What Is HRIS Software?

HRIS Systems

A human resources information system (HRIS) is an interactive software solution that standardizes or automates HR tasks and processes to allow for accurate record-keeping and reporting electronically.

A standard usage for such software is maintaining, managing, and processing detailed employee information as well as HR-related policies and procedures.

Since most HR teams rely on an HRIS to stay organized and eliminate paper-based and manual HR-related processes, here’s everything you need to know about how an HRIS can serve your business.

What Does HRIS Software Do?

While different types of HRIS software tend to incorporate different features, some standard features can be found across most, if not all, HRIS software, including:

  • Enables data entry by human resources, payroll, and accounting departments.
  • Manages compensation and absence management.
  • Tracks pay histories.
  • Empowers human resources departments to stay organized by managing and tracking data.
  • Serves as a centralized repository of data where it can all be easily accessed and retrieved.
  • Provides self-service benefits for employees.
  • Identifies workforce needs.
  • Supports recruitment processes and applicant tracking.
  • Generates reports to help HR managers identify trends and make business decisions.

What Are the Benefits of HRIS?

Simply put, an HRIS can be leveraged by human resources departments to improve productivity, work quality, organization, and efficiency – all at once. Here’s how.

Enhanced Employee Experiences

Most human resource managers have been in situations where employees weren’t aware of specific company policies and procedures. Often, it isn’t that the employees are unconcerned or uninterested in learning about the company but rather that they don’t know where to find such information.

With an HRIS, employees gain access to a centralized system with certain access privileges that enable them to stay up-to-date with the company’s latest policies and procedures. And in the process, the software makes it easier for you to distribute the information.

To put this in perspective, one of the most significant benefits of HRIS is visible during the onboarding process of new employees, where HR professionals can simply send new hires the needed onboarding-related tasks and information, such as paperwork, orientation days, training, probation details, and similar prior to even joining the company.

And it doesn’t stop there. On an HRIS, you can enable employees to make specific requests or submit forms relating to particular needs, such as an HR letter requesting, enrolling in a medical insurance program, submitting a resignation, and similar. When it comes to signatures, electronic signatures make the process a breeze!

Bottom Line
Generally, when employees are provided access to self-service options, they become more engaged with a company.

More Automation, Less Labor-Intensive Processes

Gone are the days when overtime, attendance, and payroll were conducted manually and on paper. Today, technology meets HR halfway when it comes to administrative work, empowering human resources’ employees to rely on automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics to do that work on their behalf.

While such administrative tasks are recurring, there’s no denying that they occupy a significant amount of time when done manually. Luckily, with HRIS software, such tasks are expedited, clearing up space for more jobs, and accordingly, more productivity.

For instance, think of how long it takes to process payroll-related tasks or execute the benefits administration – countless hours! Now, think of how that can be drastically reduced if these processes were automated. The difference is immense, with software making such processes quicker, easier, and more efficient.

Working on HRIS Software

Reduction of Errors

It’s only natural for human beings to be prone to error, but the issue with HR-related errors is that they’re sometimes costly and can stir up unwanted matters and maybe even legal issues and losses. With an HRIS, errors are reduced to the minimum and are, in most cases, eliminated altogether.

That’s especially true regarding payroll management, where the system organizes all information related to employee payment and tax filing, including tracking overtime, attendance, withholding deductions, and executing direct deposits.

While the system will require HR employees to input the wages of employees (both full-time and part-time) and their benefits data, the requirements end there. The rest of the process is automatic!

Better Targeted Recruitment Processes

At one point in time, recruiters either had to headhunt their way through recruitment processes or manually go through tons of resumes of candidates who don’t necessarily fulfill the requirements of a given job posting. Nowadays, that’s no longer the case.

With the help of an HRIS, it’s now easier to reach massive candidate pools for new vacancies! Simplifying the process of gathering applications isn’t even the best part. What’s better is that when resumes are received, recruiters can apply as many selection standards as they wish to the applications.

Bottom Line
As a result, the recruitment process becomes smoother, laser-targeted, and more efficient.

Ensuring Compliance

All human resources employees are well aware of how inattention to compliance can result in fines, penalties, damaged reputation, and more. With that being the case, it’s imperative for your company to be proactive about compliance to avoid being caught not playing by the rules with no intention of doing that.

Since not being compliant isn’t so fun, and neither is staying updated with every single change in laws and regulations and determining which areas impact your organization, an HRIS can ensure that your company’s operations are fully running according to the law.

Therefore, when choosing your HRIS, it’s highly recommended to opt for one with an “identify new regulations” feature to automatically detect and inform you of relevant changes in compliance and legislation. The right tool can genuinely make all the difference.

