“Full-Stack” Workforce Development


According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015, human resources departments have given themselves a C+ for driving talent solutions. Instead of wallowing at a C+, HR should be thinking C#.

Full-Stack HR Technology

HR has a lot to prove in the information technology sector. Recruiting highly technical talent is becoming more and more difficult. Retaining and developing that same talent seems to be an afterthought to getting a body in the door. It’s time to take a hint from our full-stack web developers and become full-stack workforce developers.

A “stack” refers to the layers of technology used to build a web application. A “full-stack web developer” refers to a software developer who is capable of performing tasks at any level of the technical stack in which they work. In essence, they have the ability to develop software over the full spectrum of a given web application, traditionally composed of a “back-end” (some sort of database and some sort of server-side language to interface with that database) and a “front-end” (some sort of client-side language). For instance, an ASP.NET application might run on a SQL Server database beneath a C# back-end, beneath a JavaScript/CSS/HTML5 front-end.

Stepping into the shoes of a Full-Stack Workforce Developer, let’s take a look at what our HR “stack” would look like. The optimal HR stack would essentially include five separate technologies, all of which should  “speak to” and integrate with the foundation of the stack – a Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Human Resources Information System

An HRIS (a Software-as-a-Service, or “SaaS,” solution) is the bedrock of any full-stack HR department. An HRIS allows you to streamline and simplify your business processes while at the same time enabling you to quickly and securely organize your workforce data in one centralized system.

One of the premier benefits of an HRIS is the enablement of human resource departments to integrate all of their data points in one convenient location, allowing them to process more thorough reports and perform more detailed analyses of their workforce. This data may include such things as personnel information, onboarding materials, performance assessments, and PTO. With the data tracking process optimized, HR practitioners can spend less time on spreadsheets and more time on what really matters – their workforce.

Benefits Operating System

While few companies enjoy being in the “business of benefits,” even fewer companies have invested in advance Benefits Operating Systems (BOS) (a Health-as-a-Service, or “HaaS,” solution) to reduce the time and stress that comes with this being a necessary burden of their business.

Benefits Operating Systems provide a full-scale solution to the burden of benefits administration. Today’s advanced Benefits Operating Systems come equipped with the capability of carrier connections that ensure benefits election data gets to the right place, in accurate form, in real time.

The majority of Benefits Operating Systems are rules-based, allowing team members to enroll in only those benefits for which they are eligible at any specified point in their tenure with the company. Some Benefits Operating Systems, merged with the advantages of the private marketplace, even allow team members the opportunity to shop for benefits the way they would shop for goods online. This empowers team members to take control of their health and wellbeing by connecting them with highly customizable benefits offerings.

Applicant Tracking System

Companies in highly competitive industries understand the importance of talent acquisition and the need to invest in sustainable solutions that optimize their recruiting and onboarding processes. Today, the vast majority of companies that have an internal recruiting arm have implemented an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) (a SaaS solution). An ATS enables the internal recruiting arm of the company to manage their organization’s talent lifecycle from sourcing through onboarding.

The advantages of an ATS should not be underestimated. The ideal ATS can store candidate profiles in one centralized database, allowing the company to reconnect with previous applicants when hiring needs change. It also allows for the HR practitioner to perform advance reporting and analysis of their current talent acquisition model (e.g., source effectiveness, time-to-hire rates).

With nearly half of all job seekers transitioning their career search method from desktop to mobile, it is critical that today’s careers portal (often an extension of the client-side ATS) be mobile responsive. This allows for your careers page to automatically adjust to fit the screen of any smartphone or tablet. Some advance ATS solutions offer a variety of additional features, such as automatic postings, video interviewing, and calendar integration.

Performance Development System

How to revolutionize the process of performance development has been a topic of much debate. One of the largest companies in the world has boldly scrapped them altogether. No matter what side of the debate you land on, what we do know is that the most effective feedback is that which is given in real time. Done correctly, the performance development process should drive organizational improvement, presuming that individual objectives are clearly and directly related to the overarching goals of the company.

Companies considering doing away with the paper-driven annual review could consider a bolder approach. With advances in performance development software, HR can oversee this process seamlessly and managers and their direct reports can benefit from the performance development process all year-round.

What makes today’s performance development software so revolutionary? Imagine an interface that promotes continuous feedback, where historical feedback remains available at your fingertips to keep both the manager and the team member honest as to both the progress made and the goals still outstanding. The goal of performance development is two-fold: to develop our team members and to help our managers effectively manage. So, why not give them the tools to do both?

As the system administrator, HR is given both the authority to initiate the performance development process and the access to track progress in real time. The administrator may also send “accountability nudges,” prompting both managers and individual contributors to engage in the performance development process.

Advanced performance development systems still allow companies to customize the performance development process in order to fit the needs of their organization, and they may even integrate with other industry-recognized technology tools, such as Slack, JIRA or Confluence.

Culture & Engagement Tools

Studies show that 90% of hiring failures are due to poor culture fit. Companies that understand that each hire is a long-term investment, and that unwanted attrition is costly, are looking at culture in a wholly new way.

Culture and engagement platforms are capitalizing on quantifying. These solutions are based on years of workforce research that indicate that team members who fit the culture of the organization they work for and the teams they work on tend to perform better and stay longer. Integrating culture assessment tools into the recruiting process greatly improves the likelihood that the company ultimately hires the right culture fit and enables managers to better navigate the interpersonal dynamics of their respective team.

Workforce engagement is not a static event – it fluctuates constantly. Through the use of regularly administered “pulse surveys,” HR can identify the teams that need the most support and determine the extent to which they need it. Generally, a pulse survey contains only a limited number of questions. The questions may remain constant to establish historical engagement levels, or they may change in order to measure the health of the company or a specific team amidst atypical events, such as a merger or reduction in force (RIF).

Learning Management System

A Learning Management System (LMS) (a SaaS solution) is a software application used for the delegation and administration of e-learning modules. Companies seeking to create a culture based on learning and development are looking more and more closely at such systems.

While the offerings of any one LMS might vary, organizations might look to LMS software for compliance training (e.g., anti-harassment), leadership and management training, and even developing your everyday workplace skills (e.g., SQL, Microsoft Office Suite). With bundled e-learning modules easily accessible and seamlessly assigned, companies can develop a culture of learning and make compliance a cinch.

Respect the Stack

Full-stack web developers are able to navigate and perform tasks at any level of their technology stack in order to build successful web applications. Why can’t HR do the same to build a successful workforce?

Leave a Comment