For years, employees’ records were stored on paper and locked away in dusty filing cabinets. Then, with the arrival of computers, spreadsheets became the norm. Now, as we move towards digital transformation and automation, cloud based HR software is key.
HR Tech is rapidly evolving. Human Resources is no longer perceived as a gut feeling profession - like the rest of business, it relies on facts and data to make decisions. This means that an HRIS (or Human Resources Information System) is now a crucial piece of infrastructure for any organisation.
Implementing an HRIS has huge advantages for HR professionals, company employees and organisations as a whole. But before we begin exploring these benefits, what exactly is an HRIS? And why is it important?
What is an HRIS?
An HRIS replaces the clunky spreadsheets and filing cabinets of the past, and can be configured to meet your company’s evolving needs. Most modern systems upload data onto a cloud-based platform, which means HR information can be managed digitally and accessed at any time and from anywhere.
However, an effective HRIS is much more than just a digital storage unit - it also automates the functions of an HR department. This includes the onboarding and offboarding of employees, compensation management, managing time off, gaining insights and reports and accessing data on performance. All of this can be done remotely thanks to an HRIS.
Not only that, but an HRIS plays a vital role in ensuring compliance with laws and regulations. By hosting required documents and information - such as visas and background checks - regulations can be followed with ease.
The HR tech market today represents a growing $148 billion space providing solutions for the future of work. Last year, 74% of companies surveyed by PwC planned to increase spending on HR tech to address pressing talent needs. No organisation wants to be left behind, because implementing an HRIS can lead to significant positive benefits for the entirety of a company.
How HR and managers benefit from an HRIS
Human resources departments are overwhelmed with administrative tasks. From onboarding and offboarding to handling benefits, insurance, pension and payroll, HR spends a fifth of its time on admin, and this can be frustrating. An effective HRIS automates these tasks, enabling HR professionals to focus on the work that really makes an impact. By ensuring necessary forms are filled out, organised and saved for the appropriate length of time, the system also eases HR compliance concerns.
An HRIS collates all your people data into one easy, accessible place for referencing and updating. This provides HR professionals access to powerful analytics at their fingertips, helping them to make informed decisions and implement successful strategies. 72% of HR leaders have core HR applications in the cloud or are in the process of moving them. Data that can be accessed and managed from anywhere is crucial in the current climate, when remote working has become the norm.
Digital data collation not only improves efficiency and accessibility, but ensures laws and requirements are correctly followed. By tracking wages and days worked, an HRIS makes it easier for HR professionals to stay on top of everything. In the UK, 90% of data breaches are due to human error. By replacing the traditional filing cabinet, an HRIS enhances data protection and ensures information is secure and confidential.
How employees benefit from an HRIS
It goes without saying that an effective HR department has a huge impact on employee experience. In one survey, 75% of employees said they would stay longer at an organisation that listens to and addresses their concerns. Mismanagement of admin such as salary and sick pay can send a negative message to staff, affecting their morale and performance, as well as their perception of the company. Implementing an HRIS to manage employee data mitigates these risks and ensures the well-being of your staff is a priority.
Not only that, but an HRIS provides access to a wealth of data on employees. This can be used to identify critical issues such as gender pay discrepancies, therefore helping to close the gender gap. Data can also be used to identify training opportunities and development plans for staff. This is vital, with a recent survey of global HR leaders finding that 43% see ‘developing people to reach their full potential’ as the biggest human challenge their organisation is facing.
While an HRIS ensures data protection and security, the self-server capacities allow employees to easily access their own personal information, managing admin such as holidays without the need for an HR intervention. This reduces the burden on human resources and increases employee efficiency and independence.
How the company benefits from an HRIS
If managers and employees are benefitting from a successful HRIS, so too is the company. Implementing an HR strategy allows a business to become more competitive, therefore driving growth and profit. Time saved on administrative duties increases productivity and efficiency - this reduces costs for the organisation, with research revealing that businesses that upgrade their HR systems save costs of 22% per employee.
According to PwC, the biggest people challenge facing companies is finding, attracting and retaining talent. An effective HRIS streamlines and improves the onboarding process, which can result in happier and more productive employees. In fact, more than half of HR professionals report that employee engagement increases when onboarding is improved. A quality onboarding experience is collaborative and has a positive impact on people and departments beyond HR - from line managers to IT and engineering and more.
Finally, an HRIS helps to protect employers and employees by securing confidential data and information. This, as well as hosting required documents to ease compliance worries, means an HRIS can help companies to avoid penalties and legal issues.
What features should you look for in an HRIS?
