HRIS: When Is A Good Time to Implement an Human Resources Information System?

How many pieces of employee data do you maintain? If the answer is “more than you can count,” it’s time to think about obtaining an Human Resources Information System (HRIS). HR is responsible for the accurate and timely maintenance, tracking, history, reporting, analysis and retention of employment information including, but not limited to:

  • Employee Data – including name, address, phone, parking stickers, emergency contacts, dates of hire, termination, supervisor, department, titles
  • Compensation – including base, bonus, stock, titles, historical information, changes, performance management tracking, exemption status
  • Benefit Administration – including enrollments, changes, terminations, dependent coverage, COBRA, Family Leave, other leaves, benefit statements
  • Training/Certifications/Licensing
  • Recruiting – applicant names, addresses, phone and EEO (equal employment opportunity) data, offer letters
  • Government Reporting – OSHA, EEO1, FMLA, I-9, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, VETS 100
  • Historical records – including changes in status from date of hire to present in all categories listed previously
  • Electronic document storage – including performance appraisals, reference letters, formal performance warnings

Some critical factors to consider when evaluating whether the time is right for your company to acquire an HRIS include:

  • Importance of Data Accuracy and Easy Administration: Do you often find outdated and inaccurate employee information in your data management records? Is the data spread across too many spreadsheets? An HRIS provides one system to collect current and historical data and reports. The HRIS becomes the company’s primary source of accurate and up to date information.
  • Increased Need for Strategic HR Support. How does HR add value to your organization? Would time for increased contributions beyond data management be beneficial? An HRIS system supports strategic data analysis including employee turnover, succession planning, trends in salary and benefit costs and employee performance.
  • Expected Headcount Growth: It is most advantageous to install an HRIS before expected growth periods. With every new hire comes a significant amount of employee data that must be managed. During growth periods HR priorities should be centered on recruiting and hiring the best staff, not managing employee data.
  • Stage in Company Life Cycle: Early in the company’s life cycle is the time to install an HRIS. As with all data management, the sooner a logical information management system can be utilized, the better.
  • Budget: The cost of an HRIS system ranges from less than $1,000 to hundreds of thousands. Most HRIS systems provide upgrades to more sophisticated versions or add-ons as the company grows. You can start with what you need and add on as you grow.
  • Requirements to Report Data to Regulators Upon Request: The HRIS can typically provide FLMA and COBRA notices, I-9 reports, EEO-1 reports, Vet100 reports and other government required notifications and standard reports.
  • Company is required to maintain an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP): Maintaining an AAP requires collecting, tracking and reporting EEO data for employees and applicants. Most HRIS provides EEO reports “canned” and ready to print.

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