Human Resource leaders have had a tough couple of years, to say the very least. The pandemic introduced an incredible strain on businesses and employees around the world, and the years since haven’t let up. In 2024 and prior, HR Leaders have been on the front lines of these major changes to the business world. From navigating remote and hybrid work environments, to massive layoffs across industries, to a global recession, it’s been more challenging than ever to nurture and guide workforces, leaving HR teams and employees burnout and overwhelmed.
Thankfully, HRIS exists to help simplify the complexities of People management. HRIS systems aid organizations to track, manage, and organize important employee data across departments — making it a great value add for not only HR, but managers, finance, and even employees.
We’ll dive into all your burning questions, from ‘what is HRIS?’, to understanding when you’re in need of an HRIS system, how to implement, and what to look for when deciding which HRIS system is right for your organization.
If you’re here because you’re in need of an HRIS system to simplify your HR functions, Omni offers an intuitive and highly customizable HRIS system that is loved by HR pros and employees alike. Book a free demo today to chat with our team!
What is HRIS? Definition and Meaning
HRIS stands for Human Resources Information System, and is often referred to as HRIS, HRIS software, or HRIS system.
An HRIS system makes it easier for you to manage your HR processes and data. It’s a software that companies use as a central source of information for all of their employee management needs. Functions of an HRIS system include:
- Managing employee time off and attendance
- Benefits administration (such as insurance)
- Performance reviews
- Onboarding functions
- Employee self-service
- Documents and e-signatures
What Does an HRIS System Do?
For starters, HRIS manages all of your end-to-end human resources functions, such as the collection and storing of employee data including names, addresses, salaries, work permits, and benefits information.
This information system then helps carry out the many functions of HR, including recruitment, onboarding, applicant tracking, employee time and attendance, learning and development, performance reviews, analytics, and reporting.
The byproduct of streamlining these functions is the seamless access to valuable employee data that helps drive strategic business decisions. HRIS quickly and easily calculates employee time and attendance data, performance metrics, profit and losses as it relates to payroll, and tracks and unifies employee engagement efforts such as onboarding programs and performance reviews.
Finally, by using digital software to manage your employee records, you can replace the need for paper-based filing systems which take up space, time, and are vulnerable to human error. Instead, an HRIS system automates your human resources workflows so that your HR team can focus on more strategic and high-value work.
HRIS System Benefits For Every Department
Despite its name, HRIS systems benefit more than just HR departments, and are typically used by various teams across an organization. Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is HRIS?” Let’s take a look at how various teams can benefit from HRIS software.
- Payroll automation: HRIS systems automate payroll calculations, ensuring accurate and timely processing of employee salaries, deductions, and tax calculations. This reduces manual errors and saves time for finance teams.
- Cost analysis: HRIS provides data on employee compensation, benefits, and expenses, enabling finance teams to analyze and track costs related to HR.
- Compliance and reporting: HRIS easily generates payroll reports, tax forms, and other financial documents required for regulatory compliance. This helps finance teams stay in line with labor laws and regulations.
- Performance monitoring: HRIS systems enable managers to track and monitor employee performance in real-time. Providing important information to set goals, provide feedback, and assess performance, helping identify areas for improvement early on, and ultimately nurturing employee growth.
- Employee self-service: HRIS systems that offer self-service portals allow managers to access and update employee information, such as employee leave management, training records, and performance evaluations, helping improve communication between employees and their managers and reducing the administrative burden on HR.
System integration: HRIS systems can integrate with other IT systems, such as time and attendance systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and employee benefits platforms. This streamlines data exchange and reduces manual data entry and errors.
- Data security: HRIS ensures the security of sensitive employee data by implementing access controls, encryption, and regular backups. IT teams can manage user permissions and monitor system security to protect confidential HR information.
- System maintenance: IT teams play a crucial role in maintaining and updating the HRIS system, ensuring its smooth functioning, resolving technical issues, and managing system upgrades.
- Seamless communication: HRIS systems allow your department to be inter-connected, meaning when you make an update to an employee profile in one area, all other relevant stakeholders receive the same update. This can be a game changer for IT teams who need to keep track of equipment such as computers or manage access to sensitive information for the organization.
Employee data management: HRIS systems serve as a central database for employee data, including personal information, employment history, training records, leave management, and performance evaluations. HR teams can easily access, update, and maintain accurate employee records without having to maintain lengthy spreadsheets or paper-trails that are prone to error.
- Recruitment and onboarding: Applicant tracking and onboarding processes streamline recruitment workflows, automate candidate screening, and facilitate new employee orientation. HRIS onboarding helps ensure uniform and comprehensive onboarding efforts, helping boost employee engagement and retention.
- Reporting and analytics: HRIS systems provide HR teams with comprehensive reports and analytics on various HR metrics, such as workforce demographics, turnover rates, and training needs. This data helps HR professionals in workforce planning, talent management, and strategic decision-making.
