possible and ensure the software is easily loadable. All generations in the workforce must see value in accessing enterprise applications via personal devices for BYOD to succeed.
Bottom line: Your enterprise can encourage multi-generational BYOD adoption by recognising and addressing the different generational perspectives, and actively developing and communicating the policies and security efforts that create the right comfort level for all employees.