HR Technology 101: What to Know

October 27, 2023

12 min read

HR technology should be central to every human resources team.

Human resources teams carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. From recruiting to hiring to onboarding and everything else in between, the responsibilities are many. That’s where HR technology comes in. 

Using various software, apps, and tools meant to make HR processes easier can completely change the game. We’ll give you the rundown on what this tech looks like, how it works, the benefits to using it, and which apps and software you should be exploring.

What Is HR Technology?

HR technology — human resources tech — refers to the software and hardware used to optimize HR processes in companies. Automation of simple tasks is a big aspect of this type of tech. 

For example, HR technology could include things like:

  • Administration of employee benefits
  • Workforce analytics and data
  • Employee compensation
  • Performance management
  • Talent acquisition

What’s Human Capital Management (HCM)?

Human capital management (HCM) is the idea of considering people as assets in an organization. So, for example, the HCM process includes attracting, retaining, and investing in employees. This helps brands meet their goals. 

Specific examples of what HCM can include are things like: 

  • Onboarding 
  • Employee compensation and benefits
  • Leadership development
  • Talent acquisition
  • Performance management
  • Employee training and development

Some of these examples overlap with areas that HR technology in general touches as well. That’s because the two are so closely related. 

What’s the difference between HCM, HRIS, and HRMS?

Both terms “human resource management system” (HRMS) and “human resources information system” (HRIS) have historically been used to house various HR technologies. However, in the past few years, the term HCM has grown to replace those terms. 

Types of HR Technology

HR technology is a large umbrella that spans multiple types of tech. Some of the most popular types of HR technology aim to optimize areas like:

  • Talent acquisition and management
  • Employee engagement
  • Payroll, compensation, and benefits
  • Performance management
  • Employee training
  • Expense management

Talent acquisition and management

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of HR is talent acquisition and management. Fortunately for HR teams, the HR technology available today can automate and streamline the processes seamlessly. 

Recruiting, onboarding, evaluating, and tracking the process of candidates can be tiresome, tedious, and even difficult, especially at large corporations. With HR tech, teams can manage all of those aspects in one central place instead of multiple types of software. 

For example, some of the most common types of talent acquisition and management technology include things like:

  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS), which allow HR teams to oversee the entire acquisition process, from recruiting to screening to interviewing and even making job offers
  • Tools for talent assessment, such as software that analyze a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities, especially to make hiring decisions 
  • Platforms for recruiting automation that often use both machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline talent acquisition tasks like screening, scheduling interviews, and offer negotiations

Employee engagement

In the world of human resources, employee engagement is critical. As such, HR technology has grown to bridge the gap in workforce engagement. For example, this tech can be used to encourage employees and keep them feeling positively about their position and the company. 

For companies targeting employee engagement through HR technology, there are plenty of options for potential engagement, such as:

  • Surveys where workers can give feedback and feel heard
  • Employee recognition efforts, such as software that openly recognizes workers for their successes and achievements at the company
  • Social collaboration tools that allow for natural teamwork and character building 

Payroll, compensation, and benefits

Payroll and employee compensation are two huge responsibilities of HR teams which can be automated by HR technology. For example, an HCM system could track workforce wages and pay employees.

In terms of benefits, HR technology allows employees to easily access their benefits information online whereas in the past, this information wasn’t digitized let alone easily accessible. 

Employees can navigate everything included in their benefits, from insurance to time off. Some company employee benefit programs even include corporate wellness programs, another great example of HR technology. A company’s workforce may be further encouraged with incentives to be active participants in these types of employee wellness programs, too. 

Performance management

Similar to employee engagement, performance management is another huge area where HR technology thrives. In the past, employees would typically have one review with their manager or boss per year. With the current available technology, this process can be “automated” in that an employee’s performance can be continuously tracked through HCM systems. 

Company staff can evaluate their own performance, set performance goals, keep track of their skills, and identify where they need to improve all in one place whenever they want (as opposed to once a year). 

Employee training

Because HCM focuses on viewing employees as valuable assets, workforce training is one of the essential areas where HR technology can come into play. For example, in the corporate world, education and training programs can be personalized in learning management software (LMS) where HR teams can track employee progress and performance.

These training programs are usually interactive and offer specific features like video conferencing, discussion posts and threads, and quizzes. 