Employee-focused features of HRIS systems empower individuals by providing self-service capabilities, facilitating personal growth and development, and improving communication and access to important information.
- Self-service portal: HRIS systems often include employee self-service portals, allowing employees to access and update their personal information, review pay stubs, request time off, and access company policies and benefits information. This empowers employees and removes a barrier to accessing their benefits.
- Performance management: HRIS systems provide employees with a platform to set and track their goals, receive feedback from managers, and access performance evaluations. This promotes transparency, employee engagement, and personal growth.
- Time and attendance tracking: HRIS may include time and attendance features, allowing employees to clock in and out, submit timesheets, and track their attendance records. This helps ensure accurate and efficient time tracking and simplifies the process of requesting leave or overtime.
What to Look For When Choosing an HRIS System
With numerous HRIS systems on the market, it can be difficult to know which one may be the best fit for your organization. Let’s examine the key features you should assess for choosing the right HRIS system for your business.
Key HRIS features
This feature helps you automate your onboarding workflows so that you can standardize and perfect your onboarding experience — a key driver in employee retention. HRIS onboarding features allow you to digitize offer letters, create smarter document management systems, and customize onboarding tasks and templates for a smooth and consistent process for every employee who joins your organization.
Employee databases allow you to create and maintain a digital record system that is organized, up-to-date, and accessible at any time and from any place. HRIS facilitates secure data management for all sensitive employee data, and connects your organization in a way that facilitates seamless information updating which improves efficiency in your management practices.
Time off and attendance management
You can use this tool to manage, approve and track your team’s time off requests through a simple and user-friendly interface. Time and attendance modules make it easy for employees to easily access and understand their company’s time-off policies, and reduces the administrative burden on HR and managers.
A handy feature for organizing and securely storing all your employee documents through a centralized and encrypted document library, document management also makes sending customized communication such as offer letters in just a few clicks.
Employee portal and self-service
Employee self-service offers a dedicated space for your team members to manage requests and access important information whenever needed. This enhances the employee experience, which increases employee satisfaction and engagement levels.
Set and track employee goals, conduct performance reviews, provide feedback, and analyze performance data. Performance management enables the creation of development plans, facilitates competency assessments, and offers insights through performance analytics for informed decision-making.
HRIS should allow you to streamline and automate the calculation and processing of your employee salaries, bonuses, and deductions in a few clicks. Payroll functions also ensure accurate tax management, facilitate direct deposit, generate payroll reports, and help maintain compliance with labor laws and regulations.
The purpose of an HRIS system is to improve the functionality and efficiency of People management, not add more complexity. Seek an HRIS that integrates with your team’s favorite tools, like Gmail and Slack, to further streamline your processes.
Your Guide to Implementing HRIS
Now that you’ve answered the question of ‘what is HRIS?’ Let’s examine how you should go about implementing an HRIS into your organization.
Identify business requirements
- Begin by assessing your organization’s HR needs and identifying specific pain points that an HRIS can address.
- Gather input from various stakeholders, including HR personnel, managers, employees, and IT experts, to ensure you’ve gathered a comprehensive list of requirements.
- Clearly define the goals and objectives you wish to achieve with the implementation of an HRIS.
Research and select a vendor
- Conduct thorough research to identify reputable HRIS vendors that align with your organization’s needs. This article is a great place to start, you’re on the right track!
- Evaluate vendors based on factors like system capabilities, scalability, user-friendliness, customer support, and cost.
- Request demos, references, and case studies to gain insights into the vendor’s track record and the success of their implementations.
- Consider factors such as data security, integration capabilities, and future system upgrades when making a final vendor selection.
Plan and design the system
- Develop a detailed implementation plan that outlines key milestones, timelines, and responsibilities.
- Collaborate with the selected vendor to configure the HRIS according to your specific requirements.
- Customize the system to align with your organization’s HR policies, processes, and workflows.
- Define data migration strategies to transfer existing employee data from legacy systems to the new HRIS.
Omni’s expert team of customer success specialists offer hands-on implementation guidance and advice. With Omni, we can have your team up and running in a little as 3 weeks. Chat with our team today!
Test and validate
- Conduct comprehensive testing of the HRIS to ensure its functionality and compatibility with your organization’s infrastructure.
- Test various scenarios, including data entry, reporting, payroll processing, and employee self-service features.
- Validate the system’s accuracy and reliability by comparing results with existing processes or conducting parallel runs.
- Gather feedback from key users, such as HR and managers, to identify and address any issues or usability concerns.
- Develop a comprehensive training program to educate HR, managers, and employees on using the HRIS system effectively.
- Provide hands-on training sessions, user guides, and online resources to facilitate user adoption.
- Encourage users to ask questions, provide feedback, and share their experiences to continuously improve the system’s usage.
Rollout and monitor
- Execute a phased rollout of the HRIS, starting with a pilot group to validate system functionality and gather feedback.
