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7 min read

What Is An HRIS System? And How To Choose one

What Is An HRIS System? And How To Choose one

Key Takeaways

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of HRIS and its core functions, such as payroll and benefits management, workforce planning & talent acquisition, and employee engagement & self-service.
  • Compare vendors to select the right HRIS for your organization. Ensure successful implementation by training users and monitoring performance.
  • Maximize efficiency with best practices like regular system audits, data analytics for informed decision-making, and leveraging personalized experiences to foster employee well-being.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, managing employee data and automating HR functions is crucial for organizational success. A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) can be the key to unlocking your organization’s full potential.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the core concepts, evolution, and functions of HRIS, as well as provide insights on selecting the right system, future trends, and best practices to maximize its efficiency. Get ready to revolutionize your HR department and join the HRIS revolution!

Video: What is an HRIS System

Understanding HRIS: Key Concepts and Terminology

HRIS, or Human Resource Information System, is a software solution that combines IT and HR practices to manage employee data and automate core HR functions, such as benefits administration, time and attendance, payroll, and other workflows. The primary goal of an HRIS is to improve overall efficiency and provide HR professionals with the tools they need to make informed decisions. HRIS is a common name used to describe various systems in the Human Resources sphere.

Other such names include: HR System, HRMS (Human Resources Management System), and HCM (Human Capital Management) systems..

These systems are designed to support the entire employee lifecycle, including:

  • Recruitment and onboarding

  • Performance management

  • Benefits administration

  • Succession planning

With more advanced HRIS systems, organizations can benefit from powerful analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling data-driven decision-making and enhancing their HR strategy.

As HR processes and their supporting technologies continue to evolve, it becomes increasingly important for organizations to stay abreast of the latest HRIS advancements.

The Evolution of HRIS Software

The journey of HRIS began in the 1980s as one of the first commercial software solutions. Since then, HRIS systems have evolved significantly, with modern systems offering a plethora of features and capabilities. One major advancement is the shift to cloud-based HRIS solutions, which offer:

  • Increased data storage capacity

  • Enhanced security

  • Seamless integration with related applications such as payroll, applicant tracking, and other HR systems.

However, not all HRIS systems are created equal. Some focus solely on transactional tasks, limiting their capabilities in employee data management, reporting, and analytics. To stay competitive, modern HRIS providers have introduced cutting-edge solutions like SAP SuccessFactors and Workday, which cater to the unique needs of mid- and large-sized businesses.

Advancements in HRIS technology promise even more sophisticated features and functionalities in the future, including AI-driven analytics and personalized employee experiences. These innovations will further revolutionize the way HR departments manage employee data and streamline their processes, ultimately contributing to overall organizational success.

Core Functions of Modern HRIS Systems

A robust HRIS system, also known as a human resource management system, is designed to handle a wide range of core HR functions, such as payroll processing, workforce planning, talent acquisition, and employee engagement.

The following subsections provide a deeper insight into these crucial functions and how they bolster an organization’s efficiency and success.

Payroll and Benefits Management

Payroll and benefits management is a critical aspect of any organization’s HR operations. An HRIS system can streamline these processes by automating tasks, minimizing errors, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations. For instance, operational HRIS systems collect essential human resources data, such as employee demographics, appraisal metrics, and job position details, to facilitate efficient payroll processing.

Moreover, HRIS helps organizations stay compliant with ever-changing regulations by providing monitoring capabilities and up-to-date data security protocols. Modern HRIS solutions, such as intelligent payroll software, can even offer analytics and insights, allowing companies to evaluate the impact of compensation changes on employee satisfaction and market competitiveness.

Workforce Planning and Talent Acquisition

Workforce planning and talent acquisition are made easier by HRIS, which automates recruitment processes and offers data-driven insights. Strategic HRIS systems, for example, offer oversight on labor resources and facilitate workforce planning by allowing businesses to make informed decisions based on employee data and long-term company goals.

In addition to workforce planning, HRIS can be utilized for various recruitment-related activities, such as:

  • creating job posts

  • monitoring candidate sources

  • conducting background checks

  • tracking applicant data

  • scheduling interviews

  • managing onboarding processes

With predictive analytics, HR professionals can make better decisions based on data-driven insights, ultimately leading to a more effective talent acquisition process and improved talent management.

Employee Engagement and Self-Service

Employee engagement is a vital component of a successful organization. HRIS enhances employee engagement through employee self-service portals, enabling employees to conveniently access and update their information. By granting employees access to their own data, organizations can foster autonomy, engender trust, and mitigate the risk of burnout.

In addition to self-service portals, HRIS can automate various HR tasks, such as schedules, workflows, and time-off requests, further improving employee engagement and satisfaction. By streamlining these processes and empowering employees with the necessary tools and resources, HRIS contributes to a more engaged and productive workforce.

Selecting the Right HRIS for Your Organization

The decision to choose the appropriate HRIS for your organization can profoundly influence the efficiency and effectiveness of your HR processes. The following subsections examine the crucial steps in the selection of the right HRIS:

  • Evaluation of your organization’s HR needs

  • Comparison of vendors and solutions

  • Effectual implementation of the selected system.

