There is almost too much on offer in the HR tech market these days. Every week a new start-up offers the latest app that promises to revolutionise our approach. But how do you begin to choose the right, say, engagement app from among the hundreds available?

Here’s our pick for 2019 – with some, hopefully, helpful advice about what to look for in your HR app or tech.


One of our favourite tech products right now. Enboarder promises to ‘redefine onboarding’ – and we think it actually does! What it does brilliantly is take the concepts of a great onboarding experience (ie: focusing on the social, personalised, regular conversations with the hiring manager, etc) and pull all of this together in a mobile application that integrates well with your other platforms. Oh, and the idiot-proof interface is great too. As one line manager who was using it told me ‘I looked like a friggin’ superhero to my new hire with minimal effort!’ Really worth a look if you’re thinking about how you can refresh your onboarding experience.

Glint, Office Vibe and Culture Amp

Chances are you are seeing 2019 as the year when you finally put the annual engagement survey out of its misery and turn to solutions that feel a bit more contemporary; real-time dashboards, mobile, pulse based, proactive alerts, provided straight to the line manager. We hear GREAT things about these three platforms. They all offer pretty similar features, so you could do worse than check out all of them.


Remember the days of the cumbersome ‘learning management system’? You can kiss it goodbye with Looop, which is based on the idea that learning needs to happen when and where it suits the user. It’s agile, extremely intuitive, and cost effective. Various HR clients of mine have adopted it, and what I love is that it encourages learning and development teams to focus less on training courses and more on curating learning content. This could be an online training programme, a webinar from the Chief Executive, short videos from key leaders, the best TED talks on a particular topic, interesting books and articles, interviews with external experts or a podcast. You can use a range of media and group the content to make it easy to discover. It also looks professional and is easy to navigate.


Textio feels like a no-brainer if, like many HR teams, you feel you lack the marketing skills to compete on attracting talent or if you’re worried about the lack of gender balance in your organisation. Its smart algorithms can tell you how fast your job will fill compared to others in the market. It also has an ‘augmented writing’ capability that not only shows you the words and phrases that are likely to reduce the number of women (or men) applying for your vacancy, but gives you alternatives that will ensure you fill the role more quickly and with a more diverse talent pool. What’s not to like?


If you are looking for an L&D product that is based around employees owning their own learning rather than having it done to them, then WiseAmigo might be worth a look. It’s a handy app that allows employees to create their own learning actions, seek feedback, access learning resources and get fresh insights into how they can develop. It hasn’t got a lot of client testimonials as it’s not been going that long, but we like the concept behind it.

There are many apps on the market that have been developed as mobile apps rather than as offline or desk-based systems. So how can you choose an app that will help you?

Make sure it does one thing well and go for a simple concept

I’ve seen some apps that cover, for example, objective setting, performance feedback, and reward all in one go, and that can confuse people — I would avoid these. An alternative idea is to sign up for only one function of an app and add more features when everyone’s become used to it. If you’re worried about the app being too focused, bear in mind that in our personal lives we use an average of nine apps a day and 30 a month. We’re extremely comfortable with the concept of using one app for one task and would rather be clear about how it helps us than to feel overwhelmed by too much detail.

Ask yourself if it’s a pleasure to use

The best apps are highly intuitive and enable their users to get the best out of them within minutes: they’re polished, fast, and stable. A good way of checking if the app of your choice fulfills these criteria is to read its reviews and give it a test drive yourself or ask to pilot it with a small group of users first. Do your managers and employees feel the same way about it as you do?

Ensure the in-app analytics are strong

It’s important for you to be able to measure and analyse an app’s use, so you’re not at a disadvantage compared to using a traditional system. You want to know not only how many people have downloaded it, but also how they behave with it. For example, are they typically using one element and then coming out of it, in which case the flow doesn’t work well? Or are they moving onto the next element each time?

Start by buying off-the-shelf apps

When you spend months developing your own app you’re wasting time and energy, because there are some brilliant ones already out there. You might feel a ready-made app doesn’t meet all of your particular needs, but the vast majority of workplace apps are customisable in their look and feel. There are also obvious benefits to using tried-and-tested functionality rather than creating your own.

NB: Disruptive HR is completely neutral! We don’t accept any sponsorship from any other company – we genuinely like these!

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It’s January 2018 and some of you out there will be entering another year of your major “HR Transformation”. You’ll probably be over-budget and behind schedule

Continue reading Great HR Apps for 2018