What is a HRIS? human resource information system is Explained in Details

What is an hris

An HRIS, or human resource information system, is the most widely used software in HR. In this article, we will give a brief overview of what HRIS is, its main functionality, and what you need to know more to get a basic idea about HRIS.

      • What is an HRIS?
      • HRIS functionalities
      • Different kinds of HRIS systems & software
      • Reporting and Analytics in an HRIS
      • HRIS suppliers
      • HRIS specialist & HRIS analyst
      • HRIS certification
      • HRIS implementation in 6 steps.

What is HRIS?

HRIS is a human resource information system. HRIS is a system used to collect and store data on the employees of an organization.

In most cases, HRIS includes the initial functionality required for end-to-end human resource management (HRM). It has a system for recruitment, performance management, learning and development, and much more.

HRIS is also known as HRIS software. This is somewhat confusing because it suggests that different software may be running on different systems. However, this is not the case. HRIS is short for a software package.

HRIS can either run on the company's own technology infrastructure or be cloud-based, which is commonplace nowadays. This means that the software is running outside the company's premises, making it easier to update.

Other names used are HRIS system and HRMS or Human Resource Management System. These are all individual words for the same thing. Collectively, these systems are called Human Capital Management Systems or HCMOs. In this article, we will use HRIS and HRIS systems interchangeably.

Benefits of HRIS

There are several obvious benefits to using HRIS.

Record-keeping HRIS is a record-keeping system that tracks changes in anything related to employees. HRIS can be seen as a source of truth when it comes to employee data.

Consent. Some information is collected and stored for compliance reasons. These include personnel identification elements in case of theft, fraud, or other misconduct, first contact information in the event of an accident, citizen identification information for the tax office, and expiration date of the mandatory certificate. All this information can be stored in HRIS.

Skills. Having all this information in one place saves time, not just for accuracy.

HR strategy. HRIS enables data tracking needed to advance HR and business strategy. It will be necessary to track different data depending on the priorities of the organization. HRISE comes here.

Self-service HR. The ultimate advantage is the ability to provide self-service HR to employees and managers. It enables employees to manage their own affairs. When done right, HRIS can give a better employee experience. Note that not all HRIS systems offer this in a user-friendly way!

Organizations, HRs, and employees working with HRIS have multiple benefits. Using HRIS becomes interesting when you have 30 to 50 employees.

At the moment, handling this initial information in Excel becomes complex and simple procedures such as employee leave approval need to be standardized. Most of our readers work in large organizations. These companies use advanced HRIS systems which we will discuss later in this article.

Different types of HRIS systems and software

There are different types of HRIS systems and software. Because HRIS includes all functionality for HR, all individual functionalities are part of the system. These functionalities include:

Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software manages all company recruitment requirements. It tracks candidate information and resumes, enables employers to match job openings with suitable candidates in the company’s application pool, and helps guide the recruitment process.

Salary makes the salary process of salaried employees automated. Contract data is often entered into this system - sometimes combined with time and attendance data - and at the end of the month, payment orders are created.

Benefits. Another function of HRIS is to manage facilities. Employee benefits are an important aspect of compensation and are also managed in this system. More advanced systems provide an employee self-service model for employee convenience. In this case, employees can choose for themselves the benefits they are looking for. One could ask for more paternity leave, the other a more expensive company car. This self-service approach to benefits is also called the cafeteria model.

Time presence. This module collects time and attendance data from employees. These are especially relevant for blue-collar work where workers roam. The day I worked at a supermarket, we wrote the time on a piece of paper, which was manually entered into the time tracking system by the manager. Based on this information, payment orders were made and paid to all employees.

Training. Learning and development is a key element in employee management. This module allows HRK to track staff skills, certifications, and competencies, as well as an outline of the courses available to company employees. This module is often referred to as an LMS or Learning Management System, when it is alone. An LMS usually includes e-learning and other courses that employees follow.

Performance management. Performance management is the key to managing people. Performance ratings are generated by the direct director or co-workers of the employee once or more than once a year.

Inheritance plans. Creating a talent pipeline and arranging replacements for key roles in the organization is another key component of HRIS.

Employee self-service. Employee self-service was already mentioned. Companies are increasingly focusing on managing their own data for employees and their direct supervisors. Leave requests can be made by the employee to him/her. These are stored on the system immediately after approval (and registered to track payroll and convenience purposes).

Reporting and Analytics. Reporting and analytics are rare modules in HRIS systems. Modern systems enable the creation of automated HR reports on various topics such as employee turnover, absences, performance, and much more. Analyzes are involved with the analysis of this data for better-intelligent decision-making. We will explain more about this in the following section.

Reporting and analysis in HRIS

A common feature of all HRIS systems is that they are designed as transactional systems. These are databases that record the transactions of an organization. An example of a transaction after an employee joins the organization.

