HR & Employee Management Articles

Independent Analyst Review of TribeHR Workforce Management

by Keean Persaud
Published on 31 January 2013

Review Methodology

This review constitutes an analysis based on a product demonstration and software review conducted by the qualified system software experts at Eval-Source. The demonstration Eval-Source received from the vendor was based on a custom vendor script, designed to validate and/or disprove vendor claims. The script was specifically prepared to identify functionalities and provide an impartial analysis and software review for TribeHR. This review examines the business problems addressed, as well as the target market, pricing model, solution analysis and key differentiators of the TribeHR software solution.

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Software Landscape

The Human Resources (HR) software market is segmented into two categories: HR Administration and Talent Management. The former encompasses payroll, time and attendance, benefits management and employee record management. The latter incorporates strategic HR functions like recruiting, training, success/leadership planning, succession planning and enterprise performance management - or EPM/BI - the BI component that handles HR information.

The HR software market has seen little growth in solutions that focus exclusively on core HR functions. Traditionally, the few targeted solutions that did exist catered mainly to large organizations and were typically large, cumbersome, expensive, had fewer functions and required significant effort to install and integrate to other systems. Gradually, more Human Capital Management (HRM) solutions were introduced and progressively began catering to smaller organizations.

Companies of all shapes and sizes are becoming more horizontal and demanding solutions that provide the scope and depth of functionality required to meet evolving talent management needs. At the same time, social media and networking have transformed recruiting methods. In response, HR software vendors have become increasingly competitive by increasing the coverage of their applications. New offers range from entire suites to tools that address specific HR tasks. The arrival of new vendors on the scene drives innovation and ramps up the quality of applications produced, which increases customer choice in the HRMS application market.

The profile of the user has also changed. Millennials and a younger workforce expect instant feedback and greater engagement and collaboration with colleagues and management. The new generation of HRMS solutions incorporates a social component that enhances two-way communication between colleagues, peers, and managers, and facilitates valuable, ongoing evaluation. Human capital constitutes an organization's largest investment. It is a vital existential and operational resource within any company. The emergence of SaaS and Cloud technology has generated an influx of new vendors offering software that targets SMBs. These solutions range from task-specific solutions to entire HR suites, are more affordable and require less effort to install. The figure below represents the two segments of the HCM market.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

Figure 1: Organizational HCM Functions

Target Market

TribeHR caters to practically any type of organization or industry within the SMB space. The tool has the versatility to meet HR requirements within different types of SMBs. Common industries or verticals of TribeHR's customer base include high-tech, consulting firms, manufacturing, non-profits, higher education entities and call centers.

As SMBs trend towards smaller ERP solutions, they are finding that the functionality is broad but not very deep. TribeHR holds a unique position in the SMB market, moving companies with disparate systems and practically no formal HR processes to a more direct solution focusing on core and strategic HR functions. It provides these companies with the ability to manage the end-to-end HR process without forfeiting the necessary depth of functionality.

Building up an HR department is a task that every business encounters. Many companies with 50-1000 employees take on professionals from larger organizations that are accustomed to using more sophisticated HR systems. TribeHR is tailored to these HR managers, business owners, executive leaders and internal recruiters moving into SMBs, who need to create a framework and execute HR processes. By providing end-to-end HR functionality, it speaks to their expertise and ability to tailor solutions for any company.

The three levels of TribeHR are: Starter, Group and Team. As expected, the complexity of each version reflects the functionality contained. The handy individual pricing option provides ultimate flexibility for companies to utilize HR functionality according to their specific organizational requirements and complexity. Those who require greater functionality can scale up to the next version without losing existing information. What's more, there are no minimum subscription requirements.

