Ultimate list of HR tools every HR manager should know about

Last updated:
January 15, 2021
August 22, 2022
min read
Adrie Smith
hr tools for hr managers
Table of contents

Human resources is the only department in an organization that’s directly involved with every business division and all employees. The HR function is vastly diversified and responsible for masses of different crucial information.

Digital HR tools have transformed how things are done today. And that has elevated HR practitioners from mostly administrators to innovators whose input has a direct impact on performance.

If that doesn’t really resonate with the reality of your HR department, it’s probably because you’ve not embraced HR tech options. There's lots of room to grow when it comes to HR tech adoption - in our recent TGTHR survey, 58% of HR professionals used 3 or less tech tools. Are your HR staff still bogged down by hours of tedious but essential admin work? If they are, your organization is lagging, and that’s going to cost you when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent.

There’s no need to panic! All you have to do is to evaluate your current systems, identify critical functions that are time-guzzlers and identify HR software tools that can be implemented to turn the situation around.

Opt for assessment and proper planning before implementation

There are countless HR tools available with new ones coming onboard daily. Many software solutions are created for specific industries or niche markets, so it’s vital that you first assess what your business requires from HR and what the HR department wants to achieve before you invest.

One of the prime contributions of digital HR is centralization. If HR functions are still handled at the branch-level and then submitted to head-office, this must be your first point of change.

Centralize all HR functions by implementing HR software that is accessible to all divisions but managed at the head office level. That way nothing is ever omitted, overlooked or delayed during the submission process.

Also, consider your budget. You can opt for HR software solutions that are implemented and integrated with your existing systems and licensed to your company. This option usually requires a once-off purchase price that includes licensing and implementation. There is usually an annual upgrade and licensing renewal fee.

Another option is software as a service solutions (SaaS). These are hosted by a third-party service provider and accessed over the internet. SaaS solutions are paid monthly at a set fee that includes upgrades and licensing.

Essentials to consider before making your buying decision

When you invest in HR software is must be because it will improve the running of your organization, increase productivity and contribute to planning and business decision making. Nothing else! Never buy into something because someone else says it’s a good idea.

When assessing HR tools for your purposes, consider the following:

  • Can it be customized to meet the specific requirements of your organization?
  • Can it be adapted to accommodate future changes and business growth?
  • Can it be implemented without costly disruption or loss of data?
  • Will you have to spend money on additional hardware?
  • Is it user-friendly and does it offer easy to use training videos/tutorials?
  • Will it integrate seamlessly with existing systems and HR tools?
  • Does it offer real-time reports as well as audit and statutory reports?
  • Does it offer an employee self-service portal?
  • Does it offer easy access to multiple users and have tiers of access permissions?

HR tools that will take your HR department from average to exceptional

Again, not every one of these solutions will work for your organization, but there is definitely a combination that you can select to develop your digital HR toolkit.

Recruitment tools

The recruitment process can be very time consuming when it’s done manually. Writing job adverts and placing them on individual portals, wading through countless CVs, responding to applicants… it can literally take weeks to come up with a shortlist by which time many applicants might no longer be in the market.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) has all features you need to automate processes like sourcing candidates, social recruiting, and posting adverts in a few simple steps. You can also track open vacancies and candidate progress as well as schedule interviews and respond to candidates.

An ATS leads to more efficient hiring because all functions are centralized and accessible to all role players in real-time. A quality ATS can also be customized and easily integrated with other HR software tools.

Interview tools

While an ATS can help you effortlessly shortlist candidates by listing the most suitable applicants, you might need HR tools that go beyond the typical face to face or standard video interview.

Video interviewing platforms like HireVue and Spark Hire take things a step further. Both platforms support live interviews, branded videos and interview scheduling. HireVue adds machine learning to predict future performance. Spark Hire offers one-way interviews that can be recorded and reviewed later. Also, you can include features including, text or video based questions, limit think time, restrict answer length and control the number of alloted takes.

Skills assessments

Many jobs require a specific level of skill proficiency, and it makes it much easier if you can eliminate applicants who don’t meet the standard before you waste time on interviews. Whether you’re looking for general or specialist skills, there are pre-employment recruitment tools that will meet your needs.

eSkill is an online assessment platform that offers over 600 standard skills tests and 5000 combinable topics. You can also create your own tests to match your job and industry. If you’re in the tech industry, take a look at Codility or Devskiller to assess applicants’ skills by testing their code online.