Employee records have been entered and that person is considered ‘active’. If a person leaves the company after three months, a new transaction is recorded, setting the person's status as 'Finished'.

These systems are designed as transactional systems, making them poor in data reporting and analysis. They weren’t just designed for this. Also, not all HRIS systems have all of the above functionality built-in.

Some functionality, such as pay-roll, LMS, or ATS can be recorded on an external system. This makes HR reporting even more challenging, as it means that the data is split into multiple systems. To report data, a new layer needs to be added to the top of all HR systems to report and analyze HR data.

This is the second reason why the practical use of reporting and analysis for these systems is limited. You should be aware of this when talking to HRIS providers, as they often find their reports to be great at data reporting and analysis.

HRIS suppliers

There are thousands of HRIS suppliers. The 11 most well-known Human Capital Management suites for midmarket and large companies are listed below in Gartner's Magic Quadrant. Workday, Oracle, SAP, ADP, Ceridian, Kronos, and others are among them. Since listing all of the HRIS vendors would be impractical, we chose to focus on the four HCMs that are considered leaders.

Gartner's HRIS overview with four clear leaders.

Cornerstone
The only company not included in Gartner's Magic Quadrant is Cornerstone OnDemand. They deliver various suites, including recruitment, learning, performance management, and an e-learning LMS, as one of the largest providers for Small and Medium Businesses.
Workday
Workday is arguably one of the most well-known HR software programs available. It has expanded from a small HRIS startup in 2005 to a multinational HRIS behemoth of over 10,000 employees. Workday specifically tailors to mid- and large-sized businesses.

SAP
SAP is also known as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. These are systems that keep track of a company's resources, which include financial assets, orders, and staff, among other items. SAP acquired SuccessFactors in 2011, establishing SAP SuccessFactors as a major player in the human capital management industry, especially for large companies.
 
Oracle
Oracle HCM Cloud was released in 2011. Modules on talent management, workforce compensation, workforce management, and work-life strategies are included. Ultimate Software was named the 7th Most Innovative Growth Company by Forbes magazine. HR, accounting, and talent management are all managed by a single framework. Time and attendance, onboarding, performance management, compensation, succession management, and other systems are available.

HRIS specialist and HRIS analyst

In the case of job functions, there are two job roles involved in HRIS. The first is the Human Resource Information Specialist. Responsible for the implementation and maintenance of HRIS for HRIS specialist organizations.

It involves on-the-job training of HR professionals using the system. This work is normally handled by the HR department's IT department.

HRIS Analyst provides support for HRIS. This involves investigating and addressing HRIS problems as well as coordinating with other departments such as finance and parole.
As an analyst, you are also involved in standard and ad hoc reporting and improvement of HRIS processes. This means improving employee experience in using systems, introducing user-friendly innovations, and implementing new policies that are reflected in the system.

HRIS certificate

There is no specific HRIS certificate at this time. Individuals interested in working with HRIS systems are advised to study IT and HRM. Useful for understanding the complexity of IT systems while helping to understand the processes that HRM supports HRIS.

The combination of both helps to make better decisions in the application of the system.

Implementation of HRIS in 6 steps

We can write multiple articles on HRIS implementation. For this article, we will provide a high-level overview. For more information, we recommend the Digital HR Certification Program, as that program provides a lot more information about software implementation.

Software implementation can be divided into multiple stages.

1. Search At the search stage, specific demands of different stakeholders are searched within the organization. Based on these requirements, a long list of compatible vendors is created. A shortlist is created based on the initial search. These vendors are invited to make an offer. At the end of this episode, a consistent supplier is selected.

2. Planning and alignment. At this stage, you choose an implementation partner, create a steering committee and an implementation team. The steering committee usually consists of a senior representative from the vendor / supplier, the company's HR director, the internal project director, and a senior business user. The implementation team deals with day-to-day implementation.

3. Definition and design. At this stage, user groups are specified and processes and workflows are mapped. Here the functional and technical requirements for infrastructure, systems, and security are further defined.

4. Configure and test. At this stage, a core test team is formed. This team is tasked with testing the system and advising on improvements. Next, a user acceptance test is created by bringing in several users to give a final response.

5. Training and communication. Before the go-live moment, technicians need to be trained, communication plans need to be made, and frequently asked questions and documentation of software implementation and other support documents designed to benefit you.

6. Deploy and sustain. This is the last stage where everyone is prepared to go live. The system will go live once all support processes are in place. Feedback needs to be constantly collected and trained components updated with evolving systems. Uninterrupted, accurate communication is important here.

Following these six steps you can select and apply your own HRIS. Again, check out the Digital HR Certification Program if you want to go into more detail. The program includes courses on design thinking in HR and the creation and implementation of digital HR strategies. These elements are essential in determining user requirements and implementing a software solution.

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