Expense management

Managing company expenses and travel costs can also be greatly improved by using HR technology. For example, expense report software can automate the process of giving those in senior leadership an idea of where the company’s budget is going. 

This type of tech can also help HR teams do things like:

  • Track travel expenses
  • Reimburse employees
  • Offer travel services 
  • Pay any travel expenses, vendors, or providers

Because this industry is constantly evolving, there’s a plethora of emerging HR technology trends worth considering. 

One huge area is the rise of AI, particularly generative AI, and machine learning in the field of HR. For example, AI is central for tech connected to talent acquisition and recruiting, learning and employee development, performance management, and employee engagement.

The concept of the “cloud” revolutionized data storage, and many HR teams are shifting to systems with cloud technology. In comparison to more “traditional” systems, using cloud-based systems offer a whole host of benefits, such as:

  • Facilitating scalability to meet company needs
  • Being more budget-friendly and affordable
  • Its user friendliness 
  • Being more accessible in general, considering the system can be accessed anywhere so long as there’s an internet connection

Today, the employee experience is a big consideration and a worthy HR technology trend. It’s perhaps the most significant trend transforming the human resources landscape. HR technology allows teams to hone in on the employee experience through things like: 

  • Identifying and providing solutions to problems with employee engagement
  • Making the recruitment and onboarding process more personalized for the candidate
  • Aiding in DEIB by making the workplace more diverse and inclusive 

7 HR Technology Tools Worth Exploring

For companies that want to explore the vast world of HR technology, it can get a little overwhelming. There are so many apps and tools out there that it can be difficult to know what’s worth it and what’s not. 

To help narrow it down a bit, here are seven worthwhile HR technology tools businesses should start considering.

1. Yoodli

One of the most important jobs in HR is having meaningful, professional conversations with employees and potential clients depending on the company. With regard to communication HR technology, Yoodli should be your go-to pick. 

Yoodli is a comprehensive speech coach made possible through generative AI technology. This app was created to help people improve their communication and that includes HR teams. Companies can use Yoodli in multiple ways, from prepping for screening interviews to practicing successful communication with clients. 

Here’s an example. Someone working in HR can upload or record a video of themselves practicing a screening interview and get immediate, insightful metrics on their speech. In fact, an HR employee could use Yoodli during an actual screening interview with a potential candidate and receive real-time tips and feedback (without the candidate knowing) to make sure they hit all their talking points.

The personalized data and metrics are a result of Yoodli’s analysis of your speech. Some of the most useful insights this HR technology can provide you with include things like: 

  • If you’re dominating the conversation or going on a monologue
  • How loud you speak
  • Which filler words you use and how often you use them
  • The speed at which you speak
  • Any non-inclusive language you might’ve used accidentally (and other word choice insights)

Of course, there are more metrics provided than the ones listed above, but they’re some of the most insightful. Another helpful capability of Yoodli is that it’ll give HR teams not only a full transcript of the interview, but also a concise summary of all the most important things mentioned through AI. 

As a speech coach, Yoodli makes suggestions and gives users actionable feedback, allowing HR teams to skip the guesswork and get right to improving communication with candidates and staff. 

To learn more about how this HR technology works, check out the overview video below:

Yoodli is a prime example of how HR technology can improve communication.

2. BambooHR

In 2008, Ryan Sanders and Ben Peterson founded BambooHR, an HR technology brand that offers human resources software. Its two primary functions are a tracker for employee benefits and another tracking system for job applicants. 

However, this tool also provides other helpful features, like HR data and reporting, integrations, payroll management, and tools to help companies improve employee satisfaction. 

Many recognizable brand names use BambooHR, including companies like: 

  • Postmates
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Soundcloud

3. Culture Amp

Speaking of employee job satisfaction, Culture Amp is a phenomenal example of HR technology that has the capabilities of boosting both engagement and satisfaction in employees. 

To do this, Culture Amp provides tools for HR teams to measure satisfaction and engagement in a company’s workforce, such as ready-to-deploy surveys, retention data, and other insights. There are also features for performance management, like goal tracking and areas where employees can leave feedback. 

Some common Culture Amp clients include brand names like Canva, Etsy, and McDonald’s, for example.

4. ADP

ADP is a super common example of HR technology that many companies and teams are familiar with.

