Looking for a way to ease the burden of HR for your business? If you’ve done any research about your options, you have likely seen the acronym “HRIS” around quite a bit. Here’s what you need to know about HRIS.
HRIS stands for “Human Resources Information System.” It’s software that enables businesses to meet their HR needs and boost manager and employee productivity. It automates processes and synchronizes data to reduce redundancies and give HR professionals and managers better information for decision making.
An HRIS runs on a database that brings all employee information into one centralized place.
It aggregates that data so HR professionals can carry out day-to-day tasks such as running payroll or scheduling approved time off as well as less-frequent activities such as performance reviews.
An HR employee logs into the HRIS. The first thing the employee sees is a dashboard with options to execute certain HR functions and perhaps some visualizations of HR-specific analytics. To perform a certain HR task like processing payroll, the employee would click on the button associated with that task. Within a few moments, the HRIS has processed employee paychecks for the specified pay period.
An HRIS stores information about employees. To do so, it keeps all of that data in one place – a ready-access database. The database stores information from various systems of record, including those containing information on compensation, emergency contact information, learning metrics, and performance review scores. Its centralization makes it easy to access for decision-making purposes.
With an HRIS, you don’t have to monitor when an employee clocks in. They can do it through the HRIS, which automatically records the hours they work. Additionally, managers can approve or deny requests for time off within the HRIS. There’s no more paperwork to fill out; it’s all within a single solution.
One of HR’s tasks is to ensure employees get paid correctly when they’re supposed to receive their earnings. The payroll function of HRIS automates the process, reducing the administrative burden for HR professionals.
An HRIS calculates what employees have earned based on the hours worked. It also deducts relevant taxes and other payments to ensure an accurate salary. The HRIS integrates with check printing software or enables direct deposit into employees’ bank accounts.
Managing employee benefits involves several moving parts:
The HRIS has the capability to host those functions so employees can easily find the information they need about benefits, and HR professionals can quickly update the system when things change.
You want your employees to use the HRIS to a certain extent. They can utilize it to clock in and out, check their benefits, and submit requests for PTO. These self-service functionalities save HR professionals the time and effort it would take to manually perform these tasks.
Talent acquisition and retention serve as umbrellas for several other discrete functions.
We’ll start off with talent acquisition. Talent acquisition involves:
Once you’ve hired someone, that person must receive training and be onboarded into all necessary systems (payroll, health insurance, and any productivity tools the employee needs to do the job). That goes into the retention bucket.
Retention goes beyond that, though. It also includes tracking coaching, rewarding progress, providing additional training, and ensuring that the person has the tools to be successful in the role.
An HRIS isn’t your only option for managing HR information digitally. There’s also the HRMS and the HCM.
An HRMS stands for “human resources management system.” There’s a bit of confusion around the term HRMS; some people use it interchangeably with HRIS, while others say it’s an expanded version of the HRIS.
Essentially, it does the same thing as an HRIS, although most definitions of HRMS include an employee engagement functionality (a functionality that ensures employees are engaged in their jobs and putting in the effort necessary to achieve success).
An HCM refers to human capital management software. What’s the difference between an HRIS, HRMS, and HCM? Technology experts use the term “HCM” to refer to a complete suite of HR applications which runs in the cloud.
Some people used the term “HCM” before the cloud became prevalent. However, analysts and vendors have referred to cloud-based HRM systems, and the term has gained traction. Many HCMs today feature digital assistants, AI, and other collaboration capabilities that allow users to share information with one another.
An HCM generally features succession planning, compensation planning, strategic workforce planning, and workforce modeling.
When you need an HRIS, you will see some very clear signs to indicate that fact. Here are just a few of the common signs that it’s time to explore HRIS options.
All of those signs mentioned above have something in common. Your current processes aren’t efficient. Moreover, they’re not helping you maintain a competitive edge.
If you are ready to explore using an HRIS, the next question is: how do you choose what’s right for you? Follow these steps:
Assess your needs. What do you need the HRIS to do? Should it have an employee engagement module, or is that more of a nice-to-have? When thinking about needs, remember that it’s not just what your needs are now. It’s what they’ll be in the future. Also, it’s not just about what HR needs; it’s about what will make the business operate more efficiently as a whole.
Determine what constraints exist. How much are you willing to spend, and what technologies do you already have in place? Will those technologies “talk” to the new HRIS? Also, how long are you willing to wait for the project to wrap up? Will the timelines work with open enrollment periods, when an HRIS would be in high demand?
Submit a request for proposals.
Select the top three to four vendors who meet your needs the best and invite them to demonstrate their product. These demonstrations are an excellent opportunity to ask questions. Don’t just ask about how the software works; bring up your concerns about service, maintenance, and cost.
Choose the top finalist. This is a multi-step process in and of itself. You should ask the top contenders for references and contact those references to determine how happy they are with the HRIS. After reaching out to the references, the committee responsible for picking the HRIS should convene to compare options. The software that best meets your organization’s needs should rise to the surface.
A successful HRIS implementation involves teamwork and clear communication between you and your HRIS provider. There’s information you may need to provide the vendor (such as what technology you have), and the vendor needs to stay on track to ensure the project meets deadlines and budget constraints. Setup is the crucial part of a successful integration.
One of the main factors in implementation success is internal communication. Make sure employees know there will be a new HRIS in place. Training is also crucial; the software provider must offer effective training so users can get the most value out of the solution.
Prior to implementation of your HRIS, there are a few housekeeping duties to perform. Address any data quality issues in your current tech stack to ensure you do not port dirty data over to your new HRIS.
In a similar vein, ensure your implementation goes well by addressing any differences in data structures, latency issues, and API constraints. If you need to create custom workflows, be aware that this might involve some IT expertise.
Integrations (and ultimately your HRIS) will be successful when all existing systems share information with the HRIS. The software provider should be aware of what needs to be integrated so everything functions as it should.
Common systems you will want to test for integration include:
Payroll systems: If you are planning to continue to use your current payroll system rather than a built-in payroll system from your HRIS, you will need to test the integration between your current payroll system and your HRIS to ensure the two “talk to each other.” This prevents the issue of needing to do double entries at payroll time.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
Workforce management systems (WFM)
Learning management systems (LMS)
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