HR Tech Stack: A Practitioner’s Guide
A well-built HR tech stack has considerable benefits for both HR professionals and employees in companies of all sizes. It can improve productivity and effectiveness, decrease costs, and simplify the recruitment process, helping the organization achieve its goals. Let’s dive into all you need to know about building an HR tech stack!
What is an HR tech stack?
An HR tech stack is a set of integrated software, platforms, and apps that improve and expand HR functions. These tools digitalize certain tasks to help HR professionals better manage their workloads across different areas of Human Resources, such as recruitment, benefits administration, and performance management.
Why you need a solid HR tech stack
Leveraging technology is a necessity in today’s business world. An HR tech stack provides the following benefits:
- Being more effective in your job as an HR professional – When you save time by automating previously manual tasks, you will be more productive in your role. You will also be able to collect and analyze data to generate reports and make data-driven decisions. These efficiencies allow you the time to focus on more strategic tasks and better serve employees and management. What’s more, the saved time also translates to cost savings.
- Enhancing digital employee experience – Just like in their personal lives, employees expect the technology they use at work to make everything easier. Having access to digital HR tools with streamlined, useful, and efficient interactions contributes to overall employee satisfaction. It helps engage employees, boost productivity, and ultimately improve your customer experience.
- Minimizing mistakes – Digitalizing complex processes and automating administrative tasks that require precision will reduce inaccuracies made by human error. For example, payroll errors can happen when you have to enter deductions or pay rate changes manually and in multiple places.
HR tech stack: The common software categories
Building a successful tech stack requires finding the right combination of tools. A technology solution exists for almost every HR responsibility, and there are plenty of vendor options. You just need to find what works best for your HR team.
Listed below are three main software categories, their subcategories, and examples of vendors in the space. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as the HR tech space is booming and new solutions are emerging every day.
Core HR solutions
These solutions enable comprehensive management of fundamental HR information and processes. They are the backbone of your Human Resources technology stack.
Human resources information systems (HRIS) and human capital management (HCM) platforms
HRIS and HCM platforms are a set of technologies that standardize, maintain, and manage employee information and HR policies and procedures.
- Bamboo HR is an all-in-one HR software for small and medium-sized businesses. It integrates well with other tools and is very user-friendly.
- Sapling has an intuitive platform with modern features primarily for mid-sized organizations. It’s distributed internationally and focuses on uniting remote teams.
Payroll software automates and manages on-time payments to employees while ensuring accuracy and compliance with applicable tax and financial regulations.
- Rippling can coordinate with all your HR data and run payroll in 90 seconds. It works internationally and handles all deductions and forms of payment.
- ADP offers payroll processing globally for organizations of all sizes and also integrates with other HR systems.
Compensation and benefits management software
This type of software helps develop and manage pay structures and increases with data-driven information. It also ensures that employee pay and benefits are appropriate, equitable, and competitive.
- ChartHop has a dynamic platform that generates compensation review plans based on the metrics of your choice. Managers, as well as HR, benefit from it, and the software has built-in controls to protect sensitive employee data.
- Payscale is an easy-to-use software that offers choices based on company size for small businesses to global enterprises. This customizable solution houses your survey data and provides quarterly updated salary market data.
Recruiting technology automates and streamlines processes for finding, attracting, and hiring talent.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
An ATS helps log and monitor job applicants. Recruiters can filter and analyze these records throughout the hiring process.
- Lever is enterprise-grade software with an accessible platform that centralizes the processes of finding, interviewing, and hiring candidates. It syncs with Microsoft 365 and Google Calendar and offers flexible reporting and advanced analytics.
- Breezy has an intuitive, visual interface and simplifies recruiting with a comprehensive range of functions that automate tedious tasks. It integrates easily with other HR tools and systems and works well for small and mid-sized organizations.
- Recruitee is on a mission to empower teams with the best tech tools to hire better together. The collaborative hiring platform offers multiple functions that help organizations source, identify, and hire the best candidates.
Pre-employment assessment and selection tools
These tools help you conduct consistent assessments of candidates’ skills beyond just their resume to hire the most qualified person for the job.
- Vervoe is an AI technology-driven platform that offers customized assessments based on real-world scenarios for all industries. Tests include multiple choice and free text questions, and candidates are ranked by their skills that align with the position.
