Cream of the Crop

Welcome, once again, to Human Resource Executive®’s annual Top HR Products contest.

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If the quantity of entries can serve as any barometer, the HR-technology industry appears to be soaring. The number of this year’s nominations broke all records. HR-technology vendors are clearly more confident than ever in their selling power, and in employers as buyers.

Winners this year were in areas such as recruiting, screening, HR benchmarking, financial security, coaching, culture assessment and compliance. Talent-acquisition technologies were also dominant in this final group of winners. In keeping with recent past contests, most of the winning products are available on the cloud and include mobile capabilities. And as we’ve noted before, we expect this trend will only strengthen.

We once again relied on a combination of staff reviews and selections, and comments from outside experts and analysts, to narrow the list from the many entries we received to the 10 winners. Special thanks go to the following experts for sharing their insights on the 2016 entries: Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP; Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder of CareerXroads; Bill Kutik, HRE’s HR Technology Columnist; Kyle Lagunas, research manager for talent acquisition and staffing at International Data Corp.; George LaRocque, principal analyst and founder of #HRWINS; Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst for Constellation Research; Elaine Orler, CEO and founder of Talent Function; and Brian Sommer, CEO of TechVentive. (In the rare case of a potential conflict of interest, we either asked the experts to not comment on the entry or removed their feedback from the decision-making process.)

As always, we encourage you to perform your own due diligence before making any investments.

Benchmarking, powered by the ADP DataCloud

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ADP, Roseland, N.J.

What It Is: As its name suggests, Benchmarking delivers customizable HCM benchmarks based on aggregated and anonymized pay and HR data from ADP’s database of more than 95,000 client organizations. The data can be filtered –on the fly– by geography, industry, company size and salaried vs. hourly, so users can quickly arrive at better workforce-related decisions. Features include visual comparisons between company data and benchmarks, and the ability to see how specific compensation elements (base pay, bonus, overtime and total cash) have changed over time. Data being used is no more than three months old.

Why We Like It: While many HR technology solution providers have improved upon their analytics and reporting capability in recent years, most lack the ability to provide the needed context to help HR and business leaders understand their data. The ADP Benchmarking solution provides this context from ADP’s vast customer and user data set, consisting of over 30 million employee records in the United States alone. The Benchmarking tool extracts information and insight from this collected data, and allows HR leaders to assess their organization against market averages in areas such as compensation, workforce demographics and workforce change. Given the richness of the data, HR and business leaders will no doubt welcome the addition of this new tool, which gives them the ability to make more informed HR and people decisions.


ViziRecruiter Inc., Troy, Mich.

What It Is: ViziRecruiter is designed to entice candidates to apply for jobs by making text-heavy job descriptions more visually appealing and compelling. Users can create a –Vizi– by copying, pasting and entering their job descriptions on the ViziRecruiter platform. They can then choose from a variety of templates that offer different colors, fonts and other elements. Users can work solo in creating a Vizi or invite colleagues to collaborate as a team in creating one. Once it’s finished, the Vizi can be posted to the organization’s careers page and shared via social media and mobile.

Why We Like It: Face it — most job descriptions range from dull to just plain awful. That may have been OK back when people were content to browse classified ads, but in today’s screen-obsessed world, you need something to help your job ad stand out. ViziRecruiter offers an effective way for recruiters and HR to juice up job descriptions so they capture jobseekers’ attention. It’s easy and relatively hassle-free to create and share a Vizi, and its collaboration feature helps ensure you don’t miss any important details when crafting a description.

Phenom TRM Cloud Platform

Phenom People, Horsham, Pa.

What It Is: Using e-commerce, marketing automation and customer relationship management best practices, the Phenom TRM Cloud platform is designed to help employers manage the entire talent relationship lifecycle so they can find, engage and hire the right candidates for the right jobs. The solution includes Phenom Hub, which lets candidates search for jobs that fit their career needs; Phenom Pro, which provides sourcers, recruiters and hiring managers with insights into career-site visitors; Phenom Market, which enables employers to build their web presence; and Phenom Exchange, which integrates the platform with applicant tracking systems and other applications. It uses predictive intelligence and machine learning so employers are better able to engage with their talent pool.

