What Is a Human Resources Information System (HRIS)? [And Why It’s Important]

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What Is a Human Resources Information System (HRIS)? [And Why It’s Important]

Are you interested in learning more about human resources information systems? I’ll show you what an HRIS is, its benefits, types, importance, and a list of popular options for your . Keep reading if you want to learn how to choose the best option for you.

When you are managing an department, it is your job to classify, organize, and save a huge quantity of information. In addition, you have to manage employees’ data regarding many different aspects of the . That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?

Back in the day, this was a manual process that took the department countless hours of work. Good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this anymore. Today, most companies rely on modern HRIS to help them keep all the data updated, organized, and accessible.

That sounds like something every HR department would like to have, right? It does. Human resource information systems help companies in more ways than you can imagine.

What is an HRIS?

A human resources information system or HRIS is a digital solution in the form of a software package.  This software helps the human resources department manage large quantities of employee information that needs to be classified, stored, and analyzed.

In short, a human resources information system is the digital “brain” behind the HR department. Not only does it help you to store and process all the information about your employees, but it also helps you apply and measure HR strategies.

Some of the aspects you can measure with HRIS systems are employee turnover rates, employee development programs, and employee retention.

In addition, the main aspects any HRIS should deal with are:

  • Payroll information
  • Employee benefits administration
  • Employees’ personal information
  • Recruitment and retention information
  • Labor management

Functions of Human Resources Information Systems


Having a human resources information system will help you keep large quantities of information organized and accessible. Moreover, it will help you control other aspects that would be difficult to control if you kept all these processes manual.

Let’s take a look at the main functions of a human resources information system:

1. Allows You to Manage All Your Master Data

An HRIS helps you go through, organize, and analyze all the master data of your . In addition, it improves data quality and facilitates computing in platform, application, and architecture systems.

2. Helps You Keep Track of Absenteeism and Leaves

When you have to manage a with a considerable quantity of employees, keeping track of these aspects can be rather challenging. Also, collecting percentages, numbers, and absenteeism rates at the end of the year can prove even more complicated.

This is why most companies rely on modern digital information systems to keep an eye on these aspects in an easy and practical way.

3. Makes the Recruitment Process Easier and More Organized

Recruiting can be a process full of paperwork, new data input, observations, and more. The right information system will help you classify all this new information and include new team members into the payroll, benefits list, labor information, and other aspects of the .

4. Makes the Application Process Easier

An information system can help you track and classify those hundreds of applications you receive for a more thorough evaluation. Moreover, some HRIS can offer you interactive platforms for the HR department to interact with potential candidates.

Some HR information software will give you the possibility to use an application to post job offers, classify applications and resumes, and have contact with dozens of applicants in real time.

5. Offers Self- Possibilities for Employees and Managers

Activities related to labor management can consume plenty of time. Also, it can be a confusing task with a high rate of human error.

To avoid that, most human resources information systems offer employees the possibility to input their own hours worked, leave requests, and vacation requests. This information will be directly loaded to the payroll calculations.

Most modern HRIS today will include employee self- functionalities in order to optimize processes within the . Moreover, you can also get a program that allows employees to check-in and check-out from work every day.

6. Conducts Analytics Processes

Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting analytics can seem daunting. However, modern HRIS help you deal with this important task in the HR department. With the right software, you can create reports and charts for a more thorough analysis of metrics, rates, and any other measurements necessary for the .

Types of Human Resources Information Systems

There are many different calculations professionals have to make in order to understand the ‘s health, productivity, and costs associated with employees.

That said, you have to know that the functions of human resources information systems are not standard. The truth is that there are different HRIS types that manage different aspects of the HR department.

Let’s take a look at the different types.

Tactical HRIS


Tactical HRIS provide HR departments with practical and easy solutions when it comes to deciding where to allocate resources. In addition, these types of systems help managers with recruiting, job analysis, design, train and development decisions, and employee compensation plans.

1. Job Analysis

This category includes aspects like interviews with supervisors and employees in general. Also, it includes external analysis regarding competition, partnerships, and government-related processes.

2. Recruiting

When a needs to recruit new employees, it is necessary to create a plan that needs to be supervised and displayed in order to hire the right person. In order to monitor this plan and fill the position, a recruiting HRIS will be necessary.

This system will let you input information about the necessary skills, profiles, list of unfilled positions, duties, and requirements.

3. Benefits and Compensations

This is the platform where you can have a database of compensations, incentives, and benefits plans for employees. Moreover, this system will help you design and keep track of strategies to increase productivity and employee engagement.

