What is an HRIS? Definition, functions and advantages

A human-resource-information-system (HRIS) combines many HR management tasks on a single digital platform. Its task is to link, analyze and evaluate HR data easily and efficiently. This relieves the HR department of routine tasks and gives HR managers valuable time to devote to complex and strategic tasks. Not sure if an HRIS is right for your company? Find out here what HR information systems can do and what you should consider when selecting an HRIS.

Definition: What is an HRIS?

An HRIS is an intelligent database that stores, processes and manages personnel data. This includes employee data such as name, address, social security number, visa or work permit information. With an HRIS, HR staff can perform all core HR tasks completely digitally and efficiently – sometimes even with the click of a button. Through the interaction of the various data, diverse applications and reporting functions, a personnel information system makes personnel data accessible and usable for HR managers, in other words, a real value.

HRIS: Functions and Goals

Above all, a human ressource information system ensures standardization of processes and facilitates precise and efficient reporting. In addition, it provides important data for strategic decisions in personnel management in the shortest possible time.

HRIS Functions

An HRIS offers a wide range of functions. It can map and support a wide range of HR processes and interactions. This ranges from the core tasks of an HR department to additional functions such as recruitment, applicant tracking, time and attendance management, performance appraisal and performance administration. There are also HRIS that include employee self-service or accounting functions.

The technology allows for intelligent automation of workflows across system and business function boundaries. It makes HR information available to the company and employees in an optimized and efficient manner. What an HRIS platform can do in detail depends on the provider.

HRIS-Functions Overview

HR core tasks

With the help of an HRIS, all HR and employee data can be managed. All HR documents are stored in a single, easily accessible database. HR processes can be easily automated and reports can be generated at the touch of a button. This is straightforward and complies with data protection requirements.

Time management

Every HRIS system also offers time management functions. Time and attendance systems electronically record employees’ comings and goings and remind employees to submit their time sheets on time for payroll. In addition, sick days, paid time off, vacation days and more can be requested and approved through a human resources information system.

Compensation management

Some human resources information systems can handle the entire compensation management process, including salary reviews, bonuses and stock grants. All parties involved, such as HR, finance, executive management and managers, have access to the data they need at any time.

Performance management

Some HRIS systems also support talent management. They offer 360-degree performance appraisals for both on-site and off-site employees. The results of employee reviews can be recorded and reviewed with just a few clicks.

Self Service Functions

Self-service functions enable employees to manage their personnel-related data themselves via an HRIS. They can access personnel-related data such as absences, vacation days or working hours at any time. This ensures transparency and speeds up HR processes. To ensure that not all data is visible to everyone and that data protection is maintained, there are individual access permissions.

Recruiting and onboarding

An HRIS can also help to find and select the best professionals on the market. The job offer can be posted on several portals at the same time, for example, and applications can be easily sifted through. Some human resources information systems also offer functions for onboarding new employees.

Personnel analysis

With the help of numerous analysis functions, HRIS can compile meaningful information across platforms in real-time. Whether it’s headcount, growth, retention or absenteeism, developments over time can be displayed with just a few clicks.

HRIS Objectives

The aim of an HRIS is to bring together relevant personnel data and improve the flow of information within a company. This ensures optimized management and control of employee competencies and better performance results. In addition, data-based, optimized HR management helps keep the company competitive. A human resources information system can help build a workforce that has the right people with the right skills.

HRIS solutions in comparison

We will find the right HRIS for you!

In which areas should the HRIS be used?

How many employees does your company have?

Do you currently already use an HRIS?
If yes: Which software do you use?

What is particularly important to you about the new software?

Why is an HRIS such an effective tool for companies?

The advantage of an HRIS solution is obvious: All HR applications can be handled via a single database. All HR functions can interact with each other. The central and intelligent database stores personnel information precisely and up-to-date, consolidates it and evaluates it. This allows processes to be automated and time-consuming routine tasks to be shortened, while also expanding the range of functions in HR work. HR managers have more time to perform strategic tasks.

If, for example, company rules or legal regulations change, HRIS systems can automatically adapt reporting structures. At the same time, human resources information systems are easy to use and user-friendly. In addition, companies only have to deal with the selection of HR software once and employees only have to familiarize themselves with it once.

Most HRIS systems work with a cloud platform. This makes it easy to store very large amounts of data and easily integrate complementary applications, such as payroll, applicant management and other HR systems.

An HRIS is:

  • flexible and configurable
  • can be combined with other HR software solutions and HR platforms
  • secure and protects sensitive HR data
  • efficient and user-friendly

HRIS: Definition, Systeme & Vorteile

Benefits of using HRIS

An HRIS benefits everyone within an organization, including HR professionals, managers and employees. Automated workflows and centralized real-time data create efficiencies, which in turn increase productivity throughout the organization. There are numerous benefits to using an HRIS. The most important are:

Centralized Acces

Many HR departments still collect and archive employee data in Excel lists or classic folders. With HRIS, all relevant personnel data can be stored digitally and automatically in a central database. This gives HR managers targeted access to the current data at any time. They can view all data without having to search for the right folder.

