Building your dream tech stack is a lot like online dating; you’ll find people with a few of the traits you’re looking for, you probably won’t find anyone that ticks every box, and there will be a few people that catch your eye because they’re passionate about one thing in particular.
While you can’t create a Frankenstein’s monster of potential dates, you can combine HR tools and platforms to create your dream tech stack. One you’d take home to meet your mother or, more likely, to the office to meet the management.
Questions to ask before you build your HR tech stack
- What are your goals and resources now?
- Where are they likely to be in the future?
- What do you already have in place?
- What are you really missing right now?
- What information and reporting do you need from your tech?
- How do employees interact with your HR platforms?
Why these questions are so important can be chalked up to a few things. Firstly, your tech stack needs to be scalable and have the capability to grow as your company does, especially if you’re moving fast because flexibility becomes key. Secondly, the importance of HR analytics is definitely rising—whether that’s as a way of reporting on staff, refining the approach through data or simply justifying contributions to the business.
Lastly, information in silos is not beneficial to either HR teams or employees, so it’s crucial that platforms can communicate. Make sure you assess the tools you’re already using and if they play well with others. This is where it’s important to think like your employees, what information is key to them and what aspects of your HR platforms are they engaging with? Your tech stack should facilitate a good experience for them too, giving access to the key things they need in as few places as possible.
The 9 tools and capabilities your HR tech stack needs
The important disclaimer to make at this point is that HR platforms don’t just specialise in one area of people management and development. They’re not quite jacks of all trades, but they’re certainly masters of some. So, as we discuss aspects of the HR tech stack below, we’ll highlight the forward-thinking companies and those particularly good at providing that capability.
1. Efficient recruitment
Pain point: You’re not connecting with the best talent and promising candidates are slipping through the net as a result of slow or poor communication.
How it can help: Recruitment marketing platforms connect you with numerous job boards, enable you to assess or screen candidates, and share their information with others in the hiring process, all in one place as you search for talent. You can then use the same platform to contact them and arrange interviews, meaning you act quickly when you identify promising candidates. In the cases that good applicants do slip through, you can use the platform’s analytics to assess where you might be losing them.
Tools to consider:
A recruitment app after our own hearts, Workable uses AI to recommend candidates based on your job listing. They also provide a real-time view of your application and hiring process, as well integrating with calendars and email for one-click interview scheduling.
If recruitment analytics are your thing, Greenhouse might interest you. The platform enables you to view your application pipeline, analyse candidate surveys, evaluate your onboarding process and use that data to refine your approach. It also allows easy integration, ideal for building your custom tech stack.
2. Seamless onboarding
Pain point: Managing the paperwork and admin aspects of the onboarding process efficiently and in one place, while ensuring employees are engaged. Connecting with recruitment and learning platforms might also be an issue.
How it can help: Onboarding is probably the area of building a HR stack with the most overlap. It follows on from your recruitment process and is intrinsically linked to learning and development. Typically you’ll see human resources information systems (HRIS) mentioned at this stage, because they combine employee paperwork, signatures and data in one place, however, there are platforms that do this and place a far greater emphasis on ensuring your onboarding process goes smoothly.
Tools to consider:
Designed to help HR pros, team leaders and employees, HROnboard automates the typical HR admin tasks and reminders to free up time, while providing prompts to engage new employees at the right time. It also creates structured onboarding that provides clarity on what needs to be completed, as well supporting crossboarding and offboarding.
‘Make onboarding memorable’ is the mission of Kissflow, which provides a paperless process and integrates with other HR tools to create a database for all employee documents and details. The platform uses checklists for employee tasks and provides automated notifications to keep them on track.
3. A helpful HR system
Pain point: You need a centralised system for collecting, storing, and managing employee data, absences and payroll and more.
How it can help: HR systems not only allow you to collect all that important employee information, they’ll help you create detailed reports and charts to visualise it. Whether that’s for employee absence, turnover or something else altogether. Essentially it provides you with a record for each employee’s journey with the company, from the paperwork they complete ahead of time to their offboarding documents. From an employee perspective, they’re a hub for managing their holidays and accessing their files or documents on demand.
Tools to consider:
Designed to make the employee life cycle easier to manage, BambooHR focuses on four key areas: hiring, onboarding, compensation and culture. At each stage, they aim to save you time that you can invest into the more pressing area of HR – your people. During onboarding, for example, you’ll have access to automated preboarding and onboarding tools, and when shaping your culture, “the latest tools for measuring engagement [to] help you champion culture and drive organisational growth”.
