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BYOD Required For Retention? Bollocks!!!

I sat in an interesting meeting today (this was actually written last night) with a couple of vendors whose stated goal was to talk about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and how to make it easier to move in that direction within your company. We had barely gotten started when the presenter talked about one of the major reasons why a company should implement BYOD. A BYOD program was required if your company wanted to retain millennials. In fact, BYOD would help you retain all your employees but the millennials were most important, as they would be the future of your company. The reason millennials were so important were that they had grown up with technology and it was an every day part of their life. They didn’t fear technology and were all for finding ways to do things better or easier with their own tech.

Let’s just scream “Bollocks!” right now (a polite way for an Englishman to say BS). It’s bad enough that everywhere you turn people are finding ways that BYOD cures cancer, heals everyone and brings peace on earth. BYOD just means that you are picking your own device, and if you are lucky, you actually have some choice as to what device that will be. Most companies actually run a MBYOD program or managed BYOD. They set out only a few choices of devices and you need to pick from that list if you want to participate in the program. Sure, it’s nice that you got to pay for your own device; maybe you even splurged and bought yourself a kickass one, which, of course, by tomorrow will only be middle of the road. The fact that you have your own device will do absolutely nothing to keep you at your company. In many ways it actually makes it easier for you to move on as your most personal piece of technology is now your own, you will not lose it if you leave.

What people fail to realize and/or articulate is that BYOD is not what helps retain a millennial or any other person in a company. If you have implemented technology correctly, which means that you can enable a BYOD program if you so choose, then you are on the right track to retaining your employees.

In many previous posts (here and here) I have talked about strategy and changing your company’s mindset from legacy thinking. It’s not about the devices anymore and if you’re convinced it is, you are eventually going to fail. When your strategy changes from delivering devices to delivering information to the people who need it, anytime, anywhere on any usable device, you have built a strategy that will see your retention rate shoot up. Let’s be clear that not every device qualifies as usable yet. There have to be certain parameters around security and usability that need to be met, but that does not preclude the two major mobile device OS’s currently on the market. It does preclude some devices that can’t meet those parameters but that’s why we put the caveat in there in the first place.

So how do we go about creating this strategy? While there are many complex systems involved, we can simplify it down to the basics. It is freeing your data by building APIs to access it, involving identity management to make sure the right people can access the data through the APIs, and then building apps which are focused on the task at hand that allow the employees to turn the data into information that they need. These apps have to be built with the user in mind; they need a great user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). They will allow the employee to use the device they have at hand to be more productive and efficient wherever and whenever they would like. This will boost morale and lead to a higher retention rate. Notice, nowhere have we mentioned who owns the device and it’s not a requirement to use BYOD or COPE (Corporate Owned Personally Enabled).

Realize that this strategy doesn’t stop at mobile devices. This same type of logic works it way back into laptop and desktop apps. The user has everything they need no matter what the device. The requirements for a good UI and UX do not disappear just because we are now using a laptop.

If you want to drive higher employee retention no matter whether they are millennials or any other group, learn to leave the legacy thinking behind and build a strategy that enables your employees to work anytime, anywhere with the information they need to get their job done. In the end it leads to them being more productive which means that as a company you should become more profitable. A win-win if I ever saw one.

Brian is an EMF member who works at pharmaceutical giant Sanofi and has a great blog where he shares his thoughts on enterprise mobility.  Brian has graciously allowed us to share those thoughts with you on this site.

3 Comments

  1. Posted May 31, 2012 at 09:55 | Permalink

    Great big picture thinking that is lacking in most discussions about mobile and BYOD.

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  2. Posted June 6, 2012 at 13:19 | Permalink

    Is there a survey that supports BYOD as the retention factor over better pay, more responsibility, future development and working conditions?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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