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    The Need for HRIS: A Comprehensive Guide to Transforming Employee Experience for HR Leaders

    July 25, 2023

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    A symbolic image of an HRIS system.

    The need for Human Resource  information systems in today’s dynamic work environment can hardly be overstated. HRIS helps consume, store, process, and act on employee information, along with automating the workflows surrounding it. This article explains the various key components of an HRIS and the different ways it can transform the employee experience.

    Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) were among the earliest commercial software solutions developed during the 1980s. 

    HR was (and remains) one of the most administratively intensive departments in any organization. Employees in human resources are not only overloaded with documentation and recordkeeping, but they are also custodians of the most valuable and sensitive data on their employees and applicants.

    Contemporary HRIS solutions can automate processes, integrate feedback, and instantaneously modify reporting structures in response to adjustments in company policies or regulatory compliance.

    HRIS Meaning and Definition

     A human resource information system (HRIS) can be described as software, or an online solution used for data entry, data monitoring, and data administration of a company's human resources activities.

    It is a searchable, actionable database that facilitates running all HR systems hosted on the organization's server, in the cloud, or by a third-party provider.

    Under its umbrella exists an array of systems. It encompasses every aspect of employee database administration and directory management. It also oversees application monitoring, perks, payroll processes, and many other functions.

    All HR Information Systems share the attribute of having been built as transactional systems. They are platforms that register the various transactions of a business. When new hires join a company, that is also a transaction. A new employee account is created, and the individual is deemed 'active.' If a person departs the organization a month later, a fresh transaction is entered, and the individual's status is changed to 'terminated.'

    In order to analyze data and garner insights, it is essential to introduce a new layer over conventional HR Information Systems – specifically designed for HR analytics. This is what new-age Human Capital Management solutions like Darwinbox achieve, going beyond transactional records alone.

    Learn More: Key IT Strategy & Implementation Best Practices for an HR Digital Transformation

    How Does HRIS Work?

    HR information systems combine diverse HR functions into a single system that shares information and generates reports across the platform. Generally, an employee’s data is entered as part of the induction process and then relocated or distributed to payroll, benefits, time, and attendance.

    This information may be revised and shared again in the future, as is commonplace when workers earn a performance-based promotion or incentive.

    Essentially, an HRIS functions as a "two-way street" through which data about workers flows both into and out of the organization.

    An HRIS enables simpler, optimized, and efficient interactions between individuals and their employers by eliminating the need for paper-based or manual HR activities. This also allows human resources specialists to carry out more strategic and valuable work.

    To aid this process, Human Resource Information Systems are built on three pillars:

    1. Organizational structuring and design

    HRIS consists of roles, processes, and reporting hierarchies from a structural standpoint. By delineating the organizational structure, the HRIS provides a clear path to accountability and efficient operations. To achieve your strategic goals, you can build a workforce composed of the right employees with the right talents, performing the right functions and working under the right organizational structure. This approach is also known as strategic workforce planning, for which there is a need for an HRIS for the organization.

    2. Employee relationship management

    Similar to consumer relationship management, but in an employer-employee context, the HRIS offers an all-encompassing view of every staff member.

    This includes the employee's identity, place of residence, year of employment, compensation, and benefit preferences. You will be more prepared to interact with your employees, aid them in developing career plans, pinpoint appropriate training, and enhance their performance with the right data.

    3. Data standardization and integrity

    The HRIS supports automated and standardized recordkeeping, reporting, and self-service capabilities. This can lead to more precise and up-to-date data which promotes greater efficiency while enhancing employee usability and ease of access. This is how it helps improve employee experiences with data-related processes.

    Learn More: The Power of a Complete HR Software Platform

    The Main Components of HRIS and Their Role in HR Management

    There are various HRIS software and system categories, and you can choose one depending on the exact need for HRIS in your organization. An HRIS includes all data-related functions for human resources, and offers several features. This consists of the following:

    1. A centralized employee database

    Maintaining accurate employee information is critical. With so many different locations where this data can be recorded (spreadsheets, individualized documents, etc.), it can be hard to keep track of everything. HRIS software can be helpful in this instance as well.

    Storing all employee information in a single database can ensure that it is always updated and accurate. In addition, the software is capable of communicating with other ancillary functions or integrations, making an HR professional's life much simpler.

    2. Leave and attendance management

    An HRIS may help with the management of employee attendance and leaves. Organizations can efficiently monitor employee attendance and plan modifications or breaks with an HRIS. This data can then be exported directly into the payroll application, saving time and resources.

    3. Regulatory compliance

    Companies can automate regulatory compliance and reporting with HR information systems. By monitoring personnel information, hours, incentives, and various other data elements, HRIS can assist in identifying compliance issues. Consequently, you can take quick and efficient corrective action to guarantee that the company fulfills all regulatory criteria.

    4. Mobile apps and integrations

    Not all individuals can always find the space, time, or opportunity to work on laptops or even settle down into a workstation or assigned workspace. Several HRIS providers include mobile capabilities that help HR practitioners to keep working on the go.

