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    Everything You Need to Know about a Global HRIS

    October 12, 2023

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    ): A representative image depicting the impact of a global HRIS for MNCs.
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    Growing companies can benefit tangibly from a global HRIS a unified human resource information system compatible with local and international regulations. This article explains the benefits and features of global HRIS solutions, and also guides you in selecting the best global HRIS for your company and the best practices to be followed while you implement it.

    A global human resource information system or global HRIS is an internet-based software for streamlining human resource activities across different locations around the world – including payroll, benefits administration, hiring and onboarding, and compliance – with a focus on centralizing the data while adhering to the rules of different countries.

    Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic propelled the widespread acceptance of remote work tools and technologies, a growing number of businesses are hiring employees beyond Indian shores. Also, as India emerges as a global superpower in terms of economic growth, there is immense potential for companies to scale to global regions and open new offices.

    Handling a globally dispersed workforce, particularly in terms of human resources, can be a challenging and multifaceted undertaking. This has led to an increase in requirement for global HRIS applications that can assist businesses in managing their staff and independent contractors and optimizing HR processes throughout different nations and territories.

    Selecting and executing the right HRIS is essential to enhance your organization's ability to expand globally. Here's all that you need to know when selecting a system that'll ensure that your HR practices and policies are standardized and compliant.

    Overview of Global HRIS

    An HRIS (human resource information system) is a software application that helps businesses manage their human resources processes and activities.

    HRIS software can be employed to automate and streamline a range of tasks, including recruitment, induction, benefit and payroll, performance management, and other functions. Moreover, it offers a centralized repository of employee-related information. This enables access to and analysis of data, management of employee records, and other HR-related tasks for HR teams or other stakeholders.

    However, a regular country-specific HRIS is often limited to operating in a single region. It is designed to comply only with one country’s labor regulations, has templates and forms relevant to only one country, and can support only a handful of languages.

    In contrast, different languages, national currencies, fiscal regulations, and other nation-specific HR requirements can be accommodated by a global HRIS. A global HRIS integrates effortlessly with global payroll, employee benefits management, and other HR systems in each country while additionally offering a unified and consistent view of the global workforce.

    A global HRIS aims to assist with the HR requirements of multinational organizations. It is usually more intricate and advanced than a standard HRIS, given that it must meet the staffing requirements of every country with organizational presence.

    Benefits of implementing a global HRIS

    Why do companies invest in a global HRIS instead of implementing standard HRIS solutions localized to each country? The answer is simple; it helps:

    1. Streamline global HR processes

    By consolidating all the data related to your workforce, a global HRIS streamlines processes and saves effort and time. It enables HR professionals in various locations to maintain consistent workflows, as they are all working in the exact same system and with identical data, irrespective of their location.

    Even specific HR notifications can be automated, which is especially advantageous when coordinating taxation compliance across borders. A global HRIS also keeps you informed of country-specific issues such as regional public holidays or compulsory time off for staff.

    2. Centralize employee data management

    When employee data is stored and managed across several databases, it is more challenging and time-consuming to derive specific details about an employee. With multiple localized HRIS systems, it is nearly impossible to obtain a snapshot of your complete workforce. The absence of data visibility may negatively impact the management of employee contracts, workforce planning, and compliance oversight.

    A global HRIS brings together all employee information in a single location from which you can select various team views (by geographical area, division, specific worker, staff performance, period of employment, etc.). This offers you greater insights into your organization's global expansion, headcount, recruitment, and other variables.

    3. Enhance reporting and analytics capabilities

    The exhaustive data analytics capabilities of a global HRIS system deliver important insights into HR operations, worker performance, and enterprise-wide trends. This information can be leveraged to arrive at data-driven decisions, allowing businesses to continuously enhance their HR processes. A global HRIS platform can also be used to generate reports describing compensation overheads, budgetary allocations, and general trends.

    4. Ensure global compliance

    As there are various HR platforms and local legal service providers, it is much more difficult to manage tax deadlines, filings, employee perks and contracts, and other compliance-related aspects. Given that you are confronted with a fresh set of legal ramifications in every new country, the probability of making an honest mistake is always high -- and your organization may be liable to severe monetary penalties or even litigation.

    A centralized global HRIS platform -- managed by just one service provider (to help you handle compliance across all locations) -- minimizes the possibility of non-compliance by a significant margin.