- Pymetrics combines behavioral science and AI technology to vet and assess candidates’ soft skills without bias. Algorithms measure your top performers’ qualities and create a custom, ideal profile for each position. This benchmark determines which tests applicants take and provides insights into how their behavioral data matches up.
Video interview platforms
Platforms for video interviewing allow hiring managers to conduct interviews remotely and save valuable time. Video interviewing can be done in real-time or be pre-recorded.
- VidCruiter can be used as a live video conferencing platform, or candidates can record their responses to predetermined questions. Questions are displayed in a written format or through an audio recording of the interviewer. This product integrates with multiple HR tools and systems, and the interview format and schedule are customizable.
- Willo is an easy-to-use interface for pre-recorded video interviews with a variety of features and plans to suit businesses of all sizes. With interviews accessible 24/7, candidates can respond at their convenience. People in over 130 countries use Willo, and the platform is fully GDPR compliant.
Employee referral software
This is a tool for managing employee referral programs and encouraging staff to participate in this advantageous method of sourcing candidates.
- Teamable incorporates gamification to engage and incentivize users. Team members stay plugged into the hiring pipeline with the ability to track their referrals. It also provides detailed, customized reports and analytics.
- Boon offers three different plans and can be set up quickly and used without any training. It’s designed for any type of business and operates as a stand-alone or to supplement existing hiring tools. Employees and candidates stay up-to-date with automated, customizable messages throughout the process.
Recruitment marketing platforms
A recruitment marketing platform augments businesses’ talent acquisition strategies with digital marketing. It helps develop employer branding and promote job advertising with content marketing, social media, etc.
- SmartDreamers is state-of-the-art software that consolidates and automates all aspects of candidate sourcing and employer branding for data-driven results. Products are scalable, and multiple sub-accounts can be configured for global teams to access. It’s equipped with enterprise-grade security and is GDPR compliant.
- Cliquify helps companies showcase their culture with storytelling to connect with potential candidates through social media. It equips HR leaders with templates and AI-powered content to attract talent and diversify hiring. Applicant tracking system integration is supported but not required.
Building a strong, affirming culture by engaging employees through positive experiences.
Employee onboarding software
This type of software automates the process of welcoming and training new hires.
- Sapling can import all your recruitment information, and it integrates with other HR tools and IT systems. It allows you to create different employee lifecycle workflows and builds individualized employee record templates.
- Enboarder is a versatile, easy-to-use platform that works for both in-house and remote employees. It’s fully customizable and can transition employees at every level. A report center allows you to track the success of your onboarding program with the right metrics.
Employee rewards and recognition software
Employee rewards and recognition platforms promote well-being and appreciation by acknowledging employees’ achievements and granting rewards for special occasions.
- Nectar includes peer appreciation and traditional top-down recognition and allows employees to acknowledge each other within Slack or Microsoft Teams. It also incorporates award options that can be selected directly from Amazon.
- Workstars offers a highly customizable platform so businesses of all sizes can create their own reward systems. International organizations can add various languages and currencies with no set-up fees.
Employee engagement solutions
An employee engagement solution helps build a healthy culture that draws employees to your organization and motivates them to invest their best effort.
- Empuls supports continuous communication with a social intranet to connect distributed teams. Its modern interface is easy to adopt and includes features such as recognition, pulse surveys, and people analytics.
- Leapsome joins performance, learning, and engagement in one intuitive platform for office-based, hybrid, or remote workplaces. Its customizable questionnaires and surveys are developed with data science, psychology, and best practices.
Performance management software
Software for performance management supports the routine of conducting regular performance reviews with optimal methods and a view of how employees make an impact on the company.
- Betterworks is intuitive software for performance management and goal-setting with customization options for dashboards and administrative access. It offers feedback, coaching, and recognition methods and helps your workforce discover professional development opportunities.
- Small Improvements runs self-service software with multiple options for ongoing performance management. Its lean, 360-degree feedback and performance reviews help organizations create and achieve results without having to micro-manage employees.
Learning management systems
These systems offer training opportunities on various topics and skills and a way to track employees’ participation.
- Lessonly is designed to help mid-sized companies train, coach, and enable employees. It has several specialized features for areas such as continuous training, personalized coaching, and training content support.
