What is an HRIS and Why Do I Need One?

What is an HRIS, and Why Do I Need One?

What is an HRIS and what does HRIS stand for?

HRIS stands for Human Resource Information System. HRIS is also known as human resource information software, HRIS software, HRIS system, or HRMS (human resource management system/software).

Any of these names will do just fine, but plain old HRIS is the most common. But what is an HRIS and what does it do?

HR is an extremely busy business function. They have a ton of responsibilities that include recruiting, employee PTO, time-tracking, benefits, and payroll, and employer legal compliance.

Managing all of these responsibilities without good tools is extremely time-consuming, difficult, and confusing. That’s where the HRIS comes in.

An HRIS gives you the tools you need to complete HR responsibilities quickly and easily. 

"An HRIS gives you the tools you need to complete HR responsibilities quickly and easily."


There are three terms to know when it comes to HR systems: HRIS (Human Resources Information System), HCM (Human Capital Management), and HRMS (Human Resources Management System).

While these systems have similar functions and their names are often used interchangeably by vendors and others, it’s important to be aware of the unique services each system offers.

For example, HRIS systems focus more on records, reports, and analytics, HCM systems focus more on investment of talent and employee engagement, and HRMS systems focus more on time management and payroll processes.

Core HRIS Features

As we mentioned, HR has a ton of responsibilities. Fortunately, a good HRIS can cover most of them. Here are some of the features and services that a good HRIS should be able to provide.

ATS (Applicant Tracking System): One of HR’s biggest jobs is hiring great people. This can be super hard with many applicants across multiple job openings and no tool to keep them straight. Your HRIS should help you track candidates, evaluate them, and make great hiring decisions.

Onboarding: There’s a lot that has to happen to onboard a new employee. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to take much time out of your HR professional’s day. Onboarding paperwork can be completed digitally by the new hire before they even come into work on day one.

Employee Directory: One goal of your HRIS is to help you manage the information that HR houses including all of the sensitive employee information. An HRIS keeps this organized and should also keep it bank-level secure.

Digital Document Storage and Signing: Each new hire signs about a dozen documents when they start work. An HRIS allows you to sign and store these documents digitally. This helps you stay organized and secure.

PTO Management: PTO is a great benefit to offer employees, but managing PTO requests, balances, and uses is a real pain without a good tool. An HRIS should provide you with the capability to administer PTO in minutes and with ease.

Employee Time Tracking: Tracking your employees’ time is deceptively complicated without a good tool. An HRIS system can make this process simple by automatically making overtime calculations and creating a payroll-ready pay-period report.

Payroll: Your people are your greatest asset and paying them is your most important expense. An HRIS should make it easier by providing a tool or having an in-house team do it completely for you.

Why Does My Company Need an HRIS?

Your company needs an HRIS because it makes your HR efforts much more efficient by streamlining or removing menial tasks.

Time and money

Without an HRIS, you’d have to manage all the responsibilities we mentioned earlier using outdated processes like paper and spreadsheets. Even if you have a patchwork of HR software solutions, an HRIS still saves a lot of time by putting all your tools in one place.

It’s true that any HRIS worth having won’t be free, but the time you waste on antique or slow processes will always be more expensive.

Try out this ROI calculator to see how much money our onboarding tool could save you, and keep in mind that this is only one of many resource-saving tools that our HRIS provides.

How much money can you save using Eddy's onboarding tool?

"A good onboarding tool can bring the time you spend on new-hire paperwork per hire to pretty much zero hours."

A good onboarding tool can bring the time you spend on new-hire paperwork per hire to pretty much zero hours.

Employee self-service is another big aspect of an HRIS that can save you a ton of time. With an HRIS, employees can request PTO, view their PTO balances, and find coworker contact information. They’re little things, but little things add up to a lot of time.


One of the biggest benefits of having an HRIS is the increased organization you enjoy. Having things organized saves you a lot of time, but the headaches you can relieve with an HRIS is a benefit in and of itself.

For example, Eddy has a very organized hiring pipeline. Everything is visual and drag and drop. Eddy helps you keep the ball rolling in the right direction so there’s no way to accidentally lose great candidates.

An HRIS also helps you keep your employee information in order. HR holds a lot of info and it can get very messy if you keep it in spreadsheets.

With spreadsheets, you’ll end up with duplicate data which is a real pain if anything needs to be changed or even just found. An HRIS solves that problem by providing a single user-friendly resource to hold all of that information.

Can an HRIS be Customized?

Good ones can! 

Every company is different, and that’s a good thing! You shouldn’t have to change your company to fit your tools. You should be able to adapt your tools to fit your needs. 

"You shouldn’t have to change your company to fit your tools. You should be able to adapt your tools to fit your needs."

If you have a unique hiring process don’t worry! Good hiring platforms can be customized to fit your needs exactly. Do you have a fun new-employee welcoming process? Create a new-hire task list to match. 