Other HR software that cater to the SMB space are often bulk priced by group, or a minimum number of users. TribeHR's individual pricing model allows an organization to accurately control spending per user. There is no additional charge for extra storage per employee record, which means companies do not have to invest time and money to get a new system up and running. There is also no additional charge for customer data release upon contract termination, and this is an important factor when evaluating software, as it affects TCO and ROI for SaaS solutions. The NetSuite and Salesforce integrations are part of the base package, which is included in the monthly pricing.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

Solution Analysis

TribeHR is a targeted human capital management (HCM) solution specifically designed for the SMB market. It offers a full framework to manage the complete Human Resource lifecycle. Its range and depth of features distinguish it as a leader among the SMB target. The multitude of available features work together cover each phase of the HR lifecycle, and the architectural composition of core and strategic HR functions (see figure 1) are closely integrated to provide smooth workflows and transitions between stages. TribeHR focuses on the core competency areas of company culture, performance management, HRIS, time and attendance, recruiting, payroll and integrations. Each competency is summarized below to illustrate the capabilities covered within the application.

Core Competencies

Company Culture

The TribeHR solution allows businesses to embed their company culture and customize the application to their specific needs and company background. Creating a customized work area engages employees, promotes collaboration within the company, improves user adoption of the application, and enables visibility throughout the HR process for metrics and KPIs that managers may require.

This functional area also includes features to create visual application customizations that enhance usability, to use preconfigured reports or create custom reports, to integrate company values throughout the application (reflected in workflows and visual configuration setups), and to conduct leadership reporting.

Performance Management & Recognition

There is a strong emphasis placed on all phases of the performance management process. It has several applications which allow the organization to create individual employee profiles that include skills, notes and feedback. It also provides a framework for capturing the information that can be used during employee reviews. The review cycle can be set at ongoing or intermediary intervals to keep the employee on track between performance reviews and simplify the review process for managers.

TribeHR empowers the employee to monitor his or her own profile with a self-service model that allows updating, editing and posting of information, without having to wait for HR to update files. TribeHR's unique social goal management feature promotes two-way communication between employees and managers. Employees can invite others to assist them in reaching their own goals either personally or as a team, and create social interaction for employee-led initiatives. The metrics created through this process may be reported on, to monitor growth, progress and development.

Employees have asserted that the number one reason for job satisfaction is recognition. Social goal management, reviews and review cycles, and kudos play an important role in engaging and retaining employees. Kudos is a TribeHR creation that recognizes employees for good work. It may be assigned to an employee through a peer or a manager for ongoing recognition, which motivates employees, increases work satisfaction and promotes company-wide bonding and engagement. As employees mature in skill set and their roles change, new skills may be added to the employee profile and tracked, thereby adding another level of integrity to the employee record. Records are employee specific and are best utilized in conjunction with features in other core functionalities to leverage the full power of this HR solution.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

HRIS - Human Resource Information System

As with any HCM system, the human resource component is the heart of the TribeHR system. Combining company and personal employee information creates a complete repository for document storage and sharing, which can be leveraged throughout the rest of the application. The HRIS repository allows organizations to create rich social HR profiles that contain timelines, work history, goals, resumes, achievements, and skill development, all accessible in one place.

The combination of HRIS features and functions provides the infrastructure to fully automate most, if not all, HR processes. Many best practices are embedded into the software through the TribeHR infrastructure, automating a wide variety of manual processes. This creates a paperless environment, and workflows are also easily facilitated since automatic approval processes for requests - such as time off - can go directly to managers. Approvals can then be easily posted.

Time and Attendance

The functionalities relating to time and attendance offer individual and organizational tracking. It adds calendaring for individual and organizational events, and integrates with the employee record allowing for easy scheduling of time off, etc. It automates the vacation approval process, tracks sick days, and offers shared calendars by employee, team group and organization. It also supports calendar exports (iCal files to sync calendars), synchronizes paid time off and adds employee time tracking. These features enable the automation of several workflows and notes to be posted about the addition of new events. Having access to this type of information increases employee self-service and encourages engagement with the software, thus addressing a problem commonly associated with any new software: employee adoption.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

Social Recruiting

The social recruiting functionality, not available in the Tribe HR Starter package but included in the Group and Team versions, encompasses the entire recruitment process from start to finish. It includes components for the creation of job descriptions, job ads, and job boards; resume management; and email resume collection. It also provides a facility for multiple reviewers to evaluate an employee. The social recruiting component accommodates new hiring techniques, especially management of the application process lifecycle. It automates processes and simplifies access through the repository it creates. This section of the application lets you create a job description, post it internally and externally to outbound job boards, gather resumes from multiple sources, tracks the progress of each candidate through the recruitment process with reviewer notes, and monitor the approval process by multiple decision makers. Social capabilities are added through the use of LinkedIn and Facebook for resume posting and capture. Multiple managers can be ranked throughout the process, and hiring managers can be changed midstream, without needing to repeat up the entire workflow and profile set-up.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