Not to mention, if your HRIS specializes in compliances, it can even go as far as generating audit trails on your behalf to prove compliance easily. Imagine alerts and automatic reporting options about compliance – much less complex and much less time-consuming!

More Informed Decision-Making

We’re in the era of data – there’s an overwhelming amount of it everywhere, but with just the correct data, you can take your organization to the next level by improving its performance, compliance, productivity, and much more.

Behind the scenes, every HRIS is always ceaselessly working to collect and manage the data it receives daily, storing it in a digital database that’s easily retrievable at any given point in time.

Within that database, you can easily specify how you want to see the data – be that visually (like in the form of a chart or graph), in text (pure text or listicles), or even a mix of both. Plus, you can customize your reports so that you don’t have to look at all the data at once. For instance, you can choose only to view a report on employee turnover within the past year.

But what’s data if there’s no meaning or analysis behind it, correct? Well, your HRIS is aware of that too, and that’s where analytics comes in to enable you to cross-reference data and analyze it using different tools. That way, you detect patterns and make better decisions that are informed by real-life data and not just assumptions or suggestions.

With the support of your HRIS, you can further make predictions and forecasts for upcoming periods, particularly relating to labor needs, absences, and similar, since you have past data to inform you of what’s likely to happen during a given timeframe.

With that in mind, not only does an HRIS seamlessly provide you with data, reports, and analysis, but it also enables HR employees to make calculations, predictions, and decisions rapidly. And for once, the result won’t be hasty decisions but rather concise ones based on actual performance and past data!

Working on HRIS


With all the acronyms out there, it can get challenging to understand the differences between different terminologies.

Often, you’ll find that HRIS, HRMS, and HCM are being used interchangeably, standing for human resources information systems, human resources management systems, and human capital management, respectively.

While the three do share some similarities, they also differ in certain aspects depending on how specific companies put the three to use. In terms of similarities, the significant similarity to note is that they’re all software that relies on cloud computing, databases, and technology to develop a full-fledged solution for workforce management.

But what about the differences? Here’s what you need to know about each, but also note that universally agreed-upon definitions of them literally don’t exist, and again, how each company defines them will vary.


Originally, HRIS was used exclusively for administrative tasks relating to employee records. In essence, they were only employed for the purpose of updating employee files, including their personal data, paperwork, benefits, and similar.

Yet, as HR functions evolved and the jobs of HR personnel started shifting away from the standard tasks, HRIS software evolved in the process, progressing to include features tackling employee data management, talent acquisition, recruitment and selection, onboarding, and much more.


Most commonly used interchangeably with HRIS, HRMS typically manages different HR functions, including workforce planning, performance appraisal, succession planning, training and development, employee services and engagement, and policy setting and adherence.

Like HRIS, the idea of using HRMS software is to automate processes to be able to make proper use of data analytics and artificial intelligence to streamline operations and enable productivity and efficiency strategically.


In a nutshell, you can consider HCM to be the umbrella under which HRIS and HRMS fall. HCM software supports an even broader range of HR functions – nearly all of them, making it more comprehensive than both HRIS and HRMS.

For instance, it can handle compensation planning, workforce planning, succession planning, and beyond to help companies realize their full potential now and in the future.

In essence, HCM software is an all-in-one solution that integrates the different HR functions into one platform and even includes the company’s goals, plans, and achievements. Therefore, it’s the most extensive solution you can find when it comes to managing your employees.

Selecting the Optimal Solution

When it really comes down to it, the lines between the three system types are exceedingly blurry. Therefore, until the industry reaches a consensus on definitive definitions of each, the best solution is to choose the system you can benefit from.

In all cases, while there isn’t a consensus as to where the line is drawn between the different HR systems, there’s a consensus that HRIS is the most basic option that brings together the best of all worlds to support your business operations.

At its core, HRIS manages more than just procedures and policies or even paperwork. In fact, it’s one of the most rapidly developing technologies, and it’s likely to continue to develop in the near future.

And after all, as you choose your HRIS, HRMS, or HCM, it’s always a good idea to carefully analyze the specific features and capabilities that it comes with and never assume that a particular system boasts certain benefits because that’s not always the case.

Hot Tip
You always need to pinpoint your business needs first to be able to find software that caters to those needs effectively and efficiently.

Final Thoughts

As demonstrated, when you choose to invest in an HRIS for your company, you’re consciously making a life-changing decision to effectively allocate all of your resources and put them to proper use. That’s especially when it comes to human resources and their talents, skills, and experiences.

With the solutions that human resources information systems offer, they’re no longer an option but rather a must for businesses that want to thrive. Therefore, choose your HRIS wisely and take sufficient time to do your research to end up with the right HRIS for your business goals and objectives to reap its benefits fully.