    Additionally, your HRIS won't be the only software in your organization's tech infrastructure. Therefore, you must ensure that it integrates seamlessly with all other tools. A well-designed HRIS perfectly integrates with your existing technology framework.

    5. Payroll management

    Payroll is among the most critical HR functions. A streamlined human resource information system enables easy downloading and uploading of employee hours or attendance data. This makes number crunching much easier, and employee remuneration can be made with zero errors or delays. This also reduces other associated challenges, by eliminating human intervention. Moreover, HRIS software providers also support tax compliance, particularly for organizations with multiple taxation layers.

    6. Data access for employees

    Employee self-service is a move towards establishing a work culture in which individuals have greater operational autonomy. The HRIS interface enables team members to update their personal data, review their pay schedules, revise their retirement benefit programs, edit their direct deposit information, and access their benefits selection paperwork. Typically, it is also accessible as a mobile app.

    In addition to the six components of information systems discussed, HR information systems have additional features that help HR staff:

    • Benefits management: The HRIS also manages employee benefits, which are an important element of compensation. The more sophisticated systems also incorporate a self-service model for employees. In this instance, individuals may choose the benefits they prefer independently.
    • Learning & Development: Training is an essential part of employee engagement and experience. This module enables HR leaders to monitor the credentials, endorsements, and abilities of the workforce and provide a summary of possible courses for staff members.
    • Succession planning: A tool that helps establish a talent pool and ensures there is a succession plan for key positions is another vital component of an HRIS. It enables this by using performance data, information on employee tenures, and new job vacancy data.
    • Recruitment: An HRIS assists recruiters in scanning resumes, conducting preliminary candidate assessments, and completing background checks. It may include an applicant tracking system (ATS) that tracks candidate data and credentials, allowing recruiters to match job openings with suitable applicants.
    • Performance management: The employee's direct supervisor or coworkers help generate performance ratings, usually once or several times every year. HRIS guarantees the impartiality of the evaluation process. It ties compensation to employee performance and builds out performance-based succession structures.

    As you can see, a human resource information system is helpful in nearly every aspect of the employee experience.

    Learn More: HR Technology : Enabling Efficiency, Empowering The HR

    The Need for an HRIS in Today's Workplace

    The need for HRIS arises from the fact that it can help automate and streamline several time-consuming and resource-intensive day-to-day tasks. HR information systems may also reduce administrative expenses by eliminating manual processes, boosting accuracy and productivity, and improving data quality.

    It can also provide HR leaders with more comprehensive insights, allowing them to make better-informed decisions while promoting an employee-centric business strategy. Similarly, software users can measure and analyze employee engagement, efficiency, and various other important metrics more precisely.

    HR information systems offer an organized, efficient, and centralized repository for managing staff records, perks, and payroll. It also helps to monitor employee performance and attendance.

    The need for HRIS is now widely recognized because it helps in:

    • Managing multiple HR processes: As an HR executive, you can structure your work more efficiently than in the past. And your organization can be more systematic in the manner in which it controls employee information. Employees can also manage HR-related tasks like self-reviews and benefits selection more easily, improving the employee experience.
    • Maintaining transparency across stakeholders: You could have various stakeholders in an organization and a large number of full-time and part-time HR employees. It is difficult to maintain a balance while keeping everyone informed. With an effective HRIS, you can curb uncertainty by offering only a centralized, single point of information for all HR-related data.
    • Reducing your efforts through automation: While being more organized is great, you can also optimize your work. Human resource information systems ensure that managers refrain from duplicating tasks and can instead focus on employee experiences. An HRIS streamlines your work via automation.

    Learn More: 50 Key HRMS Features That You Should Know Of

    Transforming HR with HRIS: Enhancing the Employee Experience

    By now, we have understood that one of the key needs for HRIS is that it makes life easier for HR leaders. And, it also engages employees and provides them with a better experience. How exactly does it achieve this?

    Why is a human resource information system essential for positive employee experiences? Here are the top reasons:

    1. Improve experiences across the entire employee lifecycle

    When HRIS is applied to recruitment, applicants may feel more connected right from the outset. They can submit an application and view its status without requiring manual intervention or phone calls. This not only helps individuals feel empowered, but it can also provide managers with insights into how candidates behave when given more autonomy.

    The benefits of HRIS are seen across the employee lifecycle. For instance, having an HRIS means that you have a centralized data store to keep and analyze the results from exit interviews.

    2. Enables closer communication between the management and the workforce

    Modern HRIS software lets employees and senior management speak freely and interact with one another. This allows employees to express their thoughts more frequently, make suggestions and share feedback. These open channels of communication can help individuals participate more directly and understand that their opinions matter.

    3. Removes doubts and bottlenecks during performance reviews

    Performance management is built into most modern human resource information systems. It helps in defining precise deadlines, a well-defined reward and recognition system, and an overview of progress.

