What is HR System?

Technology is everywhere in our world. We see it every day in activities such as banking, shopping, flying, entertainment, or communicating. We live with technology and we are surrounded by it. We cannot escape its influence and how it shapes our lives. But work organizations are also as dependent on technology as we all are for our daily activities. Organizations use technology for manufacturing, sales, production, marketing and, yes, for human resources actions and interventions.

HRIS (Human Resources Information System) or HRMS (Human Resources Management System) is a new world order for managing human resources in organizations. A world where scientists and practitioners in the industrial/organizational psychology field have much to say and much to offer in order to promote the effectiveness and optimization of HR technologies and services. And so, the motivation behind this page is to provide practical advice to those who compose, manage, and develop human resources in work organizations.

What is a Computerized Human Resources System?

HRIS (Human Resources Information System) or HRMS (Human Resources Management System) is An integrated system designed to provide information used in HR decision making.

Computers have simplified the task of analyzing vast amounts of data, and they can be invaluable aids in HR management, from payroll processing to record retention. With computer hardware, software, and databases, organizations can keep records and information better, as well as retrieve them with greater ease.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Remind me with the three roles of HR management in organizations

HR management has three roles in organizations; administrative, operational, and strategic roles:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, how can HR professionals allocate their efforts to contribute value for the organization?

There has been a mismatch between the way HR professionals have allocated their efforts and what contributes value for the organization. The greatest amount of time and costs of HR management are concentrated at the administrative level. However, HR management adds the greatest value at the strategic level, and the administrative activities produce a limited value for the organization.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How can HRIS contribute value to the organization?

An HRIS serves two major purposes in organizations:

1. HR Administrative and Operational Role:

The first purpose of an HRIS is to improve the efficiency with which data on employees and HR activities is compiled. Many HR activities can be performed more efficiently and with less paperwork if automated. When on-line data input is used, fewer forms must be stored, and less manual record keeping is necessary. Much of the reengineering of HR activities has focused on identifying the flow of HR data and how the data can be retrieved more efficiently for authorized users. Workflow, automation of some HR activities, and automation of HR record keeping are key to improving HR operations by making workflow more efficient.

2. HR Strategic Role:

The second purpose of an HRIS is more strategic and related to HR planning. Having accessible data enables HR planning and managerial decision making to be based to a greater degree on information rather than relying on managerial perception and intuition. For example, instead of manually doing a turnover analysis by department, length of service, and educational background, a specialist can quickly compile such a report by using an HRIS and various sorting and analysis functions.

HR management has grown in strategic value in many organizations; accordingly, there has been an increased emphasis on obtaining and using HRIS data for strategic planning and human resource forecasting, which focus on broader HR effectiveness over time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What are the Uses of an HRIS?

An HRIS has many uses in an organization. The most basic is the automation of payroll and benefit activities. With an HRIS, employees’ time records are entered into the system, and the appropriate deductions and other individual adjustments are reflected in the final paychecks. As a result of HRIS development and implementation in many organizations, several payroll functions are being transferred from accounting departments to HR departments. Beyond these basic activities, many other HR activities can be affected by the use of an HRIS.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How do I choose an HRIS?

It is crucial when establishing an HRIS that the system be able to support the HR strategies of the organization. This requires analyses of the uses of HR information, both in the HR unit and throughout the organization.

To design an effective HRIS, we advise starting with questions about the data to be included:

  • What information is available, and what information is needed about people in the organization?
  • To what uses will the information be put?
  • In what format should the output be presented to fit with other organization's records?
  • Who needs the information?
  • When and how often is it needed?

Answers to these questions help pinpoint to your exact needs.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In one word; what are the components (functions) that should be be included in our next HRIS?

Simply, look at your organizations' HR tasks, which ones presents more problems? which HR sub-department(s) is/are always the bottle-neck?

These problem tasks and bottle-neck HR sub-departments are your organizations' main areas that needs to benefit from automation.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What are the benefits of accessing the HRIS via Internet or organization's internal network?

The Internet has changed everything. The dramatic increase in the use of the Internet is raising possibilities and concerns for HR professionals. The growth in the use of HR internal networks for obtaining and disseminating HR information is seen in a study of 500 organizations; about 45% of whom are using internal networks or Intranets (an organizational network that operates over the Internet).

