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Tech Tools for Strategic HR Leaders

By Kathleen Quinn Votaw

In addition to managing everything related to employees, including an organization’s culture, HR teams today play a strategic frontline role in the development, growth, and productivity of the business itself—and need to accomplish it all on an ever-tightening budget. This would be impossible without the latest technologies at your fingertips. According to HRForecast, HR’s highest priority in 2020 was to increase the use of automation, Big Data, and AI; and its second priority, to develop critical skills and competencies (usually required to use the new tech tools!). Keeping up with the latest HR technologies isn’t easy and yet tech has become part of the job—really the foundation of an effective HR function. There’s no choice. You have to get on this bus.

While there will always be a place in HR for personal judgment and insight, as well as a need to use proven best practices, there is also an ever-growing abundance of new and necessary tech tools that make you a smarter, more efficient, and more valuable HR leader. HR software tools automate, streamline, and optimize your processes and practices. After HRIS, the most used software, the majority of these technologies are used for recruitment, from attracting candidates through onboarding and engagement.

There are literally millions of websites out there selling or commenting on HR technologies. Sorting through them to understand which tools do exactly what, and which make sense for your size company and business, is daunting. Should you invest in these tools yourself, or is it more economical to work with HR specialists who can provide you with the benefits without the investment? To simplify, think of these tech tools in terms of three main categories: administrative, human capital management, and recruiting. Our focus here is on HR tools for recruiting.

Tools for every phase of the recruitment lifecycle

The best place to start your decision-making process is to understand the answers to several essential questions, including: (1) What specific skills and roles will you need in the near-, mid-, and long-term future? (2) Are there foreseeable trends and technologies that could impact these needs? (3) What should I be doing now in terms of recruiting and training & development to meet our future needs?

Thinking of the recruitment process as five separate phases can simplify your evaluation and decision-making about the appropriate tech tools to meet your needs. Following, are tech tools we are using or are familiar with and recommend for each of the five major recruiting phases:

  1. Finding and Engaging a Pipeline of Candidates.  AI is incorporated into a number of automated tools that help build your pipeline of candidates by finding, engaging, and even doing some initial vetting for you. The recruiting platforms we have explored are Loxo and Aviante, smaller vendors who offer software that is both scalable and provides the flexibility to customize. The ability to text with candidates (and customers!) is a critical component of building your pipeline. For texting, we have used and recommend Avochato and TextRecruit.
  • Scheduling. Calendly does a great job in automating the tedious, time-consuming task of arranging calls and meetings with either candidates or prospective customers. It’s an effective tool for recruiting and sales.
  • Hiring and Onboarding. Being a virtual company, we use a variety of tech tools on a daily basis to make sure our team is well connected. We are very satisfied with Microsoft Teams. It’s a robust communication platform that allows you to meet, chat, call, and collaborate in a single place. You can instant message teammates, create and store information, as well as use it as a training tool. We also use Zoom for all company and client meetings.
  • Employee Engagement. We love TINYpulse, a flexible tool that enables you to confidentially survey employees on a host of topics. Surveys can be serious and informational or lighthearted and fun. We send a weekly survey to employees and meet monthly to review results. The software provides standard questions, or you can create your own. TINYpulse enables you to measure employee engagement at any point in time, as well as analyze the data trending over time and compare it to other companies’ results. This provides valuable information for us to identify and openly discuss opportunities and solutions, as a company.
  • Benefits. We like the software app “Ease,” which automates everything related to managing benefits, saving tedious handling time. Ease enables our employees to access all the forms, policies, summary of benefits coverages, and rates as well as select or waive specific benefits. Some carriers have integrated with Ease to upload changes to individual elections, further automating the process. There are other tools available on the market for managing enrollment, payroll, and similar PPO functions.

HR has probably changed more than any other business function, and more quickly. Over the past decade or two, it has moved from a transactional focus in overseeing the day-to-day management of employees to becoming the backbone of every organization. Now, HR is responsible for developing talent strategies that ensure a sustainable competitive place in the market—in an increasingly challenging world. One of those strategies must be balancing the need for essential tech tools with the reality of continually shrinking budgets. In our experience, HR is up to the task.

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