4. Training and Development

In order to increase employee development in your , you will need to have a development strategy. Whether providing professional training courses or helping employees acquire new skills, you will need a system to keep track of that.

Training and development HRIS are there to make the process easier and keep all the data clean, organized and accessible.

Operational HRIS


Operational HRIS help the HR department keep all the information related to employees stored and organized in a single database. Also, it includes specific information about different positions in the and governmental regulations.

This system is divided into 5 different categories:

1. Position Control

Every detail about the different positions in the will be in this category. The position’s classification, a description of the tasks, and the employee who is in that position are some of the fields to fill out in this part of the system.

2. Employees’ Information

Every department needs to have a database with all the information about employees. This includes a wide variety of points managers need to be aware of for different purposes. The most common points every HRIS includes are:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Marital status
  • Citizenship
  • Minority status
  • Years of
  • Employment history
  • Salary
  • Retirement options
  • Health options
  • Benefits
  • Experience

In addition, there is another part of the employees’ information system that includes educational background and also skill sets. These include special skills, languages spoken, tests scores, preferences, interests, and proficiencies.

3. Applicant Selection and Placement Information

When the department receives applications from different candidates, they need to screen, evaluate, select, and place potential candidates into the correct positions. For this, they will need to rely on this feature every HRIS has to offer.

4. Performance Management Information

This part of the system includes specific appraisal information and productivity metrics. Also, it contains detailed information about every employee’s achievements and assessment data.

Moreover, this system plays an essential role when it comes to considering employees’ promotions, transfers, retention, and even termination. Before making any of these decisions, the HR department will evaluate the employee’s performance profile for a detailed assessment.

5. Compliance and Government Reporting Information

This is the category that keeps a register of compliance with governmental regulations and legal matters. In addition, it deals with ways to reduce the costs associated with employees and improve productivity levels.

As you can see, an HRIS is a complex and huge system that includes many different aspects in order to make HR departments more efficient, organized, and productive.

But, what other benefits does an HRIS have? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Using an HRIS

Benefits of HRIS

As I mentioned before, the basic benefit of an HRIS is to digitalize all the data the human resources department needs to manage. This way, data management becomes more efficient and organized.

Having said that, there are other benefits that come with the acquisition of HR department software. The right HRIS will provide your with a way to manage all the information you need. This information goes from employee and applicant’s data to former workers, statistics, internal processes, and almost anything related to the ‘s operations.

These are the main benefits of an HRIS:

  • Automation
  • Data integration
  • Self-
  • Analytics
  • Low error rate
  • Easy administration procedures

In short, the only way you can run a successful is by having a human resources information system. In the past, it used to be done manually by filing tons of papers and completing large quantities of information by hand.

However, large manual processes like this tend to be time-consuming and inefficient. Also, there is the human-error factor, which in many cases goes unnoticed or is difficult to solve later.

Why Is It Important to Have an HRIS?

One of the most important aspects of using an HRIS is that it allows you to keep governmental requirements up to date. Moreover, the integration of different systems that are critical to the HR department, such as data entry, payroll, and analytics play a major role when it comes to efficiency and reliability.

In addition to this, it reduces the chances of making mistakes that can have a negative impact on employee engagement. An example of this is underpaying a person or not giving them enough vacation time.

It is important for an HR department that these mistakes do not happen so the trust in the and the employees’ satisfaction stays high.

5 Functionalities Every HRIS Should Have

Every HRIS includes many different characteristics that will help you manage all the processes in the HR department. However, there are some basic functionalities every system needs to have if you want an efficient way to organize all the HR information.

Let’s take a look at them:

1. Integrated Payroll System

Even though it is possible to have a dedicated payroll system that is not embedded in the HRIS per se, a basic HR information system needs to include a payroll platform. Moreover, it needs to provide the HR department with some payroll functionalities such as:

  • Automated reminders
  • Employee self-
  • Automated payment
  • Auto-compute taxes
  • Automated salary slips

In addition, the payroll platform has to be connected with the attendance and accounting system. This way, manual processes are eliminated and the human error factor is reduced.

2. Attendance and Absenteeism Management

A practical HRIS needs to include a platform that allows managing these aspects efficiently. Dealing with employees’ schedules and timesheets is a time-consuming task that can be dealt with with an automated system.