Why We Like It: Phenom People originally started out as a mobile platform, but is now focusing its efforts, with the introduction of TRM Cloud Platform, on the entire talent relationship lifecycle, from the candidate’s –first touch– with an employer to managing the relationship over time. Whether you’re a candidate or a sourcer/recruiter, the platform is a welcome addition to the market. Candidates will no doubt appreciate the solution’s Amazon-like experience, which uses browsing activity and LinkedIn profile data to provide personalized recommendations. Recruiters and hiring managers, meanwhile, will appreciate the solution’s predictive-intelligence capabilities and its ability to build talent profiles for everyone visiting the career site, not just those who apply.

Navigator Suite

ComplianceHR, New York

What It Is: Navigator Suite includes modules that provide automated legal evaluations about two common issues for employers. Navigator IC assesses the risk that state or federal agencies would judge a worker to be an employee, rather than an independent contractor. Navigator OT assesses the risk that agencies would decide that the company has improperly classified an employee or position as exempt from overtime. Employers — and the workers themselves — provide facts needed for the assessments by answering a series of questions. (Data for multiple positions can be batch-uploaded in a spreadsheet.) The software also creates an audit trail that demonstrates the employer did its due diligence in deciding how to classify a worker.

Why We Like It: Think of Navigator Suite as a kind of Turbo Tax for HR. This is a very practical tool that, in many cases, can provide employers legal evaluations far more cheaply and quickly than a lawyer could. The vendor is a joint venture of the law firm Littler Mendelson, which provides the legal intellectual property, and software developer Neota Logic, a pioneering technology firm that engineered the decision engines. While many vendors now offer legal applications using artificial intelligence, ComplianceHR describes Navigator Suite as the first to combine that technology with subject-matter expertise for these kinds of risk assessments.

PayActiv App

PayActiv, San Jose, Calif.

What It Is: PayActiv App is a mobile application providing a voluntary benefit that allows employees to access their yet-to-be-paid earned income in order to pay bills, transfer money and start savings accounts. Employers do not front the funds, therefore no Social Security numbers or any other personal information is exchanged. They confirm with PayActiv, through the app, that the employee requesting an advance on earned income has, indeed, earned the amount being requested. Employees can access up to 50 percent of what they have earned at no cost or risk to the employer and are limited to two advances in one pay period. They are charged a flat $5 fee per usage of the service, regardless of the amount they access.

Why We Like It: This product is one of the simplest, most straightforward solutions we have seen addressing the precarious, paycheck-to-paycheck state of millions of middle- and low-income American workers. Many of the –working poor– pay late fees for bills they could have handled had they been given immediate access to the earned income that is rightfully theirs. Consider this: According to PayActiv, it’s very expensive to be poor, with banks collecting more than $35 billion a year in late fees and another $17 billion in overdrafts. Outside the banking industry, workers are accessing more than $50 billion in payday loans and paying more than $7 billion in fees. This is a pre-payday answer to this problem, and not only reduces employees’ financial stress and harassment from collections phone calls, but has to boost their productivity, engagement and focus. Plus, it improves employers’ reputations, and helps them in their retention and recruitment efforts.


Everwise, San Francisco

What It Is: Everwise is an integrated talent development platform designed to combine data, technology, curated learning resources and experience guidance to help employees reach their full potential. Everwise uses a multi-factor, data-based matching process to set up partnerships between employees and mentors; and assists employees in identifying their top development goals, which feeds the matching process and helps mentors and protégés set expectations for their partnership. The platform also provides online tools and training intended to optimize mentoring interactions, and aids high performers in building balanced personal advisory boards. Overlaying all of this is a team of managers who oversee matching and introductions, monitor progress and help handle issues that arise during mentoring partnerships.

Why We Like It: Everwise offers a comprehensive set of tools and resources to help pair employees with well-suited mentors within their organizations, as well as monitor employees’ progress at every stage of their careers — a challenge that many companies struggle to overcome. Including suggested discussion topics, missions and ideas from similar mentor/mentee relationships, the platform is a very effective blend of person-to-person learning opportunities, software and curated learning tools, brought together to give talent development a boost.

GoodHire True Me

GoodHire Inc., Redwood City, Calif.

What It Is: GoodHire True Me is a background-check platform that combines an interactive, mobile-optimized interface with features designed to help job seekers take ownership of their information and enable employers to avoid unintentional discrimination in the hiring process. With GoodHire, either an employer or job seeker can initiate a background check. In either case, the candidate and the organization receive the same information, and the applicant can review his or her results to spot any inaccuracies that could slow the hiring process.

