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What is HRIS?

A human resources information system (HRIS) is a software solution that manages the employee database of an organization, automates HR-related functions, and provides employees with self-service access to procedures and policies. HRIS can be anything from a simple employee database to a plethora of all-things-HR, depending on the type of HRIS you choose to meet the needs of your organization.

The modern HRIS is a cloud-based all-in-one solution that collects, stores, processes, and retrieves employee information. On-premise HRIS solutions are also available and act as a centralized database for workforce management. The purpose is to relieve your HR team from doing the grunt work and enables them to focus on actual people management — creating a happy, productive workforce.

In most cases, an HRIS encompasses the basic functionalities needed for end-to-end Human Resources Management (HRM). It is a system for recruitment, performance management, learning & development, and more. An HRIS is also known as HRIS software. This is a bit confusing as it implies that different systems can have different software running on them. However, this is not the case. The HRIS is, in essence, an HR software package. The HRIS can either run on the company’s own technical infrastructure, or, more common nowadays, be cloud-based. This means that the HR software is running outside of the company’s premises, making it much easier to update.

Centrally, the HRIS holds employee information. A wide range of employee data is then easily accessible, in one system. HRIS benefits range from simplifying HR processes to directly influence a company’s bottom line by changing the way you work.

Why is an HRIS important?

Unlike HR spreadsheets, an HRIS puts an end to manual HR management and prevents unnecessary errors and confusion. It saves you from the pain of going through several files or cabinets to find a piece of information. As the data is easily accessible, reports can be generated effortlessly within minutes. These reports can give you an overall picture of your organization, allowing you to make meaningful decisions. Also, different workplace challenges involving employee turnover, giving appropriate recognition, diversity, performance management, and more, can be resolved before they become too big to handle. An HRIS is continuously being updated with current technology, which helps you and your employees stay on top of  HR processes. Check out our blog on who uses an HRIS and how it can useful to different employees.

What are the types of HRIS?

Based on functionality, an HRIS is broadly classified into four types, including operational, tactical, strategic and comprehensive. Let’s take a deeper look at each type:

  • Operational HRIS

An operational HRIS is mostly concerned with internal employee data. It provides all the data that is necessary to make important HR decisions and support your employees. For instance, employee demographic data can be used to improve diversity and inclusion in your organization.

  • Tactical HRIS

A tactical HRIS often provides data to help you make decisions related to the allocation of resources for recruitment, job design, job analysis, training and development, employee recognition, and more.

  • Strategic HRIS

A strategic HRIS helps an organization develop and grow strategically by concentrating on their goals and mission. It provides clear and detailed information about the human resources of a particular organization, which helps in workforce planning. This is for organizations that wish to take on new ventures.

  • Comprehensive HRIS

A comprehensive HRIS is a complete integrated system that contains everything including HR files, employee-related files, recruitment details, and employee education and experience details. It’s a central repository that contains all the essential information required to make decisions for the workforce.


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