    Learn More: A Complete Guide to Getting Started with an HRIS: Requirements Checklist

    Key Features and Functionality of Global HRIS

    Global HRIS solutions are more powerful than standard HRIS and have a host of other features, in addition to data management, payroll, and time & attendance capabilities. The key differentiating features of global HRIS include:

    1. Multilingual and multicultural capabilities

    Multiple language support is an added aspect of an effective global HRIS system. A typical HRIS might employ Google Translate to offer individuals access to additional languages, but these translations could lead to a loss of nuance in communications. It may make non-native English speakers feel insignificant.

    A key characteristic of global HRIS is its built-in support for multiple languages. Ideally, it should have support teams in different countries to help navigate the different cultural nuances of a diverse workforce as well.

    2. Localization and compliance functionalities

    A powerful global HRIS solution is characterized by its availability in multiple countries, accompanied by equally robust local infrastructure to enable international hiring. Can your Indian director identify government-approved identification papers for the Dubai-based legal expert's taxation requirements? Most likely not!

    A localized version of a global HRIS, however, allows the employee to directly upload this crucial data by complying with the HRIS prompts.

    Moreover, it will assist you in maintaining compliance across several regions. A domestic HRIS that purports to be global will affirm, "Yes, you may include international staff members in our database and provide their login credentials to the same modules." However, these systems cannot ensure that your overseas employees' use of the system is in compliance with local regulations.

    A global HRIS will integrate local rules algorithms. It shows whether an employee's request for leave or reimbursement adheres to regional guidelines, and if all the necessary requirements are met.

    3. Global employee self-service portals

    Self-service is offered for administrators and employees via an HRIS. For example, any employee can access the system to update their personal information, such as their address, phone number, etc. Similarly, managers and administrators may use the system to edit employee data, such as periodically updating performance reviews.

    A global HRIS will support self-service functionalities across all the regions where your company operates, synchronizing the data automatically and showing all the relevant information to the self-service user.

    4. Integration with other HR systems and tools

    With an ordinary HRIS, you might have to put up with disjointed procedures and tools that are inconsistent or incompatible. This can prolong or interfere with HR processes such as payroll, benefits management, orientation, and other workflows.

    A global HRIS can be coupled with an array of systems, which may be global (e.g., cloud storage) or localized (e.g., a country-based auditing tool). This sets up a unified and tightly interconnected human resources administration and payroll framework for all your employees, no matter their country of origin.

    5. Reporting and analytics for global workforce insights

    Reporting is an essential component of any HRIS, and it is important to choose the right software with the appropriate data reporting features. Check an HRIS's reporting functionality to see if it contains pre-set templates -- and if you can put together individualized reports. You should also consider employee scheduling tools that fulfill your organizational requirements. A robust global HRIS system will have prebuilt reporting templates for different regions.

    Furthermore, global HRIS delivers a degree of data analysis that localized HRIS systems simply cannot equal. It facilitates one-click reports on all personnel regardless of location or regional time zone. You will be able to drill down the insights to find patterns and trends and arrive at cross-border inferences about the workforce.

    Learn More: HRIS vs HRMS vs HCM: What's the Difference?

    Factors to Consider when Choosing a Global HRIS

    Choosing a global HRIS can be difficult, as the decision to step up from local HRIS to a more powerful, global system is an important milestone for any organization. When evaluating vendors, consider the following factors:

    1. Scalability and flexibility

    Choosing a region-specific HRIS when you're a small organization might work for a while, but you'll ultimately have to transition your processes to a more advanced solution. Plan for the company's future needs: while you may currently have ten staff members from three countries, you could eventually end up taking on 100 more from 30 different nations.

    Implementing an adaptable global HRIS from the outset will help you circumvent the challenging task of migrating your complete HR department to a new system. It will allow your organization to quickly acquire highly qualified applicants without first assessing if your tech stack can manage their onboarding formalities.

    2. Security and data privacy

    An HRIS is susceptible to information security and privacy breaches even though it streamlines all HR processes while making life easier for your team. This is because the HRIS stores important data like personal details, telephone numbers, pay information, medical records, etc. For global HRIS users, this information may run up to hundreds and thousands of datasets.

    A global HRIS must have industry-standard data security safeguards that cover the application itself and the hosting infrastructure, as cyber-attacks may negatively impact either of these components.

    Ensure that the HRIS has a robust authentication system to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access. Also, the software program must be able to restrict user access to specific elements of the HRIS according to the employee's role, geographical location, etc.

    The infrastructure that holds or contains the HRIS and preserves all its contents must be protected with the newest, cutting-edge security protocols. These safeguards include regular vulnerability fixes, physical server security, environmental monitoring, access restrictions, data backups, etc. Finally, you can search for compliance certifications such as ISO 27001, which is globally recognized when it comes to secure systems.

