Breaking Down the HR Tech Stack — Part 2

February 6th, 2024 – SkillCycle

An illustrated gif displaying the title of this blog Breaking Down the HR Tech Stack

Chapter 2: Breaking down the HR tech stack

Some HR tools and systems hold key data elements and are necessary to manage your workforce effectively. However, other tools must be added to the mix in a thoughtful way.  

Your HR tech stack should not just collect data, but also create opportunities to analyze, interpret, and act upon the insights gained. 

Let’s walk through a few tools you may have in your HR tech stack, along with common gaps that could hurt the efficacy of your entire HR process. We’ll also outline what each tool should empower you to do instead.  

Human Resource Information System (HRIS) 

An HRIS manages and stores employee data such as personal information, employment history, job roles, and contact details. This centralized database assists in various HR functions, including benefits administration, payroll processing, tracking paid and unpaid time off, and generating HR reports. 

Why it’s valuable: An HRIS can lighten the manual load of HR administrative tasks and ensure the accuracy of employee records.

Potential gap: Not addressing redundant or out-of-date data within the system. Outdated information can lead to inaccuracies, making it challenging to rely on for decision-making.


A better approach: Regularly audit and update your HRIS database to ensure accuracy, and implement training for accurate data entry practices to maintain consistent and reliable information.


Talent development

Your talent development system should include programs and strategies to enhance employees’ skills, knowledge, and capabilities. It encompasses training, coaching, mentoring, upskilling, and other learning initiatives to foster employee growth and advance careers. 

Why it’s valuable: Investing in talent development improves employee performance, retains top talent, and helps to align workforce skills with organizational goals.

Potential gap: Collecting feedback from training programs or development initiatives without analyzing it to tailor future programs or address skill gaps.


A better approach: Any tool you use for talent development should enable you to analyze feedback and performance results continuously. Then, you can use this data to refine training programs, personalize learning paths, and address specific skill gaps.


Performance management

A performance management system should help you administer each step required to evaluate, measure, and improve employee performance. Setting clear goals, providing regular feedback, conducting appraisals, and identifying areas for recognition or improvement are all necessary components. 

Why it’s valuable: Communicating performance expectations and offering support can help you align individual efforts to larger company objectives.

Potential gap: Conducting performance evaluations without a structured approach to use the data for coaching, goal setting, or career development.

A better approach: Ensure performance reviews aren’t merely a formality, but instead used to gain valuable insights. Develop action plans based on review outcomes, set clear goals, offer support, and link performance assessments to individual growth opportunities.


360 reviews

Your 360-degree feedback review system should gather input about performance from various sources close to the employee, including managers, peers, direct reports, and sometimes external stakeholders. These reviews provide a more comprehensive assessment of an employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and possible areas for development and upskilling. 

Why these are valuable: Leveraging 360 reviews allows you to promote self-awareness, encourage continuous improvement, and foster a culture of consistent, actionable feedback. 

Potential gap: Gathering 360-degree feedback but not providing a clear framework for action or improvement based on the collected insights.

A better approach: After collecting feedback, facilitate discussions between employees and managers to create actionable development plans. Encourage your managers to provide ongoing feedback to track progress, reward improvement, and develop training programs.


Pulse surveys

Pulse surveys offer immediate insights into your employees’ sentiments. These surveys are short, frequently delivered, and designed to collect real-time employee feedback on specific topics, such as workplace culture, employee engagement, satisfaction, or current projects. 

Why these are valuable: Unlike traditional annual surveys, pulse surveys allow you to identify patterns, monitor trends, and swiftly address issues to improve employee experience and engagement.

Potential gap: Conducting pulse surveys frequently but failing to close the feedback loop by acknowledging responses, implementing changes, and communicating results.

A better approach: Establish a system to promptly address issues identified in pulse surveys. Communicate your findings and the steps followed to demonstrate that feedback leads to actual improvements, fostering a culture of trust within your organization.

Your HR tech stack should have a tangible impact. This is why it’s key to regularly review your processes associated with each tool and the data it provides.

Your tech stack also needs to be cohesive. A lack of cohesion can cause problems to arise. For instance, if a software provider designed an HR tool to manage one primary function, it’s rare for add-ons developed after the fact to be as effective. The vendor often won’t have designated sales or support staff to answer questions, ensure alignment, and help customers get value out of the additional features. 

“Some customers feel left on their own to implement and navigate these additional features without the appropriate infrastructure or support,” says Hibschman. “They’re trying to make something work that was never the core of what they purchased.”

Many companies start with a basic HRIS, which is a necessary tool, but end up with disconnected systems by adding on other systems ad hoc. This approach leaves them lacking a strategy to integrate data into actionable insights that drive the company forward. (Don’t worry—we have a solution we’ll introduce shortly).


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