Rising Tide of Smartphone Apps for Talent and HR







Ninety percent of American adults have a cell phone and 58 percent have a smartphone,[1] generally defined as a cellular phone that performs many of the functions of a computer. A smartphone likely has a touchscreen interface, can access the Internet rather than just the cell network, and has an operating system capable of running downloaded applications.


In addition to the communication support (voice, email, and text) prevalent in mobile devices, and ignoring for the moment the camera and video technology generally included, smart phones provide users with a great many transactional or operational tools.  One can pay a bill or scan a check, book a car service, secure a boarding pass, monitor one’s home security system, and much more. What about at work—and those transactions relevant to talent and HR? 


Increasingly many of applications are tied to human capital management solutions: 93 percent of the HCM solution providers in our recent study supported mobile applications. Significantly, many reported “developing for mobile first,” meaning that their new product development targeted mobile devices, then were moved “backward” to laptops and PCs.


The vendors tell us that the functionality they offer is increasingly being enabled and used by their customers. These always-handy, “in-your-pocket” applications can provide immediacy and 24×7 accessibility to both managers and employees. For Kronos, as an example, 98 percent of client applications within talent acquisition have mobile apps enabled.[2] SuccessFactors’ monthly active users increased 95 percent year of over year.[3]  Workday reports that it has experienced a 400 percent increase in transaction volume coming from mobile devices.[4]

Today’s vendors offer mobile solutions well-equipped to provide a positive experience for job applicants in seeking positions and applying for them with their mobile devices. These solutions can streamline the application process, potentially providing a positive experience for HR and the hiring managers as well. It is the ease of use, tabulation of relevant metrics, and efficiencies gained that can make a business impact through the use of smartphones.

Onboarding is a critical ingredient in enculturation and new hire engagement. Tools that ease that early path to job productivity are also often viewed as instrumental in reducing unwanted attrition.  Not surprisingly, onboarding support was the area of greatest projected growth in smartphone app use in our recent study of end users and their plans for smartphone use in HR and talent in the year ahead.[5]

HR professionals are likely to find increasingly more sophisticated apps in the future, covering many aspects of HR that are currently managed and used on “tethered” technology—such as desk-bound technology. Indeed, as the market is inundated with smaller, different devices such as smart-watches and other wearables, smartphone use for human capital management is likely to be just the first step into more portable, accessible, and lower cost workforce management.

Join me on June 16, 2:00 p.m. ET / 19:00 BST for a web seminar entitled Getting Smart with Smartphones: Solutions for Human Capital Management for further discussion.


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[1] http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/ – Pew Mobile Technology Fact Sheet. Pew Research Center.  January, 2014

[2] Source:  Kronos, 2015.

[3] Source: SuccessFactors (SAP), 2015.

[5] Smartphones for the Workforce: What HR Practitioners Tell Us About Planned Use. Katherine Jones, Bersin by Deloitte. In  Press.


Christa Degnan Manning

Christa Degnan Manning leads Bersin by Deloitte’s solution provider research. In this role, she collaborates with Bersin and Deloitte colleagues across practices to identify and analyze software and service providers that support and sustain success in human resources, workforce enablement, and organizational effectiveness. Christa’s research and advisory work helps businesses align their workforce support strategies with the right third-party partners and governance models to deliver functional capabilities and employee experiences that support productivity, engagement, and workforce efficiency. She also helps solution providers map their capabilities and go-to-market activities with solution buyers’ and users’ critical needs. Christa draws on more than two decades of business-to-business market research, operational leadership, and global workforce experience. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, including studies at University College, University of London.

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