What is HRIS? 

Human Resources Information System, or HRIS is a software that that collects, stores, processes, and retrieves employee information quickly in a secure and cost-effective manner. It is the integration of HR operations and information technology.

HRIS software contributes to all HR functions: Payroll, Time Off, Performance Management, etc.

This system can be setup in two ways on-premises or cloud-based. Either way, the centralisation of information offers companies a single source of truth while providing employees with self-service features - thus taking away effort from the HR team.

HRIS or human resources information system HRIS or human resources information system

What are the key functions of an HRIS software?

features of hris software features of hris software

A good HRIS software will help you manage these 10 functions:

1. Centralized Information Storage

HRIS collects employee information at the time of recruitment and provides a central repository of employee information to managers, HR professionals, IT team, Admins, and everyone else who needs it. The information stored on the employee database includes:

2. Onboarding Workflow

HRIS can take a lot of workload away from the HR team by automating the onboarding workflow. This means, the team can automate emails, track candidate status, keep management informed about the onboarding status, and connect new employees with hiring managers.

The new employee will also have a good experience will all the processes streamlined. They will get a complete picture in terms of organizational hierarchy and HR policies. Plus, they will know whom to reach out to get answers to their questions. This means the onboarding coordinator is not bombarded with questions ranging from documentation to saving plans, the responsible authority will get those questions directly.

3. Job Training

Do you want to provide a specific set of training modules to each employee based on their job role? HRIS can help you with that. It can integrate with your learning module and streamline the training journey for each employee. It can also track the progress and remind employees of approaching deadlines. An HRIS can also send you an email notification if employees miss a training session or are behind schedule.

4. Time Off Management

An HRIS software can help you assign time offs to employees based on your time off policy and keep a track of it. One of the main functions of HRIS is to help managers keep a track how much time off each employee has availed and the balance left. The employee too have this information handy.
Additionally, employees can quickly request for time offs and managers get a notification immediately, thus avoiding a mail chain or a series of zoom calls. The whole workflow is managed though a click of a few buttons. This way, HRIS promotes self-service where employees can manage their data without involvement of an HR personnel.

5. Performance Management

Performance management is an important feature of HRIS, you can setup a framework for setting goals for the employees and a mechanism for managers to give their ratings. The software allows separate workflows for when the employees are planning deliverables and when they are submitting for the annual appraisal process.

Additionally, HRIS helps you set up surveys and forms to capture information required for ad-hoc purposes. For instance, if you want to send out goodies to employees, you can get their preferences and relevant details through forms.

6. Employee Benefits

Be it life insurance details, medical insurance, information on dependents, or data related to any other employee benefit, HRIS facilitates storage of everything. You can setup a workflow where employees key in relevant information only at a specific time-period after which the window closes.

With this level of automation, your employees shoulder the responsibility of entering details in time to avoid a lockout. You HR team does not need to send individual follow-up emails to get the details.

7. HR Analytics & Reporting

You need to analyze numbers related to HR before you plan any organizational change that impact. An HRIS makes it very easy. For example, if you plan to reorganize your development team under product managers, you need to know how many developers works for you, what's their specialization, and which product managers should they be aligned to.

You can find all the data in HR reports dashboard. You can also analyze how your employees use time offs, scope to save on costs, etc.

8. Payroll Management

Payroll is a critical feature of a Human Resource Information System. Payroll can be useful to have in a human resources information system as it offers end-to-end management assistance to the HR personnel. 

Compensation on an hourly/ weekly/ monthly basis is all provided in HRIS. Employee Information like Bank Details, Role, and Appraisal, Time off are provided by the HRIS system which enables payment of compensation easier, error-free, and fair.  

9. Employee Offboarding

You need to manage employee experience during the offboarding process to ensure they become advocates of the company. An HRIS can help you automate offboarding and communicate with your employees during their exit, and even after that.

A smooth offboarding makes the employee feel valued. HRIS comes with the feature to help you create a positive experience which may result in employee returning to the organization in the future.

10. Workflow Automation

One of the main features of HRIS is automation of workflow across all HR functions. We discussed how automation can reduce HR teams workload during the recruitment, onboarding, payroll, and the offboarding processes, but it goes beyond that.

HR team can automate internal communication workflows related to company policy updates, organizations announcement, all hands calls, etc. With an HRIS, the team can target employees effectively with lists and send relevant communication.