HRIS platforms shouldn’t force you to change your company identity, they should help you live it better.

What does HRIS implementation look like?

HRIS implementation can be a fair bit of work, but your customer service rep will guide you through it. 

You’ll need to upload required documents, input all of your employee information into the system, add them to time off and time tracking policies and set up hiring and onboarding processes

Implementation is the point where HRIS systems fail for a company most often. This is usually because of a lack of preparation or poor customer service. (By the way, exceptional customer service is our mission in life.)

"You can avoid a lot of implementation stress if you plan ahead, expect it to take some time, and communicate closely with your vendor."

You can avoid a lot of implementation stress if you plan ahead, expect it to take some time, and communicate closely with your vendor.

Your HRIS vendor really wants you to love their service, and they’ll climb Everest to work with you, so be willing to work with them as well.

When should I get an HRIS?

All these benefits look really nice, but you may be thinking, “I’m a small company. Do I really need this yet?”

You probably do.

One of the biggest mistakes small or young companies can make is not starting HR off the right way. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that a full-time HR pro has to be one of your first five hires. 

You can get the benefit of having an HR department for your small business if all you have is an operations person and a good HRIS.

Every company out there needs people, and if you have people, then you need HR work to be done. Technology is the best way to benefit from HR while your company is in its infancy, childhood, and adolescence. 

Having a good HRIS can increase what you can handle without paying a full-fledged HR professional. If your company is a bit bigger, your HRIS will allow HR pros to be more efficient so they can spend more time helping your people thrive, not just survive.

Examples of HRIS Systems

Wondering what an actual HRIS looks like? Check out these four examples below:

1. Eddy

Eddy’s system is a simple solution to the complications that often arise in HR. Using Eddy saves time and costs for small and medium sized businesses. Eddy streamlines processes and its features are self-serve for your employees.

2. Workday

Workday is a good system for enterprise businesses who want to focus on their finances as well as HR. If your company could benefit from a great emphasis on budgeting and planning and greater control over spending, consider Workday. 

3. Namely

Namely works well for mid-sized business with complex needs. Namely offers more features than most systems, but those features can come at the cost of simplicity. While using Namely can be complicated, Namely can also be just what companies with complex needs are looking for.   

4. Rippling

Rippling’s system is good for companies who need a system that combines human resource management with information technology management. Rippling simplifies things for companies, especially software companies that need to keep track of employee accounts and communication across apps and platforms. 

Which HRIS System is the best for your company?

"The perfect HRIS for you will come at the intersection of ease of use, the feature set you need, and a price that fits."

We clearly have a bias. Eddy is an excellent HRIS for startups, small businesses, or medium-sized businesses. That said, the most important thing is to find an HRIS that does the most to make your life easier based on your situation.

The perfect HRIS for you will come at the intersection of ease of use, the feature set you need, and a price that fits. 

Let’s break this down a bit. 

You may find an HRIS that’s super easy to use, but if it doesn’t have the features you need, it’s not a good fit.

On the other hand, you may find a platform with all the features in the world. This seems nice, but you’ll pay a lot more for a bunch of features you probably don’t need and are difficult to use.

Eddy’s goal is to be right in the middle of that intersection for small and medium-sized businesses. 

That being said, not every HRIS is perfect for everyone. Here is how we recommend deciding which HRIS is right for your company.

1. Identify your company’s needs and priorities

Every company is unique and has specific strengths and challenges. Before you begin your search for the perfect HRIS, think about and discuss as a team what you need and want in an HRIS.

Create a list of features that would be essential and a list of features that would be convenient. Take the time to carefully consider the needs of your organization and to create priorities as well as a budget for the priorities.

2. Take your time to evaluate products

As you begin evaluating systems, keep your list of needs and priorities in mind. Take your time to compare products. Take the time to speak with the system’s customers, view demos, and read about the product. Some systems offer more features than you need or may not offer systems that can support your needs or evolve over time, but if you are careful you can find a system that is just right.

3. Choose an HRIS that matches your needs and priorities

If you have kept your priorities in mind throughout the evaluation process, you are prepared to make a decision. Congrats, you are on your way to saving time, costs, and frustration with a simple system that fits your needs!


Human resource information systems can do a lot of good for a company of any size from tiny to huge. They save your time which lowers your HR costs, and they help organize your HR department by providing a full modern HR toolbelt.

The HRIS you choose should be lean and provide the functionality you need without the high cost of “bloated” solutions.

"The HRIS you choose should be lean and provide the functionality you need without the high cost of “bloated” solutions."

An HRIS should also be customizable to fit your company and its needs, not the other way around. 

If you’re an SMB drowning in menial tasks and archaic HR processes, Check out Eddy. It’s easy to use, it has those core HR functions that every business needs, and it fits that small-business budget.

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