It takes less than a minute on HiBob’s website to understand their passion for creating engaging company cultures. From first-day welcomes that connect you with the rest of the team, to employee timelines that let you track their journey and growth. Culture aside, they provide everything you’d expect, including the core HR requirements and time and talent management tools.
“One Platform for All Your HR Processes”, Personio is where your people data meets the workflow. At the heart of its product is the goal to simplify your core HR tasks to save you time that can be invested into transforming your HR data and improving day-to-day tasks or long-term strategy. If you’re a small or medium-sized business, Personio prides itself on delivering “fast time to value” for companies of your size.
Workday, on the other hand, aims to be the platform that delivers “big results for enterprises of every size”, by giving you insights into your business and the agility to adapt when necessary. Pitching itself as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, it brings together finance, HR and planning. By combining everything into one suite, they enable you to make informed decisions based on your people and financial data.
4. Accurate and intuitive payroll
Pain point: Your payroll process is time-consuming and the manual nature of tasks opens the door to possible human error. From an employee perspective, they can’t afford for you to get this wrong and this can have implications for employee engagement and productivity.
How it can help: Finding the right platform enables you to automate parts of your payroll operation, ensuring accuracy, saving time and providing analytics on your payment process. The move towards cloud-based payroll management has created the expectation for digital payslips, which smart platforms can automate based on set rules and employee attendance data.
Tools to consider:
If you’re looking to manage your payroll in one interface, QuickBooks enables you to manage overtime and bonus payments, PAYE, NI and pension contributions. Manageable across devices, this platform makes it possible everywhere—you could literally manage payrolls while you’re paying for rolls!
While we’re talking about smart approaches to payments, Payscale’s Insight Lab is the forward-thinking tool that can help you get your salaries right by benchmarking your wages. Not only does it “leverage fresh-skill based data to pay competitively” but it enables you to collaborate with everyone involved in the compensation process to ensure team decisions are made.
If you’re looking for a tool that’s challenging the payroll norms, look no further than Paylocity. Their On Demand Payment tool allows employees to “access a portion of earned wages before their scheduled payday, quickly, and without disrupting your payroll process with extra paperwork.”
5. Attractive and accessible employee benefits
Pain point: Finding and accessing benefits is difficult for employees, who might not be receiving relevant or personalised perks.
How it can help: We mentioned that it’s important for your HR tools talk to each other, and benefits are a great example of this. They can influence employee engagement, productivity and general outlook. Perks and discounts are great ways of letting your people know they’re valued, but platforms that add barriers to benefits prevent them from finding the rewards.
Plenty of employee benefits platforms and wider HR software create personalised employee incentives based on their preferences, displayed in an easy-to-use interface and integrated with other tech. Given the fact many people will access and use their benefits on the go, platforms with effective mobile apps should be key to your plans.
Tools to consider:
Happypeople from PES makes finding benefits easy, by displaying all active options and providing guides to each. Employee profiles can be updated with preferences and life events, to ensure that they get a better experience in the platform.
6. Employee mental health support
Pain point: “39% of employees report experiencing poor mental health symptoms related to work in the last year.” and yet “41% of employees experiencing a mental health problem reported that there had been no resulting changes or actions taken in the workplace” (source: Business In The Community)
How it can help: The same study highlighted that just 51% of employees feel comfortable talking about at work, and equipping them with a platform or app to help combat this can benefit their wellbeing. From an employer perspective, it can also help with engagement, absence rates and productivity levels.
Tools to consider:
Wellspace is on a bold “mission to revolutionise workplace wellbeing” through an app and online portal that focuses on physical and mental health. Set personalised targets for employees and enable them track sleep, activity and mental wellbeing in a format that provides detailed analytics.
Daylio is a great option for those who do find it difficult to talk about mental health, because it’s as simple as picking your mood and the day’s activities in a private diary. This enables employees to notice patterns in their moods and times when the bad days are outweighing the good.
While Unmind keeps individual employee mental health diaries confidential, it provides aggregated and anonymous data to your organisation to improve decision making. They also offer resources to help your people improve their mental health, through bite-sized audio, video, and interactive content.
7. A learning platform
Pain point: Your learning resources are scattered across apps and platforms, preventing your learners from accessing them in the workflow and at the speed of work. Your learning management system (LMS) doesn’t allow you to create personalised learning pathways and measures completion of courses, not the skills developed.
How it can help: A learning platform helps you put an end to all of that siloed knowledge, creating a centralised content library that incorporates curated content and co-operates with your other tools and apps. It also provides better insights, allowing you to personalise learning and assess usage analytics.