- Go1 is a subscription service that provides access to a comprehensive learning and development library of learning resources. It has solutions for small to enterprise businesses and offers personalized service to help customers find the right content in the correct format.
Typically, HR chatbots use AI and natural language processing to handle HR functions and promptly answer many of the questions employees and candidates have while using an HR interface.
- Espressive provides automated employee self-help with conversational AI. Its virtual support agent delivers personalized responses to resolve employee requests, questions, and issues. As an open platform, it allows customers to make their own updates or retain fully managed service.
- Paradox offers a conversational virtual assistant product called Olivia to assist recruiting teams, hiring managers, and candidates. Olivia automates many functions, including screening, scheduling, and onboarding. Organizations of any industry can use this technology for both hourly and professional recruiting.
How to build an HR tech stack
Building an effective HR tech stack takes time and involves numerous steps. Here are some ideas to help you along the process:
1. Audit your HR processes
Start off by finding out where you need to make improvements. Meet with the various stakeholders inside and outside your HR department to review current processes and workflow in each area. Assess the technology that is already in place and identify any gaps and time-saving opportunities that exist.
2. Prioritize what you need
You may discover more HR technology needs than your budget will cover and have to go about it incrementally. If you can’t implement everything at once, you’ll have to think through what is the most urgent, weighing in senior leadership’s priorities.
For instance, it might be an attendance management tool if you’re losing track of your spreadsheets or an applicant tracking system if you’re hiring a lot.
3. Deliberate “must-have” versus “nice-to-have” features
With a limited budget, you’ll want to focus on the core components required and leave out the add-ons and unnecessary features. This will help you create your RFPs and guide your research in the right direction.
Check out our HRIS requirements checklist to learn about the process of choosing an HRIS.
4. Do your research
With so many tools available, you need to narrow down your choices to the most relevant for the size and scope of your organization and your price range. You can begin with reading reviews and seeking input from peers.
Once you’ve shortlisted a few options, schedule demos or free trials to see what the features can do and how user-friendly they are. You want to find solutions that truly save time and will be accessed enough to justify the cost.
5. Consider integrations
A set of tools that can’t communicate with each other end up being counterproductive. You don’t want the inefficiency of separate destinations for every HR process. All the elements of your HR tech stack should work together.
When researching or talking to a vendor, mention the tools you’re already using and check if the integrations are already there or if they can build custom integrations for you.
6. Focus on ease of use
Since the goal of an HR tech stack is to improve efficiency, it must run smoothly and be easy to navigate. A good user experience for both HR and employees is critical. It will make adoption easier and enrich your organizations’ digital employee experience.
You also want to make sure that adequate support is available when users need more information or run into problems. If you don’t have in-house IT expertise, confirm that the vendor provides assistance.
7. Address security, compliance, and ethics
HR has a vital role in ensuring that business activities are ethical, sensitive information is safeguarded, and employee policies comply with applicable legal authorities. Your technology solutions must be able to support this.
For example, if you have work being done remotely, company data must be protected. If you operate in Europe, your chosen vendor must be GDPR-compliant. Additionally, make sure that the algorithms the vendor uses are regularly audited and transparent.
8. Develop your own digital dexterity
Being tech-savvy and having a decent level of digital dexterity is a real advantage in building a solid tech stack. Understanding how technology enables HR and employees to do a better job and the ability to quickly embrace new tools puts you in the position to lead the way.
Seeking out how other departments throughout your organization use digital tools is one way to work on your digital dexterity. You can also learn by reading up on the latest trends and innovations. If you want to dive in further, earning a Digital HR certification is a great way to broaden your skills and help champion a digital culture at your organization.
9. Continue updating your HR tech stack
Once your tech stack launches, you’ll need to periodically gauge how well it’s functioning for your business. As your organization grows or diversifies, your needs will change.
For example, your company might increase how many people are working remotely, and your tech stack should reflect that. Also, you’ll want to consider the emerging types of technology that can improve your systems.
Building a solid HR tech stack takes a lot of effort in terms of research and implementation. However, once you have the tech stack in place, it will be rewarding in many ways.
The main advantage is that the right tools will make it easier to manage your workload. Then you will be free to focus on more strategic tasks and build stronger connections with your HR team and other employees.