19 Must-Have HR Tools That’ll Make Life Easier [Updated for 2018]
As an HR pro, it’s no secret that your job is harder than ever.
With the premium on talent in today’s service and information heavy economy, HR has moved from a backend administration role to a frontline strategic function. Enterprise leaders are realizing that people are their most valuable assets, and that attracting – and just as importantly, hanging on to – the right employees is essential to the success of their businesses.
So what’s an HR pro to do? Why is HR important?
While there are no shortcuts for things like sound judgment or proven best practices… there are a plethora of new tools to help you master more areas with less time and energy.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled an arsenal of the best of the best hr management tools available to the modern HR champion – things that will make you a better practitioner, a smarter leader, and a more valuable partner for your business.
To make things simple, we’ve broken them into categories, and told you why we think each tool is so great.
Let’s dig in:
Hiring & Recruiting
Finding the right people can be one of the biggest challenges your HR team faces. These tools help you make better hires faster.
You’ve probably heard that hiring is like picking a mate. And indeed, compatibility (aka, “cultural fit”) is a top concern, as most of us spend more time with our coworkers than our spouses. So why not create a hiring app that feels like a dating app?
The geniuses over at Jobr have done just that, replicating the swipe-right behavior of the dating app giant Tinder. Candidates port their information from Facebook, and apply to jobs with the flick of the thumb.
Why we love it: Volume and simplicity. This app created the world’s easiest way to apply for a job, which, for recruiters, means a steady stream of candidates in your pipeline.
Here’s a quick demo of the Jobr app:
Official Website: http://hire.jobrapp.com/
Plum.io is a pre-employment assessment tool that makes it easier for companies to find the best possible fit for each job. Plum starts by analyzing the role, then developing a test for candidates to accompany job posts. The company then sends a short list of suitable candidates. Recruiters who use Plum report spending up to 80% less time reading resumes, and experience 67% less turnover.
Why we love it: We all know that every bad hire ends up costing us thousands, and yet most companies still hire the same way. Plum.io improves the process by providing a deeper, more thorough assessment before the interview stage.
Best of all, Plum integrates skills and intelligence test results with data about things like mindset and emotional intelligence, to ensure that the candidate is also a personality fit.
Check out this quick explainer video of Plum.io:
Official Website: http://plum.io/
3. Breezy HR
This self-styled “Trello for recruiting” is a visually-oriented app that puts all the information you need during the recruitment life cycle right at your fingertips. Features include candidate scoring and a video interview platform. A streamlined messaging feature allows in-app collaboration and helps eliminate confusing email chains.
Why we love it: Recruiting can be a long, messy process, involving input from multiple team members. Breezy puts everything in one place and organizes it beautifully.
Here’s a look at the Breezy HR interface:
Official Website: https://breezy.hr
“I’ll have the free lunch with a side of my dream job, please.”
That’s the premise behind Lunchcruit, a tool that helps companies surface interested candidates via an informal lunch at the company’s HQ.
Why we love it: Because … it’s just lunch. With Lunchcruit, there is an explicit understanding that there’s no expectation on either side. This pressure-free situation creates an ease that enables candidates to truly be themselves. These casual meetings can serve as a great introduction to new talent, and lead to lasting relationships.
Here’s a look at the most popular companies to have lunch with, according to Lunchcruit’s webiste:
Official Website: http://lunchcruit.com/
So you’ve got a handle on the nuanced stuff … what about the day-to-day HR functions like onboarding, payroll, benefits administration or employee timesheet tracking? Here are tools that make people management a breeze.
5. Staff Squared
Staff Squared is your cloud-based, one-stop shop for all things people management. Features include absence management, calendaring, time tracking, performance reviews, and a lot more. It also features a goal setting system to boost your company’s output and bottom line.
Why we love it: The problem with most HR software is that it skimps on arguably the most important feature – user experience. Staff Squared takes the opposite approach, wrapping powerful human resources tools in a beautifully designed, dead simple interface. Their tagline says it all: HR software that doesn’t suck.
Watch this overview video of Staff Squared’s software:
Official Website: http://www.staffsquared.com/
People is another cloud based HR management tool with a focus on scaling your business. In addition to features like performance evaluations, People throws in an interactive recruitment pipeline.
Why we love it: Robust reporting sets People apart. Data and analytics gathered from your people processes will unlock hidden insights and help grow your business.
