Whether you run a corporation with a thousand-strong headcount, or a fledgling startup with just a few staff, you already know that workforce management is an important but complex task. A human resource information system (HRIS) has become an essential tool for managing and developing a workforce. Here’s a list of organisational factors you need to consider before choosing the best HRIS for your company.
What can a HRIS do?
‘HRIS’ refers to a broad suite of HR software used by an organisation to manage its people, policies and procedures. According to Mike Maiorino at HRMS Solutions, the functions packaged into an HRIS will usually cover most, if not all, of the HR basics – from application tracking and recruiting to compensation, benefits, training and reporting.
It’s easy to a confuse HRIS with human capital management (HCM) software and human resource management systems (HRMS). You can think of HCM and HRMS as simply more feature-rich variants of HRIS, adding things such as onboarding, payroll, performance management, salary planning, advanced analytics and time/task tracking. Advanced workflow automation and integration with social networking may also be offered.
An online search for HRIS software will return dozens of different tools, all offering a range of enticing functions. Which solution is best for your business will depend on a host of factors, including headcount, industry, payroll needs, budget, and employee type.
So what factors should you consider when choosing a HRIS? Here’s a list of features you might consider:
1. Staff size
A HRIS can make end-to-end management of a large workforce easier by eliminating problems such as email miscommunication and having to keep track of numerous spreadsheets.
But you can still benefit from using a HRIS with a small-to-medium workforce, thanks to the availability of flexible pricing schemes and the adoption of cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) HR systems. For instance, some HRIS packages are free for businesses with only a few employees, with tiered pricing plans kicking in for organisations with five, 10, 25, 50 or more staff.
2. Recruiting and applicant tracking
Posting job applications to popular job-search sites can be a chore. A HRIS with a built-in applicant tracking system (ATS) can help standardise and automate this process.
As well as tracking job postings, an ATS can store and manage candidate applications and the information used to evaluate candidates, such as questionnaire responses, aptitude test results, interviewer comments, and employment screening and verification results.
Your HRIS software provides a central management point and a consolidated database of employee information. To take advantage of the data you are collecting, look for a HRIS platform that is able to generate reports you can use to analyse key workforce metrics such as compensation history, turnover, compliance and training history, and performance data.
The reports could range from high-level organisational views to detailed personnel data. You should check whether your reports can be customised for different formatting or filtering options and that there is an option to export reports in popular formats such as Word and Excel.
4. Payroll and benefits
A HRIS can make life easier for your accounting department by automating various aspects of employee compensation. This can include managing salaries, wages, bonuses and superannuation payments based on the employee’s responsibilities, attendance, time at the company and/or performance reviews. Paid time off (PTO) such as annual leave, sick days and maternity leave payments can also be tracked and automated by a HRIS.
5. Training and development
As your company grows, it becomes increasingly important that staff training programs are formalised and tracked – both during the onboarding period and as part of ongoing staff development.
HRIS software can schedule, deliver and record each employee’s progress through the company’s training or compliance programs. The platform may be able to issue alerts and reminders if any required training is not completed, and generate reports on the progress of each employee. If the training materials are stored and managed by the HRIS software, ensure that updates and new modules can be easily introduced to the curriculum when needed.
6. Employee interface
Most of today’s HRIS packages give employees and managers a basic level of access to their HR information. This ‘self-service’ feature can allow staff to update personal information, enter performance review data, download payslips, populate timesheets, apply for leave and more without having to fill in paper forms or go through a HR staffer.
If your employees spend a lot of time outside the office or travelling, a self-service interface is essential. Many HRIS can also be accessed through mobile devices for even greater convenience.
While HR analytics remains a relatively new field, employers are finding great value in measuring employee performance and satisfaction at a deeper level – especially when compared to traditional methods, which typically only reveal sales figures and annual review data.
By applying advanced and automated data analysis techniques to your HR data, HR analytics can deliver a wide range of benefits – from identifying ways to retain high-value employees to helping managers make more strategic decisions when assigning roles and responsibilities. A HRIS that integrates analytics capabilities can align and motivate your workforce, and continuously improve the way you work.
Use our checklist as a helpful guide when comparing HRIS systems for your business. If you want to start small, look for a solution that can grow with your needs to avoid a costly and time-consuming migration to a more comprehensive platform in the future.
Lastly, while the process of selecting individual features for your HRIS is important, don’t overlook the need to obtain the support and buy-in of all of the affected stakeholders in your organisation at an early stage. Securing the alignment of the decision makers and influencers within your organisation will go a long way ensure that your HRIS is universally adopted and embraced during and after your implementation.