Human Resource Information Systems = HRM + IT




An HRIS, the abbreviation for Human Resources Information System, is a system that lets you keep track of all your employees and information about them. It is usually done in a database or, more often, in a series of inter-related databases.

HRIS is the system which seeks to merge the activities associated with human resource management (HRM) and information technology (IT) into one common database through the use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The goal of HRIS is to merge the different parts of human resources, including payroll, labor productivity, and benefit management into a less capital-intensive system than the mainframes used to manage activities in the past. Also called Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS).

Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) provide software functions, procedures and processes to manage employees. 2020Software.com ranks the following HR products as best: Sage ABRA HRMS, PerfectHR, PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite HRM, and UltiPro HR. These products are developed by fiscally stable corporations that provide excellent support and long-term development strategies.

The HRIS Specialist examines and verifies employee information processed by automated HR systems. They compile statistical information and prepare reports relating to payroll, recruiting, position classification, compensation, training, equal opportunity employment, or affirmative action. They also provide assistance with HRIS maintenance, troubleshoot user technical problems, and provide training.

Improvements in Technology relating to microcomputers and software have also had a major impact on the use of information for managing human resources. Traditionally computers had been used in human resources only for compensation and benefits-for example, administering payroll. However, new advances in microchips have made it possible to store large quantities of data on personnel computers and to perform statistical analyses that were once only possible with large mainframe computers. A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is a system used to acquire, store, manipulate, analyze, retrieve, and distribute information related to the company’s human resources. From the manager’s perspective, an HRIS can be used to support strategic decision making, to avoid litigation, to evaluate programs or policies, or to support daily operating concerns.

Definition: A Human Resources Information System, is a system that lets you keep track of all your employees and information about them. It is usually done in a database or, more often, in a series of inter-related databases.

These systems include the employee name and contact information and all or some of the following:
  1. department,
  2. job title, 
  3. grade, 
  4. salary, 
  5. salary history, 
  6. position history, 
  7. supervisor, 
  8. training completed, 
  9. special qualifications, 
  10. ethnicity, 
  11. date of birth, 
  12. disabilities, 
  13. veterans status, 
  14. visa status, 
  15. benefits selected, 
  16. and more

A computerized HRIS is an information system that makes use of computer and monitors control and influences the movement of human being from the time they indicate their intention to join an organization till they separate from it after joining . It consists of the following sub-system.


  • Recruitment Information: It includes the placement data bank advertisement module, general requirement and training requirement data.
  • Personnel Information: It includes employee information such as transfer monitoring and increment and promotion details.
  • Manpower Planning Information: It seeks to provide information that could assist human resource mobilization, career planning, succession planning and input for skill development.
  • Training Information: It provides information for designing course material, arrange for need base training and cost analysis of training etc.
  • Health Information System: This subsystem provides information for maintenance of health related activities of the employees.
  • Appraisal Information: It deals with the performance appraisal and merit rating information which serves as input for promotion, increment and secession and career planning etc.
  • Payroll System: It consists of information concerning wages, salaries incentives, allowance, perquisite deduction for provident fund etc. Data on compensation pattern of competitor is also included in it.
  • Personnel Statistics System: It is a bank of historic and current data used for various type of analyst.

Typically, the better The Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) provide overall:

  • Management of all employee information.
  • Reporting and analysis of employee information.
  • Company-related documents such as employee handbooks, emergency evacuation procedures, and safety guidelines.
  • Benefits administration including enrollment, status changes, and personal information updating.
  • Complete integration with payroll and other company financial software and accounting systems.
  • Applicant tracking and resume management.
A human resource Information system can be as large or as small as is necessary and may contain one or two modules or up-to twenty or so. Hundreds of HRIS software packages are being marketed for both mainframe and microcomputers. A great many decisions need to be made in the course of adopting and implementing an HRIS. The specific needs of the organization should dictate the type of human resource Information system chosen. Any project as potentially expensive, complex, and time consuming as the addition or upgrading of an HRIS requires careful analysis and planning.

The HRIS that most effectively serves companies tracks:

  1. attendance and paid time off [PTO] use,
  2. pay raises and history,
  3. pay grades and positions held,
  4. performance development plans,
  5. training received,
  6. disciplinary action received,
  7. personal employee information, and occasionally,
  8. management and key employee succession plans,
  9. high potential employee identification, and
  10. applicant tracking, interviewing, and selection.