Therefore, the HRIS you choose needs to include some of the following functionalities:

  • Automated attendance tracking
  • Leave tracking
  • Integration with payroll and automated calculations
  • Employees’ schedules

3. Employee Self- Options

Giving your employee the opportunity to manage their own information is an effective way to improve efficiency in the department. By doing so, employees will be able to input information regarding profile, time off, payroll, and leave.

4. Training Options

An efficient information system has to include a training module where employees can get familiar with the ‘s procedures, policies, and mission. Moreover, employees can leave feedback regarding many aspects of the .

Aa training platform will also offer the possibility to measure engagement levels and overall satisfaction by conducting surveys employees can complete after completing training modules.

5. Recruitment Analysis Platform

A recruitment analysis platform will provide the with an effective way to classify, analyze, and select applications. Moreover, it will make the analysis of applications patterns and trends in the application process easier.

This system needs to be integrated with the companies website, job portals, and external providers to keep a clean record of the hiring process. This with the purpose of determining the way that employees find out about your .

10 Popular HRIS Software Options [Complete List]

If you want to acquire an HRIS that helps you manage different processes in the HR department, you can check out the following list.

These are some of the more popular options out there that you can acquire in order to use some of the different features that will help you be more productive and efficient.

1. BambooHR

Bamnboo HRIS

BambooHR is a complete human resources information software that includes a decent of features necessary in every department. Moreover, it offers user-friendly functionalities that will allow you to complete tasks easily.

Some of the features this software includes are:

  • Payroll functionalities
  • Benefits management
  • Attendance and absenteeism tracking
  • Performance assessment
  • Employee self-

In addition, it includes applicant-tracking functionalities that will allow you to classify and evaluate potential candidates in an easy way.

BambooHR offers all the basic functionalities every HR needs to have. An example if this is the possibility of anay¡zing strategies related to employee turnover and retention. Also, employees can collect and visualize all the information they need thanks to a centralized database.

Another characteristic that BambooHR includes is the possibility to integrate external applications if you need a more complete software.

2. GustoHR


GustoHR was originally created for payroll functionalities only. However, they were adding more characteristics overtime to make it a more complete HRIS.

Today, this software offers characteristics such as time tracking, attendance and absenteeism management, and employee onboarding. In addition, it allows you to design organizational charts and employees handbooks to keep all your staff informed and included.

Regarding security, GustoHR includes a safe module with SSL encryption to keep all your documents safe. Also, this HRIS is compliant with HIPPA  and ACA standards.

3. SmartRecruiter


SmartRecruiter is an HR recruitment software intended for recruitment purposes. One of the most useful features is the use of AI in the recruitment and hiring process. In addition, the software comes with automated tools that you can adapt to your ‘s specifications.

Moreover, SmartRecruiter includes a mobile app for Andriod and iOS devices so the person in charge can manage the process in a practical way.

By using this software, you can speed up the recruitment process without losing selection quality. SmartRecuiter also comes with real-time dashboards so you are aware of the entire process. Furthermore, the software is compatible with more than 350 expansions and integrations, which means that you can build a more complete HRIS.

It is important to mention that SmartRecruiter is a software dedicated to the recruitment process. This means that it won’t work if you want more essential features in one system. This software does not include payroll functionalities or attendance tracking.

4. Freshman


Freshman is an HRIS that specializes in recruitment management. It comes with a centralized applicant database and collaborative interface. This software lets you manage different aspects of the recruitment process like candidate sourcing and job offers. In addition, it allows you to manage your job postings and find the most suitable site to publish them.

Freshman includes a wide set of recruitment and assessment tools, as well as interview scheduling functionalities. Moreover, it includes API features if you need to extend its capabilities according to your ‘s needs.


5. Reviewsnap


Reviewsnap is a human resources information system specialized in employee performance monitoring. It was designed to cover the needs of small and -sized business with its cloud-based platform. This system comes with a wide variety of functionalities including goal management and on-demand progress reporting.

Also, the software comes with an employee training module, which includes performance improvement planning tools to make employees’ learning process easier.

By using this HRIS, you can have access to planning features that will help you create a map of the organizational hierarchy in your . Moreover, it offers you the possibility of using reporting tools in order to generate real-time graphical data and custom performance analyses.

It is important to mention that Reviewsnap does not include the possibility to manage recruitment processes and it can only integrate with ADP products.

6. ClearCompany

clearcompany HRIS

ClearCompany is an HRIS whose main purpose is to provide HR managers with the right tools to organize their hiring and management processes. It consists of a modular system that includes features such as applicant tracking, efficient onboarding, and performance management.

