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A comprehensive guide to HRIS as a SaaS

Aude Creveau

HRIS stands for Human Resources Information System, and it’s able to handle human resources processes. It is therefore a great support for HR managers. Today, companies are increasingly using an HR software to manage their human resources more effectively. Here you will find out what an HRIS is and how it can support your business.

What is an HRIS?

A human resource information system (HRIS) is a HR software solution that helps small and medium sized enterprises manage employees, human resources procedures and company policies effectively. It combines a number of processes and systems to strengthen and optimise the HR function of an organisation.

An HRIS covers all the functions that an HR department normally manages. It is also useful in:

  • Staff payroll
  • Recruiting and professional training
  • Talent management and succession planning

Besides supporting managers with human capital management tasks, an HRIS offers important functions intended to lighten the daily tasks of HR managers, such as handling absence management and attendance.

HRIS replaces obsolete and repetitive administrative processes, including the use of time-consuming Excel spreadsheets.

Thanks to HRIS, HR professionals get a simpler and faster overview of remaining annual leave balances, planned and recorded absences for each employee.

An HRIS saves valuable time monitoring employee time and attendance, by automatically calculating worked hours and overtime.

Using a HRIS ensures the maintenance of employee information is done in a secure manner. It’s been proven digital employee records maintenance is safer as compared to traditional filing cabinets. In addition, an HRIS facilitates access to contact information and makes personal information easy to maintain thanks to the employee self service function.

HRIS can also be able to provide statistics, in depth analysis and insightful dashboards. Some HRIS also give human resource managers access to HR analytics reports and indicators, which allows them to have a clear overview of everything related to the company (absenteeism rate, staff demographics, seniority, presenteeism, etc.).

What are the characteristics of an HRIS?

An HRIS can offer a few or many capabilities, depending on the clients it serves. Large organisations may need an HRIS that integrates payroll, performance feedback and development, recruiting/applicant tracking system and self-service. Smaller businesses with fifty or fewer employees can automate administrative HR tasks with self-service, time-off management, time and attendance tracking system, and onboarding. The goal of implementing an HRIS is to streamline the HR function while complying with federal and company regulations and keeping employees happy.

"HRIS is a fantastic tool to reduce administrative burdens on HR teams so they can focus their time on more complex, human-centric tasks. The improvements in efficiency align with the top reason companies implement HRIS, according to recent research. Another advantage of HR software is that processes are refined and standardized saving more time and providing specialized support for key HR tasks." Megan Meade, HRMS World.

A closer look to HRIS

Some human resource information systems include an employee database, payroll function, benefits administration, recruitment, as well as leave and attendance management. Let’s briefly take a look at each:

  • A people system stores employee records, including personal details such as emergency contact information, performance reviews and compensation data, which can be accessed 24/7 on desktops and mobile devices.
  • The payroll function allows HR managers to easily roll out wages to employees and download employee timesheets. As tax and wage are calculated by the software, the risk of errors is substantially reduced and tax compliance is maintained more easily and reliably.
  • An HRIS allows employers to automate the complex process of time off allowance and administration. In fact, time off management may be a key reason why some companies choose to invest in a human resource information system. During the holiday season, absence management features can offer significant cost and time savings.
  • Some of the absence and attendance management tasks can be easily delegated to employees through a self-service portal. Employees can record working hours and breaks with a single click. They can also update their personal information, request leave and managers can approve or decline without having to inquire personally or send emails to HR every time.
  • An HRIS with a recruitment feature allows job candidates to submit resumes online, converts information submitted on applications into employee records, and makes it easy for managers in remote locations to share questions and concerns about job applicants prior to scheduling interviews.

An HRIS for small and medium sized businesses may integrate employee data, attendance and time off management, onboarding and document sharing. kiwiHR, for instance, enables companies to go completely paperless with digital personnel files, an integrated resource management system, a structured onboarding process and employees’ leave and attendance management.

"The world is changing really fast, and some changes are incredibly disruptive to day-to-day processes. Of course change can be difficult to manage but it can be a huge source of opportunities. If done right, companies can leverage this time to test and implement new processes.

Companies still have people to manage, leave to submit, timesheets to organize, new hires to onboard. And all of that, now, has to be done remotely -- at least for us.

Employee engagement is also the baseline for productivity and it can be a big challenge for remote teams. For all those reasons, companies need HR software to help in managing all the aspects of the people management, from the performance management to payslips, in a new automated and smart way." Davide De Guz, Founder at Rebrandly

Can HRIS replace HR managers?

You would think that with all the given functions an HRIS can replace the HR manager, but this is not possible. HR departments will always need managers. The human resource management system is there to facilitate their daily lives. For example, managers would get great help in the employee payroll area and HR administration.

HRIS offers several advantages to companies, because it automates all the tasks concerning human resource management. An HRIS also ensures accurate data and eliminates the risk for error.

In order for a company to function at its best, people must be the priority of human resources.

Thereby, the importance to minimise the repetitive, nonetheless, essential administrative tasks as much as possible. This is where HRIS comes into play. By managing all of these tasks, the HRIS frees up managers’ time and allows them to focus on important tasks related to the human side of HR.

This process optimisation caused by the widespread use of HRIS, is a revolution for the human resource industry. Now, HR directors can finally focus on more strategic tasks such as employee retention, employee onboarding, HR analytics, and more.

