HR is involved in every step of the employee lifecycle, from first contact with an organization to the last day on the job. To help out with those steps and everything in between, most HR teams use an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) to keep their data organized and automate some of their tasks.
Many small tasks that take up a large part of your HR team’s day, like tracking vacation time, compiling employee reports, and filling out onboarding paperwork for new employees, can be automated with an HRIS. And with all that time they’re not spending on spreadsheets and paperwork, your HR team will be able to focus on more strategic initiatives like improving company culture and developing programs to retain employees.
The options available with your HRIS will depend on your HR software provider, but some common features include
- An employee database and directory
- Benefits management
- Applicant tracking
- Attendance and time-off tracking
- Analytics and reporting
- Electronic signatures
- Onboarding and offboarding
- Performance management
The features that are most important to you will depend on the size of your organization and your HR team’s goals. The main purpose of any HRIS is to simplify tasks for your HR department.
The benefits of an HRIS
Automating your HR department can make a big difference for not only your HR team but for your entire organization. Here are a few ways organizations can save time and money by using an HRIS.
If your information is dispersed across filing cabinets, papers, and spreadsheets, it’s difficult to find what you need when you need it. With an HRIS, all of your employee data is in one centralized place that can be accessed from any computer anytime you need it.
Time-tracking functionality makes things easier for not only your HR department but also your employees and managers. When an organization has poor time-tracking capabilities, the average employee takes up to three unreported PTO days every year. The dollars for those three days per employee add up quickly and cost your organization some serious cash.
Not only can an HRIS manage time off, but many also allow employees to clock in and out of work from the software. This reduces the chances of human error created by transferring punch cards or managing numbers in a spreadsheet.
A study from BambooHR found that organizations that use time and attendance software with payroll processing saw a 32 percent lower error rate in tracking time actually worked. Furthermore, they saw 57 percent fewer errors in payroll deductions.
If you want your new hires to stick with your company for more than a couple of years (or even more than a couple of months), you need to make a good first impression. Glassdoor found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. High employee turnover is expensive, so once you find the perfect, high-performing employees, you want to keep them around.
Instead of having new employees spend their first day sitting at a desk quietly filling out paperwork, they should be learning about your organization’s values, meeting their new coworkers, and getting to know their office space. With an HRIS, you can use online forms to create customized onboarding packets and even allow new hires to fill out paperwork with e-signatures before their first day. You can also set up your HRIS to send welcome emails and checklists, so a new hire feels completely prepared for their first day on the job.
Your HR team’s email inbox is probably full of questions from employees about timesheets, benefits, payroll, and pretty much anything else HR touches. While employees shouldn’t be discouraged from asking questions, they should be empowered to obtain as much information as they can on their own. The BambooHR study found that employee self-service can reduce the amount of time required for HR administrative tasks by 40 to 60 percent.
Using an HRIS, employees have access to all (and can even edit some) of their personal information. A quick address change, a refresher on the benefits they’ve signed up for, or an update on PTO balance no longer have to be questions for the HR team.
While these are some major benefits of using an HRIS at your organization, this is not an exhaustive list. Above all, automating your HR department with an HRIS will mean a simplified HR department, an improved employee experience, and more time and money for your organization.