(2023 Top Picks!) List of 16 Best HRIS Systems & Software

Looking for the best HRIS software out there? Here's our list after months of research, along with advice on HRIS pricing, benefits, and how to pick the right solution

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

"SSR is the best platform to discover top 1% HR tools. Their 10 years of HR Tech experience makes their reviews the best in the industry! Every time I speak about HR technology, SSR is my number one recommendation to for people pros."

Tracie Sponenberg
Chief People Officer, The Granite Group.

"SSR is my go-to place when it comes to researching HR tools. Their product reviews are real time-savers and trustworthy, and the online community is fantastic for bouncing questions and ideas off of others in the Talent space!"

Peter Stein
Building & Defining Recruiting Operations at Clear Street

"I trust SSR's HR Tech Reviews because they talk to so many experts, know the right questions to ask and uncover during in-depth product demos to come up with their best picks"

Stacie Justice
People + Strategy at Soundwide

We spend all day researching the best HR software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on experts to refine our recommendations.  We may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page. Learn more about SelectSoftware Reviews

If you’re shopping for Human Resources Information Software (HRIS), you’re in luck because we’ve identified the top three: Deel, BambooHR, and Paycor. These rock-solid platforms perform under pressure. How do we know? Research, of course!

Read on to learn what happens when data-driven HR pros collaborate with industry experts. It’s not easy to make our list of the best HRIS systems, so keep reading to learn who else made the cut, and much more.

The Best HRIS Systems

Hand picked by our HR Technology experts after product testing, user research, and much debate - enjoy!

Deel is a fantastic (did we mention free?) HRIS for remote and international teams that need a way to compensate their employees, and a system for record.
BambooHR has remained one of the top names in HR software for years. They have won numerous awards for customer support, ease of use, and good value. Their numerous features can be flexibly packaged according to your needs.
Paycor is a robust and data-centric HR software for leaders at US-based companies that want their teams to save time with HR transactional tasks.
OnPay is very quick to set up and is quite affordable for a solution that combines payroll, HR, and benefits.
Bob is a global platform that can streamline pretty much everything an HR department needs to do, in a highly customizable manner.
Rippling is an HRIS platform with a pleasing design and thoughtful UX that handles everything between onboarding and offboarding.
Sapling’s modern and intuitive platform is one of the only remote-focused HRISs out there. It’s particularly great for onboarding and workflow automation.
Freshteam is an HR suite that’s already used by over 3,000 customers, well-regarded by small, mid-sized, and big companies alike.
As a merger of two leading companies in HR solutions, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) builds on 70 years of experience in People tech with their UKG Pro HR solution. The latter is their Core HR offering people analytics and benefits administration.
Sage People is a scalable and highly configurable cloud HR solution that helps manage People processes for global workforces. The tool features a recruitment module as well automation for essential HR workflows.
Namely is an all-in-one HR platform designed to be used by everyone and made for mid-sized companies specifically in mind.
Zenefits offers comprehensive plans with HR, payroll, and benefits in a one-size-fits-all platform.

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Introduction to HRIS Systems

Human Resources Information Software (HRIS) is critical to business operations, but they tend to be fairly expensive with rigid contracts, and choosing the wrong one can be an operational disaster (not to mention bad for your reputation around the office).

The job of an HRIS is to be the unified system to handle all people processes. This includes TA/recruiting, compensation, leave management, organizational management, and sometimes more.

This guide covers everything you need to know to make a highly-informed choice if you’re in the market. We discuss cost, contracts, common pitfalls, ROI, and tips for product demos.

We will also bring in the voices of three expert contributors: Phil Strazzulla (our founder and CEO), Stacey Richey (VP of People at Corvus Insurance, 18+ years in HR) and Danielle Jones (CEO of Pinnacle Consulting Services, 10+ years in business and HR).

Our Criteria: Here's how we chose who made the cut

We take research seriously. To make sure we’re offering our readers the very best solutions in a given software category, we are methodical, rigorous, and expansive in our research. We consult with HR professionals, vendors, and industry experts. We cut through the noise to bring you a carefully curated list of vendors, along with other essential information, to help you find the right software platform for your business. 

Here’s how we chose who makes the cut: 

Product: We believe in gaining a comprehensive understanding of a product before we recommend it, so we start by getting to know the software. Whenever possible, we meet with a senior executive (CEO or Head of Product) for a demo and Q&A. We also test the product ourselves to make sure it has a solid UI, intuitive workflows, and the features to make it a best-in-class offering. 

User feedback: We go straight to the source and compile feedback on user experience. Real-world input supports our commitment to diligence in our software evaluation methods and the products we recommend. Keeping up with the everyday experience of HR pros also puts new vendors on our radar, and it keeps us close to our community so we can better connect the right products to the right people.

