What is a human resources information system (HRIS)?
An HRIS (human resources information system) is an integrated system used to gather, store and analyze information about an organization's human resources. An HRIS can be a powerful tool for workforce management; it can help companies streamline many business processes. When evaluating an HRIS for purchase or auditing your current HRIS, keep these factors in mind:
Does the system support the achievement of your company's HR objectives?
Does the information available from the HRIS meet the needs of your human resources team?
Is the data in the HRIS confidential and secure?
- Is the data that flows into and out of other systems reliable and secure?
What are the different types of HRIS systems to consider?
There are many different types of HRIS systems, including:
- Operational HRIS. This type of HRIS is designed to provide managers with the data required to support routine and repetitive human resource decisions. These systems often include information about the employees, the employee positions and government regulations. Operational HRIS comprises various subdivisions: employee information systems, position control systems and performance management information systems.
- Tactical HRIS. Tactical HRIS systems are designed to provide managers with support to emphasize resource allocation. These decisions may include recruitment, training and development, design decisions and job analysis. There are a few subparts in tactical HRIS, including job analysis and design information systems, compensation and benefits information systems, employee training and development systems, and recruiting information systems.
- Strategic HRIS. Strategic human resource information systems focus on supporting workforce planning, labor negotiations and certain specialized human resources software. The major types of strategic HRIS have subparts that consist of information systems supporting workforce planning and specialized human resource information systems software.
- Comprehensive HRIS. Comprehensive human resource information systems are integrated databases of human resource files, employee position, affirmative action files, employee files, skill inventory files and a range of other human resource files designed to produce reports for management.
4 questions to ask yourself when evaluating an HRIS system
1. Does the system support the achievement of your company's HR objectives?
To determine whether or not your HRIS is meeting HR objectives, evaluate whether or not the technology provided by your HRIS supports and streamlines these efforts. Objectives often include training and employee development, benefits administration or self-service, and payroll and benefits administration. Does your HRIS support these things? It should.
2. Does the information available from the HRIS meet the needs of your human resources team?
If your HR team spends 25% of its time on record-keeping and auditing, your HRIS isn't doing its job and is costing your business in terms of employee productivity. The information provided by your HRIS must reduce the time it takes to complete these processes. Information provided should allow for easy report creation and management, data-driven decision-making, and employee performance tracking. If the HRIS you're evaluating or auditing doesn't cover these bases, a change needs to be made.
3. Is the data in the HRIS confidential and secure?
Human resources departments are responsible a large amount of confidential data: employee Social Security numbers, bank account numbers for direct deposits, and benefits administration details. Your HRIS must protect this information, from the time it is entered into the system to what would happen should a breach occur. Clear documentation is a must, and protocols, policies and controls should be built into your HRIS so that only those whot need access to sensitive information can access it. Your HRIS should minimize potential data loss and protect confidential information.
4. Is the data that flows into and out of other systems reliable and secure?
If you have seamless system integration with confidential information protection throughout, your data flow is on the right track in terms of security and reliability. From policies to protocols for data management, a successful HRIS should allow your business to integrate multiple software solutions as needed without the risk of data loss or information vulnerability. Another element to consider is that the data coming in and out of your HRIS needs to flow together so you can create accurate reports and make more decisions with the information available.
As you audit or evaluate your HRIS, make sure you have policies and processes that allow for effective identification, communication, capture, and validation of human resources data. Focus on these four areas to determine whether or not the solution you're considering or evaluating meets these criteria.