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What is an HRIS?

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    Choosing a provider and software to help you manage your team isn’t easy – especially when complicated, corporate terms are thrown at you. You need to understand these weird abbreviations so that you can choose the best fit for you and your employees. 

    At Whirks, we do our best to shy away from this type of lingo. You don’t need to be a payroll, HCM, or HRIS expert – that’s our job. But you should understand the basics to reach your goals and best support your team. 

    Let’s explore what HRIS means so you can figure out if it is the right tool for you. 

    What does HRIS mean?

    HRIS stands for Human Resource Information System. This is software that supports, elevates, and equips your Human Resources team. From tracking an employee’s favorite ice cream to notifying them when their insurance is up for renewal, a great HRIS stores this data and creates efficient processes around it. 

    Your software can include many different features depending on the size of your organization and your specific industry needs, like OSHA testing or renewing drivers’ licenses. Employees should be able to easily access this information, saving your HR manager the hassle of pulling records or remembering deadlines. 

    The goal of your HRIS is to digitize those dusty file cabinets and lessen the load on your HR team, so they can focus on managing employee data and creating a better back office. 

    Features to consider when evaluating the different platforms 

    You know what an HRIS is now – but is it a tool that you can utilize for your team? If you’re a growing business with a wealth of employee data to manage, it may be a good fit for you. But if you’re small and intend on staying that way, it might be an unnecessary tool that you don’t need to purchase. 

    While you read through the different features of an HRIS system, think about how it can manage, organize, and empower your team. How will this streamline processes, improve employee experience, and contribute to a better back office? 

    Let’s dive in and discover how an HRIS can help you and your team get one step better. 

    Employee Database 

    All employee data lives in your HRIS. Data is everything from T-shirt sizes, I-9’s, and even employee certifications. HRIS software helps you collect this data and ensure its accuracy. This will help you stay organized and compliant, eliminating the need to run around and hunt for a lost W-2 or other unnecessary paperwork.   

    Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 

    In today’s job market, finding the right candidate is difficult. It affects your company’s success hugely. An ATS will help you cast your job net further and reel in a qualified applicant. 

    A great ATS will assist your HR team in capturing and organizing applicant data, like resumes or personal information. This tool can be a game-changer when it comes to quickly and efficiently hiring the right people. 

    Benefits Administration

    These two words make even the most seasoned HR team member shudder. Open enrollment, new hires, and life events signal overwhelming paperwork and late nights in the office.

    An HRIS system will streamline benefits administration and alleviate your HR manager. For example, an employee self-service feature will give your team the freedom to log on and choose the plan that’s right for them during open enrollment. 

    Whether you’re onboarding a new hire or sending out COBRA information to an ex-employee, an HRIS system eliminates paperwork and streamlines these processes.


    HRIS tools are not created equal. Some platforms offer payroll support, and some don’t. If you choose software with payroll support, ensure it’s aligned with your Human Capital Management (HCM) system. 

    Integrating your payroll with an HRIS system helps you track things like overtime and wages, centralizing all of your back-office processes in one system. This reduces your data entry and potential compliance issues, while also offering reports that help you manage your business better.


    If your team works in shifts, a scheduling tool in your HRIS is non-negotiable. 

    Your employees will be able to see their schedule, request PTO, and trade shifts with other team members, all from a self-service platform that contains a living calendar.  

    Time and Attendance

    Many industries don’t use a card or punch for clocking in and out anymore. So how do you keep up with their time and attendance? 

    Multiple options are available, but you need to find one that best fits your company. If you have traveling employees, a geofencing option may be right for you. Or maybe your team is always on a job site and they need to clock in on their phones. 

    Tailoring your timekeeping system to your industry will help you stay compliant and have your back office running like a well-oiled machine. 

    Customizable and Standard Reports

    Your HR team needs to pull employee data reports. When you implement an HRIS, you receive easy-to-use, analytical tools that help you build custom reports that are specific to your industry. 

    Even if you’re a novice to data and analytics, a great HRIS software will simplify this process, and give you access to dozens of report types, such as payroll summaries, general ledgers, training, and certifications. 

    Employee Self Service 

    Your HR team has endless responsibilities and tasks: employees stop in their office to request PTO, adjust their timecard, or print W-2s. This creates an inefficient back-office and a stressed-out HR manager.

    Employees will be able to view their W-2s, pay history, time-off balances, benefits, and more. This gives them the peace of mind to pull pay stubs if they need them or update personal information like their name or address.  

    An HRIS that offers employee self-service makes life easier on everyone in your company – your HR manager won’t be spread thin and your employees will always have access to their information. This software gives your team freedom but still allows you to have the final say via reviews and approvals. 

    Onboarding and Offboarding 

    While choosing an HRIS software, keep in mind the employee life cycle: you’re hiring, retiring, and firing. Having a streamlined onboarding and offboarding procedure prevents you from hiring the wrong person to losing company collateral. 

    For example:

    1. You can track applicants with an ATS and gather onboarding information
    2. It reminds you of company possessions that the employee may have (i.e., keys)
    3. It administers an exit survey and COBRA information 

    An intuitive platform will save you from interviewing dozens of potential hires, wasting the first day on paperwork, or picking up office keys from a disgruntled ex-employee. This helps you run a better back office, leading you to a happier team and peace of mind. 

    Performance Management

    One of the latest trends to hit the HR realm is performance management. A performance management system can be used to track employee evaluations, set goals, implement training, and put in place disciplinary actions. 

    These are great tools for managing your team – but if you purchase and don’t use it, or have another method of evaluating performance, it becomes a hassle and a waste of money. 

    However, if your HRIS software frees up your manager from other tasks, like running payroll, they can focus on better evaluating your employees and coaching them towards success. 

    Your back office is the key to your success. 

    Your employees are your most valuable and vulnerable asset. Paying them accurately and on time is your top priority – but managing and empowering them follows close behind. Integrating an HRIS system helps you streamline these processes so you can focus on leading your team.

    Hire the right people faster. Fire the wrong people with ease. Offer benefits without taking time out of your HR manager’s day. Reward your employees by leveraging their data for raises and bonuses. 

    A great back office begins with great HRIS software. You have a business to grow and a team to lead – so leave the complicated stuff to a partner that will integrate this software and train you how to use it. 

    Need to explore more HRIS options? Book a demo with us to see how we can help you get your back office one step better every day.