Human Resource Information Systems

As we have seen throughout this book, technology is increasingly influencing HR processes.  The advent of relational Database Management Systems and database management/programming in the mid-1980s, has helped HRM evolve from manual, transaction-based bookkeeping to semi-automating HR processes. A good example is the onboarding process, which can now be individually tailored and automatically triggered by the data points obtained in the recruitment process. For example, new recruits with experience with a specific POS (point of sales software) will not be included in the software orientation session. Because they have never worked in a team environment before, they will be included in the session on teamwork. Twenty years ago, such precise customization was unthinkable.

Today, every HR process has a technological element that enables it. Take a simple recruitment scenario, for example. A job posting can generate hundreds of applications. All of the resumes received are housed on a server somewhere and recruiters spend countless of hours screening these resumes to decide which applicants should be interviewed. This scenario is representative of a typical HR process: information is used to make decisions. Now imagine there was a way for you to dig into the database and look at the decisions of each recruiter to see whether they are consistent in their evaluation of the resumes. Imagine being able to detect that one specific recruiter tends to become more lenient as the day goes by, as she gets tired. Or that another recruiter has a slight bias against applicants that graduated from a particular university or is less favourable to applicants with Asian-sounding names. If you think of this scenario, all of the information used to draw these conclusions is available: Content of the resumes, the decisions of the recruiters, who made these decisions and when, etc. A very motivated HR manager could input all of this information into an Excel sheet and manually extract meaning out of this data. However, to do this efficiently, there needs to be a way to have the data already collected and organized. This is what a Human Resource Management System (HRIS) does.

Basically, an HRIS helps companies organize and manage people-related data. Because all this information is housed in one location, it serves as a single source of accurate data and often allows users to create reports that can be used to identify trends and make business decisions. Using an HRIS, HR Managers can, in just a few clicks, find out the average salary of junior sales associates in a particular store, identify the last employee promoted in the Saskatoon plant, determine how many times employees consulted their performance feedback reports, or confirm how much was invested in leadership training company-wide in 2020.

An HRIS system is an expensive and time-intensive commitment for any organization. Therefore, organizations should do their due diligence and involve the appropriate stakeholders in the evaluation and selection process of the best possible HRIS. Many HRIS choices are available at different price points and provide different levels of functionality. The cost for HRIS is based on various pricing models. Some are based on the numbers of employees, and the price varies between $1 to $20 per employee each month. Other systems are based on ‘users’, which are defined as the employees that actually use the system, mostly HR Managers.

Given the importance of the employer’s choice, the package selected should meet its current needs and have the flexibility to grow and expand with the organization into the foreseeable future. However, constraints from budgets, hardware and time will affect the choice made.

Here is an article that lists the top HRIS on the market at the moment

Benefits of HRIS

There are many advantages to adopting an HRIS system. Here are the main ones: (click on the arrow to learn more)


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Human Resources Management - 2nd Ontario Edition Copyright © 2022 by Elizabeth Cameron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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