What is an HRIS?\n\nA human resources information system (HRIS) is standalone or SaaS-based software designed to aid HR departments in managing people, policies and procedures. HRIS solutions feature data entry, data tracking, data analysis, and information-related capabilities to address a wide range of human resources department needs, including applicant tracking, onboarding, payroll, performance management and accounting functions. In general, the majority of HRIS software vendors cater to businesses that employ U.S. citizens.\n\nHRIS vs. HRMS vs. HCM\n\nHRIS is sometimes used interchangeably with the term human resource management system (HRMS), but there\u2019s one key difference: an HRMS includes modules for monitoring and managing qualitative employee information, such as employee satisfaction and engagement.\n\nA human capital management (HCM) solution, on the other hand, encompasses the full spectrum of employee performance and engagement, both quantitative (what an individual has done, for how long, in which roles and how they have performed) and qualitative (how engaged and motivated they are within those roles and within the organization).\n\nHRIS capabilities\n\nWhile each HRIS solution offers slightly different capabilities and features, they all have many functionalities in common, including the following:\n\nMost HRIS offer broad self-service functionality to streamline HR functionality and ease the administrative burden. Within certain modules, such as benefits management and absence management, for example, employees can manage and modify their own information, make changes to their benefits, request time off, or shift the allocation of their direct deposit information. Within the performance management module, managers can input feedback, appraisal results, performance notes and other information about their direct reports, for example. Analysis and reporting, too, is often self-service within HRIS. Employees, managers, recruiters and executives, for instance, can all access and run reports based on the data contained in HRIS software.\n\nBenefits of HRIS\n\nAn effective HRIS provides information on just about anything a company needs to track and analyze data about employees, former employees, and applicants, from their first application, through their tenure on the job, to resignation or retirement. It\u2019s a one-stop-shop for individuals, employees, managers and hiring and recruiting professionals to find information when they need it.\n\nAs such, a comprehensive HRIS enables a company to more effectively project and budget its HR costs, and it can improve efficiency when it comes to decision making. Because all information and analysis are in one place, and because of integrated analysis and reporting capabilities, an HRIS makes it easy to find and analyze all available HR-related data, thereby facilitating an organization\u2019s ability to make decisions about hiring, firing, pay, promotions, headcount, turnover and retention rates, and other personnel decisions.\n\nIn most situations, an HRIS leads to increased efficiency in HR decision-making. While it\u2019s harder to qualify, these decisions could also increase in quality, thereby improving the productivity of employees and managers, as the administrative burden is lightened.\n\nAn HRIS can also improve privacy and security by securing information digitally. This is preferable to the easily accessible, difficult-to-protect paper records and spreadsheets, which are also prone to deterioration or destruction in the event of a natural disaster or a fire. These systems can also play a role in enabling compliance by storing regulatory data, such as U.S. equal employment opportunity information.\n\nHRIS can free HR administrators from handling non-strategic, mundane HR tasks such as data entry so they can focus on more human-related tasks, such as interviewing and personnel development. In addition, because an HRIS provides a centralized location for company information, announcements, links, policies and procedures, employees can find this information themselves and avoid asking HR redundant questions.\n\nFor example, when employees wish to complete frequently recurring activities such as requests for time off, changing direct deposits, electronic pay stubs and changes in W-2 or W-4 forms \u2014 such procedures can be automated and performed independently, without the need for human supervision or intervention. As a result, there\u2019s far less paperwork, and approvals can be obtained more efficiently. \n\nFinally, managers can more easily access the information they need to plan, develop and support the success of their direct reports. This can help with engagement, morale, and with employee retention, as well as developing succession plans that can further company growth and innovation.\n\nHRIS vendors\n\nThe global human resources management market is estimated to reach $30 Billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 percent over the next six years, according to Grand View Research. Some of the most popular HRIS vendors include:\n\nKey considerations for choosing an HRIS solution\n\nWith so many HRIS options, it can be daunting to figure out which one is right for your organization. It all comes down to the unique needs of your business, and which features and capabilities will be most helpful at making your HR functions most effective and efficient.\n\nDon\u2019t trust the word of software salespeople alone; look for recommendations from peers, other customers, online discussion groups, LinkedIn, software review sites and organizations such as Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) to give you the full picture, as well as pros and cons of each solution.\n\nMake sure that the solution you choose can accommodate growth. Even if your company is small today, in the future, it could double, triple or grow by a factor of ten or more. You need to be able to scale any HRIS system to grow along with your business.\n\nYou should also take integration and compatibility into account. Some HRIS solutions are only able to accomplish their stated purpose in conjunction with other existing systems; payroll, for example. That means you should ensure that the components of the HRIS you choose integrate seamlessly with any legacy systems you have in place, and make sure future add-ons or upgrades will work flawlessly.\n\nCheck to see what training and ongoing support are available for your staff, and make sure that training and follow-up are written into your sales contract. You should also confirm that the HRIS vendor you choose has a solid, consistent track record when it comes to support and service \u2014 even if they claim to provide service and support, if they have poor reviews or fail to meet your needs, you\u2019ll be left trying to figure it out yourself.\n\nHRIS implementation tips\n\nTo make the most of your HRIS investment it\u2019s essential to analyze all the available features and understand how they integrate with your existing systems. Organizations will also need to migrate all pertinent data so the system has everything it needs to work at full capacity.\n\nUser adoption is also key. Provide training to ensure your HR professionals are adept at using the solution and know where to go for help. This time invested up front will save down the line, as people will be able to perform their own updates and pull their own reports.\n\nYour HRIS vendor is a valuable resource, and should be focused on fostering your success with its product. In many cases, HRIS vendors provide training to your employees and show you tips and tricks to get the most out of the solution.\n\nMost HRIS providers regularly update and improve their software so you\u2019ll want to make sure you\u2019re up-to-date on changes, updates and patches so your solution stays secure and takes advantage of new and innovative features as they become available.\n\nHRIS certifications\n\nAs HR technology evolves, HR professionals need to know how to extract the most benefit from these systems\u2019 emerging capabilities. The best way to accomplish this is through certification in human resources information management (HRIM) and HRIS. HRIS certs help expand HR pros\u2019 understanding of HR technology, trends and best practices, while providing tangible proof that they have the knowledge, skills and experience to succeed. The following three certifications are among the best-known for certifying HRIS skills:\n\nFor a deeper look at these certifications, see \u201cTop HRIS certifications to boost your career.\u201d\n\nHRIS jobs\n\nThe growing adoption of HRIS systems has been a boon for HRIS-related careers. Analysts, administrators, integration specialists and vendor-specific consultants are all in high demand across a variety of industries. According to jobsite Indeed, salaries range from approximately $50,000 for an HRIS specialist to $67,000 for an HRIS analyst to $110,000 for a senior HRIS process architect, depending on location, experience and industry.