By Erin Vaughan
There’s a lot more to HR than meetings. Today’s HR professionals need powerful tools to create visually striking documents that resonate with team members and executives. Data management and visualization tools have always been the main means to that end, but today’s softwares integrate with other SaaS tools to allow team members to import directly from data sources. Meanwhile, the more robust of these offerings work in conjunction with existing HR tools, like your payroll software, to update information across systems with the click of a button. In that way, these new products are a win for efficiency, as well. Here are some of our favorite must-have tools for busy HR professionals.
Over the past few years, Microsoft has made an effort to integrate org chart capabilities into Office tools. Their Organizational Chart Wizard, available in Visio, is used by many small businesses to create skeletal org charts from existing spreadsheets and server directories. In fact, you can upload directly from a Microsoft Exchange Server directory, making it highly convenient for businesses working in the Microsoft ecosystem. The final org chart definitely looks sophisticated enough to present to the board. But you’re not going to get the custom features you’ll find in a more high-level organizational software, personal touches that allow your chart to stand out from the crowd and speak volumes about your culture and brand. For that, you’ll need to use something a little more advanced.
Regardless of whether you choose to use the chart wizard, however, Excel is a must-have tool for almost any org chart designer. Many sophisticated org chart softwares allow you to upload employee roster lists created in Excel to shortcut some of the manual work of adding employees one at a time. No matter what software you use to create your chart, Excel is a perennial hit with HR teams.
Excel works for some organizations, but for others who’ve chosen to take the SaaS approach, it’s all about the Google products. Google Docs plays nicely with several cloud-based chart products and produces easily shareable documents, spreadsheets and slides for easy presenting. For many businesses, its family of cloud tools has all but replaced more expensive Microsoft Office Suite products.
Lucidcharts is one of the better low-cost diagramming tools available, allowing you to mock up quick flowcharts, process maps, and of course, org charts. They have a “no-frills” approach to design, so charts made there are not going to win any graphic design awards. But what it lacks in polish, it makes up for in data visualization; their massive template library will help you organize your data into digestible charts and maps. Org chart templates are broken down by industry, making this a great tool for data first-timers.
Tableau Public is the data viz choice du jour for chart-building individuals from all walks of life. In particular, it’s a favorite choice of the media to create eye-grabbing graphics and visuals that tell a cohesive narrative. HR professionals use it to generate captivating charts covering everything from talent acquisition to employee development and performance data. Tableau also has the ability to process analytics from big data sources, making it a powerful tool as HR data evolves.
There are charts, and then there are charts. The former will create a static document of your business as it stands today. The latter integrates with multiple tools for seamless data import and export. We’ve built Pingboard to appeal to HR pros looking for that something a little extra—the ability to create dynamic, mobile-ready charts that work for your whole team, not just for when you’re presenting to the board. Since employees are a lot more than a name and job title, our org charts allow you to enter custom information within managed profiles, offering an outlet to express your company’s unique culture and values. You can use it to keep track of account assignments or provide a quick overview of who works in which location. Best of all, the app integrates with popular payroll tools, like ADP, so that you won’t have to make a ton of manual adjustments every time there’s a hiring decision. For fast-paced startups and busy small businesses, where teams and objectives change quickly, these kinds of high-efficiency features make a world of difference. After all, HR is so much more than mindless administrative tasks!
Erin Vaughan currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes about workplace culture and human resource solutions for Pingboard. Pingboard is real-time, collaborative org chart software that makes it easy to organize teams, plan for growth, & keep everyone informed.