A Practical Guide to Building a High-Performance HR Tech Stack
September 18, 2023
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A bloated tech stack is like the old saying, “too many cooks in the kitchen.” More of something is not always better.
But did you know that the average large company has up to 80 applications in its HR tech stack?
Using multiple programs simultaneously can be challenging and inefficient for team members. Evaluating your HR technology holistically can ensure you invest in the right tech that leads to higher productivity and a better employee experience.
Imagine your People team effortlessly handling the complexities of managing your organization’s most valuable asset—its people. Achieving this seamless operation is possible by implementing an effective HR tech stack.
Whether you’re building your tech stack from scratch or auditing an existing one, here’s how to determine which applications make the cut.
In this post:
What is an HR tech stack?
An HR tech stack includes the tools, programs, and apps People teams use to digitally manage their organization’s workforce.
It combines software, programs, and apps that work symbiotically to make your workflow more efficient.
For example, chances are you’re using an industry-standard program for payroll, like ADP. But does that tool integrate with your company’s other benefits tied to compensation?
Fortunately, creating a tech stack doesn’t mean starting from scratch–instead, it means auditing your existing process, cutting out excess tools, and using integrations to help your team work as efficiently as possible.
Thinking about your tech needs in terms of a stack rather than individual tools helps you see how those resources work together and scale your process over time.
What’s in the ideal HR tech stack?
Before we go through the steps to build an HR tech stack, let’s review the types of digital tools you’ll want to incorporate.
Your tech stack’s digital tools can help streamline and automate day-to-day administrative HR tasks.
One of the primary advantages of these tools is the automation of repetitive tasks. For instance, payroll processing, leave requests, and performance evaluations can all be streamlined through digital platforms.
Incorporating tech into daily administrative tasks helps to build a more efficient workflow for People teams.
Digital talent management technology are vital for any company to maintain an efficient and competitive workforce.
One example of talent management software you may already be using is an applicant tracking system (ATS)—a useful tool to help manage recruitment and hiring.
Building a tech stack lets you evaluate whether the ATS you currently use is the best fit for your organization, ensuring you won’t miss out on qualified candidates. Plus, there may be a less expensive option that works just as well or better and integrates with the rest of your stack.
Workforce and performance management tools address ongoing operational tasks such as training and learning opportunities, time-tracking, and employee benefits.
Plus, these tools help you keep your employees organized and help them to be productive.
Learning management system (LMS)
An LMS is a software or web-based application that can help you promote training and learning and development (L&D).
An LMS is a crucial cog to add to your HR tech stack to make everything work together. A learning management system can help you deliver educational courses and training in one place, allowing users to access these on demand.
When selecting an LMS as part of your HR tech stack, ensure it can integrate with your team’s programs and applications.
Because of a growing demand among HR leaders, digital tools are leaning more toward integrations that eliminate the need for proprietary software (or software built in-house, which can be clunky and cumbersome).
Consider, for example, that your team has a few specific needs that aren’t met by one tool. Rather than hiring a team of tech professionals to build a new tool that could take months (or even years) to build, test, and refine, you can save that money and energy by investing in a learning management system with integration capabilities.
For example, the Learning Cloud integrates with commonly used tools, including BambooHR, Workday, Rippling, and more.
These integrations with HR tools to help you:
- Build a seamless onboarding experience where employees know what to expect in their first few weeks and feel taken care of during their tenure with your organization
- Deploy compliance and other regulatory training and leverage key compliance features to ensure training completion
- Offer a library of resources for employees to upskill or discover new learning opportunities to help develop their careers
- Build career mobility opportunities by offering learning paths that can serve as signals or easy conversation starters for promotions
- Create leadership development programs to equip your middle management with the training, skills, and resources to help them succeed
- Leverage key HRIS and HR tools integrations to automate employee onboarding, mobility, and offboarding workflows
How do you build an HR tech stack?
When you build a tech stack for your team, it’s an opportunity to take stock of your systems and see what’s working—and what can be streamlined.
Before you start building your HR tech stack, audit your existing technology. This will help you determine what your team needs—and what can be eliminated.
Remember, this should be a collaborative effort between your HR team and other team leaders, so you know exactly what you need to serve your workforce best.
Step 1: Take inventory
Ask yourself: What does my team need to succeed?
Start the process by listing every piece of technology your team currently uses. Then, sort the list into three categories: need to have, nice to have, and unnecessary.
Need to have: This category consists of anything essential for your team’s workflow, like your learning management system or payroll platform.
Nice to have: This category is essential for any tool that contributes to your team’s workflow but might be expensive or not essential, but still helpful.
A good example of this might be an internal knowledge base or wiki. You might find that other software, like a Slack channel for HR-related questions, works just as well for most of your workforce.
Unnecessary: This category includes unproductive tools or applications that most of your team doesn’t use.
Even if you have a strong hunch about what can be cut, this is an important area to crowdsource. You don’t want to make any executive decisions for your team.
Make this effort collaborative by creating a Google form or anonymous survey. Have team members rank each tool in order of effectiveness or importance. Analyze the results and look for trends surrounding low-importance tools. These are the ones you can most likely cut.
Step 2: Ensure the tools you invest in are ethical and compliant
Compliance is an important concern for any organization, so the tools your team uses must support legal standards like the Americans with Disabilities Act and employee data privacy.
When researching, look for tools that specifically highlight their compliance solutions.
Step 3: Refine your HR tech stack based on feedback
A tech stack (with tools that integrate) is scalable, which means that over time, you can add or build upon your existing technology. This is useful because as tech changes, so do your needs as an organization.
You can gain a strong sense of which tools continue to support your workforce by periodically asking for employee feedback—both inside and outside of HR.
For example, if your organization sends out quarterly engagement surveys, add a question for employees to share thoughts about tech: what’s working or not? Or send out a separate anonymous survey that specifically addresses HR tech needs.
Collect and analyze the results to learn how your employees use specific platforms.
If there’s an overwhelming dislike of a particular tool, that’s an indication to refine your process. You may find a tool your team adopted five years ago is no longer relevant.
Your team can give you valuable insights into the tools you need for your updated tech stack. Don’t ignore their feedback.
Building an HR tech stack that works for you
Any HR-focused tech is only as good as the people who use it. You could be using the highest-rated app in the world, but if it doesn’t resonate with your workforce, it’s useless.
Make sure, no matter what tech you invest in, that it aligns with your employees’ needs and benefits your organization. A tech stack should make work easier, not harder.
Want to learn more about how the Learning Cloud can enhance your tech stack and help you create engaging employee development programs? Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Maile TimonContent Strategist, WorkRamp
Maile Timon is WorkRamp’s Content Strategist. She has over 10 years of experience in content marketing and SEO and has written for several publications and industries, including B2B, marketing, lifestyle, health, and more. When she’s not writing or developing content strategies, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.
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