11. Mobile HRIS

Almost all HRIS systems now come with a Mobile App supporting both Android and iOS. This feature makes all the above functions available in your pocket, with few exceptions, thus enabling on-the-go productivity. 

12. Applicant Tracking System

Applicant tracking is one of those highlighting features of an HRIS. Ironically, not all products that call themselves HRIS comes with Applicant Tracking.  ATS helps you bring your whole hiring process to one place. 

From posting a job to sourcing candidates from different channels like Email, Job Boards, interviewing, and executing the hiring process to rolling out an offer, and moving the candidate to an employee, an HRIS with ATS can be really useful to help you bring in talents seamlessly. 

Other common features of an ATS is to set a cooling period to avoid a repetition of candidates, archiving good talents to the talent pool, etc.

The Different Types of HRIS 

what are the different types of HRIS what are the different types of HRIS

HRIS can be classified into four major types based on the functions they perform, the different challenges they help to tackle and the different requirements in the HR and employee management space. The four types of HRIS are: 

Operational HRIS 

HRIS functions that help stakeholders perform certain operations are commonly referred to as Operational HRIS. For example, the employee information stored on all employees helps the manager and the organization to fetch them for performing certain functions like placing the employees in the right place within the organizational structure. Knowing the information on their performances to manage it and review it are also part of the Operational HRIS. 

Tactical HRIS 

Tactical HRIS takes care of the processes that help in decision-making for the managers with respect to the usage of the resources. This includes actions like Recruiting, Job and Design Analysis, Employee Training and Compensation/Benefits in the organization. 

All these actions require information on the employees, vacancies in the organization, etc., which is done using Tactical HRIS. 

Strategic HRIS

Strategic HRIS comes of use when a company is looking to expand or grow, strategically. Strategic HRIS helps in the proper planning of the workforce and stay aware about the labor resources available. As a part of this, Strategic HRIS holds information that supports workforce planning and a specialized HRIS system on the whole with certain HR functions to help manage and understand labor resources. 

Comprehensive HRIS 

Comprehensive HRIS is more of everything involved in HR actions, including the above three types. It acts as a combined platform with all HR  files, employee information, open positions, hiring and job details, job analysis and design files, guidelines files on employee safety, etc., It acts as a place with all information that can be produced at any time to perform any action.

We have dived deeper into these types of HRIS here

Determine if your company needs an HRIS.

Not all companies require an HRIS. Software costs, year after year, and unless you are very sure you would make the best use out of the buy you make, and that it will solve real-time challenges for your organization, it makes little sense to go with an HRIS, at least for now. If you are not sure if your company needs a human resources information system, ask yourself the questions below. 

1. What is the employee count of your company? 

A. Less than 50 Employees
B. 50 - 300 employees
C. Over 300 employees 

If you answered B or C, you definitely need an HRIS system, sit down with your HR Department and they probably have a lot of challenges they want to share with you which could help you decide which HRIS fits best for your company. 

2. What’s your hiring bandwidth or how many open jobs do you have? 

A.  We hire every month and have over 20 open jobs. 
B.  We hire once in 6 months, and we have around 5-10 open jobs. 
C.  We are not hiring currently or in the near future.  

If you find yourself in the situation of A or B, you most likely need an Applicant Tracking System. If your answer to the first question was B or C, then it’s better to go for a human resources information system that comes with ATS. 

3. Are you an over 50-employee company and do you offer time-off/time-based pay? 

A. Yes? Then it would be wise to switch to an HRIS.
B.  No? Then let’s wait. 

4. Do you have an elaborate onboarding process?  

A. Yes? Then it would be wise to switch to an HRIS. 
B.  No? Then let’s wait. 

If you did not find your company fit in any of the above situations, it’s possibly because you are a company with few employees, you are not actively hiring and can handle HR management on sheets. If your HR team is still feeling challenged, it would be ideal to sit down with them and understand their challenges: Employee Data or Time and Time off Management, Payroll, or Recruitment - based on their requirements you can decide if you need an HRIS or only Payroll or only ATS. 



How much time does it take to select HRIS | Freshteam How much time does it take to select HRIS | Freshteam

What are the benefits of HRIS? 

With the right HRIS in place, the efficiency of your workforce increases by folds. With all repetitive tasks gone to automation, it takes redundancy off the plate. This gives your employees time to focus on things that matter. 

A meaningful hiring process will happen in your organization once you use the right ATS. The mundane tasks of hiring like preparing reports and maintaining a database go off the table enabling your recruiting team to concentrate on the different candidates they process leading to the hiring of genuine superstars. 

