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How to Choose the Right HRIS - The Ultimate Guide
Business Automation

How to Choose the Right HRIS - The Ultimate Guide

Sharon Monteiro
April 1, 2024

Imagine you’re shopping for a smartphone. Your decision to purchase a particular phone will depend on a number of factors, such as personal requirements, purchasing power, brand preference, and your tech geek friend’s opinion (kidding.) How ever many reasons there may be, it’s understood that this isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly and requires deliberation.

A Human Resources Information System or ‘HRIS’ is a software that helps the HR department of a company manage, organize, and streamline the efficiency of their tasks. This not only benefits HR, but also automates and handles tasks across payroll, accounting, and management. Hence, the decision of choosing one requires deliberation and should not be taken lightly either.

If you’re reading this, you probably have a fair idea of what an HRIS does. Essentially HRIS platforms let teams effectively plan, centralize, and control a variety of processes that are crucial to the teams’ decision-making process. However, a good HRIS also results in a better employee experience, which can consequently help promote retention and loyalty to the organization.

With all the benefits it has to offer, it’s important that you have an HRIS guide to work out the exact features you should be looking for in a software. So, if you want to know how to choose the right HRIS system, Let's continue reading more.......

The Ultimate HRIS Guide: What is an HRIS?

Before we try to find out why and how to choose the right HRIS, Let's find out what is an HRIS. An HRIS, which is an abbreviation of Human Resource Information System, is an integration between the Human Resource function and Information Technology. It is a simple and centralized system that stores, tracks, and manages all data that falls under the human resources operations of an organization.

Everything from onboarding to attendance, including employee demographics, time off balances, hours clocked in, medical benefits, policies, schemes, and more can be managed from a single platform and save a substantial amount of time.

A centralized, single platform HRIS helps HR professionals streamline their workflows and improve the way they manage the staff. A neat additional benefit is that HR data can be accessed from any location, using any device, at any time, with the appropriate permissions.

With an HRIS, managing employee information and records is not only automated, but also simplified, all while adhering to the laws related to employee information. Which is why we call it a, “comprehensive, end-to-end, HR management solution.”

Why is an HRIS important?

Before you try to figure out how to choose the right HRIS, let's see why it is so important for organizations. The world loves spreadsheets. But you must admit that manual data entry and calculations leads to an unnecessary number of errors and confusion. Unlike spreadsheets, an HRIS brings an end to manual HR management.

The time you would spend extracting employee information from files and cabinets is reduced to a matter of seconds with an HRIS. Data is easily accessible and reports can be generated effortlessly. With the time saved in capturing and processing employee data, you can get an overall picture of your organization and also make meaningful decisions. You can also resolve different workplace challenges before they become too big to handle.

What is the difference between HRIS and HRMS?

The term HRMS (Human Resource Management System) is often thrown around and used interchangeably. The two, however, are different, and this HRIS guide will show you that there is only one basic difference between HRIS and HRMS you need to understand. An HRIS is an employee database that contains information about benefits, attendance, and time off. An HRMS performs the functions of an HRIS while also delving deeply into talent management.

How to choose the right HRIS- HRIS guide | peopleHum
Source: AIHR

What are the 5 types of HRIS?

All HRIS offer the benefits of automation, self-service, unified platforms and centralized databases to help HR professionals optimize the performance of their functions. Aside from that, each type of HRIS has a unique set of features. This HRIS guide provides an overview of the five different types of systems and who will benefit the most from them.

1. Operational HRIS

HR data such as employee records, position details, and performance appraisal information recollected and reported by Operational HRIS. The information collected helps provide HR managers with the data they need to perform tasks such a performance management, promotions, hiring, and personnel changes.

Operational HRIS helps organizations with standard HR functions. So, if you find that your HR department spends too much time on repetitive people management tasks or searching through disorganised files and spreadsheets for employee data, then an Operational HRIS is the solution for them.

2. Tactical HRIS

A Tactical HRIS provides data to help you make decisions related to the allocation of resources. This includes processes like recruiting, training, compensation, and so on. This solution is useful in making big picture decisions such as job analysis, resource allocation, and personnel development.

Tactical HRIS systems are best suited for organisations that require assistance in making macro-level decisions about what to do with resources, rather than those that require assistance with smaller day-to-day tasks.

3. Strategic HRIS

A Strategic HRIS assists an organisation in developing and growing strategically by focusing on functions such as goal-setting and workforce planning. Strategic HRIS systems can aid in the awareness of available labour resources and proper workforce planning by managing data such as market information and operations budgets.

If you’re looking to expand or grow strategically, and make data-driven decisions for your company’s future, then a Strategic HRIS is the solution you should consider.

4. Comprehensive HRIS

A comprehensive HRIS is a combination of all of the above, and is involved in all HR matters that are operational, tactical, and strategic. These serve as a streamlined database and platform for the easy review and management of a wide range of HR-related tasks, such as:

  • Employee information
  • HR files
  • Open positions
  • Recruitment and hiring details
  • Job analysis and design
  • Employee safety guidelines
  • Skills inventory
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Training and development
  • Performance management

A comprehensive HRIS functions is a fully integrated system that stores and displays all of the information required to perform almost all HR functions. HR files, employee-related files, recruitment details, and employee education and experience details are all included.

It is a central repository that contains all of the critical information needed to make workforce decisions. While they may be more expensive or require more training and resources to operate, Comprehensive HRIS can provide a plethora of useful features that can ultimately transform how an HR department operates.

5. Limited-Function HRIS

A Limited-Function HRIS, as opposed to a comprehensive HRIS, serves a single purpose. They are not designed for strategic planning or management. Instead, their roles are more specific.

