HR Tech Stack

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Managing your company’s HR tasks is one of the most critical responsibilities any business owner can take on, but it can also be one of the most time-consuming. Having the right HR Tech – primarily an HRIS – can help!

To improve consistency, organization and efficiency at your business, investing in your HR Tech Stack is your best bet as you begin to scale.

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) can help streamline and automate HR processes like vacation tracking, recruitment, onboarding, payroll, performance management, and more! HRIS systems provide the power to quickly assess information and make decisions that will have long-term impacts on the success of your business.

But, finding the right technology for your HR department feels like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Googling ‘HRIS’ will produce millions of results – that’s a lot of information to review, and an overwhelming amount of options.

So, how do you select the right system that aligns with your business goals, meets your needs, and fits within your budget? And, where should you start?

We are here to provide you with some answers and guidance! Keep reading to discover:

  • What an HRIS is
  • Why you need an HRIS
  • When to invest in an HRIS
  • Which factors you should consider when choosing an HRIS, and a breakdown of what is available

What is an HRIS?

Think of your HRIS as your biggest time saver, and an incredibly important investment.

An HRIS is an advanced tool (or, a set of tools, often cloud-based) that helps companies manage their human resources more effectively. It simplifies the entire recruitment process, from applicant tracking to onboarding, eliminating manual HR tasks and reducing paperwork. With HRIS, you can automate many of your HR functions, streamlining processes like payroll and performance management.

Implementing an HRIS is one of the smartest decisions a growing company can make – this is because an HRIS is a critical tool that helps leaders manage their businesses effectively while saving time and money and improving employee engagement.

Some business owners may opt for an all-in-one HRIS system – we like to call these a ‘swiss army knife’ option. They can help with several different processes and cover many bases. Others may look for a ‘samurai sword’ option – an HRIS capable and designed to complete one specific task, such as payroll.

Later, we’ll help you decipher which option might be best for you and share some great systems. Whatever you choose, HRIS systems are the key to efficient, cost-effective HR management.

Now that you know what HRIS is, let’s move on to uncovering why your business needs an HRIS system – and how it will benefit you!

Why do business owners need an HRIS?

An increasing headcount means there will also be an increase in work for your HR department…and a higher probability of costly but preventable mistakes.

An HRIS can help reduce the potential of such mistakes, but there are many other things an HRIS can accomplish, including:

Streamlining your HR operations

With an HRIS, you can keep track of employee data, stay on top of HR tasks, and streamline processes for smooth operations throughout your company and HR department. And, when it comes time to onboard new hires, you’ll be able to do so quickly and easily – no more manual data entry!

Save your time and money

Automating HR processes will save you time and money and help you avoid headaches and those costly mistakes mentioned above. You won’t have to worry about tracking employee vacation time on a spreadsheet or making sure to remove employees from your systems when they leave – the HRIS will take care of it for you.

Keeping your team happy

Eliminating repetitive, mundane tasks from your HR department’s workload can help increase employee retention,

Automating these disliked tasks will help your team stay motivated and productive!

Staying organized, efficient and compliant

Investing in an HRIS ensures your company is never at risk of failing a regulation audit or making mistakes while processing employee documents.

Legal errors can put your business at risk and introduce a major setback! You and your team will be able to remain productive and function with ease, knowing that everything is in order – and, that you’ll be able to your time and resources wisely!

Overall, an HRIS can not only help you avoid potential errors, compliance issues and headaches, but it can save you an enormous amount of time – and money – and allow for smooth operations at your business. Whether you have a rapidly growing team or are just starting to hire, an HRIS can help improve functions throughout your business.

When should you invest in an HRIS?

The more your company grows, the more it will pay off to have an HRIS in place.

An HRIS has the potential to help your company improve efficiency and dodge disasters; with a bigger headcount comes more responsibilities, and with that, comes more room for error.

For these reasons, we believe having an HRIS is imperative as soon as you have 10+ employees on your team. If you have surpassed that number, don’t panic…it isn’t too late!

According to Forbes, 45% of companies are still in the initial stages of basic process automation. At Castle HR, we typically come on board with our clients when they’ve got about 20 employees on their team. We find that, on average, 65% of them do not have an HRIS at that time (but, they implement one with our help)!

