Your tech stack must meet the needs of your organization both where it is and where it's going in the near future. That's why it's imperative to work toward an HR tech stack that’s designed both to support your business today and to provide support as your business continues to scale.
As your company grows, your HR Tech needs become increasingly complex. Your tech stack, including all of the HR tools you use, must meet the needs of your organization both where it is and where it's going in the near future. Don't implement an HR tech tool that you cannot plan on using for at least two years. That's why many high-growth companies get strong HR tech tools in place earlier than more traditional small businesses; they expect to see that high level of growth. You don't need an SMB tool if you aren't planning to be an SMB for long! Instead, work toward an HR tech stack that’s designed both to support your business today and to provide support as your business continues to scale.
Over the past ten years, I've had the chance to demo or use dozens of HR technology solutions and review potentially hundreds. Let's take a look at how to best scale your HR tech from seed to series B, hopefully using conversational and human language instead of technical HR terms.
Software selection and implementation is a huge subject that I can't possibly do justice to in the time we have here. However, I'd like to offer a few general tips that can help you accomplish your goals.
Think about the type of company you work at, what type of culture you have, and what type of person you are. Evaluate the company's values, philosophies, frameworks, and growth trajectory. When you have that solid understanding of where you're coming from, you put yourself in a better position to choose the tools that will best deliver on what your brand really needs.
If you've never done a successful HR technology selection and implementation before, then consider getting some extra support from a consulting company that specializes in HR Tech like DayoneHR. Botched HR technology implementations can cost your business a lot. In some cases, as an HR leader, it can even cost you your job! Don't underestimate the time and work required to do it well, even in smaller organizations. If you need help, reach out.
At this stage, your business is just getting off the ground. You likely have between 3 and 50 employees and probably need at least three people processes that are best supported by technology, though your specific needs may depend on the complexity of your workforce, including their locations and employment status. One, common tool may do the job for a while, but general tools start to lose to purpose-built tools when you're growing quickly or reach a certain scale. Rippling is a great place to start as an all-in-one.
As your business grows, you'll start to identify places where you need to improve your tech stack: often specific modules that just aren't delivering on your current needs. You can then replace the weak modules, including recruiting or performance management, with something purpose-built.
Typically, the first thing you need is a way to recruit and hire people. You need an ATS (applicant tracking system). It's important to get that ATS off the ground quickly so that you don't have to worry about large-scale data loss or migration. I've seen companies start by just using the recruitment module their HRIS (human resource information system) includes, Google Docs and Forms, Notion, or AngelList. Each of these, however, have their own set of limitations. A strong ATS like Comeet, Greenhouse, or Lever can make a huge difference in your recruiting and tracking needs.
Most ATS companies like Comeet have a starter-type package to affordably support your business when it's smaller, then offer pricing models that grow along with you. Before you get started, take a look at your specific business and what you need. Consider:
Check G2 reviews, talk to providers, and carefully evaluate your real business needs, rather than just selecting an ATS you've heard of before.
Now that you've hired some amazing people, you need a way to pay them. There are a lot of factors that may go into selecting the right payment solution.
If all of your employees are based in the United States, you can likely DIY with your Finance or HR team. Solutions like Gusto, Quickbooks Payroll, or Rippling can all offer the features you need. Other small business owners elect to outsource payroll to an accountant or bookkeeper. Finally, some choose to use a PEO like Justworks or Rippling.
If you have team members outside the United States, which has become increasingly common with many startups, the easiest way to pay them is with a solution like Papaya Global, Deel, or Pilot. Rippling also has a new solution for international employees. Make sure you look at:
You've got the means to pay people. Now, you need a core Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that will allow you to provide support for your employees. You may have several options.
The best purpose-built HRIS in the US right now are Hibob, Rippling, and BambooHR.
As a mid-level stage company, you continue to need to hire, pay, and support people, often at a deeper level. You may continue to add tools to your tech stack to support your growing company, which means that integrations become increasingly important. Keep in mind, however, that integrations are not the primary purpose of your software. Give them their due value, rather than placing excess weight on them.
If you decided in the Early Stage to use a DIY or customized solution for hiring, it's time to give it up. It will never scale. As your company grows, you need a Core Talent Acquisition Platform (ATS) just like you need a Core People Platform (HRIS). If you have full-time recruiters and not many applicants, you definitely want an ATS that integrates with LinkedIn Recruiter to support passive candidate sourcing.
I also recommend using outbound email campaigns to engage passive candidates in addition to sending LinkedIn InMails and connect requests. There are some very good purpose-built tools that run alongside LinkedIn Recruiter to help with this, including SourceWhale and Gem.
At this stage, you also want to make sure that you're investing heavily in your employer brands. That means tools like:
Monitor your Glassdoor page closely and respond to each review, even the negative ones. Take ownership and apologize for anything that was not the candidate or employee experience that you aim to offer.
As long as you're still only hiring full-time employees and contractors in the United States, you should still be good with tools like Justworks or Gusto. If your team is more global, I strongly suggest adding one of the global or remote team member payment options mentioned above. Rippling has the ability to handle both US-based and international payments, making it an excellent solution for teams that are looking for an all-in-one solution. Keep in mind, however, that their global payment options are still somewhat limited as they roll out new countries.
As your brand grows, hopefully, you are ready to start paying employees with things like benefits and stock options, too. PEOs like Rippling and Justworks will handle the benefits side for you, but you may also want to go find your own benefit providers to add additional benefits not covered by your PEO. Some potential solutions include:
As we discussed before, your Core HR Platform should be able to scale to this point with its core functionality. However, there are likely specific modules that are no longer able to support the level of sophistication required as your company matures. Typically, recruiting modules will need to be replaced first, followed by performance management tools.
Luckily, there are plenty of great performance management tools out there. Try:
Start by determining the company's performance management philosophy and company goal-setting framework, just as you would before choosing any other tool or software. Consider the company values, philosophy, and corresponding frameworks before selecting a software solution. This is especially important with performance management since it can be a controversial subject. Do you want a continuous or cyclical performance management style? Do you like the "rank and yank" format? Personally, I believe in treating people as genuine human beings with feelings, hopes, and dreams, not units of production or numbers in a financial model; and I hope that you will let similar beliefs guide your performance management philosophy and process.
As a talent leader, you'll likely want to see more data, analytics, and reporting together than is available in a single system as your company continues to grow. Check out Knoetic, a people analytics platform that can pull all HR and people data together in one place. With that simple shift, you can get more insights into your team's performance and into what they really need.
Whether your company is at the Seed stage or moving toward Series B, I hope you've found practical information in this guide that will help you move your brand forward. While it has left out entire HR tech software categories and controversial subjects, my goal is to provide a practical framework that will help you move forward with a more comprehensive understanding of the technology your brand really needs in order to excel. My hope is that it will inspire you to think strategically about your HR tech needs. Allow yourself to be guided by your company values, your philosophies, and your frameworks for technology selection.
A tech stack to support that growth is just a part of the equation. The recruitment strategy, effective sourcing, and trusted partners who understand how to help teams achieve those growth goals are just as important.
Comeet has supported high-growth companies such as Fivver, Sodastream, and hundreds of others that went from small start-ups to global brands. We’d be honored to learn more about your growth goals and show you how our end-to-end hiring platform and recruiting solutions can take you to the next level.