    Employees can better fully understand how they can contribute to the business when the organization's objectives are unambiguously highlighted in the HRIS software. The software will also remind employees of performance goals, making it easy to stay focused. An HRIS may minimize the likelihood of performance review conflicts by basing decisions purely on data.

    4. Empowers employees with self-service and mobile applications

    By using an HRIS, employees can review their unused leave balances and personal data. In addition, they can request time off and amend details like their home address.

    Because the majority of HRIS systems are hosted on the cloud, people can access them from their mobile devices or laptops. This allows them to finish administrative tasks during usual downtimes, like travel or en route to a meeting.

    It also means staff members working remotely or traveling on business may file expenses, ask for time off, or refresh their banking information, no matter their location. As a result, the overall employee experience improves for every member of the workforce, underscoring the need for HRIS in remote and hybrid work scenarios.

    Learn More: HRMS - Transforming The Office Environment

    5. Rewards employees for their efforts

    An HRIS helps HR leaders and administrators monitor employee output. Consequently, they are also better able to recognize employees for their achievements. Simply saying "Well done!" can help workers feel more appreciated. Managers can also discuss incentives or rewards for empowered actions and outstanding achievements. Using self-service, employees can choose from a bouquet of reward options, further elevating their experience.

    6. Eliminates friction from employee workflows

    One of the immediate repercussions of globalization on businesses is that today's workers demand simplicity, speed, and efficiency. Organizational management, recruiting, office administration, time management, and talent management are all handled by an HRIS. It also functions as an HR portal that provides access from any interface at any point in time.

    This tool's versatility and usability offer employees a positive outlook on the duties they must carry out and increase their productivity.

    Let’s say a hybrid working employee wants to switch their in-office days from Tuesday to Thursday for a couple of weeks, inputting, approving, reconciling, and adjusting this data would take a long time without an HRIS. A human resource information system (particularly when hosted on the cloud) makes these modifications in a matter of hours, also updating schedules so that team productivity is not compromised.

    7. Minimizes admin work for employees and managers

    Life as an administrator can feel challenging, but with an HRIS, tasksthat would otherwise be repetitive or easily overlooked are streamlined.

    Using an HRIS, leave requests, notifications of unanticipated absences, and training progression can all be monitored and recorded. Automatic alerts can serve as an advisory to the manager or staff member to complete required duties such as submitting a travel and expense form after a business trip.

    HR information systems may improve and expedite tasks like pay slips and invoicing. There is no requirement to look for and save files in new locations. When freed from administrative duties, HR professionals can focus on more engaging work or quality family time.

    8. Foster a culture of transparency

    An HRIS can significantly enhance operational transparency, which can promote employee engagement.

    It enables the centralized posting of company strategies, regulations, developments, or notifications. This provides employees with quick access to the most current versions of these documents. Using an HRIS aids in awareness of societal changes within an organization. This may involve HR departments adopting more inclusive hiring practices or fostering greater workplace diversity.

    This increased accessibility can be advantageous in several ways. First, it tells employees that the organization has nothing to hide. It may also limit inaccuracies and disinformation, gossip, and office politics, which can be terrible for employee experiences.

    Instead, employees can quickly validate their points of view by referencing the applicable guideline or amendments in the HRIS.

    Learn More: Future of AI in HR: Latest Trends and Tools

    Meeting the Need for HRIS Automation

    There is an increasing need for HRIS automation because the two-way data flow system can trigger actions such as sending a file for approval, sending a reminder, updating data, and so on.

    Here are some of the considerations to remember as you meet the increasing need for HRIS automation in your company:

    • Start with repetitive tasks that you cannot do without: Tasks that must be performed repeatedly and are vital to the organization's long-term viability can be a good fit for automation. This group of tasks include, for example, the processing of fixed-rate salaries. When they can be electronically computed or processed, there is hardly any reason for an HR manager to manually input the same values, data, or calculations every week.
    • Standardize the data source that feeds the automated workflow: When employees can submit inquiries and applications electronically, this data goes directly into their personnel files. Standardizing staff records in the HRIS diminishes the possibility of errors.
    • Take the need for HRIS automation to reinforce security: If confidential employee or business information passes through far more hands than necessary, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to theft or other threats. When information is harvested digitally, it's more protected than when it is physically extracted from paper forms that anybody can access.
    • Find processes that can actually benefit from HRIS automation: Sometimes, HR processes become genuinely better and not just more efficient when automated. For instance, an HRIS can send out alerts based on compliance actions. It allows you to be more proactive instead of asking an HR leader to manually examine the system to ensure compliance with all applicable rules.

    Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to HR Automation


    The need for HRIS or human resource information systems is clear. Companies rely on data for HR processes more than ever before, and these software tools can help you streamline, automate, and improve how you work. As an HR leader, investing in the right HRIS can garner significant ROI.

    The returns from HR information systems increase when you have a unified, end-to-end system. Ask for a Darwinbox demo to know how we can help.

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