We live in the information age.  Today, anyone with a computer and internet connection has access to a vast array of data that was unthinkable just 10 years ago.  Companies in today’s world, whether they be large or small,  require a way to keep track of employee records, payroll, medical/dental benefits, taxes, 401(k) and pension plans, attendance, and many other items that make up the bread and butter of an HR department.  Keeping track of all this information with pen and paper would encompass way too much time, expense, and physical space – this is why today’s filing system for HR records is digital.

<strong>What Is HRIS?</strong>
HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems), sometimes referred to as HRMS (Human Resource Management Systems), is any piece of software that enables an HR department to collect, store, track, and manage employee data.  In the old days of computing, these programs were very expensive, or had to be developed in-house, and thus were out of reach for many small businesses and corporations that didn’t have large amounts of capital to invest in such a system.  Today, there are many more options that make HRIS affordable for virtually any business.  A few of these options include open source HRIS systems that are freely available without cost for hosting on your own server, managed hosting of an HRIS application (Software as a Service or SaaS), more affordable commercial HRIS applications, and outsourced HR to companies which perform HRIS exclusively on behalf of their clients.  There has also been a shift from applications running on a computer to web-based HRIS, enabling accessibility from multiple locations and making it much easier for groups of people to perform HR tasks simultaneously.

<strong>Why Should I Use HRIS?</strong>
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<li>Ease Of Use.  Paper files cannot be easily updated.  Even if the original document is on a computer, keeping track of which printout is the most recent would be a headache.  Searching for paper records in a file cabinet, no matter how meticulously organized, will take considerably more time and effort compared to having all the records stored inside an HRIS system.</li>
<li>Protection Against Disasters.  If your office is destroyed by a fire or natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane, your records are unrecoverable, unless you have a backup set at an offsite location.  By using an HRIS system, your records are independent of your office building, and can be backed up much more easily.</li>
<li>Save Time, Space, and Money.  Time is money – lots of money.  Imagine being able to slash the amount of time it takes to do payroll by just 20%.  Imagine being able to slash an extra 10% off of additional tasks such as employee benefits, workman’s comp, and attendance.  That extra time can be used to take care of other tasks, and the money you save by increasing efficiency and avoiding unnecessary overtime for your staff can be a lifesaver for your company.  Imagine a small room full of file cabinets.  Now imagine all of that information inside a storage device that can fit in the palm of your hand.  Imagine being able to pay less for your lease, or free up warehouse space by going digital.  Perhaps you don’t need to go through the hassle and expense of moving to a larger facility because your business is taking advantage of an HRIS system.</li>
<li>Simplify Calculations and Ensure Accuracy.  Imagine having to do math by hand, or on a calculator.  Now imagine typing your information into an HRIS system and having it automatically calculate taxable income for your company, employee withholdings, 401(k) and pension contributions, hours worked, dollar amounts, and more – while taking much of the risk for human error out of the equation.  Imagine having increased confidence in the accuracy of your HR data, minimizing risk of errors, preventing costly corrections, avoiding unnecessary tax audits, and having easier ways to file taxes or fulfill various regulatory requirements because you have an amazing personal assistant who never gets tired, is always available, never comes in to work late, and slashes operating expenses for your company.  That assistant lives inside your computer, and his name is HRIS.</li>
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