What Are the 20 Most Important Types of HR Technology?

January 30th, 2017 Comments off
HR Technology

Human resources technology refers to all of the software used to track, manage, pay, understand, find, inform, remember and deliver benefits to the people in an organization. As you might guess, the more people in the operation, the more complicated the HR software. For example, larger organizations have people problems that are unimaginable in small businesses.

There are between 70 and 100 discrete types of HR technology in total. This article will act as a cheat sheet to the 20 most important types of HR software.

Core HR Technology

Core HR includes all of the tools required to do the basics.

  • Payroll. There are often many bits of software combined to make the payroll system. It includes all of the elements and data required to make payday happen. Executive bonuses and sales compensation are the primary complicators of the payroll process.
  • Time and attendance. Time clocks, attendance and time keeping are the foundation of this area, which often includes scheduling.
  • Workforce management (WM). WM includes keeping track of time off, vacation schedules and the allocation of people to shifts. In highly technical environments (e.g., aerospace or nuclear), a specific set of skills may be required to have a shift.
  • Benefits administration (BA). The core challenge is making sure that benefits are effectively and equitably distributed. BA complexity grows when organizations decide to become self-insuring. Pension management falls under this category. When medical information is included, some of the data is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Human resources information system (HRIS). The HRIS is the central repository for information about employees. Usually, the data is assembled in profiles that can include a skills inventory and personal contact information. The HRIS is often referred to as the “system of record”. The HRIS can serve as an employee directory.
  • Org charting. The more complex the organization, the more time is spent figuring out how to explain who works for whom. A good org chart helps everyone understand who goes together. Great org charting software is indispensable when the operation is required to adjust due to layoffs or changing business conditions.
  • Data and analytics (D&A). The depth and array of data in the HR department (and the company) make it useful to have tools specifically designed to illuminate the performance of both the HR department and the people in the company. Usually, installing a D&A toolkit requires solving a series of data integration problems. The project is often undertaken because the benefits extend well beyond simple data integration. It takes a clear data strategy to be able to effectively understand how the organization operates.
  • Employee communications (EC). In the old days, EC was as simple as publishing the employee newsletter and getting the benefits brochures right. Today’s EC function includes engagement surveys, email campaigns, feedback loops, recognition software and collaboration systems.

Talent Management Technology (TM)

The contemporary TM function is responsible for employees, from acquisition through disposition. Where Core HR technology focuses on administrative details (like inventory management), the TM function is focused on the match between employees and the actual work. TM identifies staffing requirements and is responsible for the development of employees.

  • Talent acquisition (TA). TA is the sum total of the technology required to identify, recruit and onboard a new employee.
    • Applicant tracking system (ATS). This is the heart of the recruiting operation. Most recruiting workflow is wrapped around the ATS. A good ATS ends up being a tool for tracking regulatory compliance on hiring issues. It usually contains a searchable resume database and the elements of hiring.
    • Sourcing (recruitment marketing). Sourcing is the discovery of potential employees. This area grows faster than any other aspect of HR technology. It includes over 35 discrete functions that range from job postings to email campaigns to database tools.
    • Pre-hire assessment and screening (A&S). Pre-hire processes range widely depending on industry, region and level of employment. Drug testing, background checks, polygraphs, personality tests and reference checks all have levels of automation and data flows. The data can be kept in either the HRIS or the ATS depending on the software.
    • Onboarding. Onboarding software is used to standardize the completion of regulatory forms, the allocation of software and passwords and, sometimes, to enhance the new employee’s move to productivity.
  • Performance Management (PM). PM technology is used to track goals and assess employee performance. These tools used to be executed on an annual cycle. Today, the PM world is being re-evaluated. Some very large companies have stopped using traditional PM tools.
  • Succession Planning (SP). SP software tracks and manages the decisions associated with the management of replacements. It contains the promotion plan and the executive succession plan. The idea is to understand what will happen in unforeseen circumstances as well as who the most promotable leaders are.
  • Compensation (Comp). Comp software houses market-based compensation studies, job descriptions and (sometimes) competency libraries. Comp management software is used to assure that the company is adhering to its compensation philosophy and offering wages that are competitive.
  • Learning and Development (L&D). The L&D (or training) department is responsible for the acquisition, development, design, delivery and recordkeeping of company training. The software used to do this is called a learning management system (LMS). This is often the largest function in the HR department. Technology changes are making this a dynamic part of HR.
  • Workforce Planning (WP). WP is the long-range strategic look at the company’s need for various kinds of people. It is a reality check on strategic plans. One aspect of WP is trying to understand how to help the workforce develop to meet those future requirements.
Now that you know HR technology basics, check out “Boolean Search Secrets to Make You More Effective