Less Effort

The human resources information system updates personnel data automatically. Leave requests can be processed at the touch of a button. This not only saves time, but also reduces the error rate that can occur with manual processes.

Lower Costs

The automated processes enable HR managers to complete tasks faster, more efficiently and, last but not least, more cost-effectively. Valuable working time can thus be saved, permanently. On the other hand, the costs of an HRIS system usually consist of a set-up fee and a small flat rate per employee. The bottom line is a favorable cost-benefit ratio. Small and medium-sized companies in particular benefit from an HRIS solution. Many of them do not have their own HR department and have so far outsourced time-consuming and complex HR tasks to an external service provider. And that costs money, which could be saved with a human resources information system.

Perfect Overview

An HRIS system saves time, costs and provides a better overview of personnel data. The HR department has a constant overview of all absences. HR employees can see who is sick or on vacation and who is working from home. It is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

More Transparancy

Most HRIS offer a broad self-service functionality. This gives employees the opportunity to maintain their own data themselves. This allows employees to manage some HR processes themselves, such as updating personal data, submitting a leave request or retrieving training offers. All of this leads to greater transparency and to employees feeling more involved and more satisfied.

More Security

All personal information and data is stored centrally in an HRIS system. This makes it easier to protect the data and comply with all applicable data protection laws. If there are new security solutions or new laws for the protection of personal data, human resources information systems update themselves automatically.

Examples for HRIS

Depending on the requirements, companies can use an HRIS system for different goals. Here are some examples:

Do you want to reduce time-intensive work?

Common HRIS capabilities – such as automation, analytics and artificial intelligence – can help HR departments complete time-intensive tasks faster. For example, payroll, time tracking and other manual administrative tasks can reduce labor time and labor costs.

Do you want to work in a user-friendly way?

An HRIS offers user-friendly interfaces and mobile apps. This makes it easier to fill out applications, sign up for benefits and perform other HR tasks.

HRIS: Definition, Systeme & Vorteile

Do you want to make data-driven decisions?

Some human resources information systems have predictive analytics capabilities, including forecasting and modeling, that can help HR managers make more informed decisions. More and more HR departments are using data analytics to improve processes and attract, retain and develop employees.

Do you want to be digitally well positioned for the future?

If a company is growing, the HRIS will grow with it. Cloud-based technology is usually able to handle increasing employee numbers, transactions and data volumes, as well as expansions to new locations.

HRIS Systems/Services: Definition & Applications

In the past, it is predominantly companies with a medium to large workforce that used human resources information systems. But thanks to the minimal infrastructure and implementation costs for cloud-based HRIS systems, smaller, growth-oriented companies can now also benefit from the advantages and efficiency gains offered by an HRIS.

It makes sense for smaller and mid-sized companies to rely on a human resources information system to cover the majority of all HR tasks. For special areas, such as knowledge management or new recruiting methods, you can specifically supplement the HRIS with additional solutions.

Large companies also often choose a comprehensive solution for administrative tasks. For tasks such as recruiting or personnel development, on the other hand, where innovation is important, separate software applications are used.

Definition: What does HRIS stand for?

HRIS stands for the interconnected data management of various HR processes such as benefits, personnel management, payroll and central HR functions. HRIS helps maintain, manage and process detailed employee information as well as HR-related policies and procedures. The most advanced HRIS are interactive information management systems that standardize HR tasks and processes while facilitating accurate record keeping and precise reporting. HRIS enables efficient communication between employees and the business. It allows HR professionals to do more strategic, higher quality work.

Use Cases for HRIS in a company

HRIS systems streamline and automate workflows and support employees across the enterprise:

  • HR managers can post job openings, access and edit personnel information, and support the onboarding of new employees.
  • Supervisors can monitor team structure, track work hours and absences, control and request salary changes for team members, and approve leave and absence requests.
  • Employees can edit personal data, view organizational charts, record work hours, and request absences.

HR Digitalisierung

What does a company need to use HRIS?

An HRIS implementation is a daunting task, and it involves the entire human resources department. Because of these interdependencies, HRIS implementation requires thinking outside the box – as it impacts almost all areas. Here’s what a company should have in place:


No question. A new HRIS is an investment. Individual HR software solutions can be purchased for far less. Nevertheless, a human resources information system offers numerous advantages that pay off for a company in the medium and long term.


