It comes as no surprise that with the surge in recent hybrid work that company BYOD programs (which allow employees to work on their own devices) are becoming the new standard. Further, hardware shortages have companies everywhere making an extra push to create and launch BYOD programs swiftly.  

However, the rush to implement BYOD policies has many companies missing pieces of the puzzle. I have personally witnessed some attempts that have failed to consider all facets of the business when launching a BYOD program. As a result, their BYOD program experienced poor adoption, push back from staff, and ultimately failed. Half-baked BYOD policies often create friction between IT and the end-users and waste time, energy, and money.  

Fortunately, you can easily avoid an unsuccessful BYOD launch with careful planning. In this insight, we’ll examine where many BYOD programs go wrong and how you can ensure success.  


Why Many BYOD Programs Fail 

The crux of many ill-conceived BYOD programs is one area of a company working in isolation to create the program. IT, Finance, and HR departments all have their priorities, which are naturally different to the needs of the other departments. When one of these departments is working in an echo chamber to design the program, complications arise, sending the group back to the drawing board. Below are some examples of where I’ve witnessed BYOD programs failing when driven by a singular department. 


The IT-Centric BYOD Policy 

In a situation I recently observed, a group attempted to launch a BYOD policy that was created by their IT department. The problem was that the policy only seemed to address security. Their IT team was crafting the program in a bubble, considering their needs to secure devices and to protect company data, without fully taking into account the needs of other departments or the end user.   

In this example, the employee experience wasn’t given nearly enough attention. Their program was clunky and demanded that non-technical staff were forced to jump through complex security hoops to access the resources they needed on their personal devices.  As a result, the employees predictably pushed back against the program. They didn’t understand the policy, felt their privacy was ignored, and refused to allow the IT program access to manage their devices.  


The Finance-Driven BYOD Policy 

Another example comes from a group that attempted to push a new BYOD program via their Finance department. Their Finance team (similar to many Finance departments) was focused on their bottom line and mitigating costs and risks. Essentially, their drafted policy was telling users that the company would no longer pay for devices or plans – and that users were on their own. It was a drastic shift that ultimately resulted in disillusioned staff and rejection of the program. The group’s narrow lens of focus on cost-cutting failed to thoroughly address employee experience and security, which failed to meet the needs of other departments and the end user.   


The HR Driven BYOD Policy 

I have also witnessed an unsuccessful BYOD program that was curated solely through the HR department. The issue here is that the BYOD policy focused on employee privacy while neglecting to address the complexity of security and risk mitigation. When the time came to push the policy to all departments, it was rejected by IT as it did not meet compliance standards. As a result, the team needed to go back to square one and begin restructuring the program, costing the business big in terms of time and resources. 


A Balanced BYOD Policy 

The answer to avoiding an unsuccessful BYOD program comes in the form of a well-balanced BYOD policy. Crafting that balanced policy takes careful planning. Here are some tips to get you started: 


Consult Widely 

To position your BYOD program for success, the individuals driving the policy should engage with stakeholders from all corners of the business. This means talking with HR, Finance, IT, Execs, and end users.   

If are part of a large company, you may want to engage with your legal counsel as well.  And if your workforce belongs to a union, I would advise you to involve the union early. I experienced one spectacular BYOD failure where a pilots union advised the pilots not to accept the new BYOD policy and that delayed our project by months.   

Bottom line is that you need to understand all the issues and concerns across the company, if you want the policy to be widely accepted across the company. I don’t know any shortcuts for this process. 

Although painful, this consultative process accomplishes two really goals when developing your new BYOD program.    

  1. It ensures that your policy is genuinely balanced. When the risks and concerns of all stakeholders are addressed, you’ll be able to launch your policy with the confidence that everyone’s concerns have been addressed.  

  2. It puts your team in a powerful position to address pushback, which is inevitable. You’ll have documented evidence showing due diligence has been done with the company’s and employees’ best interests in mind. Your  will confidently be able to state “we’ve listened, we’ve understood, and we’ve reflected  on the considerations from all departments in our policy.”  


Articulating your policy 

Communication is a crucial component to any BYOD rollout. When you’re able to comprehensively explain your policy in a consumable manner, end users are far more likely to respond positively when the changes are finalized. Here are some tactics that I’ve found effective: 

  1. Don’t overcomplicate your message. Break down the policy into a one-page summary that is easy to read. Ideally, you’ll want policy content to display on a single screen with options to click through to learn more. 

  2. Create a short video with the details of the program. Explain to end users what the company can see and manage and what they can’t. Also, be forthright in addressing how the policy is safeguarding sensitive company data and how the company is taking a ‘hands-off’ approach to the employees’ personal data. This will help put employees’ minds at ease as they enroll in your BYOD program.  



A BYOD program done right can save time, money and elevate the employee experience. That is why it is imperative to go into the process with a 360 degree approach.  A holistic BYOD program should not only consider security and cost savings but also an employee’s privacy and experience while using their personal devices. Dive into the creation of your BYOD program with these considerations in mind and you can anticipate a successful rollout and adoption.  



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