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The Ultimate Guide to Buying an HRIS

BY -

Ryan Brinks

September 8, 2021

Whether you work at a new company or are considering software upgrades, you are probably in need of a new HRIS. HR has evolved over the years, and modern company culture effectively utilizes HR technology. In a recent article by Forbes, HR needs to use technology to connect with employees in a way that prioritizes their experience while simultaneously integrating them into existing workflows. 

This is where an HRIS comes in. If you are in need of HR software solutions, here's a guide for buying an HRIS. 

What Is an HRIS?

Just to cover the basics, an HRIS (Human Resources Information System) is a type of HR software aimed to manage core HR functions. 

These specific functions and features can differ from one HRIS to another, but most HRIS software will include an employee database, leave and absence management, recruiting and applicant tracking system, benefits administration, compensation management, and employee self-service portal.

This specifically differentiates an HRIS from an HRMS (Human Resource Management System) since HRMS software can do everything an HRIS can and more, like payroll processing, budgeting, and time and labor management. 

All HRIS software solutions are not created equal. Understandably, while most of them would probably have a similar set of features, there are still some aspects that can set each apart from another. Thus, it is important to know how to buy an HRIS for your company. 

Understanding HRIS Features

The first step in determining which HRIS software will work best for the company is to first understand the different features that come with these systems. 

1. Recruiting and Onboarding 

Onboarding is an important part of an employee's lifecycle, as it serves as one of their first impressions of the company. A well-executed onboarding process has even been observed to increase employee retention. Being introduced into a company takes a lot of time and work for HR, which is why an HRIS can significantly help with recruitment and onboarding. 

By streamlining the onboarding process, an HRIS can save the company time and money by simply integrating different areas in the company. An HRIS can do this by passing necessary information to different areas in the company (e.g., respective departments, payroll, etc.), thereby avoiding time-consuming double entry — when a person has to perform data entry repeatedly. 

Streamlining onboarding with an HRIS also hastens integration of new hires and their employee information with other employee data and allows new employees to be productive quickly.

An onboarding meeting

2. Employee Self-Service Portal

A major part of HR tasks is dealing with employees. An HRIS can greatly improve HR processes by offering an employee self-service portal. This feature allows employees to submit requests, receive updates on requests, access personal information, and much more. 

This allows employees to engage with HR processes in a quick and convenient manner that helps save the company time.  

Giving employees access to a self-service portal not only helps reduce the workload of the HR team, but it also empowers employees and improves employee engagement. 

3. Benefits Administration

Benefits administration, or the management of employees' benefits programs, is one of the most convenient functions of an HRIS. The technical support provided by the HRIS helps streamline setting up aspects of benefits programs such as tax percentages, dependent types, auto-enroll, and benefits tiers. 

Some HRIS software are also connected with different types of benefit providers through EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), reducing the workload of manually transferring employee data regarding benefits selections. 

Aside from saving time, benefits administration through HRIS automation also significantly reduces human typing error. 

4. Time and Attendance Tracking

No matter the size of the company, time and attendance tracking will always remain crucial as it determines employee pay. As a feature of an HRIS, time and attendance tracking is a powerful tool that can help HR professionals with performance management, talent management, and performance reviews. 

This feature basically saves the HR department time and work from the traditional method of manually compiling time cards to calculate payroll.  

Choosing the Right HRIS

With an understanding of the different features that most HRIS software come with, it's time to decide which one is the right HRIS for your company. 

1. Perform an Internal Evaluation

HRIS software can be equipped with dozens of features that can make a company run so much more efficiently. However, companies operate with multiple systems in place that already aim to streamline workflow. This means that there might be features in some HRIS solutions that would be redundant. 

It is important to initially perform an internal evaluation to effectively assess what features your company needs. 

Although it is easy to simply choose the HRIS system with the most features, you will still have to weigh between functionality and pricing. Understandably, software with more features would be more costly. Thus, saving money for the company means realistically assessing the business’s needs. 

After performing an initial assessment, you should make a checklist that would reflect the internal evaluation. 

2. Review HRIS Features

Once you have a checklist of data from your observations, comments from different departments, or general employee experience, you can begin comparing the business needs with the different HRIS systems. 

It could also benefit you by having a checklist of features from different HRIS software. That way, you can easily compare your checklists side by side and shortlist potential systems. Aside from the needs of the company, you should also consider additional features that can help automate current operations.  

3. Anticipate and Assess

Choosing an HRIS is a big deal, and a great tip to help with the selection process is to do a lot of anticipation and assessment. 

How quickly will the new HRIS system be installed and integrated? How easily can the employees learn to use the new software? How well will the employees integrate with a new HR system? Does the new HRIS have reliable customer support service in case something goes wrong? These are just a few of the many questions you have to ask to choose the right HRIS.   

HR professionals assessing HRIS

Choosing the right HRIS software for the company can seem like a daunting task. However, the best advice to help with the search is to first be familiar with the features that HRIS software can provide. Once you are aware of what these systems can do, you can take a look at your own company and see where those HRIS features can be applied for further growth and development. If you don’t know where to start, here are the best HRIS software options today.

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