Why We Like It: Many vendors offer background-check applications, but True Me succeeds at giving job candidates more ownership over their information, and greatly aids organizations in creating individualized assessments and making hiring decisions with confidence, all while complying with EEOC and FCRA requirements as well as relevant state and local laws. A Comments for Context feature is especially helpful, in that it allows candidates with criminal records an opportunity to share a more complete story that goes beyond court records. This feature should make conversations about criminal records easier for applicants and hiring managers alike, and enables employers to make better-informed hiring decisions as well.

HiQ Control Center

HiQ Labs Inc., San Francisco

What It Is: HiQ Control Center is a cloud-based SaaS platform for people analytics. It is designed to use publicly available information about a company’s employee population, labor market and other data sources, along with proprietary machine learning algorithms, to predict employee turnover months before it happens. The process considers an innovative –pull– factor — how much an employee is discoverable by recruiters, how in demand their skills are, etc. This is in addition to the more conventional –push– factor — the internal causes of voluntary employee turnover, such as compensation, dissatisfaction with a current manager, etc. HiQ Control Center measures and combines both factors to provide employers with insights into which talent pools should be protected, nurtured, or even defended.

Why We Like It: HiQ Control Center is an ambitious undertaking: Not many organizations can or will do something similar on their own. It would take too much time, expertise, investment, etc., and the likelihood of being as successful would be very low. The firm is thus taking a critical issue — retention of key talent — and providing an analytically-based leading indicator of voluntary turnover. Also appealing is that, given the number of data sources and math involved, outputs could be very complex and intimidating. They’re not. Reports and visualizations are surprisingly easy to navigate and understand. This means that appropriate retention strategies can be determined and put in place quickly, thus reducing business risk by ensuring team and organizational continuity.

Great Hires Candidate Interview

Experience Platform

Great Hires Inc., Oakland, Calif.

What It Is: The Great Hires Candidate Interview Experience Platform consists of a candidate app and an interview app designed to give companies and candidates everything they need for a positive interview experience. The candidate app lets candidates learn more about the company they’ll be interviewing with, the job they’re interviewing for and the people they’ll be meeting with. It also lets them submit feedback about their experience post-interview. The interview app helps companies coordinate and schedule interviews, and make schedule adjustments as needed. An enterprise version of the product allows interviewers to share notes, comments and evaluation guides. Although the platform is designed for use on mobile devices, it’s also accessible via desktop browsers.

Why We Like It: It’s all too common to hear about bad job-interview experiences: being sent to the wrong location, endless wait times, being asked the same questions over and over again by different people, etc. Considering bad interview experiences can and do go viral these days, a solution like Great Hires deserves serious consideration. Interview scheduling can be a bear, but with its real-time updates for interviewers and candidates, Great Hires makes the process more user-friendly and transparent. The app can provide candidates with directions to the company, information about the job and company, and links to the LinkedIn profiles of the people they’ll be interviewing with — all consolidated in one place. Once the interviews are complete, the app’s feedback function prompts candidates to share their experience. It’s much better for companies to learn about unnecessarily long wait times or rooms being too hot or too cold there than on a Glassdoor review.


Deloitte, New York

What It Is: CulturePath is a cloud-based, mobile-enabled solution designed to provide employers with a comprehensive assessment of their organization’s culture. Using data-driven analytics, organizations are able to measure their culture, pinpoint strengths and gaps, and drive behaviors that are aligned to the business’ objectives. Building off of Deloitte’s culture transformation methodology, the tool consists of two categories of indices. One involves four core factors (culture focus, risk and governance, external orientation, and change and innovation) that measures the cultural connectedness between the organization and its workforce. The other involves four differentiating factors (courage, commitment, inclusion and shared beliefs) that measure the emotional connectedness between the two.

Why We Like It: Deloitte’s CulturePath solution improves and expands upon traditional approaches and technologies for understanding organizational culture and employee-engagement levels. Designed to help HR and business leaders evaluate culture and connect cultural attributes to measurable individual behaviors, the tool gives leaders much-needed insights for shaping an organizational culture that supports the business strategy. HR leaders will appreciate having the ability to now discuss the traditionally fuzzy concept of culture in a context of business strategy and desired business outcomes, elevating culture from an –HR thing– into a competitive advantage for the organization.