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Study Shows Workers Support ‘BYOD’

App-based tools can improve retention and engagement while improving productivity, survey suggests
Walmart App
Photograph courtesy of Walmart

About two-thirds of hourly retail employees say they would use their personal cellphones to access information about scheduling changes or company training—two areas often cited as “pain points” when they quit jobs, according to a new study the from digital workplace platform WorkJam.

The survey of 1,000 hourly workers across five industries including retail suggests a strong receptivity to so-called “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies that can improve worker productivity, engagement and retention, WorkJam said.

“Our smartphones are an extension of who we are, and being able to integrate aspects of our work lives into our personal devices creates ease and comfort for employees,” said Steven Kramer, president and CEO of WorkJam, in a statement. “Today, every U.S. workplace relies on smartphones, and the service industry is no exception. If used in conjunction with a BYOD policy, employers can foster a more productive, engaged and loyal workforce.”

Opposition to having hourly retail workers use their devices at work has softened in recent years, with Walmart late last year saying it would give workers the option to download its own suite of apps on their personal phones. Walmart workers can also choose to use those work apps on store-issued handheld devices, but one advantage, the company noted, was that workers can use their own devices the moment they clock in.

“We know technology is helping our associates be more productive and deliver for our customers in new ways,” Walmart said in a blog post. “BYOD is just another option our people will have to access the custom apps that help associates perform their jobs.”

Speaking at the recent National Grocers Association Show in San Diego, Bob Harmon of Salt Lake City-based independent retailer Harmon’s said the company was encouraging workers to use their cellphones as a customer service tool to answer shopper questions if necessary.

According to the WorkJam survey, 61% of hourly employees cite scheduling and communication pain points as reasons for leaving their jobs.

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