Personality Assessments

Certain jobs and all senior and executive roles require specific skills that go beyond work experience and an impressive CV. Psychometric assessments tell you more about a candidate than what you can learn in an interview.

Platforms like Criteria’s Hire Select, Mercer Mettl and Plum.io all offer a broad range of aptitude, personality, psychometric and cognitive tests. All tests are designed by qualified professionals to allow you to make informed and predictive hiring decisions.


Often employee onboarding is the forgotten recruitment phase. Free yourself of the stress and invest in onboarding HR software.

Platforms like BambooHR and SilkRoad Technology specialize in onboarding, workforce readiness, and transformation. Other features include tracking time, record maintenance and HR reporting.

Talent attraction

Being able to fill roles as quickly as possible with the best available talent in the market is essential to staying ahead of the pack. The best way to do that is to have significant talent pools and strong candidate networks that you can fall back on when new vacancies become available.

LinkedIn Talent not only connects you to the right talent; it allows you to build your employer brand. LinkedIn also provides regular updates on hiring data and gives valuable HR insights.

Employee engagement

Engaged employees are happier and more productive. It’s easy to lose sight of how employees feel in the daily grind of business. Investing in an engagement tool means that your employees are always connected. Employee engagement software connects employees, management, HR and executives. You can conduct surveys, identify trends, measure overall staff morale and identify demotivated departments.

Platforms like TINYPulse, Branch Messenger and Simpplr all offer intranet services that provide various options to engage with your workforce to ensure that they’re aligned with management and business goals. Metrics and analytics provide predictive data allowing you to make data-driven decisions around employee needs, deployment and restructuring.

Employee feedback

When you ask for and acknowledge employee feedback, you build trust and promote loyalty. Recognizing and rewarding feedback is an excellent motivator that boosts staff morale. The problem with employee feedback is that it needs to be maintained to retain value. Implementing HR tools that manage employee feedback makes it consistent and genuine.

Bonusly is an employee recognition platform that allows acknowledgment  to be linked to the company’s core values while giving visibility to employee contributions. Culture Amp will enable you to build high-achieving teams that tap into the powerful connection between engagement and performance.

HR management

HR management software streamlines all HR procedures and usually integrates with other systems like finance and training and development. Many HR management platforms embrace all or some of the HR tools discussed in the article. There is HR software designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses and major multinational corporations.

ADP is a globally supported HR management tool aimed at all sizes of businesses. It integrates very well with existing systems making migration of existing data quick and easy.

Performance management

Performance appraisals should be much more than just an annual meeting between an employee and their manager. The appraisal should be a milestone for progress made and a yardstick for future development. Performance must be managed on an ongoing basis, and open feedback is essential. There’s little value in only noticing a year on that an employee failed to meet pre-agreed goals.

UltiPro is an HR tool that links performance management to related functions. It also includes timekeeping, analytics, and business intelligence. UltiPro makes decisions around compensation and succession planning fair and transparent.

Training and development

Ongoing employee training and development is essential to business success, but it has to be measured for it to add value. It’s not difficult for management to lose focus of what the workforce needs to contribute to the company’s vision and planning.

eLearning is fast becoming the norm, and iSpring Suite is a platform that allows you to build eLearning courses to suit your business. It easily integrates with PowerPoint and helps you organize and monitor individual training programs. Matrix LMS also allows you to create and manage training and activities. It facilitates communication between learners as well and has and gamification options for learning.

Payroll and benefits management

HR is not responsible for payroll and benefits management in all organizations. These functions often fall under the responsibilities of the finance department. Though, If these functions are assigned to finance, they will be integrated with HR management systems.

Ultimate Software offers a comprehensive range of HR tools, including payroll, benefits management, timekeeping, and HR and talent management solutions. Gusto also offers payroll, benefits management, and timekeeping tools.

Employer brand management

Employer brand management is a relatively new addition to the HR toolkit and something many HR managers still find it difficult to incorporate into their function. Employer branding is an art, but once again HR tech comes to the rescue.

Most HR tools that integrate with social media or interact directly with applicants and candidates allow for employer branding options. Employer branding attracts talent and features must include having a well-branded careers site that offers candidate friendly application processes. Your career’s site must also integrate with social media platforms and job boards.

Building your employer brand, sharing your vision and promoting your company culture online can seem very intimidating. Invest in the right HR tools and partner with HR software experts. Then watch your HR department transform into a place of innovation that has a direct impact on business performance.

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