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Building Your Human Resources Tech Stack

In the past decade there has been an explosion of software tools in the Human Resources industry, offering a range of capabilities from recruiting and interviewing tools, to onboarding, to payroll, to benefit management, and more.

According to a 2020 report from Blissfully, the average company now uses 137 unique Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, and overall SaaS spend is up 50% from 2018-2020. A different survey from Statista pegs the unique number of apps per company at 80, but both analyses show a 10x increase in unique app usage since 2015.

Blissfully found that the average small company (defined as 1-100 employees) had 35 employees, 102 unique apps, and spent $202K a year ($5.7K per employee) on SaaS applications. While that may seem like a lot of money when you’re starting your own business, the truth is that $202k in SaaS spend is likely covering what used to take dozens and dozens of people to accomplish. In a small business, optimizing your systems with SaaS products can save you time from tedious back-office tasking, and allow you to focus on providing your unique value to your customers.

Choosing the right tools

It can be difficult to sort through the options and understand which systems will provide you with the most value for the price and stage of your business. Below are a few guiding questions for when you’re searching.

•Will this software help with communication? Communication is key in keeping the hiring process moving. Find a software that centralizes communication for your team and external candidates.

•Will this software keep me organized? Hiring can get out of hand quickly between stacks of forms, assigning training and generating logins for all of your unique systems. Look for software that can be a dedicated warehouse for documents and offers digital signatures.

•What is an appropriate cost benefit analysis? Oftentimes, especially in small teams, time is your most constrained resource. As a business owner, it is important not only to consider the financial cost of the time saved with software automation, but the additional value that can be added with more employee capacity and faster service. Especially in recruiting, speed can often be a major factor in success or failure.

•Will this software grow with my business? Your team size will ebb and flow as your company grows. Make sure the software you select does too. Whether it has tiered plans or integrations with other software, look for modularity to prevent switching systems frequently.

The top two HR applications for first-time business owners

Based on the mix of features, ease of use, and price, JazzHR and Gusto are two software solutions we recommend for clients looking to kick start their hiring and onboarding processes.


Starting at $39/month (with Donnelly-Boland's partnership discount). A centralized, user-friendly, applicant tracking system that scales with your hiring needs. With proven, built-in workflows and the ability to post to 20 job boards at once, it’s ready to go out-of-the-box for your first hire. Once you master the basics you can create custom workflows, automate emails to candidates at each hiring stage and access analytics and reporting. You’re also able to assign role-based access to all stakeholders involved in the process to create a centralized communication channel for progress and action items.


Starting at $39/month + $6/employee. One-stop shop for employee onboarding, payroll, time tracking, and insurance and benefits management. Send offer letters and create a custom onboarding task list to welcome new employees to your team. Run payroll and integrate directly with your accounting software. Most importantly, Gusto provides compliance guidance so Employee I-9s and W-2s don’t go unsigned and you stay on top of changing tax laws.

Together, JazzHR and Gusto set you up for a seamless recruiting and onboarding process, as well as a smooth payroll and benefits management experience. As with all tools, they work best when backed by routine and behavior. Using the built-in features is a great start, but talk with your team when starting out to incorporate your unique requirements and the software will work for you, not against you.

To learn about other types of back office software, please don't hesitate to reach out.

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