Assessing Your HR Needs

Identifying current challenges and future goals is a vital step in assessing your HR needs and selecting the most suitable HRIS for your organization. This process will ensure the chosen system aligns with your organization’s requirements and can effectively address any gaps in your HR processes.

Consider factors such as the size of your organization, the complexity of your HR processes, and any unique requirements that may not be met by a standard HRIS solution. By thoroughly evaluating your organization’s needs and objectives, you can make a more informed decision when selecting an HRIS that will best serve your organization both now and in the future.

Comparing HRIS Vendors and Solutions

After evaluating your organization’s HR needs, the subsequent step involves comparing the various HRIS vendors and solutions available. Evaluate features, pricing, and customer reviews to determine the best fit for your organization. Pay close attention to aspects such as scalability, security, and integration capabilities when assessing different HRIS solutions.

Additionally, consider the total cost of ownership, including subscription fees, setup costs, and maintenance expenses, when comparing different HRIS vendors. By conducting a thorough comparison of vendors and solutions, you can ensure that your organization selects an HRIS system that provides the best value and meets your specific needs.

Implementing and Integrating Your HRIS

Once the right HRIS for your organization has been selected, effective implementation and integration of the system into existing processes is a crucial step. Work closely with the vendor to ensure a smooth transition, and develop a plan for training users on the new system.

Monitor the system’s performance and gather feedback from users to identify any areas for improvement, making necessary adjustments to optimize the HRIS’s efficiency.

By implementing best practices for HRIS integration and continuously monitoring the system’s performance, your organization can ensure that the chosen HRIS is effectively serving its intended purpose and contributing to the overall success of your HR department.

The Future of HRIS: Trends and Innovations

The HRIS landscape is in constant evolution, with emerging trends and innovations shaping the future of HR management. One such trend is the increasing use of AI-driven analytics, which can provide HR professionals with valuable insights and help them make data-driven decisions.

Furthermore, the concept of personalized employee experiences is gaining traction, with HRIS solutions increasingly focusing on tailoring the employee experience to individual needs and preferences. This shift towards personalization can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction, ultimately contributing to a more productive and efficient workforce.

Another notable trend in HRIS is the heightened focus on employee well-being. As organizations recognize the importance of a healthy workforce, HRIS solutions are incorporating features and tools to help HR professionals monitor and support employee well-being. By staying up-to-date with these emerging trends and innovations, organizations can ensure that their HRIS systems remain relevant and effective in the ever-changing HR landscape.

Best Practices for Maximizing HRIS Efficiency

Following best practices and continuous monitoring of the system’s performance are critical to maximizing the efficiency of your HRIS system. One such best practice is conducting regular system audits, which can help identify any areas for improvement and ensure that your HRIS is functioning optimally.

Another important best practice is training employees on how to use the HRIS effectively. By providing thorough training and ongoing support, you can ensure that your workforce is confident in using the system and can fully leverage its capabilities to streamline HR processes.

Finally, leveraging analytics for data-driven decision-making is a critical best practice for maximizing HRIS efficiency. By utilizing the powerful analytics and reporting capabilities offered by modern HRIS systems, HR professionals can:

  • Make informed decisions based on real-time data and insights

  • Identify trends and patterns in employee data

  • Measure the effectiveness of HR programs and initiatives

  • Predict future workforce needs

  • Identify areas for improvement and optimization

Ultimately, leveraging analytics in HRIS can drive better outcomes for the organization.


In conclusion, an HRIS system is a powerful tool that can revolutionize the way organizations manage employee data and automate HR functions.

By understanding the core concepts and terminology, tracking the evolution of HRIS software, and exploring its various functions, organizations can select the right system for their needs and maximize its efficiency. Furthermore, staying informed about future trends and innovations, as well as following best practices, can ensure that your organization’s HRIS remains a valuable asset for years to come. Embrace the power of HRIS and unlock the full potential of your HR department!


Gusto and BambooHR are examples of HRIS software solutions, both providing payroll and benefits administration with a dashboard homepage for employee information, vacation record keeping, and reports.

The three main types of HRIS are operational, strategic, and tactical. Comprehensive and limited-function systems are also available, depending on the organization's specific needs. Each type of HRIS is designed to address specific human resource management needs.

The primary purpose of an HRIS system is to assist organizations in the management and automation of core HR processes, such as benefits administration, time and attendance, payroll, and other workflows, as well as providing a secure storage platform for employee data.

HRIS has come a long way since the 1980s, now offering cloud-based solutions, real-time data analysis and advanced security features.

HRIS systems provide essential functions for managing payroll, workforce planning, talent acquisition and employee engagement.

Article By
HRIS and Remote Tech Specialist
Charlotte speaks with authority as RemotePad’s recruitment and HR tech maestro. With a background in marketing, Charlotte has worked for major brands in the industry, including leading HR software provider, FactorialHR. Originally from Manchester, UK, with a bachelor’s degree from the Manchester Metropolitan University, Charlotte currently resides in sunny Barcelona, Spain.