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

Vice President, Solution Provider Research Leader / Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Christa leads technology and service provider research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. In this role, she helps businesses align their workforce support strategies with appropriate third-party software developers, service partners, and governance models. A 25-year technology industry veteran, Christa’s expertise assists organizations in creating functional capabilities and employee experiences that increase productivity, engagement, and workforce efficiency. Frequently cited by business and trade media, she has presented market research on business to business trends, leading practices, and expected challenges and benefits at industry and user conferences globally throughout her career. Christa has a bachelor of arts in English from Barnard College, Columbia University, incorporating studies at University College, University of London. She also holds a master of arts degree in English from the University of Massachusetts and has completed executive coursework on business metrics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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