The HR tech market is flooded with tools and technology and navigating it can feel overwhelming. Expectations of HRIS capability are high and the huge number of software options available means that choosing the right system for your company can be a challenge. HR leaders need to ensure that an HRIS has all the necessary features and capabilities required to significantly benefit their organisation.
An employee database is a necessary resource for your organisation and a basic function of an HRIS. It enables you to store and manage all your people information securely in one place - collecting, organising and leveraging data sets to improve workflow.
Essential employee data is safely stored and easy to access. This can include employment details such as start date, probation end and contract type, role details including title, department and line manager and compensation details like salary, commission and bonus.
Public profiles enable employees and teams to get to know one another and an events function will ensure you keep up to date with who’s joining and leaving, or celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Employees can see what data is required of them and receive reminders to fill this in, easing the burden on HR.
A successful HRIS allows you to efficiently access and manage documents, collecting employee information throughout the lifecycle of their employment. All these documents - whether they are stored in the HRIS or in other programmes - can then be collated in one secure place.
Personal documents such as forms of identification, contracts and working hour schedules should be uploaded, with expiry dates added to remind admins and employees when they need updating.
HR managers can control who has access to which document and visibility around who has reviewed a given document is also essential, ensuring the security of any personal information added to the HRIS.
An HRIS with a flexible absence tracking mechanic means you can track time off and administer leave with ease. The calendar system should be able to support multiple times of leave, including paid time off, sick days and mental health days, and show you when an employee is working from home or from another office.
The self-service capabilities of an HRIS calendar allows employees to register their own time away, reducing HR admin and encouraging staff independence. Integration with tools such as slack keeps everyone informed of employee whereabouts, providing summaries of who is away and working remotely. Calendar integration can also provide information on international public holidays.
An HRIS absence tracking system not only increases efficiency and reduces admin, but ensures company compliance when it comes to hours worked and time off. PTO policies can be attached to offices and locations, or created as custom one offs. A flexible PTO policy function means you can treat weekends or public holidays as working days, allow for unlimited pay leave, carry over days and more.
An HRIS with an insights function helps you to monitor important data. This can include turnover, headcount changes, salary spend and tenure. Information on each company department can then be broken down and compared to the organisation or location average. Insights can also take you back in time to compare current spending to previous months or years, providing you with detailed trends and analysis without any manual work needed.
All of this data can then be used to inform your business strategy over time and plan for unexpected incidents. By monitoring and comparing time off trends such as paid leave, sick days and working from home, an HRIS ensures your team is well rested and, if not, that you can remedy this. This can boost staff morale and productivity, as well as ease HR compliance worries.
A reports function allows you to quickly export your people data from the HRIS and run analysis of it in your tool of choice. As well as extracting current data, reports can provide historical data points including past salaries, job roles and off-boarded employees.
If data is accessed in a .csv format it can be used in any downstream system of choice. Use of a business intelligence tool to import any data point can further provide a more granular analysis of information.
An HRIS can also provide data templates which can be customised to suit your needs. Payroll exports can include up to date banking details as well as a feed of compensation changes over any period in time. Time away summary can rollup time off or total sick days taken and the remaining balance over any timeframe.
An HRIS can be integrated with a variety of tools which will allow you to unlock more value from your software. Integration with Calendar, for example, means that time off, working from home days and more will show up in your calendar across Google, Apple and Outlook. Slack integration will provide a daily digest of important events such as birthdays and anniversaries straight to employees. Connecting with an ATS such as Greenhouse or Teamtailor can help streamline the onboarding process, and connecting with Docusign can save hours of work when dealing with multiple employment agreements.
It’s clear, then, that implementing an HRIS can have a huge impact on a company and its employees. With the right HR technology, these positive benefits will be felt across the entirety of an organisation. This is because an HRIS:
Enables HR professionals to become strategic HR leaders by:
- Automating admin tasks
- Collating people information and providing detailed analysis
- Enhancing data protection and security
- Easing compliance concerns
Improves employee experience by:
- Mitigating the risks of admin mismanagement
- Identifying critical issues such as gender pay discrepancies
- Recognising training opportunities and development plans
- Allowing staff to easily view and update personal information
Benefits a company by:
- Increasing employee productivity and efficiency, cutting company costs
- Strategising HR to drive competitive business, growth and profit
- Streamlining the onboarding process
- Ensuring compliance
To achieve these results, you need to choose the right HRIS for your organisation. Look for features including an employee database, documents, absence tracking, insights, reports and integrations - with these functions you can be certain that an HRIS will do all the hard work for you, leaving you free to focus on what’s really important.
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