How the PWA revolution has changed HR


14 Apr
14Apr

by Daniel Martín


If you are building for the web, it probably means that you have heard about PWAs and know roughly what they are. Most of the attempts to introduce PWA seem to be full of jargon that would intimidate any programmer from taking the first step. 

In this article, I’m trying to give a snapshot of PWA, just enough to highlight its advantages in shaping the HR area.

But, what is a PWA? Informally, Progressive Web Applications (PWA) are websites that provide a native app experience on a mobile phone. There are many commonly used technologies to create progressive web apps.  All PWAs require at minimum a service worker and a manifest, plus APIs, or WebAssembly.


“PWA is the single biggest thing to happen on the mobile web since Steve introduced the iPhone!” 

Henrik Joreteg,

 

PWA Provides an Offline Experience, and the app works the same offline as it does online.  Web applications can reach anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase. PWA features narrow the gap between user experience in web-based and native applications, so they get the best of both worlds. 

HR faces, due to the coronavirus crisis, one of the most important transformations that the industry has experienced. Employee Experience design is the process of creating HR products, i.e., with a focus on the quality of the employee experience. Companies have to adopt this kind of process within their organisations so they can face the new post- covid circumstances. 

The most advanced companies try to improve their EX (Employee Experience) by building fast, fully customizable platforms that unlock productivity for employees.  PWA helps companies to keep employees engaged and start their journey. According to Google Developers, the characteristics of a PWA that can be useful for HR are:

  • Universal:  The Progressive term implies that it is progressively usable for all employees. PWA works for every user, regardless of browser or device choice. 
  • Responsive: Fits any desktop, mobile, tablet, or forms yet to emerge. Remote workers should benefit from this new system. 
  • Design: PWA imitates native mobile apps with simplified, easy-to-find menus, with New, advanced forms of interactivity
  • Installable: OpenHR’s website is one example of a PWA that can be used for any employee anywhere, anytime, on any device.

When there is no connection, a PWA works the same offline as it does online. In other words, managers have always access to employee data because a Service Worker allows uses on low-quality networks.

The Service Worker running in the background is able to cache content when the server is available and serve that content offline. In this sense, service workers provide managers and employees with the content they need when there is no connection. 

Service workers enable intelligent caching, background content updates, and push notifications. Push notifications help HR and managers to maintain engagement with the employees. These could receive relevant information depending on their role (absence of workers, work schedules, tasks,...). Employees and managers do not need to download anything to their device; they just have to access the web browser and install it on the home screen of the mobile phone or on another device. The PWA, like OpenHR's, can be installed by anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single code base.

APIs, Web Assembly, and new and upcoming APIs, make progressive web applications more capable than ever, and the functionalities are still growing. HR now could connect some of the tools and platforms they use (ERP, payroll system, ATS, LMS, …), expanding what the web can do with new features. 

HTTPS or TLS ought to be the standard secure network protocol to use for all websites for security purposes, instead of HTTP. Using HTTPS is important because PWA only works on trusted connections. This is not only for security reasons, but it’s also a very important trust factor when HR is handling employee data.