An effective HRIS provides information on just about anything the company needs to track and analyze about employees, former employees, and applicants. Your company will need to select a Human Resources Information System and customize it to meet your needs.

With an appropriate HRIS, Human Resources staff enables employees to do their own benefits updates and address changes, thus freeing HR staff for more strategic functions. Additionally, data necessary for employee management, knowledge development, career growth and development, and equal treatment is facilitated. Finally, managers can access the information they need to legally, ethically, and effectively support the success of their reporting employees.


In adopting a HRIS following issues need to be addressed:

  1. Careful need assessment
  2. What type and size of HRIS should be adopted
  3. Whether to develop software or buy and use off the shelf software
  4. Should the HRIS be implemented in total or in stages.

A sound HRIS can offer the following advantages:

  1. Clear definitions of goal.
  2. Reduction in the amount and cost of stored human resource data.
  3. Availability of timely and accurate information about human assets.
  4. Development of performance standard for the human resource division
  5. More meaningful career planning and counselling at all levels.
  6. Individual development through linkage between performance reward and job training.
  7. High capability to quickly and effectively solve problems.
  8. Implementation of training programmes based on knowledge of organizational needs.
  9. Ability to respond to ever changing statutory and other environment
  10. Status for the human resource functions due to its capability for strategic planning with the total organization.


Modules in Human Resource Management Systems

1.Payroll Module
Pay process by gathering data on employee:
  • Time and attendance
  • Deductions and taxes
  • Periodic pay checks
  • Employee tax reports
2.Time and attendance Module
  • Standardized time and work related efforts
  • Provides flexibility on:
  • Data collection methods
  • Labor distribution capabilities
  • Data analysis features
  • Cost analysis and efficiency metrics
3.Benefits & Administration Module
  • Administer and track employee participation in benefits programs
  • Encompass insurance, compensation, profit sharing and retirement
4.HR Management Module
The system records:  
  • Basic demographic and address data
  • Selection, training and development
  • Skills management
  • Compensation planning records
5.Talent \ Management Systems
  • Personnel usage within an organization
  • Identifying potential applicants
  • Recruiting through:
    • Company-facing listings
    • Recruiting sites publications that market to both recruiters and applicants
6.Training Module
  • Administer employee training and development efforts
  • Allows HR to track education, qualifications and skills of the employee
  • Outlining training courses and materials available to develop skills
7.Employee Self-Service Module
  • Allows employee to query HR related data
  • Perform HR transactions over the system (attendance record)
  • Allows supervisors to approve OT requests from their subordinates

Benefits of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)
  • Become strategic partners with top management
  • Be more efficient and provide better information for decision making
  • Increased use of web technology will leave HR for more time for strategic planning
  • Enables employees to focus on their adminstration work
  • Strategic Architecture enables HR professionals to act as competent manager in arranging people to their respective positions
  • Contribute to overall business performance by:
    • Supporting task of data storage and retrieval
    • Serving as primary admin support tools
    • Reporting, statistics and program monitoring

What is the need for HRIS?

Human resource information system refers to the system of gathering, classifying, processing, recording and dismantling the information required for efficient and effective management of human resource in an organization. Need for such a system arises due to several factor.

  1. Organizations that employ a very large number of people, it becomes necessary to develop employee database for taking personnel issues.
  2. In a geographically dispersed company every office requires timely and accurate information for manpower management. If information is stored in a multiple location cost and inaccuracy will increase.
  3. Modern day compensation package is complex consisting of many allowance and deductions etc. A centrally available data can become useful for taking timely decisions.
  4. Organizations have to comply with several laws of the land. A computerized information system would store and retrieve data quickly and correctly enabling the organization to comply with statutory requirements.
  5. With the help of computerization personnel information system, employer record and file can be integrated and retrieved for cross-referencing and forecasting. The system should be oriented towards decision making rather than towards record keeping.
  6. Necessary flexibility for adaptation to changes taking place in the environment can be built into mechanized information system.

In the field of human resource management, information system has been limited to payroll preparation, job status and work history report of new hires, termination and insurance payment. Gradually however progressive companies have started computerized information system in the area of collective bargaining, employee manual, training, performance appraisal etc. With sophisticated software, computer based information system can be used in almost all the functions of human resource management.


