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Human Resource Information Systems: Costs & Benefits to Employees, HR and Organizations

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  • 0:01 HRIS Defined
  • 1:24 Information Managed
  • 2:37 Benefits
  • 4:54 Costs & Risks
  • 5:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
While we may be heading to a 'paperless' office, the amount of information handled by HR professionals seems to keep growing. In this lesson, you'll learn about human resource information systems and how they can help with information management.

HRIS Defined

Abbey is a human resource manager for a rapidly growing company, and she is frustrated. She's responsible for all the human resource functions at her company and she only has one assistant, Nathan. One of Abbey's biggest problems is effectively managing the flood of information that comes to her office on a daily basis.

The rapid expansion of the company is not helping. She must contend with nearly 100 applications for each open position at the company. She also must manage the personnel files, benefits and payroll for over 40 employees. Currently, she maintains a paper file system, although it is quickly deteriorating into a paper pile system.

After doing some research, Abbey thinks that the creation or purchase of a human resource information system may be the best solution for the growing company. According to human resource author Michael Lewis Lengnick-Hall, 'a human resource information system (HRIS) is a means of acquiring, storing, manipulating, analyzing, retrieving and distributing pertinent information regarding an organization's human resources.' It can be as simple as a file cabinet and a paper filing system or as complex as customized software programs running on large mainframe computer servers networked across the globe. Abbey knows her company has moved beyond the file cabinet method.

Information Managed

Let's take a quick look at the type of information that HRIS can manage for Abbey and her lone assistant. HRIS manages information about:

  • The organization - Abbey can store and manage all the company's policies and procedures in the system. A computerized system means that the information can be stored and retrieved electronically and can be modified with the stroke of some keys. Moreover, if she wants, Abbey can make documents and forms available to employees through the company's intranet.
  • The jobs at the organization - Abbey can store job information in the system, such as each job's position title, job description, minimum qualifications, salary or wage range, number of current vacancies, turnover rates and active applicants for each position.
  • Employees - The system can keep all the records that one would find in a traditional personnel file, including original application, resume, date of hire, promotion and salary history, performance reviews, benefit elections, payroll and tax information and that's just to name a few bits of data. The system may even provide online independent training for employees to pursue their own development.

Benefits

Employees, HR professionals and the organization can benefit from a well-functioning computerized human resource information system. Abbey and her company can benefit from having all the data stored electronically in one easily accessible place. Since the data is stored electronically, Abbey can also integrate all the data to efficiently make more informed decisions.

Let's look at some examples. Abbey may pull the data from performance reviews and employee salary history to help make decisions on raises and bonuses. She may cross-reference performance reviews with the employee's personal skill set to help determine employee development goals.

In fact, she can look at all the performance reviews as a whole and see if there are patterns indicating a need for training across the organization. Abbey can also easily gather and collate data necessary for external and internal auditing to confirm compliance with state and federal law and internal company policy.

HRIS can also be a great benefit in Abbey's recruitment efforts. The system can be used to store, manage, track applications and create reports. More advance programs may be able to set up screening filters to screen out applications not meeting a minimum set of qualifications, saving the organization time and money.

A good HRIS system may also provide for both more enhanced and efficient employee communication. The system can be integrated into the company's communication system, which can provide instant notification of changes to the company's policies and procedures and other notices, such as the opening of the benefits open enrollment period. This feature not only benefits the organization, but also employees.

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