An Intro to Human Resources Management Information Systems

Many companies and the individual departments within them benefit from the use of technology and software. Information technology systems can automate some work processes and improve employee productivity. Human resources information systems are designed specifically to make human resources management easier. Learn what a human resources information system is, understand the benefits of using an HRIS, know what an HRIS does, review the features of HRIS and assess if an HRIS is right for your business. 


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What is a human resource information system (HRIS)?

A human resource information system, known as HRIS, is a software platform that allows human resources representatives and employees to manage and automate some human resources responsibilities, like data collection, payroll and basic accounting. The features and options available within HRIS can vary depending on the needs of your organization. 


Related: How to Hire Employees: A Step-by-Step Guide for SMB Business 


Benefits of using an HRIS

An HRIS offers a number of benefits to the companies and human resources representatives who use them. Consider some of the primary advantages of using an HRIS. 


Improve organization

An HRIS can help you and your human resources team improve document organization. Instead of storing individual documents in folders, you can scan and import all important personnel and business documents to the HRIS for easy access and increased security. 


Ensure compliance

Most HRIS regularly update to meet federal and state regulatory standards. This ensures that your company stays in compliance with data and information regulations and standards without any needed additional research. 


Save time

Automation and digitalization improve the overall efficiency of the HR department. For example, when an employee wants to take time off, rather than supplying a hard copy form to the employee, getting the signature, tracking the dates and adjusting the employee’s pay as needed, the employee can simply ask for approval through the HRIS and the rest will automatically happen, saving the human resources team time. 


Strategic planning

With fewer data entry and tracking responsibilities to manage due to the HRIS, human resources representatives can focus on designing initiatives to improve employee retention, developing improved resources for employees and other human resources projects that provide value to the company. 


Improve employee experience

Most HRIS allow employees to directly interact with forms like time-off requests and to view information like health benefits. HRIS can improve the overall human resources experience for employees by making it easier to access and simpler to understand. 


Offer convenience 

Many HRIS offer convenient features like report creation and centralized access to an array of information in multiple departments. This convenience for all employees, not just those in the human resources department, can improve overall productivity and employee morale. 


Related: General Guidelines for Job Application Forms


What an HRIS does 

An HRIS can handle a number of different tasks and responsibilities. While there are a variety of HRIS with an array of features to consider, most perform these functions at a minimum: 


  • Organize data
  • Manage employee information
  • View and update pay information
  • Offer benefits information and selection options
  • Handle time-off requests, approval and denial


Related: What is Talent Acquisition? 


HRIS features

Depending on the size of your human resources department and the needs you have, there are some features you should ensure the software provides. Consider these specific features offered in some HRIS. 


Information database

One of the primary features of an HRIS is managing information. At its core, a good HRIS should have substantial storage and make it easy to input and pull up data. The information database aspect of the HRIS reduces the need for paperwork and filing, saving space and improving document organization. 


Payroll processing

Some HRIS also manage payroll. Integrating payroll processing into your HRIS can be vastly useful, as all the employee data you need to manage payroll is already in the system. It makes managing changes to employee information and pay much easier since all the necessary information and tools are all in one place. 


Employee self-service

Employee self-service is an incredibly useful feature for you, your human resources team and your employees at large. With employee self-service, every employee can log in to the HRIS and make changes and updates to their personal information and manage other processes on their own. It saves everyone time and reduces the data entry for your human resources representatives. 


Performance tracking

Performance tracking or performance management allows you and your management team to track employees and their performance. Often, you can make notes and complete questionnaires and forms related to performance. You can also complete formal performance reviews using the HRIS. 


Benefits management

Many HRIS allow human resources representatives and employees themselves to manage their benefits like healthcare and other insurance. The HRIS allows employees to sign in and enroll or decline from benefits on their own, saving the human resources team time. 


Recruitment and hiring

Some HRIS allow human resources representatives or other company recruiters to manage the hiring process digitally. Integrating the recruiting process into your HRIS makes it very easy to then move potential candidates to new hires within the system. 



There are some HRIS that manage parts of the onboarding process for you. Generally, the program automatically prompts new hires to complete certain paperwork and input personal information. If you were already tracking the employee through the HRIS recruiting software, you can easily transfer some of their information over to the employee area.


Talent and training management

Assign and manage professional development opportunities to employees through your HRIS to manage talent development and identify employees for potential promotions. Additionally, you can assign training to employees through the HRIS. 


Time management

Employees can manage their time tracking through the HRIS by clocking in and out. Often, they can also submit paid time off requests or ask for sick leave through the program as well. 



Many HRIS allow you to analyze employee data to scrutinize overall efficiency, productivity and other metrics. You can use this data to inform business decisions. 


Related: Human Resources Duties and Skills: Best Practices for HR


How to understand if an HRIS is right for your business

If you’re trying to decide if using an HRIS is right for you and your company, you should consider a few factors to help you make your decision: 


  • Size: The number of people you employ will impact your decision. Generally, if you have more than 25 employees, using an HRIS can make information tracking much easier. 
  • Cost: Consider the cost differences between keeping all your human resources responsibilities in-house or outsourcing them to HRIS software. 
  • Team: Think about the responsibilities your human resources team has. If they don’t have enough time to complete all their tasks, an HRIS can help. 
  • Resources: Many HRIS integrate a number of different tasks from payroll to recruiting. If you’re paying for multiple software programs, using a single HRIS could end up saving you money and increasing connectivity and convenience. 


Related: Human Resources Management: Things to Consider


HRIS can vastly improve your human resources workflow. Know what features you want in your HRIS before selecting a program to ensure it meets all your needs. 

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