BYOD and Non-Exempt Employees

Guest post: Bridget Webb, Sr Director of Global Growth and Innovation at WilsonHCG

Bridget WebbWe live, work and operate in a world that is much different today than it was a few years ago. As human resource professionals we must stay ahead of the curve and keep up to date with not just HRIS systems, payroll, recruitment and other HR functions, but with technology, social media and whatever else the future may hold.

One such trend in the modern workplace is the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement that has been growing in popularity during the past year.

BYOD is not a completely new practice, as employees have been bringing cell phones and personal laptops to work for quite some time. However, technology, regulations and employment laws have evolved and become more sophisticated, and BYOD in 2013 brings with it both benefits and concerns for IT and HR executives alike. So, get ready, study up and embrace BYOD.

The benefits are simple:

  • Overhead reduction
  • Increased employee satisfaction and productivity
  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Decreased internal IT support
  • Recruitment aided by being viewed as a progressive organization

The concerns are not so simple:

  • Loss of control with IT hardware and how it’s used
  • Potential data lost/stolen
  • Malware
  • Record management issues and security breaches
  • Threats against employees’ private data

Another significant, not-so-simple concern when it comes to HR and BYOD is that of the non-exempt employee and after-hours work (and the same can hold true for employees on leave of absence but I’ll save that for another day). So, where do you begin? First, weigh your options and decide if BYOD is right for your organization.

If, after carefully examining both pros and cons, your organization decides against BYOD, then a policy covering even the smallest gray areas of concern should be put in place immediately.

But, if BYOD is the answer, then having a complete understanding of all facets relating to the non-exempt employee and the impact that has on creating your BYOD policy is a must. Additionally, this policy will need to continually be kept up to date as new products come to life and state laws change.

BYOD, Non-Exempt Employees and Compensation

There is absolutely no need to be frightened. The same laws, rules and regulations that are already in place for non-exempt employees hold true for BYOD policies.

If non-exempt employees work after hours, then they should be compensated for their time. It’s that straightforward. Organizations need to put a policy in place that plainly states whether a non-exempt employee can review and answer work-related emails, phone calls, texts, etc., after hours. Then, the policy needs to be clearly communicated and enforced to both employees and managers. Employees should be advised to track all after-hours work and managers should be trained not to reach out to non-exempt employees after hours.

Another issue, often overlooked, is time spent repairing, troubleshooting and updating devices. Organizations will need to take this time into consideration when weighing the cost and benefit of implementing a BYOD policy. Non-exempt employees can spend a significant amount of time maintaining their devices on their own or with technical professionals, and this time will need to be covered.

BYOD, Non-Exempt Employees, Compensation and Personal Branding

Personal branding? Yep, you read that correct. Just as technology advances have made BYOD a common practice, the same could hold true for social media and personal branding.

You’re hearing of more companies encouraging its employees to focus on building their personal brand. But, aren’t employees, exempt or non-exempt, who spend their time building their professional brand aiding their employer? Aren’t they, in essence, growing their employer’s brand in the process? This brand building could, and often is, being done with the employee’s own device, on or off the clock.

So, I ask my fellow HR professionals: What are we doing to ensure we are keeping up with technology and social networking as it relates to the non-exempt employee?

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