Human Resource Technology: Cool Tools

Welcome, once again, to Human Resource Executive®’s annual Top HR Products contest. Last year, we suggested the Great Recession was officially over and the Great Recovery had landed, based on the number of entries we received. Well, our 2015 contest appears to seal that. The recovered economy is apparently chugging full steam ahead, with–yet again–a record number of entries. HR-technology vendors are clearly confident in their selling power, and in employers as buyers again.

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Some key themes addressed by our winners this year include talent acquisition and management, relocation, performance management, employment screening and workforce analytics. Also, as is becoming increasingly common, many of the products selected below and on the next few pages reside in the cloud and work on mobile platforms. We expect this trend to only strengthen and grow going forward.

Also noticeable this year was what we might call an improving-on-the-past trend. Indeed, some winners have taken well-established processes, such as job-candidate scheduling, relocation management and performance management, and have dramatically improved upon them.

As in years past, we relied on a combination of staff reviews and selections, and input from outside experts and analysts to narrow the list from the many entries we received to the 10 you’re about to read about. In our estimation, these 10 are the best of the solutions we received, capable of delivering on their promises and making HR professionals’ jobs easier. As always, we encourage you to perform your own due diligence before making any investments.

Workday Talent Insights

Workday Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.

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What It Is: Workday Talent Insights is designed to apply data science and machine-learning methods to help organizations identify talent that’s at risk of leaving and recommend courses of action. Its features include Retention Risk Analysis, which identifies trends in historical turnover data to help uncover retention risks for certain departments or the entire organization, and scorecards that can be personalized by users to provide snapshots of key data on whichever key performance indicator or business initiative they’re interested in. It can offer managers recommendations for taking action based on data from the Workday system along with historical data from other HR systems and data from outside sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pricing varies.

Why We Like It: Workday Talent Insights appears to do a nice job of synthesizing big data into information that’s useful and actionable. It addresses flight risk, which is something any organization that’s invested serious money in finding, recruiting and developing the best needs to be thinking about. The system is actually designed to “get smarter” over time by monitoring the results of actions taken and learning from them. It’s notable that Workday leaves it up to the client to predetermine the factors for flight risk, which makes sense when you consider that each organization is unique.


BetterWorks, Palo Alto, Calif.

What It Is: BetterWorks is a cloud-based goals platform that’s designed to help businesses engage, empower and cross-functionally align their workforces. The BetterWorks platform is inspired by the OKR model (Objectives and Key Results) pioneered by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers’ John Doerr during his time at Intel. Using the platform, individuals can add and track goals on a regular basis and link those goals to projects, other employees or other departments within their businesses. It’s optimized for mobile devices and integrates with both Workday and Salesforce. Pricing for the product is $15 per user, per month.

Why We Like It: Getting employees to understand the “big picture” continues to be something of a Holy Grail in today’s workplace. But with the introduction of BetterWorks, a solution that enables individuals and teams to set and track goals – and ensure that they’re aligned to the organization’s overall goals – that often elusive HR goal is now within reach. To be sure, others have attempted to go down this path before. But with the help of a simple and intuitive interface, an impressive array of functionality and the cloud, we think BetterWorks deserves credit for simply doing it (forgive our word choice) “better.”

Korn Ferry’s Four Dimensional Executive Assessment

Korn Ferry, Los Angeles

What It Is: Korn Ferry’s 4D Executive Assessment is a tool for assessing executive job candidates and determining their fit for particular positions and organizations. Whereas many assessments only provide a partial view of an individual, 4D Executive Assessment is designed to provide a more holistic view, covering an individual’s competencies, his or her personality traits and what drives him or her, along with experiences that are aligned to particular roles. It bases its predictions on approximately 8.5 million executive and professional candidate profiles, as well as the results of 2.5 million assessments. Korn Ferry clients receive the tool at no additional charge.

