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  • Ingeborg van Harten

HR Tooling: The Right Way

Being ‘tech-savvy’ has become one of the key traits of successful people professionals. This might not be what you studied for. It’s quite far removed from psychology and traditional human resources.

For many of us, tools aren’t really a core strength (yet) and therefore we probably don’t focus on them enough. However, tools are here to stay. Your smartest move by far is to embrace them. Better even, master them.

The right tools enable you to be more efficient and more creative in your work. Nice side-effects are that your CEO/CFO will love you for the data, insights and predictability you bring to the business. This is how the people function gets a seat at the table. Your employees will be impressed with their experience, and you will have more time for impactful conversations. So, time to dive into this topic.

We regularly implement (or improve) tools to optimize people processes at our clients. On complex projects we often work together with Jon Moore. Also known as ‘Data Jon’ and our guest writer this month!


A word from Jon:

"There are lots of innovative tools available to support us in our roles. For someone like me, who loves all things tech, it is like being a kid in a candy store 🍭!

I help People and Culture teams prepare for growth. I do this by implementing essential HR tools, crafting intelligent processes and proactively utilising data to drive business decisions.

Here are my top tips, based on my experience, for choosing and using your HR Tech Stack.’

Tools and the People Foundation: When scaling a People function, the focus is generally on hiring fast and onboarding new colleagues as quickly as possible. There is limited time to get the people foundation in place with the right tools and processes.

The focus becomes short-term solutions, workarounds and often an overwhelming amount of spreadsheets to keep track of everything. 

The admin issue: You can survive doing this when you are small, but soon you need to do things at scale. Admin tasks themselves can become overwhelming. It also leads to mistakes and poor data, reducing the impact and image of the people function as a key partner to the business. Too much time is spent reacting to business needs rather than partnering with the business, and helping them anticipate what’s next.

Our roles become transactional: the business says, “Jump” and we tend to say, “How high?”.  The technology is available to help ease this burden, however, there is so much choice that it can be overwhelming.

  • ‘Which tool is right for us?’

  • ‘What is this going to cost?’

  • ‘Which tool should we purchase first?

  • ‘Are we getting the most from the tools we have?’ 

  • ‘How are we going to implement and manage these tools?’

I have spent the last few years helping scaling companies manage this process, ensuring they get the most from their tools. I love this type of work because you get the technology working for you, and you can make more impact.

Read the full article with Jon’s detailed tips and links to his instructional video’s here 👉🏻

TL;DR - here is the summary!

Tip #1 Invest time to gather your requirements

Ask yourself, what are the “must-haves” that a tool needs to have to support you over the next 3 years? Make sure you have your requirements super clear before you start comparing systems.

Tip #2 Get buy-in from the business

Once you have your requirements you need to convince your stakeholders to invest in the tool. What is important for your stakeholders will be different to what you find important. Show them the added value and cost savings.

Tip #3 Implement the tools well

Invest time to implement the tools you purchase properly. You are spending significant amounts of money to purchase a tool so it is important to invest time to set it up correctly.  Systems are only as good as the data and structure you put in them. 

Tip #4 Get your tools talking to each other

Make your HRIS the centre of your tech stack. Adding a new co-worker in one system should automatically mean they are added to other systems, without you having to type the information again.

‘If you are typing the same information in twice, find a way to automate it.‘

Tip #5 Make time to understand your tools 

The tools you have purchased are constantly improving. Just like the updates you get on your mobile. Set aside a couple of hours per month to read the product updates. Use the time to understand the changes. How can they help you do your work better?

Tip #6 Data is key! Use it to drive decisions.

Embrace data as part of your people strategy. Dashboards are a great place to begin. Bringing your key metrics to the surface will help you and your stakeholders become comfortable using data and start to understand the business. 🪄 The magic happens when you combine data sources to tell a story.

Tip #7 The tools we can’t live without! (Clearly we needed 7 tips, not 6 😅)

Alongside great HR tools, there are some other practical tools we cannot live without. Here are some of Jon’s (and our) favourites:

  • Coda - go-to tool for collaborating and project management. It literally does everything.

  • Butter - the must-have tool for delivering online training sessions and workshops. Definitely try out the soundboard.

  • Loom - make sharing information fun by creating quick videos showing your on-screen actions. The person you are training will thank you.

  • Shift - if you work with multiple email accounts, apps such as Teams, Slack, Zoom, Google suite etc you need Shift. All your online apps in one place.

  • Gamma - your presentations don’t have to be boring any longer! Gamma is a fantastic tool to create beautiful presentations easily that will help you stand out.


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