Financial metrics: We are certified finance nerds, so we use all the data we can get our hands on to make selections for our guides. We comb through data for concrete statistics like retention rates, growth, profitability, and scalability. We evaluate the bottom line of each product because we know making a software purchase can put your reputation on the line. 

Best for a use case: Software is never a one-size-fits-all product. Sometimes the best solution is free or cheap. Other times it’s the one that is best for global companies or the one that’s sized right for early-stage startups. Keeping this in mind, we include solutions across the spectrum so our readers can find the best fit for their unique needs.

Here's more detail if you want to read more about how we research vendors. Our dedicated staff writers rely on hard data, impartial experts, and user feedback to ensure our reviews are helpful, truthful, and hopefully a pleasure to read!

Top HRIS Systems

We track thousands of HR tech solutions. These are the best HRIS systems per our research and expert council as of 2023.



We added Deel's HRIS to this page as it's really the first free HRIS with a global focus. Deel has a number of very large companies (Nike, DropBox, Shopify) using their global payroll platform. However, we view this HRIS as more focused on SMB and mid market companies that need a solution for a global team. This is different than their global payroll solution which companies of all sizes can leverage.

Deel is a leader in the global payroll space, and this new HRIS functionality allows them to go deeper into the HR Tech stack of smaller companies. It's an easy, free, and adequate solution. That said, it reminds us of Gusto a bit in that the functionality isn't as robust as many HRIS's. Just like Gusto added some HRIS like features to their payroll offering, Deel is doing the same.

So - this is great for companies that are global, smaller, cost conscious. But, there will be tradeoffs with more robust systems (which of course will cost a lot more!).



Pricing for Deel's HRIS is completely free! However, they do make money as a business, mostly on their global payroll offering:

  • Contractors: At $49 per contractor per month, Deel takes care of payroll and compliance for contracts in 150 countries. 
  • Full-time: From $500, this plan lets you hire full-time employees in a new country without having to set up a legal entity there. Deel becomes an Employer of Record and hires the employee for you.

A cool thing about Deel is that you can sign up for free and play around with the tool, not being charged until you pay your first team member. Once you do, pricing for Deel will vary as follows: 

  • Contractors: At $49 per contractor per month, Deel takes care of payroll and compliance for contracts in 150 countries. 
  • Full-time: From $500, this plan lets you hire full-time employees in a new country without having to set up a legal entity there. Deel becomes an Employer of Record and hires the employee for you.

Best For

Their HRIS is best for smaller companies that have global payroll needs.

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BambooHR Dashboard Screenshot - one of the best hris software



BambooHR’s platform has consistently been among the top choices for HR professionals in the US and beyond for over 10 years. In good measure, that’s because their HR platform spans across the entire employee lifecycle. Aside from the Core HR functions like leave management, employee records, and a company calendar,  they also have recruiting and performance management and payroll available as add-ons.

That being said, the HRIS is offered  as a small business package. Notably, they also have numerous amenities like an app marketplace of HR/recruiting vendors that integrate with their system, an HR glossary, and host HR events on occasion.



Pricing is not disclosed upfront, but they do offer a free trial of their all-in-one software and then go out of their way to find a version that will suit you. Before they come up with a personalized quote that will align with your budget, however, they are also likely to extend your free trial upon request or even give you a free demo of the advanced features.

Pricing is not disclosed upfront, but they do offer a free trial of their all-in-one software and then go out of their way to find a version that will suit you. Before they come up with a personalized quote that will align with your budget, however, they are also likely to extend your free trial upon request or even give you a free demo of the advanced features.

Best For

BambooHR is a good fit for companies looking for a very customizable HR product, with pricing that reflects their needs. It’s also popular among teams that are partially or even fully remote.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Paycor's HRIS system during the review



Aside from having payroll, employee experience, recruiting, benefits, and performance management, Paycor stands out from most HR software vendors for having some of the most potent HR analytics out there. They provide a custom company dashboard that leaders can build out as they please, choosing from literally hundreds of reports such as headcount trends by employment time, projected headcount, and voluntary turnover by tenure, just to mention a few.  

Further, some of their reports use secondary pools of data in order to provide benchmark analysis in real time. This effectively helps executives and HR leaders alike better understand their workforce and how their efforts stack up in comparison to similar companies.



The pricing of Paycor’s plans isn’t disclosed upfront. Contact a sales representative to get a custom quote.

Paycor's ACA Connect service is an add-on to their greater HR software. Therefore, you're paying for an entire HCM. The ACA is relevant only to companies with over 50 employees. This means you'll have to pay for their Mid-Market plan, which doesn't have listed prices online. You'll have to meet with their sales team to negotiate pricing. However, you do get the bonus of a free first three months.

