December 9, 2016

6 HR Tools Every Mid-Size Company Needs

Mid-size companies play a central role in our economy: According to a 2016 report by American Express and Dun & Bradstreet, mid-size companies are leaders in national job growth, employing nearly 53 million workers.

For the human resource professionals that serve these mid-size companies, that’s a tremendous number of employees to support and engage. High employee engagement is a proven driver of productivity and profitability, but getting there is not without its share of challenges. For example, with rapid growth comes the need for efficient onboarding. With expansion into new markets come additional state laws required for compliance. With an eye toward profits comes the need to scale performance management across an entire organization.

ALSO READ: 5 Pulse Survey Solutions for Your Engagement Woes

The good news is that there are many tools available to help HR leaders implement reliable and efficient processes. A customized HR tech stack can now support everything from recruiting and onboarding to payroll and benefits — to help not only HR, but also employees and managers,  seamlessly maneuver through HR-related needs.

For those getting started or adding to their stack, here are the six fundamental tools to consider:

1. Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

HR has a lot of data to deal with. Traditionally, all that data meant mountains of paperwork and forms. Today, many HR professionals use dozens of spreadsheets. The 2015 Global Workforce Leadership Survey found that 58 percent of companies are still using spreadsheets as their primary way to track performance metrics.

While spreadsheets may be easier to manage than walls of filing cabinets, data gets separated into silos, and that makes it easy for things to fall through the cracks.   

A human resources information system (HRIS) solves this problem. It brings all of your HR data together into one flexible system. That means payroll, employee information, performance data, and more can all be found, managed, and updated in one place. Information is not only easier to find, but easier to use.

2. Benefits Administration

Alongside meaningful work and competitive pay, benefits ranks as one of the top three factors for employee engagement, according to a 2016 #HRWins report. But managing a wide range of benefits offerings (health insurance, disability, wellness, commuter, etc.) can be complicated.

Benefits administration software helps you manage your packages and individual benefits in one spot. Employees can easily enroll, view their coverage, and make updates when life events occur. Plus, benefits software helps HR take the complexity out of compliance, from ACA filings to COBRA and ERISA.

When your benefits administration software works in conjunction with your HR and payroll tools,         you can make sure key information is seamlessly fed to the right channels and keep your employees fully covered.

3. Payroll

Making sure your employees are paid correctly for their hard work is no easy task. A 2014 Deloitte Survey found that one-in-four companies is considering a cloud-based solution to support their payroll functions.   

The benefits for HR are clear: You can digitally process your employee payroll, access reporting capabilities, and simplify tax filings. And there are big wins for your employees too, like easy access to pay stubs and pay history.

4. Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

The hiring process is getting longer and more difficult. In fact, a June 2015 report from Glassdoor found that, from 2010 to 2014, the average time it took to hire an employee in the U.S. increased from 12.6 days to 22.9 days.

Employers struggle to find the right talent with the skills they need. Because HR fields hundreds of applications for each open position, they spend a lot of time looking through resumes for qualified candidates.

Speed up this process with an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS will do the first round of application reviews for you and weed out candidates who aren’t fit for the role. Set up your ATS to scan resumes and applications for the most important keywords. The system will then eliminate any applications missing those keywords. And just like that, you’re one step and countless hours closer to finding the talent you need.

5. Employee Feedback

Many companies face a communication gap between employees, management, and HR. While HR and management may think they know what employees want, a 2015 SHRM survey of more than 600 employees found that only 37 percent of respondents were very satisfied with the consideration their ideas received.

While HR can’t be everywhere at once, technology can help. Using a survey platform to keep track of employee satisfaction and suggestions can help keep HR connected with the people in their organization. Survey platforms let you customize surveys and send them out to employees on a regular basis. You can keep track of employee feedback and take action in the areas that matter most to employees.

6. Learning Management System (LMS)

Employees want more learning and development to keep their skills sharp and stay engaged with their work. A learning management system (LMS) can make the development process better for both employees and HR.

An LMS manages every aspect of employee training and development. It can also be used to administer e-courses and webinars, track employee progress, record notes and resources, and facilitate discussion.  

With the right approach, employees will stay engaged with their training and actually retain what they learned. Meanwhile, HR can easily track progress.

Making the Investment

Choosing any new software tool should be a careful, thoughtful decision, but you can simplify the process by seeking out products that let you check off multiple features at once. Whichever solution(s) you choose, HR technology can generate immense ROI and improve the experience of everyone involved.


Annie Shapiro is the content marketing manager at Namely, the all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today’s employees. 

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