Use of web-based information systems has allowed the HR units to become more administratively efficient and to be able to deal with more strategic and longer-term HR planning issues. Organizations have used these web-based HRIS options in four primary ways:

1. Bulletin boards:

Information on personnel policies, job posting, and training materials can be accessed by employees globally.

2. Data access:

Linked to databases, an intranet allows employees themselves to access benefit information such as sick leave usage, vacation  balances, salary paycheck, and so on, freeing up time for HR staff members who previously spent considerable time answering routine employee inquiries.

3. Employee self-service:

Many intranet uses incorporate employee self-service options whereby employees can access and update their own personnel records, change or enroll in employee benefits plans, and respond to employment opportunities in other locations.

4. Extended linkage:

Integrating intranets allows the databases of vendors of HR services and an employer to be linked so that data can be exchanged electronically. Also, employees can communicate directly from throughout the world to submit and retrieve personnel details.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tell me more about Employee Self-Services?

How often do you hear these questions?

  • “How many vacation days do I have left?”
  • “Can I get a copy of my paycheck?"
  • “What will it cost to add my wife to my medical insurance plan?”
  • “I moved. How do I update my address?”

Employee Self-Service (ESS) gives employees immediate access to all their personal HR, benefits, and payroll information via the web. The simplicity of ESS dramatically reduces the call volume to the human resources department and lets HR focus on more strategic issues.

Here’s a partial list of the HR services that an employee may find on an ESS website:

  • Input and edit personal information such as address, phone, emergency contact, and so on.
  • Receive company communications and updates.
  • View a current or past paycheck.
  • Select benefits where choices are allowed.
  • Enroll in training.
  • View internal job postings based on selection criteria established by the employee (for example, what jobs are available that meet these criteria: California location, electrical engineering, software engineering, managerial level 3, R&D division)
  • Time entry, including recording time off.
  • Review and plan individual development activities.
  • Access HR policy manuals and use natural language interfaces to ask HR questions (for example, “How many weeks of vacation do I get after four years of employment?”)
  • Complete employee surveys.
  • View the skill requirements of jobs and compare those skill requirements with the individual’s skill profile.
  • Review personal performance appraisal records and schedules.
  • Order services and purchase company or other products.
  • Participate in training delivered via the organization's network.
  • Link to other sites (for example, some HRIS allow employees to customize their ESS homepage with information from other sites, such as placing a stock ticker or his or her portfolio on the ESS homepage)
  • Take diagnostic tests to identify training/development needs.
  • Submit and track expense reports.
  • View taxes, social insurance, or other deductions.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What are other considerations when deciding to have an HRIS?

Budget is always the number one issue

Implementation costs are often difficult to forecast, and systems invariably cost more than anticipated. There are several reasons for this finding. Cost can increase as organizations begin to realize the amount of change that self-service involves. HR processes often need to be reexamined and redesigned. Upon close inspection, data in existing systems often prove unreliable or incomplete. The amount of customization required is usually more than planned. The hardware infrastructure may not be so strong as originally believed. Indeed, implementation costs often run 150 percent of the cost of the software, and costs often run about 15 percent over budget.

It is important to be realistic in the budget estimates and to make sure the business case is strong enough so that, if costs are more than anticipated, the organization can still show a reasonable ROI.

Ease of use is critical

User acceptance is critical to long-term success. The web interface must be designed for ease of navigation and reflect best practices in website design. Users will compare your website to others with which they are familiar. If information is difficult to find or navigation is confusing, users will have negative early experiences and be less likely to go to the system for their HR services.

Training those who will be using the HRIS

Training is critical to the successful implementation of an HRIS. This training takes place at several levels. First, everyone in the organization concerned with data on employees has to be trained to use new recording forms compatible with the input requirements of the system. In addition, HR staff members and HR executives must be trained on the system. Support and instruction from hardware and software vendors also are important in order for the organization to realize the full benefits of the system.

Consider security and privacy

Security is always an issue on the Internet, especially when personal information about employees is involved. Controls must be built into the system to restrict indiscriminate access to HRIS data on employees. Today, the trend is toward “single sign-on” systems that streamline access and provide a reasonable level of security.