Free or Inexpensive Tools to Build an HR Practice - Glassdoor for Employers

Free or Inexpensive Tools to Build an HR Practice

Growing startups and new organizations will naturally focus most of their financial resources on their products and sales. This can sometimes come at the cost of investing in their people and HR processes early on. Thriving businesses like Shopify recognized that creating a people-focused approach was crucial to their success from the start. If people and culture are values that align with your new business, but you're feeling the pinch financially, here is a list of free or inexpensive tools that can help you build a healthy workplace culture.

Training and Development

re:Work: While building or sourcing workshops can be costly, websites like Google's re:Work makes it easy to run a workshop in your organization, for free! Materials found on this site make it possible for someone to pick up a facilitators guide, open up the pre-made slides, and teach classes on topics such as recruitment, management, strategy, unbiasing, and so much more. They also offer free templates to help guide conversations around feedback, career planning, and coaching with your employees.

EdX: EdX offers online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines that can be audited for free. To make EdX a more personalized experience for your team, take the time to curate learning playlists by selecting a list of courses you believe your team should take in order to sharpen their skills.

Canva: Your training and development efforts are worth nothing if you don't properly market them with a nice campaign. Canva allows you to create easy, simple, and beautiful marketing designs for free! You can make posters, infographics, invitations, and so much more. It even allows you to collaborate with teammates in real time.

Lunch and Learns: Often times, you can convince consultants or vendors from different areas to come and share their expertise for free. These sorts of events offer an opportunity to build a relationship with your organization as a potential client.

As the war for talent continues, training and development remains an important tool for retention and engagement across organizations. For Millennials, training and development is the most coveted job benefit over and above flexible working hours, cash bonuses, and vacation days!


Social Media: Being active on social media is a great way to build your company brand. It also gives people a peek into what it would look like to work for your organization. Posting original content across your social platforms also helps establish your company as a thought leader, while creating buzz around your brand.

Social media is also a great way to promote jobs you're looking to fill. Chelsea Berne, Sales and Marketing coordinator from Grooms & Associates says "we use social media, primarily Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to find candidates and promote the jobs we need to fill. We also get our employees involved in sharing our posts, giving us more visibility and a new audience interacting with our content. Social media platforms are very strategic if you know what to put up and how to use it."

Communication and Collaboration

Trello: Trello is a free tool, that teams can use to manage projects and workflow. With boards, lists, and cards, teams can stay organized and prioritize projects. It's a great way to see what your staff is working on, and what projects are in the pipeline

Google Forms: While Google offers a host of free, collaborative, and cloud-based tools such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Google Forms allows you to create polished and easy surveys. These forms offer many of the benefits of paid services like Survey Monkey, while providing you the opportunity to collect meaningful data. With regards to HR, Google Forms can be used to gather information on employee onboarding experience, employee engagement, and overall satisfaction. is another tool to help you centralize your own tasks and stay organized while managing projects across teams. It is cloud-based, and not overly expensive per user.

If you want to build a high performing team from the start, it's important to provide people with the tools and resources they need to succeed. While it's easy to get distracted and put employee development to the side, the smartest organizations know that success starts from creating a well-oiled machine!

Stacy Pollack is a Learning Specialist with an MA in Educational Technology. She is passionate about building leadership programs that engage and contribute to the success of her organization. She loves to share her perspective on workplace development, career building, and networking for success. Connect with her on LinkedInTwitter, or at

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