Technology is essential to running most businesses nowadays, and few departments can benefit from a tech boost more than human resources. With the right tools, you can manage, track and engage your employees, all from your mobile device or computer.
Here are four types of HR tech tools that businesses of any size can implement for a happier, better organized workforce.
As the name implies, recruiting software helps you streamline the hiring process. You can post job ads, sort and accept applications, manage candidates and more, saving you the hassle of manually tracking everything yourself.
For small businesses in particular, you'll want to check out the pricing and features on each solution you consider: Many recruiting programs are geared toward bigger companies with large volumes of applicants, so you may be better served by a less expensive product with fewer capabilities, depending on your hiring needs. Check out Business News Daily's best picks for recruiting software here. [See Related Story: The Tech Tools Small Businesses Rely on Most]
Any business with employees knows that payroll processing is an arduous tasks. Make it easy on yourself (or your bookkeeper) by investing in an online payroll service. This type of solution can help you automatically calculate and keep track of paychecks, deductions, paid time off and other payroll functions. Some even allow you to file and pay payroll taxes and report new hires to the IRS.
Benefits management platform
While some payroll services allow you to administer certain benefits like vacation time, a more robust solution can help you manage all employee benefits including PTO, retirement plans, health insurance, workers' compensation and other perks.
Chen Amit, CEO of payment solutions company Tipalti, says that one of the best decisions the company made outsourcing their benefits management.
"It gives our business a baseline for standard HR processes, something that at least puts you on par with larger organizations," Amit said. "Then we could focus on where to go from there: adding benefits and perks that go beyond standard dental, health, vision. It also reduces our operational footprint."
Keep in mind that a benefits management service is not necessarily the same as a professional employer organization (PEO), which operates under a co-employment arrangement. The PEO acts as a legal employer of your workforce, issuing their paychecks and managing benefits and compliance for you.
"PEOs can give you access to additional perks, healthcare options and expertise that you wouldn't have managing things on your own," said Jacqueline Breslin, director of human capital services at TriNet. "These benefits also help with hiring as they make working for you more attractive."
To learn more about PEOs and determine if it's the right choice for your company, visit Business News Daily's PEO and employee leasing guide.
Employee engagement tools
Employee engagement is a high priority for many modern companies. Today's tech tools let you keep your finger on the pulse of your organization's culture, and allow you to gain better insights into what your employees want.
"I've seen apps that encourage positive feedback inside the organization, while helping [build] the company culture," said Pablo Brenner, CEO of Collokia, an enterprise collaboration tool.
For example, programs like YouEarnedIt allow people to recognize and reward co-workers when they do a good job or exemplify company values. Other tools, like TINYpulse, allow you to collect anonymous feedback from your team that you can use to improve your culture and operations.
Other options for engagement technology includes company intranet platforms like Igloo, Podio and OneWindow Workplace; corporate social networking apps like Yammer, WeVue and Workplace by Facebook; and any of the numerous enterprise collaboration and video conferencing tools currently available.
Ron Yekutiel, CEO and chairman of video platform Kaltura, noted that video tools may be of particular interest to HR departments looking to improve their hiring and training processes.
"Whether it's conducting more effective interviews through video, video conferencing in order to bring dispersed teams closer together, [or] onboarding and training ... new and existing employees ... today's on-the-go workforce increasingly prefers video as a means for communication and collaboration," he told Business News Daily.
Choosing a solution
It may be tempting to choose the highest rated or least expensive software solution, but it's important to do your research and find the tool that's right for your business's needs. You also shouldn't invest in certain solutions just for their own sake: Not every solution is equal, and some simply aren't worth a company's time, said Breslin.
"It's important to find solutions to automate tasks that would otherwise eat up valuable time in your day," she said. "However, some tasks should never be automated, such as the handling of complaints or employee conflicts."
Brenner noted that the tools you choose should be user-friendly and not create any hassle or frustration for your employees.
"You wouldn't expect from a millennial to read a manual on how to use a new app, so why should you expect him to read the ... operating manual [for an internal software]?" he said. "All tools should be self-explanatory, or worst case, [make it] extremely easy to access an explanatory video."
No matter which categories of tools you're looking at, it's critical to seek out solutions that will help carry your organization into the future.
"HR teams that are looking to stay ahead of the curve should incorporate new technologies, such as ... business collaboration systems, while keeping an eye on technologies like AR and VR as they evolve," Yekutiel said. "This will go a long way in attracting today and tomorrow's workforce, and enabling teams across the organization to work effectively and increase productivity."