HRIS

Human resources information system (HRIS) solutions help businesses manage multiple facets of their workforce operations. They provide a central platform for human resources professionals and individual employees alike to view organizational data and manage their HR processes. HRIS solutions share standard features like a management portal and self-service tools and help businesses visualize their human resources data more clearly.

What Is a Human Resources Information System (HRIS)? 

A human resources information system is an application used by human resources departments to track employee data. Information managed by an HRIS includes personal data like age and birthdate, employee resumes and job titles, compensation and payroll data, and company-wide documentation. HRIS software is comparable and at times interchangeable with other human resources solutions like HR management system (HRMS) and human capital management (HCM) software. 

How Do HR Information Systems Work?

HRIS software categorizes human resources data based on individual employees as well as data related to the entire organization. It allows administrators to restrict user access to data, so they only see the information they’re authorized to view. 

HRIS solutions store documentation like insurance and employee benefits information, tax forms, 401k data, handbooks, and policy guides. Employee self-service access allows workers to view these documents when they need to reference a particular benefit or download a tax form to fill out.

HRIS use cases for regular employees 

HRIS software allows individual contributors (typically all employees in the company) to: 

  • Make time off requests
  • View their benefits and payroll data
  • Conduct other official human resources interactions with supervisors or HR 

HRIS use cases for supervisors and managers

HRIS solutions allow supervisors and people managers to:

  • Conduct employee performance reviews and assist with goal-setting
  • Manage all relevant HR requests, like leave and vacation time 
  • View the progress of specific job candidates through the hiring pipeline 

HRIS use cases for administrators

Lastly, HRIS systems allow administrators to: 

  • Edit employee data pages to reflect job changes like title and pay, as well as personal data like address or marital status 
  • Add and delete users based on hiring and termination
  • Document interview and onboarding processes 

Learn more about HRIS systems and access levels with HRIS Roles and Responsibilities at TechnologyAdvice.

Features of HRIS

The following software features are common components of human resources information systems: 

User and management portal

The management portal allows users to navigate through their personal information, like job title and supervisor, as well as company data, such as organizational charts and event calendars. User-friendly HRIS interfaces and categorization make it easy for employees to find the data they need.

BambooHR home page—user interface.

Image credit: BambooHR

Internal security controls 

Access to the main management portal of HRIS software typically requires a secure login for both administrator and self-service employee accounts. HRIS tools also limit access to pages and data for non-administrator roles. Because HRIS software stores personal data, it’s subject to regulatory standards for data protection. To adhere to these requirements, HRIS software often gives administrators the ability to check and manage who has access to personal data. These HRIS software access controls allow businesses to comply with a variety of data access regulations.

Applicant tracking features 

Some HRIS solutions not only store data for current employees but also allow HR professionals to manage job applications and candidate information. To track new employee movement through the job pipeline, HRIS solutions show applicants’ current interview status. Many also include onboarding features, like tax forms and integrations with online document signing software. However, note that not all HRIS software has an equal number of features. Some simpler HRIS systems don’t offer applicant tracking tools

Rippling applicant tracking.

Image credit: Fit Small Business

Learn more about top applicant tracking systems at TechnologyAdvice.

What are the benefits of using an HRIS solution?

One application manages multiple administrative tasks

HRIS software streamlines payroll, onboarding, and employee administration into one application where HR teams and individual contributors can manage their time off, forms, and benefits. Instead of using multiple applications for different HR tasks, teams have a single location for human resources operations. Some HRIS solutions also allow teams to handle performance management alongside other standard HR tasks. 

Employee access controls and self-service options

By allowing all full-time employees to perform some of their own HR administrative tasks, like making time-off requests and clocking in, HR administrators’ manual workload is reduced. HR teams can create user profiles with preset access controls within the HRIS, which means they don’t have to manually monitor employees’ data access within the platform. 

Often, HRIS software allows administrators to customize each access level with permissions specific to their organization’s needs. For example, a people manager receives access to a management page for their direct reports, allowing them to approve time-off requests. However, the people manager might not be permitted to change their direct reports’ job titles while a user with administrative capabilities can.    

Integrations with other business software

Some HRIS solutions integrate with other business applications, which can be especially helpful for data management and integrity. HR teams frequently use HRIS integrations to send HR notifications to their email or connect their talent acquisition process to job posting sites like Indeed.  

BambooHR Slack integration.

Image credit: BambooHR

Visualization tools

Advanced HRIS software often includes visualization features like reporting. Human resources reports include charts that break down employee performance, compensation, attrition, and hiring rates. Breaking down data into easy-to-understand graphics helps not only HR teams but also leaders distill large amounts of business information that would otherwise be scattered throughout the HRIS. 

Workday reporting.

Image credit: Workday

Top HRIS Solutions

The following HRIS software addresses HR teams’ workforce management needs while  providing additional valuable features for administrative teams and business leaders. 

Namely

Namely logo.Namely is an easy-to-learn, intuitive HRIS for small and mid-sized teams. Its platform includes standard HR features like self-service, benefits administration, and e-signatures. Namely also offers talent acquisition features like job posting, background checks, and offer letter generation. Namely integrates with Slack, so newsfeed items like birthdays and work anniversaries can be cross-posted if teams want to recognize them in Slack instead. 

Namely’s analytics features allow human resources teams to create reports about their organization’s attrition, diversity, and time off. For small-business HR teams that need to make data-driven presentations to leadership or combined teams, Namely is a strong choice.  

BambooHR

BambooHR logo.BambooHR is a human resources platform that is best for small and medium-sized businesses. BambooHR provides reporting features for HR teams to create dashboards they can present to executives and managers to reinforce their hiring needs. Examples of presented data include employee turnover rates and company PTO usage. 

BambooHR offers helpful company culture features, too. These include employee wellbeing surveys to gauge job satisfaction and employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) surveys. BambooHR integrations include identity management provider Okta; integration provider Zapier; and team collaboration tool Slack. BambooHR is a good solution for smaller businesses that want a combined HR management tool and ATS. 

Workday

Workday logo.Workday is an enterprise management software provider that offers human capital management and financial management solutions. Workday’s talent management features allow businesses to track their teams’ review ratings and retention statistics. Other talent management features include goal setting and meeting scheduling so managers and individual contributors can clearly manage personal progress. On the talent acquisition side, recruitment teams can create and view candidate pools and referrals.

Workday’s learning management features allow administrators to assign journeys, which include a series of tasks, to employees. When members of a workforce require training to learn a new role or organizational procedure, learning journeys are helpful tools to ensure they receive all essential information. Workday is a solid choice for organizations that want additional enterprise planning tools as well as standard HR features.  

Rippling

Rippling logo.Rippling is an HR management tool for businesses of varying sizes. Its talent management solution offers automated onboarding, which allows HR teams to input limited information about new employees. Rippling automatically sets up onboarding information so busy hiring managers don’t have to fill in all information manually. 

Rippling isn’t just an HR solution but also an IT management tool. Rippling’s application management features allow businesses to protect access to sensitive applications through tools like single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Rippling also offers device management features, including company device setup and device offboarding. Rippling is a particularly good choice for businesses that need close collaboration between HR and IT teams. 

Considering other HRIS solutions? Read Best HRIS Systems & Software at TechnologyAdvice.

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a writer for Webopedia.com, Enterprise Storage Forum, and CIO Insight. She covers data storage systems and data management, information technology security, and enterprise software solutions.

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