What is an HR Information System? 

HR software – also known as HR Information Systems (HRIS) or HR Management Systems (HRMS) – refers to a suite of digital tools used by businesses to manage their people.  

In the past, businesses relied on basic technology to handle employee records. Today, HR software is used to streamline all aspects of the employee journey, from recruitment and onboarding to retention and development. 

Awareness HRIS img1 | HR information system

What can HR software help with?

Considering the sheer scope of work involved in managing people, it’s clear to see how specially designed HR software can save a business time and money.   

HR software helps : 

  • Handle talent acquisition and onboarding 
  • Oversee Learning & Development (L&D) 
  • Measure employee engagement  
  • Maintain compliance 
  • Manage employee data  
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Featured Guide 

Hunting down the perfect HR software: The ultimate buyer’s guide

Starting to think about which HR Information System is right for your business? 

Download our free guide to HRIS and gain an insight into: 

  • Identifying snags in your current HR process 
  • Creating an HR software wish list for your business 
  • Selecting the best software provider 
  • Calculating return on investment for HR software

HR Information Systems for small businesses (SMEs) 

Despite having fewer employees, small businesses still need to take care of their people – often without a dedicated HR team to help. 

Considering the long-term business benefits of a good HR system, SMEs stand to seriously gain despite initial investment costs. 

Additionally, thanks to vendors like IRIS offering scalable cost models, small businesses don’t have to worry about unrealistic service fees. 

Awareness HRIS img2 | HR information system

Identifying the need for new HR Software 

How do you know when it’s time to invest in new HR software or upgrade your current system? 

Use the checklist below to assess your current HR processes: 

  • No HR software system in place 
  • Unmanageable HR admin 
  • Compliance issues 
  • Lack of real-time insights 
  • No employee self-service 
  • Roadblocks to employee engagement  
  • Not providing employees flexibility 
  • No HR software system in place

    If your business doesn’t have any HR software in place, it’s worth investigating how your current HR process could be holding you back. 

    • Are employees booking their annual leave via email?  
    • If someone is off due to sickness, is it being logged in an Excel spreadsheet? 
    • Is performance being tracked by individual managers with no central hub to store data? 
    • Are your employee records kept on an at-risk shared drive?  

    HR software can help solve and streamline all of these challenges, saving you time and making processes more secure. 

  • Unmanageable HR admin

    If you already have HR software in place but you or your team are still getting bogged down with admin, you may benefit from different software. 

    Tasks like managing sickness absences, analysing performance data and handling holiday approvals can be quickly taken care of with intuitive HR software.  

    The right software can free you up to focus on more strategic tasks like L&D, employee wellbeing initiatives and people development. 

  • Compliance issues

    HR involves a lot of sensitive personal data. If data is being transferred within your business in an unsecure way – e.g. an employee emails HR their new bank details – you are exposing yourself to the risk of a security breach. 

    With the right HR software, you and your business can: 

    • Maintain data integrity across the business 
    • Prioritise safe and GDPR-compliant data storage 
    • Adhere to rules and regulations 
  • Lack of real-time insights

    To carry out effective people management, HR professionals need recent, reliable data that’s easy to access. 

    If your business isn’t relying on suitable HR software, you may experience challenges like: 

    • Referring to out-of-date metrics 
    • Struggling to accurately track employee engagement  
    • Losing sight of who’s participated in L&D initiatives 
    • Using scattered, unsecured spreadsheets to record absences 

    HR software can provide a unified hub where you can store, share and access data – securing invaluable insight about your people. 

  • No employee self-service

    Thanks to today’s technology, we’re used to having everything we need at our fingertips – the workplace is no different. 

    Employees expect quick, convenient access to key HR processes like: 

    • Viewing payslips 
    • Checking leave balances 
    • Accessing training 
    • Reviewing objectives 
    • Updating personal data 

    If you don’t have a centralised HR system where people can log in and do their thing, you’ll be falling short of the self-service HR experience employees want. 

  • Roadblocks to employee engagement

    HR software doesn’t just automate admin, it can also help you keep your employees healthy and happy at work.  


    Without proper software, your staff may be missing out on the opportunity to: 

    • Manage their performance 
    • Sign up for training  
    • Access wellbeing or health initiatives 
    • Complete surveys to prompt change 
    • Celebrate colleagues and teams 

     If you’re not providing your people with this level of HR service, the right HR software can help you do just that. 

  • Not providing employees flexibility

    Since the pandemic, flexible working has become a fundamental demand for many employees. 

    Staff must be able to access HR services remotely, which might mean: 

    • An employee being able to check leave allowance while working from home 
    • Training made available as online sessions 
    • HR team members able to log into the HR system from anywhere 

    If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you need HR software which facilitates flexible and remote working. 

Frequently asked questions

Learn a little more about HR software and how it can better support your business. 

HRIS stands for Human Resources Information Systems. You may see HRIS referred to as: 

  • HR software 
  • HR Management Systems 
  • HR Information Software 

All of these terms refer to the same concept; an online system or program, typically accessed via your computer, phone, or other digital devices.  

Whatever word you use, an HRIS provides tools to help you manage your people more effectively – from automating admin to providing a self-service portal for employees. 

There is no real difference between HR software and HR Management Systems (HRMS). 

Ultimately, they both refer to the same thing; a digital/online system designed to help businesses take care of their people – and their HR-related tasks – more easily. 

Because smaller businesses often need the best support to thrive and function, HR software is designed to be affordable for small, micro and scalable businesses. 

Some solutions such as Staffology by IRIS operate on a scalable model, enabling you to invest in the HR processes relative to your needs. 

There’s a common misconception that HR software is only for bigger enterprises with an in-house HR department.  

Small and scaling businesses still need to handle similar tasks related to people management – often without a dedicated HR team – so there’s an equally high demand for HR software. 

Most HR software is designed to be adjustable to suit your business’ specific needs. 

An international enterprise may need HR software to cover all aspects of people management, from tracking staff retention to global wellbeing initiatives. A growing business may only need support with automating admin and storing employee data safely. 

HR software is designed to be easy to use and accessible to all levels of tech experience. If someone’s comfortable sending an email, they should have no problem with HR software. 

If there are concerns, HR software providers like IRIS offer you and your team the training and support needed to make the most of your new system. 

Some solutions can be set up in a single day and ready for you to use. Other more complex software systems can take up to three months to install and roll out.  

The best thing to do is speak directly with your desired provider to see what options they have available.  

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