Here’s a pretty awesome and hilarious video that explains People:
Official Website: http://www.peoplehr.com/
TriNet provides core HR services like payroll and benefits for SMBs, and can scale with you as your company grows.
Why we love it: TriNet’s team of HR pros can serve as your strategic HR partners as your company grows and you navigate uncharted waters. They’re a perfect solution for businesses seeing an explosion in headcount. They were also named a top-rated core HR software provider by TrustRadius – to see where TriNet other providers fall, check out their TrustMap.
Check out how Trinet works:
Official Website: http://www.trinet.com/
Disengaged employees cost our economy millions every year. As an HR pro, it’s your job to help employees feel a personal connection to the success of the business. It’s a tall order, but these tools can help.
8. Know Your Company
Know Your Company is geared towards mid-size businesses experiencing growing pains. These are companies that may have started as 5-10 person teams, but explosive growth has made maintaining the transparency and engagement they’re used to a challenge.
Why we love it: Know Your Company creates a channel for critical insights that will help improve all aspects of your business, including people-focused issues like engagement. Best of all, this tool provides a way to create the culture of openness and transparency your business needs to crush its goals.
This is how Know Your Customers’ customers are using their software:
Official Website: https://www.knowyourcompany.com/
Glint captures real time engagement data through mobile-enabled micro surveys called “Pulses.” Don’t know what to ask? Glint has the answers, and helps you create surveys based on 18 proven drivers of engagement.
Why we love it: Glint’s simple, intuitive dashboard and beautifully designed mobile app house powerful, real-time engagement analytics. Use them to check the “pulse” of your organization and identify actionable insights.
Official Website: http://www.glintinc.com/
With the ever changing nature of federal and state employment laws, continuing education has always come with the territory for HR practitioners. But new responsibilities mean you have to be an expert in more areas than ever before. These tools will provide you with information you can actually use, and help you become a smarter, more strategic HR pro.
10. The Awesome Office Show (podcast)
Hosted by SnackNation’s own Sean Kelly, The Awesome Office show is a weekly podcast that’s all about leading people, creating culture, and inspiring Awesome at work. They talk to CEOs and people-focused executives at some of the hottest, most-engaged companies in the country – leaders like the Honest Company’s Christopher Gaivgan and Trendera/ABC’s Jane Buckingham – and dig deep into questions of hiring and retention, growth and development, employee engagement, and more.
Best of all, the show focuses on actionable tips that you can deploy at your company today, making it a must-listen for HR leaders looking to improve culture and engagement.
You can get show notes here and subscribe below.
Subscribe to The Podcast Here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/awesome-office-lead.-create./id1037532112
11. HBR Ideacast (podcast)
Brought to you by one of the most prestigious brands in the business world, Ideacast provides a deeper look at the topics covered in the print and Web versions of the Harvard Business Review, including leading edge HR issues.
If you want to be a strategic partner for your business, you need to understand more than just the HR niche. Ideacast helps expand your knowledge base and view HR holistically.
Subscribe to The Podcast Here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hbr-ideacast/id152022135?mt=2
12. Career Cloud’s Recruiting News (app)
This mobile app puts all the latest HR news at your fingertips. Browse over 30 feeds from all the best HR and recruiting blogs.
Why we love it: Recruiting News will help you stay up to speed on all the latest trends in hiring and recruiting at a glance, as well as keep you abreast of the important conferences and events in your area – no matter where you are.
Here’s how the app looks on an iPhone:
Official Website: http://www.careercloud.com/recruiting-news-feed/
Communication & Feedback
Frequent communication is essential to your company’s culture. As such, internal communications is increasingly falling under the purview of HR. Here are some essential tools to keep your team informed and connected.
Despise email? If so, you’re not alone. Luckily, the good folks at Slack have created a solution that will help you and your organization dig out of your inbox.
Slack is a beloved enterprise-level internal communications app that combines chat and private messaging with a robust search function. The app syncs across desktop and mobile operating systems, keeping your team connected over multiple platforms no matter where you are.
Why we love it: Slack helps liberate employees from their inbox, while increasing transparency and eliminating information silos. According to the company, organizations using slack report a 48.6% reduction in internal email traffic, a 25% reduction in meetings, and a 32% increase in productivity across the board.
