Types of HRIS Systems

bizfluent article image

tetmc/iStock/Getty Images

HRIS, or Human Resources Information Systems, are software solutions for managing all the quantitative aspects of managing human resources and payroll departments. Such tasks can be very complicated, especially if a business is very large and employs hundreds or thousands of people. HRIS software helps to track people and resources, conduct payroll calculations, manage responsibilities and do the accounting necessary to maintain an efficient department. As with any type of business software, there are a number of different software packages available covering different types of businesses and duties. HRIS systems may perform any of the following functions.

Employee Information

All HRIS software maintains a database of information on employees past and present, including such data as pay rates, department, raises and personal information.

Work Time

HRIS systems generally include the capability of tracking employee work-time, especially where employees are paid hourly or are on contract.


Most HRIS software does at least some basic form of payroll processing. Payroll begins with tracking the time spent on certain activities, usually as reported by the employee him or herself. This reporting is usually done through some sort of software or web application, though some people track work time on hard copy forms that then have to be scanned or transcribed into the computer system. Payroll systems will also conduct necessary accounting and may even print the actual paychecks.

Benefits Administration

HRIS systems that conduct payroll operations also usually manage benefits information, such as medical coverage and retirement accounts. These tie in closely with payroll but are also tracked alongside other employee information such as salary and paid time off.


HRIS systems may track performance reviews and performance issues as part of its management of employee information. Higher-grade systems may also conduct mathematical functions related to this data in order to rate employees based on performance abilities. This information can then be used to make business decisions such as whether to offer an employee a promotion or a boost in pay.

Types of Software

HRIS systems come in a variety of software configurations. Some systems are hard-coded for local installation on a computer or network at the business' location. Other systems conduct business online as a Software as a Service (SaaS) system, usually over the Internet via web sites or Intranet systems. Finally, some application vendors may provide service as a blend of these types of software.

Modular Systems

Different software packages have different capabilities, and some vendors may offer different tiers of service. Basic services are generally provided as part of a package with additional functions being available as modules that can be plugged into the basic package of software.