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How to use an HRIS – and 6 reasons why you need one

An HRIS (Human Resources Information System) is a digital tool that streamlines HR processes like onboarding, payroll, analytics, compliance, and self-service. It automates complex tasks, reduces errors, provides valuable insights, ensures compliance, and empowers employees.

Content team
Content team

Content manager Keith MacKenzie and content specialist Alex Pantelakis bring their HR & employment expertise to Resources.

how to use HRIS

Human Resources (HR) is elemental to every department in your company. From onboarding new hires to payroll to time off, HR has its finger on the pulse of employee relations. And as such, as an HR professional or business owner, you’ll find software – in this case, an HRIS – to optimize all this work. Knowing how to use one is virtually a must in today’s working world.

You can probably relate to this: the thought of actioning and capturing each employee’s every little career move elicits nightmares for HR personnel everywhere. Battered steel filing cabinets stuffed with ever-fattening manilla employee records, precious hours spent tracking down signatures, and heaps of paperwork compiled to predict trends are just some of the inconveniences of working in HR.

And for the employees? Wasting work hours to make a simple time off request, or being unaware of the training they can attend to further their careers, are HR red flags for any modern-day company.

As a business owner, how can you eliminate the aggravation of endless, time-consuming admin and increase productivity?

Yes, that’s right. A Human Resources Information System – the aforementioned HRIS – benefits your company hugely.

Why you need one to be using an HRIS

In the rapidly evolving world of business, the need for streamlined, efficient, and accurate human resource management has never been more pronounced. An HR Information System (HRIS) stands at the forefront of this change, becoming an indispensable tool for businesses, both large and small. Why, you ask? Here are six compelling reasons:

1. Onboarding: focus on the experience, not the paperwork

With a capable HRIS in place, gone are the days of dragging a hapless new employee from one department to the next, filling in multiple forms for their induction. Now, a centralized database allows new recruits to enter all their relevant information in one space with company-wide accessibility – the ideal way to avoid double-entry inaccuracies.

Reminders of training workshops, events, and next steps in the onboarding workflow also give your brand-new employee control over their schedule. With the mountain of paperwork out of the way, they can focus on assimilating into your workplace. Over 25% of new hires quit their jobs after just three months, but with automated onboarding, you can beat this statistic with a 16% increase in retention rates.

Workable’s HR solution, already equipped with a best-in-class recruitment software, comes with its own natively built onboarding feature, easing the transition from candidate to employee.

2. Payroll: letting the software handle the hard stuff

Validating employees’ time and attendance, a clock-in clock-out function, and giving employees easy access to view their paychecks are just some of the ways HRIS can work for you. Other capabilities include payroll reports, PTO and overtime adjustments, benefit deductions, tax calculations…the list goes on. HRIS performs complex processes with zero errors and minimal human intervention.

Along with convenience, an automated payroll system awards you some much-needed time. A CareerBuilder study found that managers who did not fully automate lost about 14 hours per week on manual tasks that could have easily been automated. This equates to at least one whole extra day of work that can be dedicated to employee engagement, learning and development, or performance improvement.

3. Analytics: crunching numbers for creative initiatives

The rise (and fall?) of HR analytics researched what its value would be in 2025 and cited that “managers will consider HR analytics an unmistakable link in underpinning and making strategic choices”. That’s all well and good until you have to sift through mounds of data, trying to make sense of the information while picking up on patterns that could predict the future of your workforce.

With an HRIS, however, the data is organized for you and generated in the form of boardroom-ready reports. Make use of templates that consider the usual HR metrics or create a customized analysis specific to your organization’s needs.

Need to convince the board of executives that your initiative has a solid foundation? Nothing lends credibility to a strategy like the numbers that back it up, and with HRIS, those are just a few clicks away.

4. Compliance: Sticking to the rules has never been easier

Whether it’s a US Department of Labor audit or keeping up with government regulations, anything to do with compliance sits firmly in HR’s lap. CCPA, GDPR, EEOC … the alphabet soup of legislation can be disorienting to wade through.

While it’s a necessary aspect of HR, most personnel would rather focus their energy on talent development and employee retention. HRIS gives them the time to do this with standardized reports and graphs that need only have their parameters defined and are quick to access.

But it doesn’t stop at mere information output. Combined with time and attendance data, HRIS tracks working hours, overtime, and break periods – sending an alert when non-compliance may become an issue. It even sends notifications when employees become eligible to enter your company’s retirement program. With fewer items for HR personnel to have to track, you can decrease workload and possible errors.

5. Self-service: opening the portal to employee interaction

When an employee heads to HR to change their personal information, they are distracted from their tasks, which impacts productivity. Time and money are lost for a simple benefits change. HRIS gives employees access to their personal information so they can make certain changes themselves.

Not only does this ensure the information is accurate, it provides your workers with some autonomy while encouraging employee engagement.

Self-service options can include: submitting documentation; viewing paychecks; monitoring time and attendance; changes to benefits; notifications and alerts between management and employees; and access to learning management systems.

6. Time-off requests: saving paper, time, and money with a couple of clicks

Here’s a well-known stat: companies spend $20 to file and store a single document. That’s just the monetary cost of filing one time off request. It also involves the following:

  • verifying if it’s unpaid or paid time off (PTO)
  • checking PTO balances
  • ensuring the correct number of days are allocated when combined with public holidays and weekends
  • updating the new PTO balance
  • informing the relevant stakeholders

That’s 20 minutes of an office worker’s time doing something that could have been done in less than five.

HRIS makes quick work of this tedious process by instantly sending time-off requests to the applicable manager, updating PTO balances once approved, and sending notifications to interested parties. All this in minutes and with no paper to be seen (or lost) anywhere.

Need to manage HR but don't have time?

Our HRIS tools helps you save time by automating your onboarding process and keep track of all employees’ information effortlessly, all in Workable.

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Streamline your processes with HRIS

It’s time to move your operations into the digital age. With a welcoming onboarding program, comprehensive payroll suite, and user-friendly employee self-service function, HRIS takes care of day-to-day duties while boosting company-wide collaboration on a single platform.

In a G2 survey, 80% of HR employees observed that using HR technology improved employees’ attitudes toward the company. It’s a well-known fact that an engaged employee equates to better performance. With the time and money you’ll save, HRIS is the perfect tool for directing your company’s resources to where it matters.

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