Building an HR tech stack to boost your leave program

A recent article by Gartner covering the Top 5 HR Trends and Priorities for 2024 highlights that “56% of HR leaders say their technology solutions and strategies do not match their current and future business needs, such as digital transformation.”  The digitalization of HR responsibilities has become a major priority for many organizations, making a strategically aligned HR technology stack a must-have for teams trying to standardize processes and streamline administrative tasks to reduce compliance risk. An HR technology stack, often called an “HR tech stack,” is a collection of integrated digital tools and software that HR teams leverage to manage employees and perform essential HR functions more efficiently.

This article serves as a guide to building your HR tech stack in alignment with business needs, providing insight on how you’ll deliver a return on investment, practical strategies for finding the right solutions, and how to approach the due diligence process when seeking a leave management solution.

Deliver value with a results-driven HR tech stack

While HR tech comes with upfront costs, it’s an investment that will pay for itself in a short period of time. Many employers are finding that with a proper assessment, there is a wide range of affordable solutions in the market that are a perfect fit for their HR tech stack and offer a more seamless experience with existing Human Capital Management (HCM) systems. With the right solutions in place, an optimized stack will deliver value in the following ways:

Cost reduction

Streamlining processes like leave of absence tracking saves HR professionals time and resources dedicated to transactional administrative work. By leveraging integrations to automate day-to-day tasks, an organization can free HR up for more strategic work. This foundation for automating tasks and eliminating paper-based processes is proven to significantly lower the costs of managing employee data, leave tracking, and compliance.

Revenue growth

Organizations are able to improve employee engagement and productivity, reduce turnover, and enhance decision-making capabilities. With a seamless stack of systems offering self-service options, employees enjoy a more connected experience that increases job satisfaction and productivity. HR analytics can also be gathered to provide valuable insights on critical data such as employee leave usage trends and benefit usage, enabling data-driven decision-making to uncover and address costly pitfalls such as leave abuse.

Enhanced compliance

A flexible and scalable HR tech stack allows businesses to adapt to changing regulations and meet workforce needs with greater ease. When it comes to leave administration, penalties for non-compliance can cost between $87,500 and $450,000 in damages for just a single suit. By addressing the core HR functions in your tech stack, employers can stay agile and avoid compliance pitfalls.

Build your HR tech stack with the right solutions

When choosing the best solutions for your HR tech stack, assessing the existing technologies in place and the gaps to fill regarding core HR functions is essential. An HR tech stack should include the following components:

  • Human Resources Information System (HRIS)
  • Payroll System
  • Benefits Administration System
  • Leave Administration System

Every business is different, with unique needs, policies, compliance requirements, and approaches to managing people. It’s important to apply your lens when shopping for the right HR software for your organization. The steps below will guide your approach to this process.

1. Audit your processes

Evaluate your existing processes and systems for managing your workforce. Identify what is working well and the bottlenecks holding your team back. It’s helpful to outline lists for your “must haves” and “nice to haves” to establish a baseline for your search. Assess what features and functionality will be needed in the future if you have plans to scale.

2. Evaluate the user experience

Dig into the user experience during product demos. Consider the point of view of your primary user groups, which may include your HR team, supervisors, and employees. Don’t be afraid to test out your use cases immediately to ensure the system meets your initial requirements. Other factors to consider are the types of support the software provider offers, the implementation stages and timeline, and the overall ease of adoption.

3. Understand integration capabilities

Your HR tech stack should offer a collective experience to both administrators and employees. When your systems integrate, employee data flows seamlessly throughout your software solutions, reducing the costs and effort of maintaining data in multiple places. For example, a leave management system that integrates with your HRIS or payroll system, will equip your HR team to automate responsibilities such as determining eligibility, providing notices to employees, and hour tracking. Be specific and ask if the software provider can integrate with your current technology. It’s also essential to understand how your software vendor approaches integrations. When it comes to leave management software, some vendors offer these capabilities but don’t own the setup effort and costs. In contrast, others take on the responsibility to set up and facilitate ongoing maintenance of these integrations.