No matter what phase you are at, an HRIS can help you avoid costly errors and help save you time so that you can better spend it growing your business. And, learning how you can find the right HRIS for your business needs is the next important step once you’ve made the decision to invest in one!

How do you find the right HRIS for your business?

Every company is different, and an HRIS that works wonders for one company might not check all boxes for another.

When Google produces 33 million results after you search for ‘HRIS’, it can feel incredibly overwhelming, and you mustn’t just click the first option that appears. There are plenty of HRIS options out there – Samurai Swords that do one task exceptionally well and Swiss Army Knives that can cover many bases. You need to choose an HRIS that can grow with your business and fits your company’s unique needs.

Your chosen HRIS may be a set of tools that can be integrated or stand-alone; the choice is yours and should be made based on a few factors:

Efficiency savings

Your time is money.

If you’re dedicating ample time to areas of your business you don’t need to, keep that in mind when you search for your ideal HRIS. Knowing where your inefficiencies are – for example, tracking vacations on an excel spreadsheet or disorganized performance reviews – you’ll have a better idea of what needs improvement.


Scalability and efficiency go hand-in-hand! As your business grows, so will the number of employees you manage, and the number of tasks piling up in your calendar.

It is important to build what you need now, but we always advise owners to keep their growth in mind when choosing an HRIS. If you have 25 employees now, you should consider your future needs once you reach 250.


Your company values, mission and workflow, are unique, and the last thing you want is a cookie-cutter HRIS that doesn’t make life easier for you or your HR team.

Customization is important so that the system reflects your company’s values and is malleable wherever you need it to be. Remember, your HRIS should help your HR team work more productively and efficiently…not add stress or hassle to their already demanding roles.

Templates are not the answer, nor are rigid structures for very important tasks, like modern performance reviews. Sure, these templates can work in the beginning but we advise against them because you won’t have the option to personalize them as you grow.

Customer Service and Onboarding

Whenever you make an investment in a product, it is only fair to expect superior service should any issues arise.

Service and support might not feel like a ‘dealbreaker’ for some business owners, but it is crucial with an HRIS.

You should ensure that any potential vendor offers excellent customer service support should you run into any issues during setup or implementation of the software solution – and they should, ideally, be readily available to assist your employees if issues arise down the road.


Even the priciest HRIS may be rendered useless – or, at least not utilized to its full potential – if your team struggles to use it! Ask yourself: does it make sense to you? And, does it accomplish what you need it to?

Even with good customer service, the UX is vital with any HRIS.  UX should be simple and intuitive so that your HR team can navigate easily through the system. Your team should be able to learn the program quickly and training should be quick and painless.


When selecting an HRIS system, you should also decide what features will best suit your business’s needs. Consider areas such as payroll management, automated reporting capabilities, applicant tracking systems (ATS), attendance tracking systems, payroll, job postings integration and employee training management tools.

Additionally, some systems come with built-in analytics capabilities that allow you to measure key performance indicators such as employee engagement or turnover rates.

Once you have identified what you are looking for in an HRIS system and made the appropriate considerations, you’ll be ready to start shopping for the best available option for your business.

HRIS:  Swiss Army Knife Options

Many clients look to us for help when they do not want to implement several systems but are unsure what type of HRIS would benefit them the most.

In these cases, opting for an HRIS that covers several bases is usually what we advise – this is what we call a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ HRIS. As we described earlier: this type of HRIS does many things. Does it do it as well as another, more specific tool (AKA: the Samurai Sword) would? Probably not, but it can do many things well. This is what we see many clients start out with.

A Swiss Army Knife HRIS can help you with performance management, learning and development, applicant tracking, benefits, payroll and documents, and more.

While each of these companies offers different features and targets different markets, all provide solutions and can help organize data and automate processes:

Humi is a cloud-based HRIS that offers features such as payroll management, applicant tracking and time tracking.

Collage is an all-in-one HRIS that includes performance management and benefits administration features. 

Lattice is a cloud-based HRIS that is designed for small businesses. It offers payroll management, time tracking, and benefits administration. Lattice is an affordable option for small businesses that need to manage their employee data.

Hibob is an HRIS that helps businesses manage payroll, surveys, and more.

