Before there was an app for that, HR processes were largely paper-based. Payroll, benefits enrollment, new employee onboarding, time and attendance, and compliance with complex employment regulations were all paper-intensive tasks that required a surprising amount of filing cabinet space. Larger businesses could escape the mountain of paperwork, but it required a hefty IT investment—something smaller companies were in no position to make.
Enter software as a service, whose proliferation in the last decade has put the human resources information system (or HRIS) within the grasp of any sized business.
A 2018 survey found that HR leaders in small- to medium-sized businesses are both using HR tech and pleased with its ability to increase productivity (77%) and give them a strategic edge (79%). They’re most likely to use software for recordkeeping (75%), time and attendance tracking (58%) and benefits administration (58%). But they’re not using it for every HR process. They’re most likely to keep with manual processes for new employee onboarding (28%), performance management (27%) and travel and expense reimbursement (27%).
But this silo mentality of matching individual processes and tools to specific HR tasks is a missed opportunity, says Brenda Rowan at XMI.
“We always encourage clients to take advantage of what’s available to them now, and that’s an all-in-one, cloud-based HRIS,” she says. “Having a single destination for all things HR brings multiple benefits to both employers and employees. Processes are automated, there are fewer recordkeeping errors, productivity increases, and employee engagement soars. It’s a win for all.”
Here’s a sample of what an HRIS can help you do:
- Managing benefits
- Viewing payroll reports
- Updating personnel files
- Online employee training classes
- Employee self-service
- Tracking performance and making more-informed employment decisions
Cloud-based systems have brought about additional benefits, found a 2017 HR technology survey, including quicker access to software updates, less of a dependence on an IT department, and a lower cost of ownership.
The ubiquitous smartphone and the place it has taken in the lives of employees also helps strengthen the case for cloud-based HRIS, Rowan says.
“The reality is many employees conduct their day-to-day lives on a mobile screen,” she says. “To create as frictionless an experience as possible for them to interact with their HR department, businesses really need to meet them where they are when it comes to tech. We’ve reached a time when it’s accurate to say, ‘We’re only as strong as our tech.’”