- Gradually expand the implementation to the rest of the organization, ensuring adequate support and assistance during the transition period.
- Continuously monitor the HRIS usage, performance, and user satisfaction to identify areas for improvement and address any issues promptly.
Remember, successful implementation of an HRIS requires thorough planning, effective communication, and ongoing support. By following this guide and engaging relevant stakeholders throughout the process, your organization can harness the benefits of HRIS and optimize HR operations efficiently.
When is it Time to Invest in an HRIS System?
If you’re asking ‘what is HRIS’, knowing the right time to invest is just as important. Timing is crucial for organizations seeking to improve their HR processes and enhance overall efficiency. The following are indicators that it might be time for your organization to make the switch.
You have many manual and time consuming processes
Manual data entry, tracking multiple spreadsheets, and managing a paper trail is time consuming, prone to error, and takes energy and focus away from more strategic planning and decisions. If you’re running your HR department manually (especially if you have a large team), it might be a good time to invest in an HRIS system to automate and streamline your processes.
You’re experiencing difficulty in data management
When handling employee data becomes challenging due to the lack of a centralized system, leading to difficulties in maintaining accurate records, tracking employee information, and complying with data security and privacy regulations, an HRIS can provide a comprehensive solution. HRIS centralizes and seamlessly integrates employee data making management easy and efficient. HRIS systems also offer a secure way to store sensitive information such as pay or visa information.
Your onboarding program lacks structure or consistency
Onboarding is a huge driver of employee engagement, and requires a thoughtful and consistent approach in order to have a positive outcome for your new hires. If your onboarding process lacks structure, or just lacks an overall process, it might be time for you to invest in an HRIS. HRIS helps streamline and optimize your onboarding, and helps to create a process that’s easy to replicate to decrease the amount of administrative work necessary to kick off a great onboarding experience.
Not quite ready for an HRIS but still looking to improve your onboarding processes? Download our free Onboarding For Company Culture kit to help streamline and improve your onboarding program.
You’re facing compliance and reporting challenges
When staying compliant with ever-changing labor laws, regulations, and reporting requirements becomes a complex task, an HRIS can help automate compliance checks, generate accurate reports, and maintain audit trails to ensure legal and regulatory compliance.
You lack a performance management framework
Managing employee performance — goal setting such as KPIs and OKRs, providing feedback, and conducting performance reviews — is an essential to nurturing employee growth and engagement. But it can be challenging to manage if there’s no formal system in place. HRIS can provide a structured framework for performance management, tracking progress, and facilitating continuous feedback, as well as help capture and analyze performance data that can lead to actionable insights for your organization.
Not quite ready for an HRIS but still looking to refine your performance management framework? Download our free Total Performance Review Kit to help bring structure to and impact to your performance management process.
Your company is growing and scaling
Manual HR practices may work fine for a smaller organization, but once your company experiences significant growth or plans to expand, manual processes become increasingly difficult to scale effectively. An HRIS can handle increased employee data, facilitate self-service capabilities, and provide scalability to support your growing workforce… and save you a lot of headaches.
Employees have no self-service capabilities
A lack of employee self-service capabilities creates a bottleneck for basic housekeeping tasks that makes it both frustrating for employees and difficult to manage for HR pros. HRIS with employee-self service can offer self-service portals that empower employees to access their personal information, submit leave requests, review time-off allowances, view their pay stubs, and update their details such as phone numbers or addresses. This helps reduce the administrative burden on HR and increase benefits usage for employees, which is a key driver of engagement.
You struggle to access HR analytics or insights
HR requires a clear view into analytics in order to make informed decisions about personnel planning, talent management, and strategic initiatives. Without a formal HRIS system, it can be incredibly challenging for HR teams to gather and analyze the data that provides context for these impactful decisions. An HRIS system can provide robust reporting capabilities and data analytics that is easy to generate and access, saving time and aiding in more precise People management practices.
You have multiple systems, and none of them communicate with one another
Many companies operate off of spreadsheets, paper lists, and desktop folders, all tracking different information — like payroll, time and attendance, benefits, or employee records — and leaving teams operating in silos and making updates to multiple systems any time a single change is made. This system is not only incredibly time consuming, but deeply prone to error. Adopting an HRIS can streamline information exchange, improve data accuracy, decrease the likelihood of human error, and eliminate redundant manual data entry.
Automate Your HR with Omni’s HRIS system
Omni frees HR teams from administrative cycles by automating the entire end-to-end employee lifecycle — from recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement and payroll — allowing you to redirect your time to strategic work that drives business growth.
Powering Asia’s fastest-growing, modern companies, Omni scales alongside your company so you can customize and leverage the system to meet your business exactly where you are — as well as where you’re going.
With a full suite of modules to support every aspect of your business, Omni’s platform offers an intuitive and fully customizable platform that integrates with your team’s favorite tools for a seamless and timely adoption.
To learn more, chat with our team for a free demo!