In a recent interview, I was asked the question: “What tools and technology do you use at the HR Trend Institute? Do you walk the talk?”.
The HR Trend Institute is a small organization. No ERP, no CRM, no pulse surveys and no real-time sentiment analysis of our e-mails. I can give an overview of the applications I personally use, and I think many of them can be very useful for HR professionals. I am not sponsored by any of the applications I mention, so no worries!
In alphabetical order:
Asana is my task manager. I put all my to-do’s in Asana, both business and private to-do’s. It requires some discipline, but after a while, you get used to it. If you put all your actions in Asana, you’ll never forget a thing. I am sure I only use 5% or less of Asana’s capabilities, but it works for me. I think I could probably do what I do in Trello (see number 10) in Asana too, but for my agile project planning, I like Trello better. For a thorough comparison read: “Trello vs Asana: which is the best project management app?”.
I am a super light user of Asana. Recently I heard Ruben Timmerman of Springest talk about the way Springest is organized, and they use Asana as their core organizational system. If you want to learn more, listen to this podcast. A map of the Springest organization can be found online, it’s very transparent.
I use Evernote to store all kind of information that I believe could be useful later; interesting apps, interesting people to follow, recommended restaurants, ideas for blog posts, flight numbers etc. I also use Evernote to make notes during meetings. Evernote works both on mobile and on your desktop (capturing websites or screenshots). You can also send emails to Evernote. Every now and then (not often enough) I sit down to go through my Evernote database and store the information in different notebooks. The search capabilities of Evernote are great.
If you want to learn more, read: “How to use Evernote to organize your life”.
Costs: I use the premium plan for EUR 6,99 per month. There also is a free basic plan.
With Flipboard, you can easily create online magazines. These magazines can be public, or for personal use only. I find it a great way to collect interesting articles on specific subjects. My biggest magazine is “The Future of HR”, where I collect and share articles around innovative HR and related subjects. I also curate the “HR Tech” magazine. In Flipboard, you can subscribe to several magazines, and it is a great way to stay up-to-date. The mobile app is very good, and during a train journey or in a waiting room you can quickly scroll through the articles and store the interesting ones in your own magazine.
If you want to learn more, read: “How to use Flipboard to share content privately and creatively”.
Costs: Flipboard is free.
4. Google Forms
Clear instructions on how to use Google Forms can be found in the G Suite Learning Center. Matthew Guay also wrote an informative guide: “Google Forms Guide – Everything you need to make great forms for free”.
The use of Google Forms is free.
I start every morning with a meditation session with Headspace.
I tried several apps, and I liked Headspace most. The variety of meditations and courses is big, and the voice of Andy Puddicombe is great. My current streak is 712 days of meditation in a row, so switching to another app is difficult for me!
Valentina Palladino wrote an extensive review about Headspace: “Mobile mindfulness – An unscientific review of the Headspace meditation app”. There are various other excellent meditation apps, for an overview read: “Top 8 meditation apps to use at work”.
Costs: Euro 71,88 per year.
In Lifesum I capture what I eat and drink. Why? To try to eat healthy and not too much. If you have to register what you eat and drink, you will eat less anyway (it simply is too much work to register everything).
For an overview of food trackers read: “The 9 best food tracker apps of 2019”.
Lifesum: I use the free version, and for me, this is good enough.
I use Mentimeter when I want to do a survey during or after a presentation. You can easily create a survey. You project the questions, the participants log in on menti.com, enter the questionnaire code and complete the questions. The results are immediately available on screen. You can also download a report in pdf. Below you see the answer on a question I asked the audience during an Agile HR conference last year.
There are various audience polling tools. Farshad Iqbal of Presentation Guru gives an overview in: “How to get instant feedback from your audience”.
Costs: I use the basic plan, for $9,99 per month. There is a free version too, with limited possibilities.
Slack is an instant messaging and collaboration system. I use it as a collaboration tool for the different teams I am working in, and also to connect participants of a training program prior, during and after the program. For us, as a small business, Slack is ideal. We could also use WhatsApp, but Slack has a lot more possibilities. Slack integrates with many other solutions and there are numerous clever Slack apps. Example: you can create simple surveys using an app like Simple Poll or Polly. I created a short video, where I show how to create a mood measurement survey in Slack using Polly.
Some more information: “14 of the best Slack apps, integrations & bots to try” and “What is Slack and how do I use it for my team”.
Costs: I use the free version, as my teams are limited.
9. Trackers on my iPhone and iWatch
Trello is great for organizing projects. For every new project, I immediately create a new Trello Board. The simplest layout of a board you see below. Three columns: Backlog, In Progress and Finished. The flexibility of Trello is great, and you can use it in various ways. I am currently working on my new book, and every chapter has a column, with the sub-chapters as cards. In one overview I can clearly see everything I have to do.
Learn more about Trello and read: “20 creative ways to use Trello and organize everything” “How to use Trello to stay organized” or “Trello for Human Resources teams”.
Costs: I use the free version, and I am happy with what I can do.
There are several other tools/applications I did not mention, as they are rather obvious. Think of Excel, Powerpoint, Word, Whatsapp, my iPhone, iPad, iPods, iWatch and MacBook.
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