What Is an HRIS, and Why Do You Need One?

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Posted by: David Garcia January 16, 2024

The business world has transformed rapidly over the past few decades, yet how we run our HR departments hasn’t necessarily seen the same innovation. But now, thanks to the emergence of HRIS software, this is all changing.

As more businesses seek innovative ways of managing job applicants, onboarding, and employee performance, one technology that has become more prevalent is the HRIS.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about an HRIS, including what exactly it is, the core features, and why you should already have one. We’ll also address HRIS implementation and how to choose the best one for your organization. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is an HRIS?

HRIS stands for Human Resources Information System. It is software that helps to centralize everything your human resources department does.

An HRIS assists in managing employee data and streamlines how HR departments record information. With all information contained within the centralized HRIS location, it removes the necessity for endless spreadsheets and paperwork. In short, it fully digitizes human resource management.

Core HRIS Features

Any HRIS will have several core features. Learn these features to gain a robust understanding of why HRIS is a valuable addition to an organization.

Human Resource Planning

The human resources department is tasked with many functions, including managing staff members and planning for the future. Their duties may also include forecasting the number of people it will take to complete a particular objective.

With an HRIS, planning is made so much easier. All the information your department requires is available on a centralized network, so you don’t need to spend hours digging through old filing cabinets. A simple search is all it takes to know if your company has what it needs.

Performance Metrics

With a digitized system, you can keep a closer eye on employees’ progress and contributions. HR departments can easily upload records of previous progress reports and reviews to the central system, available for your reference whenever appropriate.

All you need to do is search an employee’s name or identification number, and their entire record will be there for you. It takes minutes and allows your HR department to keep a closer eye on who is excelling within their role.

Rewards and Recognition

Speaking of excelling within their role, HRIS can also help reward those doing the most for the company. With direct access to performance reviews and sales figures (where appropriate), your HR department can reward those who are going above and beyond in their position.

A rewards system will work as excellent employee incentivization and boost morale during the more stressful periods of the business year. The way you incentivize and reward is entirely up to you but could include financial bonuses, gifts, or additional vacation time. Get creative!

Applicant Tracking Systems

A vital part of any HR department is overseeing recruitment and selection. The right HRIS can make this process significantly easier through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and online training modules.

An ATS streamlines the applicant review stage and the meta-data (name, contact information, etc.). That way, you can reduce the time spent on dealing with administrative tasks and organizing candidates and more time focusing on the quality of the application.

The ATS also makes it easier to select top-performing candidates and sort them according to whether you want to pass or accept them to the next stage of recruitment.

Onboarding and Continuous Development

An HRIS can significantly reduce the time it takes to onboard and welcome a new employee. If you can upload all of your training onto one centralized system, it will make their introduction to the business a far smoother experience. It can also save you a lot of time!

Of course, training isn’t exclusive to the onboarding process. Training should be continuous to meet the new demands of the company as they evolve.

With an HRIS, you can design and upload new training modules for your employees to complete at the appropriate time. You can also monitor their progress through these courses and receive notifications after completion. It will save time on follow-up and determining which employees have yet to complete the training.

Employee Interface

In most traditional systems, HR departments handle everything to do with employees, including payroll disputes. With an HRIS, you can put many of these tasks in the hands of the employees themselves.

Employees can submit much of this information themselves, including timesheets, requests for time off, earned PTO, and invoices, all in the online portal. It puts some power into the hands of the employees over their records and frees up more time for your HR department.

Policy Formulation and Distribution

A key role your HR department will perform is developing and distributing information regarding company policy. Employees need to be in the know about these policies and their subsequent updates to ensure they are abiding by company standards.

A centralized system also allows HR departments to store, manage, and distribute policy information much more easily. Employees can receive instant notifications of any changes, and the HR department can share relevant policies whenever they need to via the HRIS portal.

Centralized Storage and Automation

Last on our list, but underpinning everything else we have said, is the feature of centralized storage. Gone are the days of endless spreadsheets and numerous file cabinets. Instead, you can store everything you need in one easy-to-access location. You will also find it easier to keep relevant files together in one space, as you can keep them all within the same module.