Why We Like It: Whether you’re a client of Korn Ferry or not, it’s hard not to appreciate 4D Executive Assessment, which does a more than laudable job leveraging the firm’s vast repository of profiles and executive assessments. The tool successfully leverages Korn Ferry acquisitions such as Lominger and PDI Ninth House to give clients a real-time view of a job candidate’s competencies and potential fit with an organization. Job candidates will no doubt find the tool’s simple drag-and-drop user interface especially appealing, while employers are going to likely welcome with open arms the thoroughness and quality of the candidate-specific reports.

CoPilot by NuCompass

NuCompass Mobility Services Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.

What It Is: Co-Pilot is a cloud-based relocation-management platform designed to let employees manage their impending relocation relatively stress-free, while giving employers visibility and control over employee expenditures related to the move. It covers the entire relocation process, including the initial decision to authorize a move through final accounting for the services employees use. Mainly, the focus for employers is on cost containment during an often complex process that can get out of hand. Pricing: $350 per relocating employee.

Why We Like It: Facing a move, whether for a new job or a location change with the same employer, can be an extremely stressful experience. By using the CoPilot platform to its fullest capacity, an employee has complete control over such a major life event – that, in and of itself, is a fantastic thing. For employers, knowing that there will be no surprises along the way (because every variable is filtered and approved through Co-Pilot) is an equally welcomed reality. Plus, NuCompass plugs suppliers (movers, etc.) directly into the process, so that really brings the entire relocation experience full circle. It’s also tax compliant.

HireVue Coordinate

HireVue, Salt Lake City

What It Is: HireVue Coordinate is a scheduling tool that integrates with leading calendar services, such as Gmail and Exchange. It takes the criteria you have for times and interviewers and then searches the integrated calendars of the various parties to find appropriate matches. The solution is designed to take into account the interview sequence and priority, as well as conference-room availability. Coordinate can be added to the HireVue platform for an additional 25 percent of a client’s annual contract pricing, which is based on employee and hire counts.

Why We Like It: Scheduling job interviews has long been a thorn in the recruiter’s side. As most of us know only too well, it’s time-consuming and costly, because it takes time away from much more pressing matters. With its release of HireVue Coordinate in June, HireVue has succeeded in taking much of the pain out of the scheduling process. Options are generated and returned in seconds, not hours. HireVue, of course, isn’t the first vendor that’s attempted to address the issue of scheduling through technology. But it’s hard not to be impressed by this solution’s robust capabilities and simplicity.


Pearl Travel Tech, San Francisco

What It Is: Permiso is a cloud-based program for global business travelers designed to explain more than 3,000 current immigration and tax rules for more than 40 different countries. Delivered as a software-as-a-service solution, Permiso’s information is updated by the company’s network of global legal partners who report rule changes in 72 hours and formally review their rules quarterly. The goal is that, prior to traveling overseas, employees learn exactly what’s required of them. Permiso generates an initial assessment that reveals how many days they can spend in a country before paying local taxes or whether they need a work permit or business visa, or if they can travel with just their passport.

Why We Like It: For employers and employees, this product could mean no more guess work or compliance issues. Permiso also offers plenty of cool features. When employees require a work permit, the program automatically sends the assessment to their company’s attorney. If the program is accessed by mobile phone, the template automatically resizes itself to fit the screen. An immigration glossary is available for a company’s mobility department. The program integrates directly with travel booking, expense tracking, immigration and HRIS systems, and automatically sets up next-step contacts for employees. Bottom line: It’s in-depth, accurate and relives HR and global mobility from many administrative tasks.

I-9 Anywhere

Equifax Workforce Solutions, St. Louis

What It Is: In order to streamline the process and avoid costly compliance fines from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I-9 Anywhere is designed to help organizations gather complete information and documentation for remote employees regardless of their location. It lets them fill out Section 1 of their I-9 form from anywhere, and then securely facilitate the remote completion of the I-9 Section 2 (the “hands-on” inspection and verification of identification papers) with a trusted “completer” of the company’s choosing.