Face it, even the best employer of your organization might slip something and make a mistake, he/she is only human. With a system in place, the chances of making errors or having lags in a work done are reduced vastly. This allows for more robust data that you can count on.

Looking back at all the performances, time-off trends, hiring patterns,  measuring them using different metrics, generating reports, and analytics that gives a bird's-eye view with in-depth information helps identify mistakes, best patterns to use, and gives scope for rectification and improvement. 

Human Resource Information System enables you to maintain a system that is transparent about all the information concerning employees like Time-off patterns, performance, goals, referral statuses, etc., leaving no room for skepticism among your employees, this builds trust, loyalty improving the Employee- Employer Relationship. 

All information is in one place for the collaborators with permissions to access, be it for hiring, employee details, or time-off trends, a Human Resources Information System makes accurate decision-making possible. 

HRIS means no more storing information manually or across multiple software, not only does this increase the efficiency of usage of information, it reduces the cost spent on different software and the resources used to maintain them. 

Everything on a cloud system means anyone can access it from anywhere from any device, it also makes collaborating across regions, funcations, and geographies possible.

Most HRIS allow employees to edit their information, update and be proactive on the system giving the employee a sense of ownership and responsibility, it also reduces the back-and-forth talks between the employee and the HR. 

An HRIS allows you to update, correct, or delete information in simple clicks decreasing the time spent on maintaining the system. Gone are the days when you would rely on Excel. With HRIS you get an intuitive interface that makes data management easy.

Bonus:  Steps to follow before implementing an HRIS for your company


How to implement an HRIS | Freshteam How to implement an HRIS | Freshteam
Step 1: Research, Research, Research 

Once you have decided to go with an HRIS for your company, the tough part of finding the right fit for your organization begins. To know and find the right fit for your organization, you have to know extensively about the different HRIS systems available in the market, and also the functions each can perform.

By knowing this, you can evaluate the systems that you think can match your needs and break them down to fix one system. It is important to know the challenges you want to be solved for your company before going for the search. Only when you are aware of the problems you need solutions for,  you can even begin the search for the right tool to bring the solutions.  

Step 2: Huddle up your A-team

Finding an HRIS that fits your company right and implementing it successfully is definitely not a one-man’s job. Listing down the needs in the system would involve the HR team, talent acquisition team, managers, and employees. Researching, communicating with different vendors or suppliers is a task of its own, getting the right people to help implement the software across your company, and bringing top officials on board with the change, etc., all includes getting the right team to work on the whole implementation from the search phase to implement phase. 

Step 3: Evaluate and Finalize 

When you know your needs, and have your team ready to implement and software that you are almost happy with, evaluate it extensively by rigorously checking its fitment for your needs. Evaluate the system thoroughly and finally take it to the test run. 

Step 4: Prepare back up and start a test run

Once you know the software for you, you have to take it to the whole company, this is a huge step, which is why before doing it, you have to be completely sure and amped with resources to help your employees after the system goes live. To do so, prepare a team that can work on any queries or grievances that would be raised by the employees either from your company or get a dedicated team from your supplier or vendor. 

Once you have the support resources and team ready, test run the system/ software for a few days with a few employees and workflows to find any errors or loopholes. 

Step 5: Go live 

If you are confident about the running of the system, all you have left to do is to go live with it in your organization. Communicate to your employees, help them with basic onboarding to the system, handhold for a few days until the company becomes familiar with the system. Collect reviews and feedback to constantly improve the experience provided. 

Step 6: Re-evaluate 

As much as it is important to evaluate the system before implementing it, it is equally important to evaluate the system after implementation. Give it 90 - 120 days to take its course, once this period is completed, take feedback from major stakeholders using the system, the employees. Evaluate and see if the challenges which you wanted to solve with the system are getting solved or at least have shown improvement. If the system has been successful in changing things for your organization, be proud of your decision, else, take the lesson and repeat the steps to find your correct HRIS system. 

[Checklist] What you need to look for in your HRIS

Here’s an exhaustive checklist of requirements and features your HRIS can include. It's not necessary the HRIS you pick should include everything here. You can use this checklist to build a custom requirements template.


What to look for in HRIS What to look for in HRIS

Technical Components:

1. Employee data management
2. Time and attendance management
3. Recruiting and onboarding management
4. Payroll management
5. Benefits administration
6. Compliance

Best-to-have features:

1. Integration capabilities
2. Employee self-service
3. Data security
4. Cloud-based capability

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