By enabling the use of Facebook and LinkedIn, the social aspect is further integrated into the HR process. This not only accelerates the hiring process, but also ensures a complete record with greater information. It can also be used as a quality control measure to standardize the data collected online. Searching and indexing can be based on keyword(s), skills, names and other fields, making information more easily accessible throughout the application process. When the employee is brought on board, it is all converted to begin tracking him or her through the company processes.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

The recruiting function allow for flexibility in promotion and branding. It can be configured to display on the company website to relay all open job positions, using TribeHR as the content engine. Clients can customize the page by adding their own logo and overlay the CSS to look like a part of their website with their branding, thereby appearing seamless to customers who might think they have left your site. TribeHR has eliminated the need for complicated IT intervention for such efforts.


To correlate payroll and HR functions, which are closely linked, TribeHR can create payroll reports based on the information within the HR system. Linking time attendance, vacations, time off, and paid time off provides a valuable resource for employees to execute and validate these occurrences through a self-serve model of timesheet. See the integration section for further information on other available integration options.

Graphical User Interface - GUI

The GUI for TribeHR is a clean and easy social framework that allows users to navigate quickly through the application. The tabbed layout segregates each functional area and, once clicked, details and information can be added. On the right hand section of the screen, there are suggestions to ease navigation and application usage. Time off or vacation can be scheduled with one click using the calendar, which opens other screens to select the details that initiate the workflow. The workflows initiated here may also be automated by alerting the manager responsible for approval.

Additional components such as documents, folders, reports and administration can be accessed from the upper right hand corner of the home screen, should the user be granted permission to see them. The page also contains a link to the support community, online help, or an option to send an email to TribeHR to get you started.

The social streams enable collaboration and increase user interaction within the application. Its efficiency and ease of use encourages social interactions within the organization. TribeHR makes it easy for the user to find what they require with quick navigation, saving time that may otherwise be spent looking for tasks and functions.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

Reports and dashboards

Every function that TribeHR completes can be recorded using customized or prepackaged reports. Various options exist based on employee vacation, time off, payroll, and combinations of these attributes. Once a report is selected, users can drill-down behind each field to complete individual sections.

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

The dashboard is the main source of navigation and is personalized by the user. This greatly reduces jumping from screen to screen, and simplifies usage so that multiple sessions are not required to multi-task. Easy navigation means wizards are not required and, as creating reports is not difficult, non-technical personnel can easily manage the task. Any reports that are created within TribeHR can be exported to Excel using .xls format. This feature is handy for managers that need quick access to many records when a system is readily available. It is a good fit for medium and larger companies where an HR professional is working with other departments to schedule time-off, payroll and resourcing issues.


TribeHR can be easily integrated to current platforms and payroll systems thanks to its REST API. It has several built-in integrations such as, NetSuite and Freshbooks. The Salesforce integration allows you to add your TribeHR site as a Salesforce Web Tab, which automatically signs in users from your Salesforce account, to TribeHR.

Organizations can quickly add functionality to existing systems by having TribeHR integrated seamlessly through the API, making it look like one application. Users will adopt the software quicker if all the functions are easy to get to from a single source and don't require navigation to several applications to complete one task or workflow. They can leverage the single sign on capabilities for Google Apps. Calendaring integrations are also available with TribeHR. Organizations already using Google Apps, Outlook or iCal can subscribe and receive updates to events through the TribeHR calendar. Calendars can also be downloaded as an iCal (.ics) export. For users of calendar apps, TribeHR alerts will display within them, enhancing user engagement throughout the organization. TribeHR has prebuilt integrations to ADP and Paychex external payroll providers as well as a standard integration that can be easily customized for other third party payroll systems. Further, other providers can be accommodated through the API. Employee records can be easily downloaded or uploaded through CSV files. A complete SQL export is also available.