John Sumser is the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in human resources and human capital. John is also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises human resources, recruiting departments and talent management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance. 

Boolean Search Secrets to Make You More Effective

January 11th, 2017 Comments off
Boolean Search Secrets to Make You More Effective

If you’ve been in the HR space as long as I have, you know the hardest part of recruiting used to be knowing how to find the people you wanted to hire. Recruiters often played the role of detectives who used ruses and telephone networking techniques to lead them to the candidates they wanted to interact with. The technology is different today but the basics of HR are still the same.

How Recruiters’ Jobs Have Evolved

Until the mid-1990’s, Boolean logic — the foundation of Boolean search — was the exclusive province of librarians, lawyers and software developers. As the World Wide Web emerged, Boolean search came of age as one of the primary tools of recruiters around the world. Boolean search involves using specific logic and special ‘operators’ to dig deeper into search engines like Google.

Today recruiters have access to an abundance of information about prospective employees using the leading search engines. Finding what they’re looking for involves being able to be specific enough.

Tips and Tricks You Can Start Using Now

Boolean operators can be used to narrow, expand or refine the results of a search query:

• OR means that the search results should include either of two terms. i.e.,
MBA OR Masters of Business Administration
The search results will include either of the two terms but not necessarily both. You can make long strings of OR to make sure that a large range of terms are included.
• AND means that the search results should include both terms. i.e.,
Java AND C++
All search results will include both terms.
• NOT means that the following term should be excluded from search results. i.e.,
Java NOT C++
The search results will include the first term and will exclude results that contain the second term.

In addition to these core operators, Boolean includes powerful modifiers

• Quotation Marks “__“ mean that the search engine should treat the words inside of the quotation makes as a single search term. The search query “baseball player” returns documents with those two words together. Without the quotes, the search results contain documents with those words anywhere, not necessarily next to each other
• Parentheses (_____) are especially useful with long strings of OR queries. i.e.,
(Java OR C++ OR Ruby OR JavaScript)
• Asterisk * (or Wildcard) allows the search to contain the stem of a word. The search develop* would return results with any of the following words: develops, developer, developers, development, developments, developing

Connecting With Candidates Using Search

When this all began, more than 20 years ago, using search to solve problems was a novelty. Back then, the notion of Boolean search referred to the use of terms like OR, AND or NOT to increase the effectiveness of a query. In the intervening years, all search engines have added advanced search capabilities that include a variety of terms and symbols to expand the effectiveness of the user.

Each database that you use to discover candidates will have some advanced search capabilities. They might include:

• Date ranges so that you can search only documents that emerged in the last month, last year or in a specific time frame.
• Document types so that you can specify PDF, doc, docx, xls or ppt for example. Search results will only contain these types of files.
• Specific domains: This modifier forces the search to only look at a specific domain. This is useful to search competitor websites.

Developing strong skills in search techniques makes the difference in the quality of recruiting results. The more a recruiter can unearth results from easily available sources, the more valuable he or she is to the organization. Boolean search techniques matter because they provide a competitive differentiation.

Are you doing what it takes to stand out from the competition?

Want to become a pro in the fundamentals of Boolean search? Check out our guide to learn how sourcing masters use Boolean to tap into talent across the web.