HRIS (Human Resources Information System)

What is an HRIS?

A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is a type of business software. It is an integrated suite of tools that manages hundreds of specific Human Resources processes. The category includes both on-premise and cloud-based platforms. An HRIS helps companies manage their workforces.

An HRIS may include:

  1. Hiring and applicant tracking
  2. Onboarding
  3. HR management
  4. Time and attendance
  5. Employee scheduling
  6. Payroll
  7. Training and development
  8. Performance management
  9. Benefits management

An HRIS is similar to Human Resources Management System (HRMS) and Human Capital Management (HCM) platforms. In the HR software industry, these terms are often used interchangeably to describe similar integrated HR software platforms.

How does an HRIS work?

Hiring and applicant tracking

The hiring module of an HRIS manages the following:

  • Tracking applications
  • Managing job description templates
  • Creating applications
  • Posting jobs to job boards, social media sites and careers pages
  • Creating interview scripts
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Evaluating candidates
  • Collaborating with the hiring team
  • Extending an offer letter


The onboarding module of an HRIS has tools for the following:

  • New hire checklists
  • Delivering new hire paperwork through a digital onboarding portal
  • New hire signature and digital submission of paperwork
  • Administrator completion oversight
  • New hire training
  • New hire payroll setup

HR management

An HRIS helps HR teams and managers handle day to day HR tasks:

  • Payroll
  • Performance reviews
  • PTO tracking
  • Training and development
  • Employee engagement
  • Employee benefits

Time and attendance

  • Employee clock in/out
  • Hours tracking (for onsite, offsite and mobile employees)
  • Timecard approvals
  • Employee hours submission to payroll
  • Employee scheduling
    • Creating and publishing schedules
    • Employee shift change requests
    • Manager shift change approvals

How can an HRIS benefit a business?

An HRIS can dramatically improve Human Resources management. If it’s implemented correctly and used as designed, it can help companies improve productivity, engagement and retention.

  • Automate manual processes
  • Reduce the HR administrative burden
  • Increase operational efficiency
  • Reduce labor costs
  • Provide insight for better workforce management decisions
  • Make it easier to comply with ever-changing state, federal and local employment laws
  • Minimize compliance risks
  • Provide employees with self-service management of their HR data

How do you choose an HRIS?

Choose your HRIS carefully. This will ensure that it will improve the employee experience, maximize ROI, and help you execute your business strategy.

Following is a step-by-step guide to the selection process. We will discuss the steps in greater detail following this summary.

  1. Assemble a team
  2. Create a timeline for selection and implementation
  3. Assign HRMS researching tasks
  4. Narrow it down to 3 or 4 systems
  5. Compare results and make your selection

1. Assemble a team

Include a representative and employee from every department or business function. Appoint a project manager. Define objectives and tools/features that will meet the objectives. Verify your budget.

2. Create a timeline

Make your roadmap as realistic and as detailed as possible.

3. Research tasks

Talk to vendors. Perform cost analyses. Review software features. Consult online reviews. Talk to software users—especially similar companies. Watch online demos/webinars. Attend trade shows and in-person demos.

4. Narrow it down to 3 or 4 systems

Confirm that the cost is within your budget. If the vendors offer free trials, have the entire group use the software for their specific functions during the trial(s).

5. Compare results and make your selection

If you follow the process outlined, you can choose a system with confidence.

Questions to ask HRIS vendors

Use this checklist for vendor research:

  1. What is the fee structure and the total cost of ownership? (Find out if there are hidden fees, recurring expenses, etc.)
  2. What type of tech support do you offer? (Email, live support, online chat, knowledge base, troubleshooting guide, FAQs, etc.)
  3. What training and set-up is included?
  4. How do the compliance tools work?
  5. What other business software does it integrate with?
  6. What business size and industry is your HR software designed for?
  7. Is your system scalable?
  8. How can I customize the system?
  9. What are your security protocols?

See also

Additional resources

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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