ADP’s claim to fame is as a comprehensive payroll solution. In one platform, companies can access all payroll and compensation information. It offers solutions for brands of all sizes, from start-ups to mid-sized businesses and large corporations.  

Some of the other helpful features and solutions ADP offers include:

  • Compliance services
  • Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Talent acquisition and management 
  • Benefits administration
  • Workforce management 

5. 15Five

With regard to employee performance management, a tool like 15Five is a great choice.  This type of HR technology helps engage employees and improve managerial skills.

For example, 15Five provides HR teams with things like engagement surveys, performance reviews, places for employees to leave feedback, as well as manager coaching and training. It also hosts “team metrics,” which include measurements related to manager effectiveness, turnover rates, employee engagement, and performance.

It’s a trusted company used by well-known brands such as Credit Karma and HubSpot.

6. Workday

Another worthy example of HR technology is Workday, a software that hones in on cloud-based lifecycle management and other human resources tools. 

Some of its specific applications include: 

  • Revenue management, including CRM integration, billing, contracts, and revenue recognition
  • Procurement, such as invoicing, POs, and requisitions
  • Human resources management, including compensation management and absence management
  • Recruiting internal and external candidates
  • Time tracking for employee productivity
  • Talent acquisition and management, including things like onboarding, goal management, and development planning

This isn’t all Workday has to offer, but these are some of the most celebrated features according to clients. 

7. JazzHR

If you’re looking for HR technology specific to recruiting and onboarding, JazzHR is another option worth thinking about. In a nutshell, this tool helps employers recruit, hire, and onboard new employees in a simple, straightforward manner. 

This hiring platform helps businesses find more qualified candidates and in turn, streamlines the entire talent acquisition process. With JazzHR, businesses can do things like:

  • Personalize the recruiting process
  • Better manage candidate pools
  • Track and rank candidates
  • Digitize the process from start to finish 

Benefits of HR Technology

HR technology is becoming increasingly more important and there are tons of benefits to implementing this type of tech. Namely, some of the top benefits of HR technology are:

  • Lower costs overall
  • Improved decision-making
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Better employee engagement

Increased efficiency and productivity

Automation is the name of the game with HR technology and it’s also exactly why this type of tech leads to increased efficiency and productivity at companies. 

It’s one of the best benefits of HR technology. Specific ways these tools can boost a company’s productivity and efficiency include: 

  • Making data and analysis more accessible to HR teams, such as employee engagement insights, workforce demographic data, and employee performance metrics
  • Automating manual jobs that tend to take a lot of time away from HR teams, such as performance management reviews, payroll and compensation, and benefits administration
  • Making the employee experience more personalized in accordance with HCM

Reduced costs

For companies looking to cut costs, HR technology is a great way to do so. As mentioned above, increasing a workforce’s productivity and efficiency is one way to reduce costs. Automating simple tasks also decreases expenses as HR teams can essentially accomplish more tasks in less time.

Other ways that this type of tech lowers expenses is by:

  • Lowering compliance costs, since teams and workforces can abide by workplace HR rules easier with accessible information, leading to a decreased chance of companies facing fines for regulations violations
  • Increasing employee retention rates through job satisfaction and a more personalized experience for staff, which lowers costs in the long run

Improved employee engagement and satisfaction

As mentioned above, when companies can improve aspects like employee satisfaction and engagement, retention rates will rise. HR technology can  boost job satisfaction in workers in a few potential ways. 

For example, HR teams can use this type of tech to: 

  • Improve communication with employees and staff
  • Recognize and highlight employees for their work and contributions to the company
  • Give workers more control over their life at work, specifically through HR technology like online portal where employees can request time off, check their benefits, and other HR-related tasks
  • Offer engaging, useful training and developmental resources, like learning programs, webinars, and virtual courses

Better decision-making

Perhaps the best benefit of HR technology is that it allows companies to make more informed decisions when it comes to business. For example, this kind of tech provides companies with specific data, metrics, and insights that can provide more context for stakeholders making these choices. 

Tracking workforce data — namely things like survey responses, social media activity, and email usage — can help HR teams make better choices when it comes to boosting employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. 

The Bottom Line

HR technology isn’t going away anytime soon. Companies looking to streamline human resources processes or automate manual tasks should absolutely consider some of the apps listed above. 

The benefits to using HR technology are endless and tools like Yoodli or 15Five can completely transform how your team functions, as well as the organization as a whole.



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