    3. Ease of use and integration capabilities with existing systems

    A global HRIS will not be an ideal fit for an organization if the individuals using it fail to learn and engage with it, particularly considering the significant investments involved.

    The UI of a global HRIS must be user-friendly and intuitive, with intuitive navigation and easily accessible features. Instead of relying exclusively on textual information, the interface must be visually engaging and use universal design standards, that are applicable across language barriers, to steer users in the correct direction.

    And, the global HRIS must work with other software platforms used by your organization at its various locations, like benefit administration and payroll systems. This will help reduce manual data input and enhance efficiency.

    4. Vendor support and availability of training resources

    A global HRIS must be adaptable and configurable to satisfy the specific requirements of your organization. Remember, the costs of an HRIS solution also include the ability to tailor the experience so you can make the most of it. To guarantee that your employees can successfully use the system, the service provider you select must offer exhaustive training materials and assistance.

    Will the vendor deliver resources to help new users quickly become proficient? Will the solution have an effective search function that allows users to rapidly locate the information they need? Also, remember that systems are frequently updated, so you may need regular training support.

    All of these factors will contribute to your choice of the best global HRIS for your company.

    5. Cost considerations

    There are various HRIS options available today. Cost considerations will be among the essential factors to bear in mind when starting your vendor evaluation process.

    HRIS providers typically impose a cost per employee per month (PEPM). Based on the specifications you opt for, you can anticipate paying anywhere from $1 to $25 per staff member per calendar month on average. Consequently, you can expect to pay less for less advanced systems and more as you keep adding functionalities. For a global HRIS, you can expect to pay slightly more than standard HRIS solutions.

    Regardless of the vendor you decide on, you will need to pay an initial fee. This fee includes setting up the solution as per your requirements, implementation, connecting you with third-party vendors for integrations, and preliminary training and support.

    Learn More: The Need for HRIS: A Comprehensive Guide To Transforming Employee Experience for HR Leaders

    Best Practices for Implementing a Global HRIS

    Once you have selected the best global HRIS that will support your organization’s growth, it is time to prepare for the implementation process. This means:

    1. Conducting a thorough needs assessment

    Understanding the demands of your organization is the first step in selecting a global HRIS for your company. Understand the most urgent human resources concerns and how they impact the development of your business. Knowing each of these aspects will offer you an accurate representation of what's needed from an HRIS system so as to optimize HR processes across sites and locations.

    2. Engaging stakeholders and obtaining buy-in

    Every project that demands significant modifications will be met with resistance, but a global HRIS implementation might face the most intense pushback. To overcome this opposition, the business proprietor, chief executive, or senior management needs to demonstrate support and spearhead acceptance and usage of the new system.

    The HR team is also able to obtain buy-in from middle and regional management with support from the company's leadership. Executive backing also facilitates the gathering of the necessary local resources to guarantee the project's success.

    3. Planning and prioritizing implementation steps

    Regionally and locally, the strategy for implementing any new HR system must be executed in several phases. The advantages of introducing the system in each region or geography at a time are numerous. Before continuing on to the next region, the company may determine its most important goals, gather feedback, and fix any functionality concerns. Additionally, the phased approach factors in regional differences and the necessary modifications.

    4. Testing and training strategies

    Before implementing a system on an international scale, it is recommended that you organize and assess a pilot project. Select a small global business unit to undertake a pilot test -- evaluating its implementation, ability to transform processes, and the associated training needs. Also, remember to receive feedback and revise instructional techniques as required to increase team adoption.

    5. Monitoring and evaluating the success of the implementation

    When countries face an insufficient number of qualified local experts, the successful execution of HRIS might get more difficult. Further, when adjustments must be made simultaneously to a system that functions in multiple time zones, maintenance tasks might also become challenging. For these reasons, the success of a global HRIS implementation has to be monitored carefully. Use KPIs like platform engagement rate, HR work hours saved, etc., to ensure the solution unlocks the expected outcomes.

    Learn More: The Ultimate HR Checklist for Startups: Documents, Tools, Processes, and Strategy


    Global HRIS solutions are essential for companies expanding their operations globally and managing a dispersed workforce. These systems streamline HR processes, centralize employee data, enhance reporting, and ensure global compliance.

    Implementing a global HRIS saves time, maintains consistency, and provides better insights into the workforce. It also improves decision-making and planning by offering a comprehensive view of employee information across different parts of the globe, giving you the freedom to scale freely and open new offices.

    As Indian organizations continue to expand globally, these solutions will play a crucial role in maintaining efficiency, compliance, and successful international operations.

    Schedule a demo with Darwinbox to see the power of global HRIS in action.

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