Table of Contents
Table of Contents
What Is an HRIS?
An HRIS, or Human Resource Information System, (also known as a Human Resource Management System) is a software program designed to store employee information in regards to performance management, training and development, recruiting, benefits administration, payroll, and more. An HRIS can provide valuable analytics, reduce processing and administrative costs, and increase an HR department’s overall effectiveness.
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Common Features of an HRIS
Not every HRIS is the same. Some might be a better fit for your company depending on the needs of your organization. Below are descriptions of commonly used features provided by HRIS systems.
A benefits feature can be a fantastic way to manage the benefits function, provide reporting and be a tool for auditing. Some HRIS systems even have a self-service option that allows employees to easily enroll in benefits on their own and view the deduction amounts associated with each benefit. This feature can easily track eligibility and dependents and can greatly reduce paperwork and staff time associated with benefits administration.
The payroll feature in an HRIS allows you to calculate the hours that employees have worked along with information about their attendance. Taxes and withholdings, along with other deductions, can be automatically set up. Depending on where your employees work, HRIS systems typically have the ability to comply with applicable local laws. This is also true for an HRIS that operates on a global level.
The ability to track and manage training is a great benefit that most HRIS systems offer. Some allow you to update training records for multiple employees at once, which saves more time. Some systems also generate reports in real time, which gives management control over the learning and development of employees.
Not only does a recruiting module store applicants’ data within the HRIS, but most HRIS software allows you to post ads internally and externally simultaneously, which can greatly reduce your time to fill. A recruiting module can typically convert data from an employee application into a potential employee’s file, which can result in fewer errors as well as saving time.
Time and Attendance
A time and attendance module allows managers to easily edit and view time punches, time-off requests, and accrued leave. Some HRIS systems give employees a dashboard so they have access to the same information.
A performance management module empowers your employees to track their goals, review current projects, and follow up on their performance assessments. Depending on the frequency of performance evaluations in your organization, notifications can also be created as reminders for both employees and management when the time comes for another review.
Other Potential Features
An HRIS can also be integrated with other software or services your company uses. For example, some companies integrate their existing benefits administration services with their HRIS in order to create a more streamlined process when enrolling and terminating employee benefits. You might also encounter an HRIS with advanced reporting and analytics functions, which can be especially helpful when it comes to calculating and tracking employee retention, turnover and scheduled reporting.
What Are the Benefits of Using an HRIS?
A properly implemented HRIS can greatly reduce administrative costs, streamline HR processes, and provide in-depth reporting and analytics. It can also give your employees the ability to access and update personal information through self-service. An HRIS is a great tool that can allow you to focus more on playing a strategic role for your company.
Reduced Administrative Costs
Through the use of streamlined processes, workflows, electronic folders, and more, an HRIS can reduce administrative costs associated with running an HR department. Basic HR tasks can be automated. Employees can manage their own benefits and access their timesheets and pay stubs, which can help them resolve issues or concerns they have more easily.
Reporting and Analytics
Through the use of reporting and analytical tools, more information can be made easily accessible to management in order to track trends and make better decisions faster. More data means greater analysis of information, which can help shed light on operational issues. This can lead to an increase of strategic questions and answers.
The day-to-day transactional issues and HR questions can all be handled through employee self-service, or ESS. An easy-to-use-and-access ESS can help employees make choices and update information on their own. They can transparently access information from benefits to leave time.
Things to Consider When Choosing an HRIS
Choosing an HRIS is a large investment in terms of both time and finances. It’s important to make sure you’ve done all your homework before you choose a vendor.
Consider not just the needs of the HR department but the strategy of the company when exploring an HRIS. Conduct a needs assessment in order to determine gaps that need to be filled. Your organization might have a dedicated recruiting department or it may not. Most organizations are interested in an HRIS system for payroll and benefits administration. After that, determine what other features or modules fit the needs of your company, such as learning and development, performance management, recruiting, etc.
As you analyze the different modules or functions of an HRIS, it’s important to consider their functionality in relation to your company’s strategic goals. Just because an interface may appear flashy or intuitive doesn’t always mean that it is functional or useful in relation to your goals.
SaaS vs On-Premise
Does your organization want to purchase an HRIS that is a Software as a Service (SaaS) or on-premise solution? There are pros and cons to each of these options that are important to consider before making a purchase. A SaaS is an HRIS hosted by a third party. Implementation is generally straightforward; employees can access it either inside or outside the office, and the third party supports it through updates with an annual subscription. If you choose on-premise software, your company pays a one-time fee and owns it (this fee is typically very large). This may not be ideal for some companies if they don’t have a reliable way to handle software updates that arise.
Does Your Company Need a Scalable Solution?
Does your company plan to grow in the near future? If so, you may need to consider a solution that is scalable, or one that can grow along with your company. Having a flexible HRIS that can integrate easily with your organization can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Best Practices for Using an HRIS
There are several best practices you can use to guide both your and your employees’ use of an HRIS.
HRIS systems typically have various security profiles that you can create for your management and employees. It’s important to consider how your employees will use the system so the securities you build for them match their job needs. For example, you don’t want to give an employee access to information they don’t need. Be careful not to give too much information to a particular security profile, and don’t forget to test the security profiles before you assign them.
Educate Yourself and Your Workforce
An HRIS is typically accompanied with training videos or documents for its administrators. The time you spend learning your HRIS can greatly impact your overall experience with it. Even though these modules may take a large amount of time to complete, it will be well worth the effort in the long run. This will help you be an even better resource for other employees who use it too.
Educating your workforce and preparing them for change is very important. There may be educational videos or modules included with your HRIS that your workforce can view relative to the specific security settings they have so they can learn to navigate the system and get past the learning curve quicker.
Respond to Feedback
There may be some in your organization who have negative feedback regarding an HRIS. It’s important to acknowledge their feedback. If you know of a way to act on it and correct something (possibly after further educating yourself), then you can earn their trust by doing so. If there are technological limitations that can’t be overcome, it’s important to let them know about this, too, along with possible alternatives.
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James has worked in the HR field going on 5+ years and has held various positions of leadership. His areas of expertise are in benefits, recruiting, onboarding, HR analytics, engagement, employee relations, and workforce development. He has earned a masters degree in HR, along with a nationally recognized SHRM-SCP certification.