4. Think long term

While your current business needs are driving the decision, the future vision of your company is just as important. You want to implement a sustainable, adaptable solution that will improve your HR function over time. One solution may have more shiny features, but the pricing model may not make sense as you grow. Another solution may show less maturity but have the integration capability to align your tech stack and simplify the user experience. Consider this decision as a partnership for the next decade and weigh your requirements accordingly.

5. Leverage feedback for improvement

You’ve made a decision and implemented a new technology solution into your HR tech stack. Now, the feedback loop is your best friend. Collecting qualitative and quantitative data will optimize how your company uses the software. Leverage the system data to analyze how it is being used with feedback from your administrators and employees. If you’ve chosen a relationship-oriented vendor for your solution, communicate your findings and suggest improvements. With an open feedback loop going both ways, the software will continue to provide a return on investment.

Complete your HR tech stack with leave management software

Leave management is widely considered a core HR function because of the far-reaching implications for legal compliance, operational efficiency, and employee well-being. 50% of U.S. employers have implemented leave management software into their tech stack, while the other half of the country is investing in their first solution to reduce administrative burden and avoid the financial risk of non-compliance.

Whether you are seeking your first leave management solution or looking to switch from your existing provider, the evaluation process is critical. Though it is important, it doesn’t have to be complicated. As a starting point, the list below provides a foundation for initiating your due diligence. These requirements and corresponding questions reflect what the Stiira team is most frequently asked in our initial meetings and product demos with HR teams, third-party administrators (TPAs), and benefit brokers. Creating a requirements and questions list makes it easier to align with what you’re trying to achieve with a new addition to your HR tech stack.

Compatibility with existing systems

  • Can your system integrate with our existing HRIS system?
  • Can your system sync with communication platforms (e.g. Microsoft Outlook)?
  • Does your system offer single sign-on (SSO) capability?

User experience and guidance

  • Does your system offer self-service options for employees?
  • Does your system offer role-based visibility and feature access?
  • Do you provide the training and resources necessary to facilitate system rollout and user adoption?

Continuous product enhancements

  • What is the typical schedule for pushing up new product updates?
  • How do you incorporate customer feedback into your development roadmap?
  • What is your process for ensuring compliance updates go live prior to effective dates?

Flexibility and configuration

  • Is your system built to handle leave management for leave laws applicable to my organization (e.g. FMLA, ADA, state-specific regulations)?
  • What are the different ways you can configure the system to meet my company’s specific needs?
  • Do you offer customer-specific customizations? Is there an additional cost associated with this?

Implementation and support

  • How long is your implementation period, and what key milestones does this include?
  • What is your typical turnaround time for responding to support requests? Do you have a service level agreement or guarantee in place?
  • How do you approach training and support from the implementation period and beyond?

Partnership alignment

  • Do you currently have a customer base with needs similar to ours (e.g. industry, size, applicable laws, etc.)?
  • How does your organization contribute to the continuous improvement of our leave management program?
  • Can you provide references for us to reach out to?

Are you wondering if Stiira is the right fit for your HR tech stack? Contact us to chat through your requirements list.

Put your plan into action

In conclusion, building an HR technology stack is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. By implementing the right combination of tools and software, your organization can unlock a multitude of benefits: cost reduction, employee retention, revenue growth, and enhanced compliance. However, choosing the right solutions and integrating them seamlessly requires careful planning and evaluation. Apply the following steps outlined in this article to build a powerful HR tech stack that empowers your team, streamlines processes, and boosts your bottom line. Remember, leave management is a central piece of the puzzle, so invest in a solution that integrates seamlessly and simplifies the complexities of this crucial HR function. With a strategic approach and a commitment to continuous improvement, your HR tech stack will become a driving force for success, shaping a sustainable and thriving workforce for the future.