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News And Views

News & Views

  • 11 June 2014
  • Phoebe Phillips

Bring Your Own... Job? - Wearable Tech Brings New Desirable Skills for Employers

BYO – a concept we've been talking, reading, seeing (but perhaps not all doing), for a long time now. Who wouldn’t rather use their iPad than an ageing PC given the option? But whilst choice can be a good thing, with the direction of BYO moving to wearable tech, it’s worth thinking about how the choices being created for employers will affect the employee, in terms of what candidates will be expected to ‘bring’ into the workplace, in order to be chosen for the role.

Last month at HR Tech London, we heard our Appirio clients talking up the digitisation of the workplace; how tools, intranets, apps and – essentially – technological processes that make everyone’s lives easier (HR, employees, line managers), are becoming part of the deal maker-or-breaker in career choices today.

Put simply, would you choose a company whose critical processes (payroll for example), were antiquated, inefficient and time-consuming? Wouldn’t you be more encouraged by a company if it streamlined processes, had social intranets and interactive employee portals where information was accessible any place, at any time?

Tech is now becoming a forerunner for career considerations. Not just because it makes for a better working environment, but because it indicates an organisation that isn’t afraid to invest time and money into what is by and large already the way of the future.

While this all sounds good, what if we flip it and consider what employers will do when faced with a choice of candidates with varying degrees of BYO familiarity. In this context, how would an employer choose between three candidates: one that speaks fluent Google Glass, one that has a Samsung pebble and can send emails from their wrist, and one who can touch type and that’s about it. Is the Googlist more attractive? Whilst utilising one of the most innovative devices available, they don’t necessarily need the enhanced processes that Glass can offer for this job.

What about the pebble watch candidate? They demonstrate interest in new technologies, a desire to be more agile when working, and could perhaps encourage other co-workers to get on-board with the trend and make for smarter working.

But what if candidate three has the best level of experience or enthusiasm for the job, and – all gadgetry aside – would otherwise have been the ideal choice for the role? Will the tech-vantages outweigh the immediate skill set? Which will be considered more beneficial to the company at the rate tech expectations of social business are going in business BYO? Will a new precedent be set on the tech-agenda for workplace 2020?

We are evidently witnessing the onset of BYOW (bring your own wearables) pervading traditional entry points for candidates applying for jobs, and not exclusively in IT/ICT.

With bring-your-own proliferating in enterprise, the mid-market and start-ups alike, if an organisation’s IT infrastructures and hardware aren't at a high enough level for employees to do their job to the best of their ability, it might then become expected that this responsibility wholly shifts to the employees themselves. So we may see candidates polishing up their wearables as well as their CV’s, which may in turn see businesses scrap in-house device fleets, or alternatively (and more wisely) could stimulate businesses to futureproof their whole IT infrastructures, in order to accommodate the generation-Tech applying for jobs today.

With this direction, when will ‘trend’ leave off and ‘necessity’ begin, for an office culture that respects both innovation and equality? Could tech serve to undermine the coupling of both, or will it engender a closer union?AbilityNet and BT have recently sought to address precisely these questions.

Tech and developer skills have long fuelled the digital debate of the UK jobs market, but with the consumerisation of IT and initiatives such as BYOX (bring your own everything) on the horizon, there may spark discussions of where we actually want the tech story to go, in terms of new expectations for today’s modern[ising] workplace.

Phoebe Phillips

Account Executive