Why We Like It: Unlike many of the products included in this Top Products list, which require at least a mid-level understanding of the HR universe in order to use, we like I-9 Anywhere because almost anyone (including this reviewer) can use it after a single, quick training session. A Section 2 completer (i.e., someone the company has vetted and who lives near remote workers themselves) accesses the company system – with limited functionality to further ensure organizational security – to securely link him or her to the appropriate new employee’s onboarding paperwork through the use of a unique “receipt code” via mobile device. The completed form is then securely stored and accessible with the employer’s other electronic Forms I-9 and, if necessary, automatically submitted to E-Verify. I-9 Anywhere alleviates the difficulty of onboarding off-site employees by streamlining what can be a cumbersome process.

eQuest Gamification

eQuest, San Ramon, Calif.

What It Is: eQuest Gamification is a gaming tool that’s designed to help organizations select the most appropriate job boards – based on eQuest’s database and the customer’s own unique job-performance data – on which to post a particular position. Job posters are awarded virtual trophies based on how well they follow the company’s hiring strategy. For example, if Poster A posts 100 jobs and wins 98 trophies, it indicates he or she is following the strategy; if Poster B posts 100 jobs and only garners five trophies, management can see that he or she is not following the strategy. Daily results are reported to management through a company leaderboard. The product is free to all eQuest customers.

Why We Like It: This product can be the missing piece that connects HR managers to the talent they are actually seeking, and it can also cut down on the amount of misdirected recruiting funds (up to 30 percent, according to the research) as well as bad hires. A clever “thermostat” feature is designed to help job posters understand which job boards will yield the best results for a given position. But perhaps its most unique feature is its simple design: with no dashboard to overload the user with information they may not need or use, job posters are freed up to simply follow their company’s strategy for getting the right talent through their front door.

ADP Marketplace

ADP, Roseland, N.J.

What It Is: ADP Marketplace is a cloud-based app store designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for ADP clients looking to test out and purchase new enterprise applications from ADP and other vendors. Products available on the site are intended to be easily integrated with a client’s existing systems and data. The site includes security protocols designed to ensure the safety of clients’ information. Prices vary – some products are available for free, others are priced by the app owners.

Why We Like It: This is reportedly the HCM industry’s first-ever “app store” and heralds a new and relatively easy way for HR to try out and purchase new products from a vendor list that includes HireVue, Cornerstone OnDemand, GetHired, Globoforce and LifeCare. At the moment only 30 or so apps are available, but ADP expects that number to grow substantially within the next year. The likelihood of this is enhanced by the fact that by sharing its APIs (application program interfaces) with outside vendors, ADP makes it easier for them to build and test new products on the platform. Although ADP Marketplace may be joined by similar entrants in the future, ADP deserves kudos for being the first to launch one.

Yello (formerly Recsolu) Scheduling

Yello, Chicago

What It Is: Yello Scheduling is an app designed to help recruiting teams quickly schedule candidate interviews using cloud-based automation. The product is designed primarily for college recruiting, career fairs and/or mobile-device-based interviews. Yello Scheduling can be used to not only schedule the interview, but also to be the interview platform using mobile devices, with the idea of speeding up the talent search process.

Why We Like It: By its nature, scheduling interviews for campus recruiting and career fairs can be complicated. Just the thought of trying to connect and schedule interviews with hundreds of job candidates at campus recruiting events or corporate career fairs is scary. With dozens of potential applicants at a single event, having an app like Yello Recuiting can not only help talented candidates schedule their interviews, but also will send them confirmation and or reminder emails. For both the talent and the recruiter, it’s a great stress reliever. Of course, the fact that talent doesn’t have to follow some cumbersome process to set up an interview is also a great brand promoter/differentiator. Did we mention it’s easy? If you can use your smartphone or tablet, you can use Yello Scheduling. Pricing: Varies on usage and support, ranging from five to six figures.