The 5 characteristics of a top HR product

Steve Boese, HRE’s Inside HR Tech Columnist, shares what traits a good HR product must have to become successful in 2024 and beyond.
By: | March 25, 2024

One of my favourite projects to participate in is the review and selection of the Top HR Products of the Year, alongside my Human Resource Executive and HR Technology Conference colleagues. Submissions recently opened for the 2024 awards, and I am looking forward to seeing the newest and best in HR technology—leading up to the announcement of the Top HR Products in late summer.

While the extensive set of evaluation criteria that has been developed over the years is too long to expand upon here, I thought it would be interesting to share a few general characteristics of our previous Top Products winners. I want to do this not necessarily to inform solution providers that are vying for the awards, but rather to help HR leaders, who can use this information when assessing HR technology for their organisations.

What makes a standout Top HR Product?

In no particular order, here are my top five characteristics of a Top HR Product:

Compelling user experience

A technology solution for businesses should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface that simplifies complex tasks such as managing HR processes, payroll function, benefits administration or talent management. A clean and easy-to-navigate interface reduces training time and encourages adoption among users by making the system seamless, and perhaps even fun, to use.

Recent Top HR Product winners offering a compelling user experience include:

Impactful analytics and reporting

Access to comprehensive analytics and reporting tools empowers businesses, managers and HR leaders to derive actionable insights from their HR and workforce data. Advanced analytics capabilities inform decision-making, help leaders identify trends and enable HR to measure the impact of initiatives on organisational performance. Clear and customisable reports facilitate communication across departments and support strategic planning efforts.

Examples of previous winners whose products excel in analytics and reporting capabilities include:

 Customisation, personalisation and flexibility

Businesses have unique requirements, so a technology solution should offer customisation options to help the company adapt to different organisational structures, policies and workflows. Flexibility in configuration ensures that the solution can cater to the specific needs of the organisation, leading to higher user satisfaction and adoption. And personalisation allows individuals to adapt the interface, menus, layout, look and feel to make the experience their own, as well as more engaging and productive to use.

Previous Top HR Product winners offering leading customisation, personalisation and flexibility are:

 Effective integration capabilities

It is crucial that any HR technology solution easily integrates with existing systems and platforms for it to be effectively adopted. Integration capabilities allow for data exchange between different—and usually external—systems, streamlining processes, reducing duplication of data entry and ensuring data consistency. Effective and accurate integration also enables faster access to information, enhancing decision-making capabilities.

Recent Top HR Product winners whose solutions most effectively integrate include:

 Noteworthy level of innovation

How unique is the technology solution compared to existing offerings in the market? Assess whether it introduces new features, functionalities or approaches that have not been seen before. Innovation often involves bringing fresh ideas or concepts to solve existing problems in novel ways. How much did the solution make us pause and say, “That was really cool!”

Some Top HR Products that have recently done that are:

While industry awards like Top HR Products are important distinctions—and a vote of confidence in a particular solution’s capabilities, design and potential impact on customers—they should be just one data point in an organisation’s HR technology decision process.

The Top HR Product designation can help HR learn about the best in HR technology innovation, understand what the market-leading providers are creating and gain insight into how HR technology is developing to respond to workplace trends and business challenges.

However, it cannot be a substitute for your organisation’s vetting process into a provider organisation’s culture, business approach and “fit” as a strategic partner. While we think that all the Top HR Products are likely to be great partners and provide value, return on investment, etc., it is important to remember that every client organisation is unique, and the “best” product for one might not be the best for another.

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As you head into the second quarter of 2024 and your plans for new HR technology this year begin to firm up, please do consider these factors as you evaluate the many options and opportunities the HR technology market offers. And of course, stay connected to the HR Technology Conference and Human Resource Executive for information and insights on all things HR technology.

About the author: Steve Boese is HRE’s Inside HR Tech Columnist and Chair of HRE’s HR Technology Conference. This article was first published on Human Resource Executive.

Join Boese at the Work Reimagine content theatre on April 24 at 2.15pm (SGT), where he will provide key insights into how you can transform top workforce trends into impactful and actionable HR strategies. The Work Reimagine content theatre is part of HR Tech Festival Asia 2024, which is taking place from April 24-25 in Singapore.