Technical Information

Analyst Evaluation TribeHR

Key Differentiators

TribeHR has several differentiators within the SMB space as a fully integrated HCM suite that covers the entire HR lifecycle, including social human resources and recruiting, upward or downward scalability, employee self-service, core HRIS, performance management and applicant tracking. These differentiators are difficult to find within a product of this price range.

Employee Engagement and Self-Service

TribeHR is one of the few solutions in the HCM software area to leverage web 2.0. Employees throughout the organization are encouraged to control all aspects of the HR record. The social engagement promotes increased adoption across the organization, thereby creating more accurate records. Increased usage transforms HR from a mainly administrative role, to a strategic asset. Ease of use lowers the possibility of IT failure. The minimal learning curve that the new system requires decreases the change factors that users experience when adopting a new system. The singular point of entry greatly increases user engagement, as the system is not difficult to use.

Social Human Resources

As TribeHR covers the entire HR lifecycle with considerable breadth and depth, users can update data, track trends and make improvements to ensure employee growth. This functionality makes it easier for managers to reduce administration like organizing and filing paperwork. It enables resourcing, and tracks and manages vacations and accruals. The compliance-oriented database converts collected information and translates it into usable information such as strengths, weaknesses, assets and liabilities.

Innovative features like values, kudos, employee feedback, goal setting and recognition of peer, public and managerial acknowledgments strengthen the organization through its employees and their interactions.

Previously, this type of functionality was not often available to SMB organizations, and only existed within very large software suites because the depth of functionality was either insufficient, or very expensive. Additional employee engagement can be fostered by using TribeHR to support HR initiatives. This can be done by uploading your logo and posting positions onto your website and using the TribeHR application to capture information. As the information is automatically integrated into the system, the HR functions for continuing the hiring process can proceed smoothly.

Performance Management

This section of the application can be used to instil company culture across the organization, thus encouraging employee growth that can be monitored and shared. The social nature of TribeHR eases the anxiety of performance reviews for users as they are subject to constant feedback.

Identification of strengths and weaknesses can be monitored, corrected and changed when necessary, thereby lessening the severity of the review process. Kudos is used for recognition in the performance management section of the application, as certain accreditations are used to create employee performance reviews. This simplifies differentiating between similar employees, helping managers to determine pay raises for the upcoming year.

By enabling employees to see and edit their own user file, they can more effectively manage their careers and drive their own success.

Applicant Tracking

The social capabilities within TribeHR enable HR to broaden their candidate pool and harness the power of external experts. Recruiting through LinkedIn and Facebook attracts more applicants, through an easier application process and facilitates an increase in the quality of talent that results from a larger and more qualified pool.

The application process becomes less administrative, and a smooth transition can be made when the employee is brought onboard.

Concluding Remarks

The HCM software landscape has evolved to a point of no return with the emergence of Cloud technology, which has brought vendors like TribeHR onto the scene. TribeHR has carved out a unique space in this landscape. It addresses the problems of small to medium businesses by providing end-to-end HR functionality with social capabilities that cater to the modern workforce. The solution offers a complete framework combined with best practices to solve key business challenges and alleviate many common HCM challenges faced by organizations. It fosters support for growth, and helps make the most of scare resources in administration and IT departments. The solution also responds to the necessity to streamline internal processes, and generate employee feedback.

Companies in its target market are often looking to establish HR practices, processes and policies. TribeHR provides a framework to quickly implement, utilize and establish the necessary rules, system and HR processes to give the organization an efficient and effective HCM practice to support growing organizations. It offers three different packages, ranging from small - the Starter package, to medium - the Group package, while the Team package caters to larger organizations. Its interface is easy to use, straightforward, and enables easy navigation to simplify repetitive tasks. Constant updates are administered to the application through the SaaS delivery, thereby adding and simplifying additional features throughout the software. Its embedded social capabilities permit organizations a greater level of engagement, which promotes a sense of belonging, recognition, and contribution to the organizational culture.

Overall, TribeHR offers full HCM functionality in a convenient, easy to use package. It provides companies of all shapes and sizes, and especially SMBs, with a good tool with which to manage HCM functions and growth, support HCM practices, simplify and streamline procedures, while increasing employee and corporate engagement.

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