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Factors to Consider When Developing a Human Resource Information System by Bert Markgraf

Many managers will tell you that the employees of a company are its most important asset. A human resource information system is a software or online solution that helps companies manage this valuable resource consistently and provides information for management decisions. To develop an effective system, you must consider the many factors in addressing tasks such as hiring new employees, compensation, promotion, planning for retirement and succession.


Overall objectives of a human resource information system are to improve the administration of human resources while increasing efficiency and reducing costs. To accomplish these goals, the system automates standard functions and makes the delivery of services to employees more convenient. Such systems gather and retain more information than older, manual systems, but to be effective, they have to present it in a form managers can use to make personnel decisions. When you are considering an HRIS, make sure it fulfills all the functions of a traditional system while offering greater ease of use to both employees and HR staff.


A human resource information system keeps track of employee profiles and administers benefits. More advanced systems develop descriptions of positions in the company’s organization, match employee profiles to the positions and recommend training where the profiles don’t match the position. Managers can use HRIS to plan for promoting employees along organizational paths that match their profiles while evaluating performance against the requirements of the position. The succession planning function helps managers designate one or more possible replacements for each position should the company lose a particular employee.


An HRIS must protect employees’ privacy while ensuring that the data is accurate and the information remains accessible to authorized parties. When developing the system, ensure that it requires user names and passwords for access and that it keeps logs of access requests to record who has been viewing files. Typically, such systems incorporate an access level for viewing data, a level for changing data and a level for changing database structures. Procedures governing changes to the information make sure it is modified only when necessary, and change logs preserve the history of such actions.


A key factor for developing an HRIS is how you plan to implement it. The changeover to the new system must take place without disrupting the operations of the company and the delivery of services to employees. Additionally, employees will require training on the new system. Companies often plan for the parallel operation of the old and new systems for a limited time, and training takes place prior to and during this time. When the new system takes over, the old system remains accessible for historical data if necessary.


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