8 Great HR Tools for Your 2021 Tech Stack

03/16/2021 4 min read
Stephanie Emma Pfeffer
Stephanie Emma Pfeffer is a sought-after storyteller for bestselling publications like People, Family Circle, Self, and New York Magazine.
8 Great HR Tools for Your 2021 Tech Stack

As workplaces adapted to COVID-19’s challenges, they’ve relied on their HR tech stack more than ever. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to realize how important these tools are, and to separate the fluff from the mission critical.

“HR information systems are becoming smarter, providing better experiences, and integrating more easily with other tools,” says Jeff Waldman, Founder and Principal of ScaleHR. They are also constantly rolling out new features.

From brand-new releases to ones that are now gaining fans, the following HR tools offer a range of functions, covering payroll, recruiting, and more. Our list showcases their standout features, which should be on your radar for 2021.

1. Hibob

This solution does it all: performance management, onboarding, data analytics, employee engagement, and compensation. With its social media-like user interface, Hibob is designed to empower employees through easy access to information—including company events, benefits details, and dynamic org charts—and motivate them through acknowledging each other’s achievements. “It’s the most agile, customizable HR information system on the market and has the best user experience,” says Waldman, touting its ability to integrate seamlessly with other solutions, particularly payroll and recruitment.

2. Eightfold

To help clients diversify their workforce, Eightfold aims to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. Based on its dataset from 1.5 billion profiles, the tool uses AI to infer the skills candidates are likely to have—even if they’re not listed on a resume. For example, people who worked in a certain role during a certain time period probably know a certain programming language. The AI also analyzes a candidate’s potential. For instance, people who have had role A often successfully move to role B. Or, if the candidate has a particular skill, it’s highly likely they will be able to learn a related skill. The software masks demographic information and offers diversity analytics, too.

3. Sprockets

This software identifies applicants with the same key personality traits as outstanding employees and predicts success in a role with a goal of minimizing turnover. A survey of three to five questions is emailed to top-performing staff, and those written responses are used to develop a success profile for their specific positions. New job applicants also take the survey, and Sprockets searches for the same qualities, in similar proportions, before ranking each candidate as “ideal fit,” “potentially eventual hire,” or “non-starter.” Rather than laboring over spreadsheets and job boards, hiring managers can use Sprockets data to sort candidates, significantly reducing screening time.

4. HackerRank Developer Skills Platform

Historically, hiring developers has revolved around difficult-to-score coding assessments and unstructured technical interviews. Launched in October 2020, this platform intends to change that. It defines the skills required for each role from an industry-standard directory and offers coding assessments and real-world projects to evaluate applicants’ proficiency prior to interviews. It also lets hiring managers compare one candidate’s skills to another’s at a glance—and against HackerRank’s community of 11 million developers.

5. DailyPay’s PayEx

This 2020 solution gives employees on-demand earned wage access—the ability to retrieve money before a scheduled payday. The model became important during the pandemic when many people were experiencing financial insecurity. The daily pay concept also helps employees pay their bills on time because they don’t have to wait for a paycheck. For employers, it’s tied to higher employee productivity and a reduction in turnover and absenteeism.

6. Curious Thing

A recruitment tool that prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, Curious Thing conducts automated digital phone interviews using voice-based AI. A candidate dials a number with a unique PIN and goes through a 10- to 15-minute interactive voice interview customized to the organization’s needs. The candidate is asked eligibility questions, such as about their right to work, driver’s license possession, or mastery of a particular skill, as well as behavioral questions to assess soft skills. To decide who advances to the next round, hiring managers review interview details displayed on a dashboard. The tool scales and accelerates hiring processes by freeing hiring managers’ time. Plus, the tool is blind to accents, tone of voice, and other traits that could bias interviewers; the AI recognizes only what candidates say, not how they say it.

7. Ethena

Founded in 2019 by two women who wanted to make anti-harassment training “cringe-free,” Ethena provides modernized compliance-training software through engaging, evidence-based lessons. Ethena sends nudges to employees to remind them it’s time for a 5- to 10-minute training tailored to their specific industry.

8. Blueboard

This platform helps companies create personalized employee recognition and incentive programs. From a family zip-lining adventure to an in-home cooking class, the experiences can be gifted to employees to celebrate anniversaries, incentivize referrals, or reward sales goals. Managers send an award to top-performing staffers who can choose an experience that’s most meaningful to them, and Blueboard’s Concierge service handles bookings, payments, and logistics.


As you consider adopting new tools, says Waldman, look for product customization, top-notch user experience, solid customer support, a clear product road map, and easy integration with other solutions. No matter which tools you decide to adopt, know your needs first. “Evaluating your HR tech stack starts with the business you’re supporting,” Waldman says. “It’s critical for an HR team to have a full understanding of the business strategy as well as current challenges—and HR’s role in solving them.”

Stephanie Emma Pfeffer
Stephanie Emma Pfeffer is a sought-after storyteller for bestselling publications like People, Family Circle, Self, and New York Magazine.