An HRIS implementation can take years. Setting up an HRIS basically involves a dialog-oriented database, application software, IT infrastructure or hardware and interfaces. It is a complete transformation process of the IT landscape in human resources.

Human resources

During an HRIS implementation, all HR employees are fully engaged. Some HRIS platforms are designed in such a way that HR staff can configure and implement the solution without the support of the IT department. In the long run, a human resources information system reduces the need for personnel due to its effectiveness and efficiency.

Acceptance and co-determination

When implementing a human resources information systems, it is also important to take into account the different perspectives of the people who will come into contact with the system. Involving stakeholders in the implementation process leads to greater acceptance of the HRIS.

The introduction of self-service functions also helps to make HR processes more transparent and employees more satisfied.

How do you choose the right HRIS?

Do you want to take advantage of an HRIS for your company’s human resources management process? Then you are faced with an important decision that can have an impact on whether you achieve certain business goals. The following approach has proven effective:

  1. identify any issues or challenges with current HR processes.
  2. investigate how an HRIS can help overcome these obstacles
  3. create an HRIS requirements checklist
  4. evaluate HRIS vendors according to the checklist.


These criteria may be helpful in selecting an appropriate HRIS:

  • Cost: What are the setup and usage costs of an HRIS?
  • Functionality: What features do you really need?
  • Customer support: Do you need 24/7 support? Or is it enough for you if customer support is available during normal business hours?
  • Industry expertise: How much industry expertise should your HRIS have? Is it tailored to the needs of your HR department?

HRIS-Specialist: Definition and Tasks

HRIS specialists are highly sought-after experts in a company’s HR department. They combine HR knowledge with technical know-how and are responsible for the smooth operation of an HRIS.

Definition: What is an HRIS-Specialist?

The use of information and communication technologies has long been part of everyday life in human resource management. More and more analog structures and processes are being converted into digital ones. HRIS managers are specialists in HR information systems. They know how to use and store HR-relevant information efficiently in IT systems. HRIS-Specialists fundamentally rethink HR processes and map them in a digital system. They are HR specialists and IT specialists in one person.

Tasks of an HRIS-Specialist

HRIS specialists are responsible for the smooth operation of all IT systems used in a human resources department. This includes applicant tracking, personnel management, personnel development, payroll and much more. HRIS automates routine tasks so that HR staff have more time for the strategic development of human resource management.

Some of the most important tasks of an HRIS-Specialist are:

  • Analyze HR data: the collection and analysis of HR data on various strategic issues.
  • Maintaining HR IT systems and providing technical support
  • Training employees in the use of digital HR systems
  • Planning personnel
  • Improve HR processes

Qualifications and salary of an HRIS Specialist

HRIS specialists are expected to have several qualifications. They must have both technical know-how, knowledge in data analysis and HR expertise. Typically, HRIS Specialists have a degree in human resource management. A bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related field may also be of great interest to employers.

The average salary for HR IT experts in Germany is 74,400 euros (Glassdoor October 2022). Due to the growing importance of HR digitalization, the strategic function of an HRIS manager in the company will also become increasingly important in the future. This development will probably also be reflected in an increase in salaries.


What is HRIS?

An HRIS is an intelligent database that stores, processes and manages personnel data. With a human resources information system, HR staff can perform all core HR tasks completely electronically and efficiently.

Why is HRIS so important?

Through the interaction of various data, diverse applications and reporting functions, an HRIS makes personnel data accessible and usable for HR managers. This enables HR managers to make data-based decisions and contribute to the company’s success.

What does an HRIS specialist do?

HRIS specialists combine HR knowledge with technical know-how. They are responsible for the smooth functioning of all IT systems used in a human resources department.

What are the benefits of HRIS?

The advantage of an HRIS solution is obvious: All HR applications can be handled via a single database. This enables central access to HR information, less effort and low costs for HR administration, a perfect overview at all times, high transparency and comprehensive data protection.

Which HRIS providers are there?

What an HRIS platform can do in detail depends on the provider. Some systems focus on the core tasks of an HR department, while others offer additional functions such as recruitment, applicant tracking, time and attendance management, performance appraisal and performance management. There are also human resources information systems that include employee self-service or accounting functions.


An HRIS combines many HR management tasks on a single digital platform. By linking, analyzing and evaluating HR data simply and efficiently, it relieves the HR department of routine tasks and gives HR managers valuable time to devote to complex and strategic tasks.

Conclusion: HRIS

An HRIS fundamentally improves communication between the company and its employees and increases the transparency of HR processes. This saves time and costs and ensures greater employee satisfaction. Everyone benefits from being able to work more efficiently and gain more transparency and autonomy over their own data.

Which HRIS solution a company chooses depends on the requirements of the particular business. In principle, HRIS platforms offer a high degree of flexibility and can become the centerpiece of the digital HR transformation process.