All the tools you need, why, and how to get started.

In my previous write up, we touched on the characteristics that useful HR tools should have to facilitate scale. Now we're going to dive a bit deeper and see what's the composition of an ideal tech stack to manage all things people.

If you work in HR/People Ops, run your company operations, or are just trying to get a layer on infrastructure to help with your people matters, there is plenty for you to consider.

From hiring to making sure your employees are engaged and learning constantly, there are several components to define. Think of them like Lego bricks: you can keep adding or removing, as long as the pieces fit together.

HR related technologies are on the rise and here to help. As you evaluate tools, you probably wonder about integrations or if your team would actually use a given product. Whilst integrations can be added and engagement can be fostered, the most important thing to consider before making a purchase is whether the solution you are buying will actually make sense from a business perspective.

Your requirements will vary based on objectives, stage of growth and even culture. But as we're talking specifically about a foundation layer, the core pillars will be the same.

Hiring (ATS)

The journey starts with hiring. So, first of all, you will need to have an Applicants Tracking System (ATS) in place.

The goal with an ATS is to help you streamline your recruitment efforts, while ensuring you are GDPR compliant (for companies based in UK/EU).

Ideally it should allow you to connect to job boards, receive CVs, schedule interviews, communicate with the candidates, keep track of how they are progressing throughout the process, collecting feedback and submit an offer.

This is also where you have visibility of the stream of communications with the candidates and your team can collaborate by adding notes/feedback.

It will be the first direct point of contact between you and your future employees, so you better get it right.

There are plenty of ATS solutions out there. I personally like the work that the guys at Lever are doing. If you want to learn more about this type of tech, I very much enjoyed this podcast from Y Combinator with Sarah Nahm (founder and CEO at Lever).

Records, docs, and time away (HRIS)

This is what Humaans is all about.

Manually managing the records of 20 people is not easy; 50 is stressful; 100+ is impossible. Especially if you want to give everyone the right level of visibility and access.

Your Human Resources Information System (HRIS) platform is one of the few systems everyone in your organisation will use regularly. It needs to be safe, well designed and easy to use.

In an ideal world, you want it to help you avoid repetitive tasks, by making more areas self-service or automating tasks β†’ Humaans is doing both πŸ’œ

It doesn't need to be an all in one solution, but to cover the basics well. Keep it up to date and it will become your knowledge repository, making it easy to find and report on information you would otherwise spend ages tracking down.

Intranet

Probably not your top priority if you're building your plane on the way down, but when you realise the time is right, you'd wish you had sorted out this before.

An intranet is a great way to give people access to information, company policies, share updates and keep an eye on events happening within the workplace. Think about Wikipedia but for your company knowledge – accessible by all employees.

Intranets unfortunately are not wildly popular, mostly because they need to be updated with some regularity and most of the times, as you grow your company, your intranet gets hard to navigate. Employees will generally rather come to you and ask the question, which is not efficient for publicly available information.

If properly set up and kept up to date though, this can be a powerful space.

If you have a distributed or a remote workforce, it will help you connect employees across multiple locations; it will work as a handy FAQs tool able to reduce HR folks time; it will also make your on-boarding easier by allowing new starters to learn how to navigate your organisation policies.

Google Sites is generally the go to option to set up an intranet. I personally love the flexibility Notion provides for this type of environment.

Recognition

There are multiple ways in which you can connect with your employees and let them connect with each other. A good way to do this, and engage them altogether, is to recognise them publicly.

By using the right channels you can reward those who have performed well, inspire others to do the same, and promote the values your culture embodies. Having a motivated team will ultimately result in better work, and happier employees.

To make this happen, you firstly need to have a method in place to find out who is doing the best work. It is important here to discern between rewarding employees for good work, which generally will be manager driven and could result in a raise/bonus/promotion, and recognition, which should be more peer driven and should lead to some form of reward – not necessarily financial. It could mean a shoutout on the intranet or a picture hung up at the company’s entrance, together with kudos, gift cards or small gifts. What matters here is the visibility you give.

Depending on your budget you can either hack your solution together (eg. using a combination of voting boxes/google forms and a public notice board/intranet post) or go all in with an engagement platform, which can allow people to vote and/or send kudos to their peers and might allow them also to send prizes or tokens.

Employee engagement

Having an understanding of what drives your people will help you make better decisions to improve your business and culture. Empowering managers to better understand their team will allow them to deliver better results.

To understand how people feel, you need to ask the right questions, collect and process feedback, take action, and monitor results.

Sending a company-wide survey every 6 months is not effective, and the folks at Officevibe know that very well.

A good employee engagement app will allow you to collect and process data in a structured way, providing more visibility around the experience people have at work. You want to learn about individuals, managers and the business as a whole, and get actionable insights. With the right channel in place, where people feel comfortable in sharing, you can capture opinions but also new ideas that will help you make your workplace constantly better.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the solutions small medium-sized enterprises could implement to enhance their HR tech stack. Broadly speaking, your goal should be not to focus on the actual solution but around the gap the solution is bridging and the value added.

As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, this is a starting point. There are other people operations aspects that can be improved by using good technologies including on-boarding, performance management, and feedback/data collection, and more. You should always optimise based on your currently stage of growth and overall needs. Perhaps we'll leave these for another article πŸ˜‰

There is no one-size-fits-all, and sometimes you might have to give a few options a try before finding your glass slipper. Whichever solution you choose, embrace the opportunities tech offers.


If you have follow up questions, or keen to know more about the tools I use and love, you can find me on Twitter @Lauren31v.


Humaans is a smart employee database created to simplify your people operations. Collect, store and leverage your people data to make your business better. Get started today – create an account in minutes.