Mobile Learning

Getting started with a BYOD program: benefits and best practices

Posted on: April 8, 2024By: Maliyah Bernard

It’s not just customers looking for increasingly digital interactions—technology can also significantly enhance the employee experience.

With 97% of Americans owning a mobile device, it’s the go-to technology for virtually anyone looking to grab information or connect with others quickly. That’s why Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are increasingly ubiquitous in frontline organizations; they allow L&D, HR and Communications teams to meet their workforces where they are and share information in a way that feels most natural.

Benefits And Best Practices Of Frontline Byod Policy

If you’re a frontline leader still wary of encouraging phone use on the floor, here’s a deeper look at BYOD programs: what they are, why they’re valuable and the considerations that should be top-of-mind for organizations looking to adopt them.

What is a BYOD program?

BYOD is a policy that allows employees to use their personal mobile devices for work purposes. 

Because the average frontline worker is constantly on the go in stores, branches, warehouses and distribution centers, BYOD is a solid option for organizations to share information and training in the flow of work, ideally in just a few minutes a day. It also allows workers to access critical information in the moment of need (like if a customer is waiting for an answer) without needing to seek out a manager.

BYOD has gained considerable traction in the past few years. Adoption surged during the pandemic when organizations needed to communicate with their people in real-time. Today, approximately 84% of businesses already have a BYOD policy in place.

What are the benefits of implementing a BYOD policy?

Implementing a BYOD policy and encouraging mobile use across your frontline workforce can be game-changing in terms of team engagement, operational excellence and improved performance. 

It can also drive connection and allow workforces to communicate, learn and exchange ideas to work more effectively as a team.

Here are more benefits that come with fostering a mobile-first workplace:

Better quality of customer service

Leveraging your employees’ smartphones as a workplace tool lets them quickly learn more about your products, corporate culture and upcoming promotions. It acts as a quick, direct channel for increasing employee knowledge, and when your people can do their jobs effectively, you’ll notice an uptick in satisfied customers. Over three-quarters of business executives believe mobile phones help improve customer service and positively impact innovation and collaboration.

Increased productivity and sales

Employees can more efficiently complete their tasks and answer customer questions by accessing product and promotional information in real-time by having personal devices on hand. Those who use mobile devices to get work done gain an average of 58 minutes of work time each day—or over 240 hours per year!—according to research conducted by Samsung and Frost & Sullivan.

Valuable feedback from the frontline

Two-way communication is vital on the frontline. Using devices as workplace tools creates an accessible communication channel between HQ and employees where workers can share valuable ideas and feedback. Then, corporate can use those insights to continuously improve. Let’s say a customer mentions a valuable insight as a cashier checks them out at a grocery store. The employee might try to track down their manager to tell them, plan to remember it and tell someone later or input it into the company’s Intranet that night. Spoiler alert: they’ll likely forget. And that insight will be lost.  

Improving employee retention

BYOD increases the quality and frequency of employee communication, which is perfect for connecting with your workforce no matter where they are in the organization. Staying in touch increases engagement and reduces turnover; companies that issue devices are more likely to have an annual turnover rate below 10%. Employees who stay with your company longer are also important for community building, especially in organizations and roles where they typically work solo or in small teams.

Want to see BYOD in action? See how Dollar General brings learning into the aisles.

Considerations when implementing a BYOD policy

BYOD is a complex initiative that requires forethought and planning to avoid complications later. So where do you start when it comes to letting your frontline employees use their own devices on the floor?

Here are some tips and best practices:

Include company-provided access points

Some employees prefer not to use their own devices for work purposes. Accommodate these preferences by also providing company-managed devices. Any modern internet-enabled device, like tablets, Zebra devices or POS systems will do.

Provide equitable Wi-Fi access

Make Wi-Fi available for those who choose to use a personal device as their primary access point. By setting up a guest Wi-Fi, additional bandwidth consumption won’t add risk that could affect critical store systems, like payment or POS.

Create user agreements to clarify expectations and access rules

If you’re concerned about device use abuse or worried that staff will feel tempted to do training outside of work hours, create a user agreement and a launch and time management plan for its adoption. Be super clear about access and frequency expectations to avoid confusion. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security recommends implementing clear, acceptable use policies, outlining user responsibilities and creating onboarding and offboarding procedures to protect your business from data leaks, jailbreaking and other privacy concerns.

Consider restricting access to employees who are on the corporate network

If your organization requires even further guardrails to ensure employees are only accessing work tools at work, consider leveraging technology so its availability is limited to pre-approved work networks or requires employees to punch in for their shift before providing access.

Keep touchpoints quick

Remember: frontline employees don’t have much time to be pulled away from where they’re needed most—delivering on business objectives. That’s the whole value of a BYOD program, after all. Be sure to keep this in mind when developing the communication and training that will be shared through your BYOD program. Pare down to the essentials and keep messaging short, interactive and actionable. Media formats such as videos, pictures and interactive questions are some of the most effective options for driving quick engagement wins.

Personalize your outreach

Just because you’re in employees’ pockets all day long doesn’t mean they’ll automatically engage. Personalization is the key to adoption and long-term engagement. They need to know that their contributions matter and that the organization cares about getting them the right information at the right time. Speak to your employees as individuals and personalize your messaging to locations, roles and areas of work.

Be open to feedback

One of the benefits of a BYOD program is a steady flow of two-way communication and feedback, where employees can share customer insights and ideas the moment inspiration strikes. You need a similar feedback loop for the program itself. After all, the whole point of a BYOD program is to meet your staff where they are and share communication and training with them in a way that resonates. So keep a pulse on what’s actually resonating.

Outline a full BYOD policy

An effective BYOD policy outlines how employees should use their devices at work, which apps and websites will be helpful and clearly states how employees and the business will benefit. Start by researching, defining your BYOD plan’s purpose, expectations and general guidelines and making any security considerations to get your new BYOD policies up and running smoothly.

Traditionally, concerns about intellectual property and data security, employees’ off-the-clock training or the uncertainty of digital transformation have stalled organizations from introducing personal devices into the workplace. But when done right, BYOD programs have the potential to transform workforces. They just need careful planning and execution.

Maliyah Bernard's Headshot

Maliyah Bernard

Maliyah Bernard is an academic writer turned content writer. As a former frontline worker, she loves writing about all the ways organizations can support these essential workers smarter.

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