In HR? There's an App for That

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With more human resource professionals using mobile devices as their go-to communication tools, it stands to reason that there would be more HR applications or “apps” than ever before for business use anywhere, anytime. While most of these apps once were concentrated in the recruiting arena, in 2012 there are apps for analytics, time-and-attendance tracking, performance feedback and more.

But which of these myriad apps are most useful? Industry analysts, HR practitioners, leading consultants and others offer their take on what separates wheat from chaff in the market.

What follows is an unscientific roundup of HR apps for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android that are worth a second look. While some of these are stand-alone apps and are available from the iTunes store or Android market, others are mobile versions of vendors’ web applications that usually require a license.

Recruiting Applications is a platform that allows users to scan resumes and source and screen candidates. The tool’s ResuReader can take a picture of a resume with a smart phone, parse it and send it off to an applicant tracking system. Another part of the platform, the Social Identity Reporting app, captures a candidate’s public Internet profile, removing potentially discriminatory “protected class” data from their Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter activity. SocializedHRcan serve as a pre-applicant tracking system or candidate relationship management (CRM) system.

JobSpeek is a free mobile job-posting app that lets users record an audio “hiring message” from a smart phone. Dubbed a “recruitment advertising tool that appeals to the iPod generation,” JobSpeek gives users 60 seconds to describe their ideal job candidate and post a relevant picture of their business. In addition to a posting on the JobSpeek board, jobs are cross-posted to other job search engines, including SimplyHired, JuJu, Glassdoor, CareerJet and more.

Jobviteis the social sourcing solution that helps recruiters find talent through social networks and employee referrals. Users can tap network connections in LinkedIn and Facebook to send “jobvites,” or applications; an analytics tool allows HR to track the source of referrals or jobs. Jobvite, which requires a subscription, offers an applicant tracking system for the social web.

All The Top Bananasis a U.K.-based job search engine that specializes in developing mobile recruiting applications for organization’s career sites. Companies it has developed recruiting apps for include PepsiCo, Autodesk, and Research in Motion (RIM). For video samples of those career apps, visit the mobile section of All The Top Bananas’ website.

mResourceis a platform designed for mobile recruiting and to help spur employee engagement. Recruiters and HR can use the tool to push targeted interactive text messages to interested candidates, schedule interviews, evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile campaign and export recruiting data to an applicant tracking system.

Vendor Mobile Applications

Peoplefluent’s Workforce Explorer,a native iPad application, gives leaders a detailed overview of their span of control, or employees and contingent workers they manage. Managers can use the app on iPads to call up photos and pertinent performance data of employees to assess their potential and readiness for promotion and even to examine those who might warrant action to retain.

Kronos Workforce Mobileis an application that managers and employees can use for time-and-attendance management. Managers can use the app for tasks like approving employee time cards, requests for time off and even reviewing labor costs when they’re away from the office. Employees can use their version of the app to view work schedules, submit time punches and more.

Kenexa 2X Mobilelets managers approve job requisitions and weigh in on hiring decisions when away from the office. Initially released for the BlackBerry and now available for iPad and iPhone, 2X Mobile is a native app that integrates with Kenexa’s 2X Recruit, the vendor’s applicant tracking system. The app features automatic task notification, alerting users, for example, when requisitions await their approval. It is configurable. The app is free but available only to licensed Kenexa users.

ADP’s Run Mobile Payroll solutionallows users to manage payroll from a variety of mobile devices. Users can review and enter payroll data from the road, edit pay rates and pay periods, enter vacation and sick time, calculate taxes and more. ADP said its security features allow users to control access to payroll data and ensure that personally identifiable information isn’t stored on mobile devices.

SuccessFactors’ BizX Mobilefeatures include a mobile organizational chart that allows users to find and locate subject matter experts quickly from a mobile device. In addition, a mobile recruiting function enables users to approve requisitions, provide candidate feedback and approve offers from the airport or field job site.

Acquire InSightis an analytics tool designed to help line and HR managers analyze workforce trends using hierarchy-based workforce performance metrics and predictive analytics. The software-as-a-service-based application allows users to visualize and compare managers’ spans of control; study trends in promotions, transfers and new hires; gauge progress toward workforce goals and create manager-specific dashboards. Users need an Acquire subscription.

Taleo Radarhelps users connect and engage with a talent network. The app uses GPS-based mobile technology to identify job opportunities in the area as well as business networking and collaboration possibilities. Users create posts about what they have to offer and opportunities they’re seeking and can view other professionals located near them and send connection requests. The app is available for iPhone and iPad at the iTunes store.

Vortex Mobile Connectgives managers access to time-and-attendance information, employee schedules and location data for their work teams from mobile devices. Supervisors can use the app to approve and edit timesheets, for example, and employees can use the app’s self-service features to trade shifts, review time sheets and have round-the-clock access to updated schedules.

Rypple is a web-based platform that helps companies improve worker performance by applying social principles to employee feedback. Recently acquired by, Rypple has a Facebook-like interface and encourages one-on-one coaching to help employees achieve goals, emphasizes public recognition for good work and delivers real-time feedback. Rypple captures feedback-related information in one place, making it easy for managers to get a consolidated view of employee performance at the end of a goal, project or quarter.

Other Useful Apps

TimeStationis a free time-and-attendance app designed for small and medium-sized businesses that enables employees to punch in and out using an iPhone or iPad. The technology creates employee ID cards with QR codesthat are scanned across mobile devices to track work hours. Managers can use the app to track attendance and run reports. TimeStation runs in the cloud, so there are no software programs or servers to maintain. The system can operate offline if there is no Internet connection.

HR Concepts Mobile Benefits capitalizes on the employee self-service trend by enabling mobile workersto check their health account balances and review past transactions on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). Users take pictures of receipts with smart phones and then submit them and can view other receipts from a benefits portal. The app is available from the Android market and iTunes store.

Monster’s BeKnown is the venerable job search site’s Facebook application that enables users to build professional connections, not just friend and family contacts, on Facebook and search for jobs. Companies can create pages to advertise jobs and create referral networks. BeKnown can be downloaded in multiple languages at the Facebook apps site.

Glassdoor’s Inside Connections tool, leverages a user’s Facebook friends’ network to show job seekers who among their Facebook friends and associates might be able to help them network at more than 150,000 companies worldwide. From there, users can browse current and past employees and job candidates, job listings, salary reports, interview questions and anonymous reviews of the company.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s timesheet applets employees track the hours they work, their break times and overtime via their smart phones. The agency says the free app is designed to provide workers with a means of recording work hours to help facilitate proper payment of wages under the law. In cases where employers fail to maintain accurate time records, the worker’s time sheet can play an important role in enforcement proceedings and litigation.

EverNote isn’t designed specifically for HR but can be a boon for HR professionals looking for a handy mobile filing system. EverNote stores and organizes notes, web clips, files and images on a mobile device. It keeps track of articles, videos and photos from across the web, including entire web pages.

Contributors to this story included Kyle Lagunas of Software Advice, Elaine Orler of Talent Function, Michael Marlatt of the mRecruitingcamp and Ed Newman of Inside Talent Management Technology.

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