A Swiss Army Knife HRIS is a good option for businesses that are growing quickly. These systems can handle large amounts of data and are often customizable, so they can be tailored to the specific needs of your company.

These systems are typically less expensive and require less maintenance than a samurai sword system. They also tend to be easier to use, which can be helpful if you’re not familiar with HR management software.

However, if you are looking for a program that covers one or two specific needs, you may wish to consider a samurai sword type of HRIS.

HRIS: Samurai Sword

You have a specific task that needs to be done – and done well.

Automating things like your payroll and benefits is key to your growth (and, saving more of your time). Having a more robust performance management system may also be something that’s crucial for you at this stage of your growth – but this varies by company.

There are many different types of samurai sword HRIS solutions available on the market today, ranging from basic platforms designed for small businesses to large enterprise solutions designed specifically for larger organizations.

Performance Management Tools

A great strategy for improving retention and employee engagement, as well as overall satisfaction, is by implementing Performance Management software in your company. These tools can be utilized to track and assess performance and easily summarize data (they are data-driven systems).

They also are a good tool to use to improve your company culture and communication, as management will be able to communicate regularly with employees (and vice versa), providing ongoing feedback and keeping track of progress without having to physically meet with the employee or check their work on a regular basis.

For example, 15Five is a tool that was designed to improve management efficiency, employee engagement and team overall productivity. Other systems, like, offer a simple, organized experience for users looking to create and manage custom workflows for themselves and their teams.

Payroll & Benefits

Many organizations utilize their HRIS system to manage their employees’ payrolls and benefits, however, there are separate platforms that can serve as tools for this, too.

Programs such as Gusto allow you to manage payroll and benefits, as well as attendance and onboarding.

PTO Genius is a cloud-based HRIS designed for businesses that offer their employees paid time off (PTO). It offers features such as tracking PTO usage, managing PTO balances, and creating reports. PTO Genius is an affordable option for businesses that need to manage their employee PTO data.

IntelliHR also integrates with major payroll providers, so your data will always be up-to-date. IntelliHR is very data-driven, but in order to drive this data tool effectively, you need to have hundreds of employees.

It’s essential to choose what works best for you and your growing business, however, having a reliable program to manage payroll and benefits is essential; your employees want to be paid on time and receive the right amount of earnings and access to benefits!

Talent Acquisition

Using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a good way to streamline and automate your recruitment process. This makes applicant sourcing, talent pool sorting, and communication easier.

Along with this, your interviews, candidate selection, and all the tedious steps in between will be markedly simpler with the help of ATS software. Options like Breezy are what we consider to be Samurai Sword ATS, and Greenhouse is a specialized ATS system. It focuses exclusively on tracking and managing job applicants. While it may not offer all the features of a comprehensive HRIS system, it’s perfect for businesses that only need to track applicants. Many ATS systems are designed specifically for SMBs, with several different plan options and capabilities for scaling businesses; they are simple to implement and can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

If you’re looking for a specific task to be done – and done well – you may wish to look for an HRIS that we consider to be akin to a samurai sword. It certainly won’t cover all of your bases, but, if applicant tracking, performance management or payroll and benefits are your primary concern, it makes sense to invest in an HRIS that is designed to automate time-consuming, tedious (but important) processes.


Investing in an HRIS is a smart, practical business move that can save you time and money by streamlining processes, helping with organization and compliance, and automating tasks within your HR department.

Investing in the right HRIS means that you’ll digitize and automate your HR processes as you scale, allowing your departments to run more efficiently, and leaving little room for error.

Choosing an HRIS system for your business can feel like an overwhelming task but with some research and due diligence you can make an informed decision on which one (whether a Swiss Army Knife or a Samurai Sword) is right for your company’s needs.

By considering efficiency, scalability, customization, customer service and support, user experience (UX), and features, you will be able to better understand the options you have and make an informed decision! We have seen some of our clients grow their businesses from 30 to 100 within a year; each with unique HRIS needs. You may need to cover many bases quickly, or, focusing on payroll may be your primary concern. In any case, if you’re looking for advice our team at Castle HR is here to help. We have helped several clients implement and understand their HRIS and ensure that they’re set for success. Book a call today!

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