The precise function of each Limited-Function HRIS is determined by a particular system. For example, an HRIS could be designed specifically for employee training or benefit management.

Limited-Function HRIS are generally better suited for smaller businesses because they are inexpensive, simplified, and can be used comprehensively by a single HR manager.

Does your company actually need an HRIS?

Now that the HRIS guide has shown you the different kinds of HRIS there are, you still have to work out if and when your organization requires one. Does your company actually need an HRIS? Here are some scenarios that signal that it’s probably time that you benefit from the use of an HRIS:

A growing number of employees

One of the biggest mistakes small of young companies can make is not starting HR of the right way. This doesn’t mean that an HR pro has to be one of your first five hires. You can rap the benefits of an HR department with just a good HRIS.

Managing employee data and other HR operations in spreadsheets when your employee count starts rising can be tedious and prone to errors. Errors in the maintenance of data can lead to compliance issues and even employee dissatisfaction.

This is where an HRIS can prevent all this misery. With an HRIS, you can easily and effectively store data pertaining to multiple HR functions. It is much easier to collect data from your employees and enter it into an HRIS.

Using diverse systems for different processes

Using disparate systems for managing HR processes can decrease the organization’s productivity. Logging into different systems and portals to complete HR processes is exhausting and employees won’t appreciate going through such tedious processes.

With an integrated HRIS, on the other hand, you and your employees can complete all HR tasks from a single platform, eliminating the need to remember multiple passwords. When all of your data is in one place, you will be able to gain better insights into the nature and behaviour of your workforce.

Lack of employee experience

Having an HRIS is vital to the employee experience. HR executives have ranked it as one of the top organizational priorities over the next few years. It also speaks volumes about your company culture.

By facilitating communication between HR and employees, HRIS will improve the employee-employer relationship. Transparency, accountability, communication, and collaboration are also facilitated by HRIS functions, which are the most important drivers of employee experience.

How to choose the right HRIS: Features to consider

Now that you’ve decided to buy into an HRIS, it is important to consider the exact features you should be looking for in a system. In the next section of the HRIS guide, these are some points to keep in mind to help you make the right decision for your organization.

1. It should help with new hire onboarding

Employees who go through a structured onboarding are more likely to stick to a company for more than three years, and can improve employee retention by 82%. One of the most important aspects of an HRIS is onboarding. It gives employees a great onboarding experience by allowing them to complete all of their necessary paperwork online. New hires receive automatic notifications that guide them through each step of the process. Workflows can be created to tailor the process to the needs of your organisation.

2. Database management should be user friendly

Being "user friendly" in applications and platforms designed for workplaces is no longer a vogue concept. It's a pre-requisite. If your HRIS is difficult to use and learn, you will struggle to achieve maximum adoption throughout the organisation. The last thing you want is a complicated system that is difficult to use or takes too long to execute processes.

An HRIS consolidates all critical employee data into a single platform, allowing you to stay organised. It enables you to find the precise information you require even when you are not in the office, and enables employees to view information that applies to them.  In a few simple steps, reports can be generated using employee data, and it can also enhance data security.

Read More: Employee Self Service: How to save your HR team's time

3. It should help employees help themselves

A good HRIS is similar to a self-service knowledge base in that it allows employees to help themselves while also keeping their credentials and other personal information up to date.

Nobody really wants to sift through countless time-off requests, absences, and evaluations in search of a piece of critical information. With the right HRIS, you can give employees the tools they need to securely log in and keep their own information up to date.

An HRIS gives your employees the ability to track, update, and manage their data. It enables them to enter and edit personal information. They can access critical information without having to rely on the HR department, and they can mark their attendance and request time off from their mobile devices.

4. It should simplify time off and attendance management

A human resource information system (HRIS) automates and simplifies time-off and attendance management, eliminating the need for multiple spreadsheets. A good HRIS system should include scheduling tools.

Look for features that allow you to create and edit shifts, notify employees of new schedules, block out dates to accommodate people's schedules, monitor employee activity in real time, integrate with biometric devices to improve data accuracy, and manage PTO requests. Leave policies can also be tailored to the location of your organisation.

5. It should aid in regular performance management

With a good HRIS, you can easily manage your employees' performance. Performance reviews can be conducted on a regular basis to provide continuous feedback throughout the year. Self-evaluations are simple to carry out. Goals can be established to assist employees in gaining a sense of direction. Performance reports can be generated to analyse and improve the overall performance of your organisation.

Recommended for further reading:

How to choose the Best HR software for your business in 2023

How to Transition from Traditional HR to People Operations Effectively

Blueprint for a First Time Chief Human Resources Officer

6. It should be mobile

Remember when you had to always rush to you computer whenever you had to get anything urgent done, which is like 90 percent of the time? Well, those days are long gone. With today's cloud-based systems accessible via multiple devices, employees can complete most HR functions on the go with the help of an HRIS mobile application.

A good HRIS is secure yet accessible across the building or even across the country, and it can be updated from anywhere. All information is available at all times and from any location. Employees can submit requests, and managers can approve them with a few clicks.

Final thoughts on how to choose HRIS that fits your needs

Evidently, it takes a lot of thought, deliberation, and buy-in from the organization into getting a good, reliable Human Resource Information System. After using this HRIS guide, you need to carefully consider your goals and objectives for having such a system, and look into ways you can save time and resources by sing it consistently. And these features will make your processes much easier. Figuring out how to choose the right HRIS can feel overwhelming at times. That’s why it’s important to home in on what’s important to you.

peopleHum’s HRIS has everything you need to modernise your HR process and take them to the next level. Whether your your company’s young, or scaling up, or well-established, it can customize to your organization’s needs without any hassle.

If you’d like to learn further beyond How to choose the right HRIS guide, you can do so here.

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