In addition, it offers the tools necessary to align the company’s goals and make employees engaged. This software is popular among -sized and small businesses worldwide.

Furthermore, this software offers you functionalities regarding compliance and recruitment management. It comes with advanced background checking systems, e-verify integrations, I-9 management tools, and WOTC management features.

Also, ClearCompany’s software includes open API capabilities that will let you integrate it with other HRIS available. This is an advantage if you want a more complete system that covers every essential aspect of the HR department.

7. Workday


Workday is a complete SaaS HRIS designed for -sized and large companies around the world. The system provides departments with payroll and financial functionalities. Also, it offers human capital management solutions designed for innovative organizations.

The system is cloud-based and very popular among big companies including Fortune 500 giants. Workday identifies itself as a single system for finance, , and planning.

Workday is a user-friendly software that employees can use without having technical IT knowledge. That makes it ideal for companies that want to implement a new HRIS without investing too much time.

The program comes with a wide variety of tools that combine finance and HR with real-time reports, global visibility, and predictive analytics. The offers a single version to all users and they always make sure to offer the most recent version.

8. Zoho Recruit

zoho recruit

Zoho Recruit is a recruitment application designed to help HR departments optimize the hiring process. It is a cloud-based app which includes automated tools for recruitment purposes in -sized and small companies.

In addition, you can use this software to communicate with potential candidates, post job offers, and classify resumes and proposals in an easy way.

Zoho Recruit includes features such as document collaboration, security administration, territory management, social media utilization, website integration, and automated workflow processes.

Despite being an effective recruitment app, this system does not include functionalities such as payroll or compliance management.

9. Zoho People

Zoho People

Zoho People is an HR software solution that provides tools to manage employee operations, time-tracking, leave and absenteeism data. The program’s platform has been designed with the purpose of offering the HR department practical tools that don’t require customizing the entire program.

By acquiring this software, you can improve productivity levels in the HR department. The idea is that users can deal with several aspects of employee management in a single hub. In addition, it comes with employee self- functionalities.

The software also includes other features such as leave and absenteeism tracking, holidays, and attendance. Moreover, Zoho People updates their platform with regularity and adds new characteristics to improve the experience.

Some of its newest features include the option for checking in and out of work, report exporting tools, and Office 365 calendar integration.

Even though Zoho People is a complete HRIS, it can be difficult to use at first. It is intended for -sized and large companies. Therefore, if you run a small , this might not be the best software to get.

Also, it requires practice and time to use it correctly. The platform deals with this point by offering technical assistance for configuration purposes.

10. Recruiterbox


Recruiterbox is an HRIS dedicated to enhancing the recruitment process in your . This software is a popular choice among companies such as Olark, Makita and Wolfram.

It offers you a wide variety of tools like candidate evaluation, applicant tracking system, and workforce planning. By using Recruiterbox, you can make your recruitment process more efficient and align your employee base with the ‘s mission.

In summary, Recruiterbox offers a platform that gives you the possibility to source the best applicants and enhance workforce productivity. In addition, it helps you assess performance metrics so you can track employees’ effectiveness.

Even though this is a complete recruitment solution, it does not include other functionalities such as payroll management or attendance tracking. A solution to this is to integrate other applications to work in conjunction with Recruiterbox.

How to Choose the Right HRIS for Your

Most modern companies have a fully-operative HRIS. The times where all the data had to be stored manually are in the past now. By acquiring the right HRIS, you will optimize the HR department for more effective and efficient management.

The question is, how can I choose the right HRIS for my ? Well, even though almost every system will help you optimize many processes in the department, not all of them will give you the same benefits and functionalities all in one.

Therefore, there are some factors you need to take into consideration before buying any HRIS. These aspects are:

  • The size of your
  • The budget
  • Vital features your needs
  • The industry
  • Turnover rates

For example, if you run a small business, you might not benefit from acquiring software such as Workday. The reason is that this HRIS is designed for bigger companies, meaning this you would be wasting resources and functionalities you don’t need to use.

On the other hand, if you do run a big , a program like Workday is ideal because you would be using all its features. For instance, it is important for a big to keep track of financial decisions and human capital management.

Also, if you run a big , you will need to get analytics reports and metrics. In this case, a complete information system like Workday is what you need.

All in all, getting an HRIS will become a necessity as your business grows bigger. Therefore, analyze your ‘s needs carefully and compare the different HRIS out there so you can find the ideal one for you.