HRIS software:

  • Abra Suite: for human resources and payroll management 
  • ABS (Atlas Business Solutions): General Information, Wages information, emergency information, Reminders, Evaluators, Notes customer information, Documents and photos, Separation information.
  • CORT: HRMS: applicant tracking, Attendance tracking and calendars, Wage information, Skills tracking, Reports-to information, Status tracking, Job history tracking, Cost center tracking, Reviews and tracking, Mass update and change tools etc.
  • HRSOFT: Identify and track senior managers, Assess management skills and talents, Generate a wide range of reports, resumes, employee profiles, replacement tables and succession analysis reports, Identify individuals for promotion, skills shortages, unexpected vacancy, Discover talent deep, Competency Management, career development,  align succession plans etc.
  • Human Resource MicroSystems: sophisticated data collection and reporting, flexible spending accounts, compensation, employment history, time off, EEO, qualifications, Applicant/Requisition Tracking, Position Control/Succession Planning, Training Administration, Organization Charts, HRIS-Pro Net (employee/managerial self-service), HR Automation (eNotification and eScheduler), and Performance Pro (performance management)
  • ORACLE- HRMS: Oracle iRecruitment, Oracle Self-Service Human Resources, Payroll, HR Intelligence, Oracle Learning Management, Oracle Time and Labor
  • PEOPLESOFT: Enterprise eRecruit, Enterprise Resume Processing, Enterprise Services Procurement, Workforce Planning, Warehouse
  • SAP HR: Human Capital Management (HCM) for Business, All-in-One: Rapid HR,
  • SPECTRUM HRiVantage® and HRVantage®. iVantage is a Web-based HRIS product designed for organizations with up to 10,000 employees.
  • VANTAGE: HRA: 'Point-and-Click' report writing, internal Messaging System for leaving reminders to yourself, to someone else or to everyone using HRA - very useful for Benefit Applications, Disciplinary Actions, Special Events, Employee Summary Screen for Basic, Leave (Absenteeism) and Salary/Position History, skills & training module, Leave Tracking Module.

Why to Implement Human Resource Information Software (HRIS) System?

Running a business will generate a lot of information, both related to the business and related to your employees. You need to be able to harness and secure this information in a system for a couple of different reasons. First, you don't want confidential information about your organization or employees getting into the wrong hands. Additionally, a human resource information software (HRIS) system is a wise choice because it will reduce the amount of paper generated, organize your data, streamline processes, and help your company's bottom line.

So, why is HR information important? Your employees are your biggest asset-having a system in which to contain their private personnel information, safely and securely is critical. You have worked hard to become an employer of choice-don't ruin that credibility by mishandling confidential information.


Making a Business Case for the HRIS System

The HRIS system is an investment to an organization. An HRIS system is more than just a storage and organizational tool to contain confidential information about your organization's employees. The HRIS system needs to be viewed from a financial perspective. For instance, an HR manager or department usually has to justify their expenditures and if HR's functions are not tracked properly, you could be losing money. These include:
  • Providing benefits for ineligible employees or their dependents.
  • Cost of training new employees.
  • Documenting why people leave the organization because the cost of terminations is high, and if you can track why people leave, then changes can ensue.
  • Not properly recording vacation or sick leave taken. Time and attendance creates a loss of productivity, so having a way to track it to ensure there is not abuse of the system or employees taking time they don't have will help to reduce the risk of losing productivity and, ultimately, revenue.
  • Reduce potential legal expenses in an employee dispute. Accurate and complete records can help build your case or diffuse a situation before it even gets in the courts.
Other justifications for a HRIS system can include savings in paper and supply costs and savings in time spent on human resource tasks. By implementing an effective HRIS system, the organization is well on their way to increasing confidentiality of their employees' information.

Critical Analysis

Although almost all HR managers understand the importance of HRIS, the general perception is that the organization can do without its implantation. Hence only large companies have started using HRIS to complement its HR activities.

But HRIS would be very critical for organizations in the near future. This is because of a number of reasons.

  • Large amount of data and information to be processed.
  • Project based work environment.
  • Employee empowerment.
  • Increase of knowledge workers & associated information.
  • Learning organization

The primary reason for delay in HRIS implementation in organizations is because of the fear psychosis created by "technology" and "IT" in the minds of senior management. They may not be very tech savvy and fear being left out.

But trends are changing for the better as more and more organizations realize the importance of IT and technology. Major HRIS providers are concentrating on the small and middle range organizations as well as large organizations for their products. They are also coming up with very specific software modules, which would cater to any of their HR needs. SAP and Peoplesoft provide HR modules within their business intelligence software. Hence HRIS would soon be an integral part of HR activities in all organization.