Additionally, this makes updating your record-keeping processes exceptionally easy. Instead of manually implementing new standards, you can control it all at once from the central panel and take advantage of automated updates. The system will implement any changes you make across all documents stored within, saving time.

Why Does Your Company Need an HRIS?

So now you know what an HRIS does, it’s time to talk about why you need one and how it could benefit your entire organization.

Improves Employee Record-keeping

Having all your relevant files and records in one place makes maintaining them much more manageable. Not only that, but you never need to worry about losing a file again. Everything is right where you need it, uploaded onto a centralized system you can access whenever you need it. It couldn’t be easier.

All you need to do to find an employee’s specific file is search for their name or designated identification code, and there you have it! No more wading through spreadsheets or finding an employee’s file is incomplete. You have access to it all.

Streamlines the Onboarding Process

Onboarding is a mixture of recruitment and training all in one. It can require coordinating many moving parts to ensure your new employee feels welcomed and prepared for their role.

With an HRIS, you can distribute training materials quickly and effectively with little complication. The new candidate can access these materials whenever they need to via their login portal, and HR can monitor their progress to ensure successful completion.

Improves Employee Productivity

Not only does HRIS improve how your HR department completes tasks, but it also improves the way your entire company operates. One of the most significant ways it achieves this is by automating tasks.

Consider that 450 executives reported a 73% upswing in employee productivity by eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. Automation improves productivity across the organization.

HR departments can process attendance tracking, vacation requests, and payroll disputes via the HRIS. Less time spent on repetitive administrative tasks entails more time freed up for productivity. It’s a tool to give your entire organization a kickstart, not just your HR team.

Saves Your HR Team a Lot of Time

Last but not least, we have the amount of time you will save your HR department. We spoke above about the automation of various processes, but one of the most significant ways an HRIS can save you time is by removing manual entry.

Instead of manually typing out all the details of your new and current employees, the HRIS can process and record the information for you. It can also procedurally generate reports relating to employee performance, so your HR department can spend more time elsewhere.

Which HRIS System Is the Best for Your Company?

The best HRIS for your company is the one that most accurately suits your needs. There is an enormous variety within varying HRIS types, so do your research before committing to a particular program!

Some are aimed at smaller businesses, whereas some specialize in larger organizations. A company with 50 employees will have vastly different HR needs to one with 500+ employees. Consider what you would get from installing an HRIS and go from there.

What Does HRIS Implementation Look Like?

The implementation process differs from business to business, but it is imperative in all circumstances. It may take time for your HR department to adjust to the new software. To get the most out of your HRIS, you need to plan to spend a lot of time on implementation.

A good starting point is to ask the vendor you are purchasing your HRIS from for an estimate of how long implementation should take. From there, begin planning on how you will introduce the new system to your current HR department. They will need proper training if you’re going to get the most out of your system, so don’t neglect this step!

You should also make time for what is commonly known as the ‘data conversion’ phase. In this stage, your HR team will transfer your old files and records to the new format on the centralized system. It can be time-consuming but rewarding long-term, so try to remain patient!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Example of an HRIS Function?

There are numerous functions that an HRIS can complete for you, but one example could be the automatic update of employee details. Some systems even allow employees to update their profiles if minimal changes occur. Someone from the HR department will then be notified of this and can approve the change. This example is one of many that demonstrates how an HRIS can speed up repetitive processes.

What Is the Difference Between HR and HRIS?

HR simply refers to human resources, the department responsible for screening, recruiting, training, and monitoring new and existing employees. An HRIS is a tool for your HR team that they can use to enhance their productivity and performance.


Adding an HRIS to your company can streamline your processes and save your HR department time. You would be amazed by how much valuable time goes to waste on manual entry and repetitive tasks that a centralized system could so easily automate. Make the change today and see for yourself by investing in an HRIS!

Ready to save even more time in the recruitment stage? Contact ScoutLogic to pair up with a Scout who will oversee all the time-consuming processes of background screenings, employment verification, and more.

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