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on June 12, 2016 Engagement Training

How to Avoid HR App Fatigue

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There’s an app for everything. So it stands to reason that all your HR processes can be optimized to make everyone’s lives easier, right?

Yes and no. If you’re going to roll out apps for your team there are some key considerations you need to keep in mind.

HR and People teams are sensitive to the potential adverse effects of introducing too many applications to their team. They are looking for simple ways to harvest this feedback and understanding more seamlessly, where their employees are already using technology or applications.

In this article we’ll look at HR tech planning, how new apps should fit into your stack, how to find the best apps for your company and the all-important question: how many apps is too many?

Tech is one of the hottest topics in HR

We are all used to quick, convenient solutions in our personal lives. But while we as consumers can rapidly adopt and churn through apps with little friction, businesses can struggle to keep up with the relentless pace of app adoption.

That’s not to say they are not valuable - enterprise apps have been shown to boost ROI significantly.

A simple addition of a CRM was shown to increase revenue per sales person by 41%.

Off the back of these stats, many HR executives are bringing in shiny new systems as a way to achieve ‘quick wins’ on productivity. Those looking to maintain their reputation beyond the roll-out, however, must ensure the decisions made are the right ones for the end users – the rate of IT departments failing business app expectations is a staggering 45%.

So how do you ensure your bring in the best apps that will continue to scale with your business needs?

Have a clear ‘HR tech’ road-map

HR Technology Roadmap

Any HR department worth its salt should have a coherent, detailed idea of where they are, where they want to get to and what the steps are to achieve these ambitions.

Technology is, of course, a key part of this, therefore a software roadmap is a must have. The fast-paced nature of technology, and apps in particular, means new functionality is being developed every day. You may not know exactly how the next bit of tech will work, but you should know what you want it to deliver

Use high-level goal planning such as ‘enable staff to access candidate information offline during assessment days’, which don’t specify a solution but are still detailed enough that you can measure exactly when you’ve met them.

Ensure there is a clear use case for end users

Any decisions you make should be geared towards the needs of your team, whether that’s engagement, productivity or ease of working.

Find out what the biggest frustrations and hold ups are in their day-to-day jobs, and then find solutions that meet them.

Once you’ve achieved that, make sure to promote the app and exactly what it’s designed to do. 78% of enterprise apps are abandoned after their first use, so a good first impression is key. But beware…

Make sure they provide real value

While there exists an app for most things you could wish, the most useful and successful are the ones that deliver true value, continue to improve and adapt to customer feedback.

Facebook has transformed from a yearbook to our go-to events, messaging and news hub. Likewise, if you can find one solution that will tie together all your needs for employee experience management into one system, you can increase the efficiency of your business and reap the rewards.

People spend 80% of their app time on their top five apps.


If your employees need to achieve a task, there should be one clearly-defined way of doing so.

So how many is too many?

There’s no hard and fast answer, but it’s probably more than you think. Consider how many apps you have on your smartphone.

The average US user utilizes around 27 apps a month, and while we’re not advocating that many, any 21st century employee should easily be able to navigate their way around half a dozen work apps across the breadth of the HR department.

The key considerations here are data transfer, connectivity, security and identification – you definitely don’t want 6 different login IDs!

If you can keep the gateway to the apps as a centralized system, the process will run much more smoothly.

Data transfer and connectivity is crucial

HR technology

There is no use giving your employees the best way to record their time on a project if that app can’t then communicate with their time sheets, such that they end up copying the whole lot out again.

Make sure the apps you invest in are built to industry standards common across functions. This means ensuring your ATS can talk to your HRIS, and that your HRIS can communicate with your employee engagement or training platforms.

Open source platforms are often overlooked by the enterprise world but, if you can overcome the logistical hurdles, they are often excellent for offering ease linkage with other systems.

Solutions that allow you to pull data to the front-line from the back end of reporting software, user profiles, or file storage repositories, can help you mobilize a more agile and efficient workforce.

The goal should be leveraging the best applications

The sheer volume of options for HR teams to navigate can be challenging, but with a clear plan, you should be able to deliver great value from your HR software.

The HR tech stack is becoming increasingly open - with a multitude of best in class apps and integrations that speak to each other. This means it’s increasingly easy to find the best solutions for your needs, and plug them into your tech ecosystem knowing they will play nice with the other apps.

Software applications present a great opportunity to quickly and easily invest in improvements to your ways of working and adding utility to your existing team.blog_banner.png

Andy Crebar

Andy Crebar is a Co-Founder of Sapling, which helps companies use Employee Onboarding to amplify their total Employee Experience (‘EX’). He is passionate about people, self awareness and self improvement.