Tools to consider:
You can’t underestimate the power of personalised learning in creating better employee experiences! In HowNow, we use artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend content that’s relevant to the skills your people want to develop and their topics of interest. You can even tell us your preferred content providers and we’ll surface their videos, articles and podcasts to your learners.
Having access to all that content is great but it being limited to your learning platform, not so much. That’s why we integrate with the apps and software you’re already using, to make content searchable anywhere and allow people to share knowledge in the workflow. This is how you create a continuous learning culture.
Docebo brings AI to the LMS world, to create an element of personalised content and social learning. However, the platform faces the limitations of the traditional LMS, in particular, the idea that people are simply assigned courses – an impression you get from a course-heavy homepage. Remember, it can be as simple as connecting someone to one resource or a colleague’s insight that helps them learn a skill. If it’s more complex, then a personalised learning pathway is often more useful than a pre-existing course. But, when standard courses are the focus of your learning strategy, it makes learning in the flow of work more difficult.
Having said that, the platform does offer a Q&A function that connects people to business experts, however, that knowledge can only be found at the speed at which it takes the expert to respond.
Despite bringing AI to the LMS world and elements of personalised content/social learning, Docebo faces some traditional LMS limitations. In particular, the idea that people are simply assigned courses—an impression you get from a course-heavy homepage. Sometimes, it’s as simple as connecting someone to one resource or a colleague’s insight. If it’s more complex, then a personalised learning pathway is often more useful than a pre-existing course. But, when standard courses are the focus of your learning strategy, learning in the flow of work is more difficult.
Designed to make you more productive, responsive and impactful, Degreed provides actionable insights on what people are learning and the skills they’re developing. However, you often have to leave the tools you’re already using to access those learnings in Degreed. There’s a learning portal feel to the platform, with lesser integration capabilities than competitors meaning it’s difficult to learn in the flow of work. Degreed does use machine learning to personalise the learning experience, but cards are very much kept close to the chest on their website, so how they do this is a slight enigma.
8. Employee engagement software
Pain point: You need a better platform for collecting and analysing employee feedback and engagement levels, to ensure that turnover rates are managed, the effectiveness of training is understood and you’re able to gauge motivation levels.
How it can help: By using an employee engagement platform, employers can request feedback at regular and specified intervals, analyse the responses, and use the data to set goals around improving engagement levels. Some platforms can also be used to give praise and recognition through gamification.
Tools to consider:
If understanding your people and recognising key contributors is high on your HR list, you might want to look at 15Five. Their High Five feature is an easy way of giving praise and spotting high performers in your team, plus their online check-in feature enables staff to share their achievements and obstacles. With a mobile app and integrations with other platforms, this is all possible on the go.
A quick scan of TINYpulse’s website and you get the impression that developing leaders is equally as important as understanding employee engagement. Insights are delivered in straightforward dashboard’s that make understanding pain points and positives much easier for leaders.
There is often overlap between performance management and employee engagement, but the former is typically considered as assessment and the latter as listening to people. OpenBlend broaches the two areas, by creating a “people centric approach to performance management” and platform that facilitates meaningful one-to-ones. Established coaching frameworks meet the technology to understand people and reconnect them to the workplace.
9. People analytics
Pain point: The more people you manage, the more people data you’ll have—which can be daunting for HR teams to study and act upon.
How it can help: People or HR analytics are designed to study your employee data and provide actionable insights. You can understand your hiring processes, employee capabilities, managers, compensation and more. Think of it as a layer on top of your HR systems that creates transparency and democratises data by making it available across your company.
Tools to consider:
As we’ve mentioned, lots of tools will tick multiple boxes and analytics is something that you’ll find on many. Crunchr Workforce and Stories both allow you to upload information from multiple sources and visualise workforce data in dashboards you can filter. Giving you the power to understand the full employee journey, from when they join to when they leave.
There’s no better data on your people than their feedback, and this is what Peakon uses to improve employee engagement, productivity and how you use insights to inform your decisions. Beyond the usual email and text surveys, their Kiosk feature provides employees with a unique code to complete the questions – ideal for capturing employees that might not have a business email address. Intelligent benchmarking and text analysis help you identify common issues, providing real-time dashboards that inform your training for those immediate concerns. As you might have noticed from the employee engagement section, there are similarities and overlap with the likes of 15Five and TINYpulse.
A people and culture platform, Culture Amp helps you understand the full employee experience, from engagement to performance. Continuous learning technology keeps you up-to-date with employee sentiment and delivers ongoing feedback. Their dashboards also flag the areas that are working well and those that aren’t, empowering you to respond quickly to real-time challenges.