Advantages of HRIS in SaaS form

A human resource information system as SaaS is software that is hosted in the cloud and used as a web service. Typically, this involves a subscription that provides access to the company's HR platform. Therefore, HR software installation and technical costs are eliminated. This is of great benefit for the company, since each department can easily access the HRMS software 24/7.

Since the HRIS is hosted by a supplier, they are responsible for managing the changes relating to infrastructure, maintaining, and making the software safe to use. The benefits of using a SaaS HRIS are plenty.

1. Clutter-free employee records

Digital employee records are especially beneficial for businesses with a small employee headcount. That is because the impact that a single person has on a small company is bigger than they may have on a larger company.

Large organisations can afford HR teams to collect, maintain employee records, and ensure they are complying with data privacy policies and other regulations. For smaller companies, an HRIS can handle HR administration and allow business owners or teams to focus on strategic tasks. Even small or medium-sized companies with only one HR manager can greatly benefit from using an HRIS for employee records. By doing so, they can focus on tasks that require more in-person interactions, such as applicant interviews and new employee onboarding.

HR personnel in larger companies can also benefit from a human resource information system. During recruitment or onboarding, staff can rely on an HRIS to complete repetitive tasks and save time thanks to employee self-service.

2. Don’t waste time fixing mistakes

Incorrect or erroneous data is a common HR concern. HR staff shouldn’t waste time figuring out which data error led to mistakes in time off records or timesheets. What is a good way to deal with errors.

One way is to enable employees to edit their own information in a self-service portal and maintain digital personnel files updated. Another is to set policies via HRIS such as work schedules or time off policies.

Data validation rules can warn users if a time entry overlaps with another one or their holiday request is invalid due to insufficient leave balance.

3. Visualise data clearly in a single secure system

Some human resource information systems may help businesses automatically create time off and attendance overview companywide. Other HRIS go a step further by providing company calendars displaying current and planned absences to keep everyone in the company updated.

By doing so, not only are they providing a clear visualisation on how time off or working hours are being used, but they also remove the burden of looking for bits of information across different tools. Additionally, it helps managers to make data-driven decisions for leave planning.

Centralising data in a single system also decreases the chances of internal and external data breaches thanks to role permissions, which brings us to the next point.

4. Keep your company structured and your desk clear

An HRIS may allow you to depict your corporate structure in seconds, by adding employees and assigning them to teams, positions, locations, and access permissions. For example, team managers can view and edit information related to direct reports while team members can see their own data and coworkers’ public data. Some HRIS may even help to organise important documents by providing an integrated document system where you can share documents and other relevant information with everyone in the company.

5. Save paper and postage

More and more, SMEs are wearing their green credentials by investing in sustainable office solutions. An HRIS brings companies a step closer to sustainability: it saves paper and the cumbersome, time-intensive task of maintaining paper records while also cutting postage, printer and ink costs.

Additionally, it gets rid of the clutter that can often accumulate in a paper-dependent workspace. With an HRIS, you will no longer have to sift through documents. You'll also rest assured that employee data is stored securely in digital files.

What to look out for in an HRIS

Security and compliance are main concerns for business owners. Compliance alone keeps business owners awake, considering 78% of them say that keeping up with HR compliance and laws is very challenging.

When choosing an HRIS, you should make sure its employee database is compliant with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Streamlining your HR admin should be easy, but not at the cost of security. Due to the numerous amount of sensitive data stored in an HRIS, it is important to make sure it follows security industry standards. During an HRIS purchase, you could ask vendors for their security guidelines to help you determine if you're making the right decision.

In addition to considering security and compliance as essential requirements, you could also add user-friendliness to your checklist. Unfortunately, the majority of HRIS available in the market are not user-friendly. The disadvantages of working with a complicated HRIS are many, including figuring out things on your own. Some vendors stand out from the competition by offering an online demo. Make sure you make a wise choice!

How much does an HRIS system cost?

The prices of an HRIS vary depending on the functionalities requested. To adapt to the needs of companies, which are not necessarily the same, there are different types of subscriptions: 

  • Fixed price
  • à la carte by module
  • Package
  • According to number of employees

HRIS can quickly become expensive. Hence, having an HRIS requirements checklist is a must. Take for instance, an SME and a large company. Both have different needs. The larger companies may be looking for more complex and therefore more expensive HRMS solutions.

Download your HRIS requirements checklist here

On average, an SME should not pay more than 3-4 € per employee per month to have HR software that meets its basic needs, such as:

  • Employee Self Service
  • Time and activity management
  • Leave management
  • HR data
  • Benefits administration
  • HR document management
  • Company overview
  • Onboarding and offboarding processes
  • Employee career tracking
  • HR reports

Get started with HRIS for only €2.50 a month 

kiwiHR is an affordable solution for small and medium businesses. Intuitive and easy to use, it is accessible from any mobile device or computer for €2.50 month/employee on annual plan or €3 month/employee in a monthly plan. See detailed prices.

Go digital with kiwiHR’s HRIS - your team will thank you for it. Try for 14 days for free.

Try HRIS free for 14 days!

An HRIS offers freedom from Excel spreadsheets! Avoid the tedious job of entering data in spreadsheets and setting formulas. kiwiHR is secure and easy to use HR software and can be seamlessly accessed from all devices. Sign up for a 14 day free trial of kiwiHR today and experience the benefits of using HRIS for yourself!


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