Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) describes any software support system that a business uses to manage or automate core HR functions, such as Attendance, Performance Management or Onboarding.  For many small or medium-sized businesses, using an HR software system to support their human resource needs provides efficiencies, particularly in instances where there is no specific HR role within the business.  The HRIS can either run on the company’s own technical infrastructure or be cloud-based.

A variety of HR software systems are available, depending on budget considerations. Taking a strategic approach to the search process to find a system that is a best fit for the business will ensure all future stakeholders will be able to utilize the system for their needs.  Start by planning and working with a cross-functional team within the business to identify the day-to-day tasks that would see efficiencies with the new software. Take the time to map out your processes and workflows and define the technical requirements needed, particularly if the current infrastructure needs to be upgraded.  Test the new HRIS and provide feedback for potential improvements. Prepare a technical training program for employees to ensure proficiency, a communication plan to promote the benefits throughout the business, a Frequently Asked Questions page to address potential inquiries, as well as other support documents that you may need for specific projects, such as Performance Management instructions.  Collect feedback throughout the roll out process and update the training material where changes to processes or the system are required.

Having an HRIS system in place provides a business with significant efficiencies and support for their HR functions and ensures the data is stored in a safe and secure manner.

  • Record-keeping : An HRIS is a record-keeping system that keeps track of changes to anything related to employees.
  • Compliance: Data that is collected and stored for compliance reasons, such as  identification documents, contact information, payroll or benefits documentation, and expiration dates for mandatory certification. 
  • Efficiency: Storage of data in one place not only benefits accuracy but also saves time.  
  • Self-Service: Self-Service options enable employees to manage their own affairs, such as address or email changes, and allow managers to conveniently work on tasks for their employees such as performance reviews or discipline documentation.

HR's Role

HR can take a leadership role in researching HRIS options and vendors, identifying efficiencies that can be gained and managing the implementation of the new system.  Ongoing support to both employees and managers in the use of the HRIS is typically done by HR.  Data collection and collation for Workforce Planning can also be part of HR’s mandate.

Internal Communications

Developing an internal communications plan to connect with employees ensures that essential news and updates gets communicated throughout the workplace.  Informing employees on new safety procedures, equipment delays, or even announcing a new team member is more difficult in a manufacturing workplace due to the following challenges:

  • Production employees do not have access to a computer
  • Safety updates require urgency
  • A diverse workforce may not have English as their first language
  • Shift work disconnection from management

As well, employees working in manufacturing are some of the least engaged employees in any industry. Technology has a role to play in finding effective ways to communicate information including:

  • A company intranet or a mobile app
  • Digital resources for safety training
  • Distribution of an email newsletter for non-production related news
  • Use a digital bulletin board in a public setting like the lunchroom

Having technological solutions can also contribute to attracting and retaining new employees as younger workers have different expectations for the workplace and require more feedback from management, digital connectivity, and a mobile-first communications environment.

HR's Role

HR would help to design communication strategies to connect and engage with all employees, including those in production.  HR would promote clear and respectful communication and provide guidance on using technology to benefit this purpose.  As well, HR would benefit from being culturally sensitive and aware of language limitations, and build strategies on how to best meet the communication needs of a diverse workforce.