The video below shows how the Sandwich video team have found success with Slack:
Official Website: https://slack.com/
Three decades ago, ESPRIT founder Doug Tompkin had an epiphany: if he asked all of his employees to spend just 15 minutes writing a report that took their managers no more than 5 minutes to read, he could increase transparency and engagement, and solve minor problems before they became full blown disasters.
15five CEO David Hassell found this concept so inspiring, he developed software to systematize and scale the practice. The result is 15five, a framework that facilitates a conversation between executives, managers, and their direct reports, and helps surface problems so that team members can develop solutions and increase productivity.
Why we love it: 15five creates a feedback loop that most likely wouldn’t happen any other way, and certainly not as efficiently. The benefits are improved transparency, clearer, more consistent expectations, increased accountability, and access to critical personnel insights you can use to improve your culture and take your organization to the next level.
Take a look at how 15Five’s software has helped landing page builder Unbounce:
Official Website: http://www.15five.com/
HR teams are busier than ever. With so many irons in the fire, it might feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Unlock the hidden time in your schedule with these productivity apps.
In the world of rampant app proliferation, there is now an app for all your apps. That app’s name?
Taco, of course.
Taco’s here to save us from app overload by providing a way to easily manages all the multiple tools we all use each day. The app is a unified task list with a single view into all of your existing tasks from more than 40 services, including Gmail, Basecamp, Trello, Evernote and many, many more.
Why we love it: One app to rule them all. Taco is the meta-app you didn’t know you needed – but definitely do.
And it has the best name on the entire list.
I couldn’t find a video review of Taco, but here’s what people are saying about the task list app:
Official Website: https://tacoapp.com
If you’ve ever scheduled a meeting with one or (gasp) multiple busy executives, you know what a struggle it can be.
A simple request for a 15 minute HR strategy touchbase can suddenly turn into an email exchange that’s 30 messages deep.
Here comes Calendly to the rescue.
Calendly eliminates all the back and forth by creating a simple, beautiful interface that makes choosing times easy, and flawlessly syncs with your calendar.
Why we love it: You shouldn’t dread scheduling a 15 minute conversation. Calendly makes it so you don’t have to.
Plus our team uses this tool and it’s been extremely useful.
Calendly video review:
Official Website: https://calendly.com/
Evernote is simply the ultimate note taking app.
Set reminders, share your notes with colleagues and friends, or clip text from anywhere on the web with this simple, elegant tool. There’s a fantastic free version, as well as an enterprise level that helps you turn notes into presentations and annotate PDFs.
Why we love it: Evernote is still the gold standard when it comes to productivity apps. It’s search function means you’ll never lose track of important details, and it syncs across multiple devices so your notes are always at hand.
The app is so popular, it has a cult following of users who have developed creative hacks to make Evernote even more useful. Check out speaker Michael Hyatt’s favorite Evernote hacks.
Check out how Evernote has helped these people:
Official Website: https://evernote.com
Noisli is an ambient noise machine with a mix of sounds specifically designed to improve focus and increases productivity. Use it to block out distractions or just to buckle down and sprint to get things done. Download it as a mobile app or chrome extension, or simply use the web version.
Why we love it: One click gives you a random mix of productivity enhancing ambient sounds, including rain, rolling thunder, lakeshore waves, or a babbling brook. You can even mix in a fan’s whirr, coffee shop sounds, or white, pink, or brown noise. Sounds can be tweaked using tiny faders to dial in the perfect productivity mix.
Noisli is definitely helping me focus with a mix of campfire, rustling leaves, and chirping crickets sounds as I write this article.
Here’s a review of the app from Mac Square:
Official Website: http://www.noisli.com/
It seems like everyone hates meetings – they take too long, they’re easily sidetracked, and often they end without specific takeaways or next steps.
Do is here to change that. The meeting-focused software tool is all about helping you run more productive meetings. It does this by keeping meetings on track via it’s easy agenda maker and timer. An @ mention feature makes it easy to call out action items, and it even has specific tags for followup and desired outcomes.
Why we love it: There are loads of great calendaring and note taking apps, but Do is specifically tailored to help you run better meetings. Integrations with Google calendar and Office 365 make it a breeze to start using.
Official Website: https://do.com/
So there you have it, the 19 HR tools that will help you master the HR landscape.
Which of these tools do you use? Let us know how they’ve helped you in the comments below.