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The Mobile-First Revolution in HR Tech

  • HCM
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 12/13/2016

The growing trend of mobile-first connectivity is changing HR technology.
The revolution in mobile connectivity is about more than just entertainment or communication. Smartphone-based technology has become an integral part of the workplace, as companies and employees strive for increased efficiency, flexibility, and convenience.

Table of Contents

The revolution in mobile connectivity is about more than just entertainment or communication. Smartphone-based technology has become an integral part of the workplace, as companies and employees strive for increased efficiency, flexibility, and convenience.

The latest human resources technology has birthed a mobile-optimized experience, putting quick answers to HR questions within an arm's reach of administrators and workers.

We knew it was time – after looking at other industries with more advanced mobile technology – to put emphasis on developing intuitive mobile-first applications and user experiences (UX). To prove that workplaces can greatly benefit from our mobile applications, we analyzed user sessions over the past 18 months. Read on to see what we discovered.

The Convenience Factor

Chart showing total percentage of mobile use, broken down into admin sessions and employee sessions

When we compare administrators' and employees' use of mobile technology, the results are staggering. Our findings show that administrators use the mobile app two percent of the time, whereas employees use it 21 percent of the time.

Administrators tend to spend their time with HR software doing more time-consuming tasks at their desk, such as processing payroll, analyzing labor costs, and planning compensation. They tend to reach for their nearest device, which is their computer.

Thirteen percent of our sessions take place on our mobile application – this is considerably higher than the industry average, which ranges from 4.7 percent to 9.7 percent of employees depending on the size of the business, according to our latest study on HR technology.

Employees also tend to reach for whatever device is most convenient, which is likely a mobile device. Most employees interact with HR technology to get quick answers to questions about pay or benefits. Additionally, there are many industries where a desktop or laptop is not part of the standard work equipment (e.g., restaurants, retail, and construction).

Favorite Mobile Features

Chart showing Paychex native mobile app’s most valuable features

Employees dominate the mobile HR universe. Employees logged 12.4 times as many sessions as administrators on mobile devices. The most common reason employees use HR software on their cellphone is to view their pay history. They also use our mobile app to track retirement account balances and to submit time-off requests.

Administrators mostly use the mobile app for reports and payroll, but use it to view retirement account information, as well as, time off. HR professionals should consider the benefits of cutting the computer cord: With mobile freedom comes improved face-to-face interactions. Admins have a unique opportunity to step out from behind their screens and in front of the employees who need them most. The best part? Mobile-first technology is close at hand.

Our latest study confirms these findings: Viewing a paycheck or pay history is the most common reason employees use HR software.

User Growth Across All Platforms

Chart showing overall Paychex software use in year over year growth

Usage of Paychex software platforms – whether mobile or desktop – went up by more than 60 percent between July 2015 and July 2016. Monthly usage went up about 40 percent in the same time span. Although the year is not yet over, 2016 is on track to have twice as many daily and monthly users than last year.

According to our latest study, over 75 percent of employees would rather get HR tasks done online rather than over the phone or in person. When we look at just the mobile app in the next section, we see some exciting trends.

Mobile User Growth

Chart showing Paychex Flex native mobile app use in year over year growth

The number of daily active users on the Paychex Flex native mobile app has doubled over the past year. The number of monthly active users is up 77 percent. When we introduced individual features – like our first version of mobile payroll – it was highly adopted. In fact, over 30 percent of our mobile users with payroll access used it.

The younger the employee, the more likely they are to access HR software on a cell phone. Nearly 50 percent of employees in their 20s use their smartphone to access the software, while nearly 20 percent of those in their 60s do the same.

We know that people are using our mobile app, but when exactly are they using it?

When Do People Access HR Tech on Mobile?

Chart showing when users login to the Paychex Flex Mobile App, broken down by employee and employer session times

Research shows that employees most often log in to the Paychex Flex app around midnight. Direct deposits often happen at midnight, so the large spike in usage may be due to employees checking for pay stubs. Employers, on the other hand, check their app most during lunchtime, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The future looks bright for mobile-first human resources technology and Paychex is excited to be a leader in this space, investing heavily to deliver the best mobile-optimized experience. In our recent study, we found that customers are eager to engage more from their handheld devices. And sure enough, over the past 18 months, each time we have introduced major mobile feature sets, we have seen engagement increase.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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