Best For

Companies in the US with up to 1,000 employees, mainly in manufacturing, healthcare, food and beverage, non profits, and professional sport organizations.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of OnPay's HRIS software during the review



OnPay is a cloud-based payroll software that also offers features for HR management and benefits administration. It is quick to set up and user-friendly. Their pricing is also simple, transparent, and affordable; you only pay one monthly fee for everything, which makes OnPay is a great option for smaller companies (500 employees or less) who are budget conscious. 



OnPay charges a base fee of $36, plus $4 per employee per month. You can use the price calculator on their website to see exactly how much it’ll run you for your team size. You can also sign up for a one-month free trial there.

OnPay charges a base fee of $36, plus $4 per employee per month. They also offer a one month free trial.

Best For

OnPay is great for small businesses looking for a payroll solution with basic HR features.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Bob's HRIS system during the review



Bob, or HiBob, is a really interesting contender in the HRMS space. Their philosophy is to put the employee first, and you can see that in how easy the product is to use. Also, in various ways, this solution engages employees to better understand and cultivate culture. This is a great fit for forward-thinking HR departments that need tools like onboarding, time-tracking, payroll reports, time-off management, surveys, benefits, and much more.



Bob offers custom pricing. They have flexible plans for growing companies and will work with you to offer the best possible cost.

Bob offers custom pricing. They have flexible plans for growing companies and will work with you to offer the best possible cost.

Best For

Bob offers custom pricing. They have flexible plans for growing companies and will work with you to offer the best possible cost.

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Rippling dashboard screenshot - one of the best hris software company



Rippling is a relatively new player in the HR tools market, focusing on helping SMBs manage HR and IT in one solution.

Rippling’s focus is on automation and ease of use. In response to user feedback about problematic UX/UI, Rippling made significant improvements to the design of the web and app-based versions. The new design is a massive improvement and a big hit with our user testers.



Rippling pricing starts at $8 per user per month. Rippling uses a per-employee-per-month pricing subscription model and has monthly base fees for some of its products.

Rippling starts at $8 per month per user, but the final fee you pay will vary depending on which modules you'd like to use (or if you want the whole platform) and for how many people.

Best For

Rippling works best for small and mid-sized businesses looking to manage HR, IT, and payroll in one place. The HRIS’s average customer size is between 25-150 employees.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Sapling's HRIS system during the review



Although they started as an HR onboarding platform, Sapling has quickly grown into a remote-first HRIS with an impressive client list. Their full product keeps garnering zealous users and adding up features, currently offering tools like people admin, an intranet, a survey and feedback module, profile templates, and all sorts of integrations. 

One of Sapling’s main strengths is their workflow automation. Their goal is to help People teams improve the employee experience while saving man hours and bringing remote teams together. 



Sapling's pricing varies depending on which modules you'd get. You can start with the People Operations Platform, and then add the Essential and/or Premium modules. The final price will depend on the applicable platform fee, plus a per-user-per-month fee. To give you an idea, the minimum annual fee is $4,000 USD.

Sapling's pricing varies depending on which modules you'd get. You'd start with the People Operations Platform and then add the Essential and/or Premium modules, for instance. The final price will depend on the applicable platform fee, plus a per-user-per-month fee. To give you an idea, the minimum annual fee is $4,000 USD.

Best For

Sapling is aimed primarily at mid-sized organizations (50-2000 employees) distributed internationally.

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Freshteam's (the best and popular HRIS system) screenshot



This product from Freshworks, a business software developer from California, is an all-encompassing talent management solution specifically targeted for growing businesses but useful for all sorts of operations. Freshteam can handle your human resources experience from job postings and applicant tracking all the way to features like an employee directory and time off management. Their Sprout version is completely free for up to 50 employees.



Freshteam is free for up to 50 employees, it then starts at $1.20 per user plus a $71 platform fee, billed monthly. There are no cancellation fees. 

Freshteam has 4 pricing plans. When billed annually, they cost as follows:

  • Free: This plan is free of charge for up to 50 active employees and is limited to 3 published job postings.
  • Growth: Costing $1 per employee per month + $59 platform fee per month, the Growth plan is ideal for small companies looking to handle their basic HR needs more effectively.
  • Pro: For $2 per employee per month + $99 platform fee per month, the Pro plan comes with several added features to automate workflows and manage HR data. 
  • Enterprise: For $4 per employee per month + $169 platform fee per month, the Enterprise plan is Freshteam’s most premium offering, providing users with access to all features in previous plans with the addition of advanced customizations, reporting, and more.

Best For

All kinds of businesses can benefit from Freshteam, but it’s ideal for teams that want to handle everything from a job posting to leave management in the same place at a competitive price.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of UKG's HRIS software during the review



Focused on core HR management, UKG Pro is still simply one of the most well-known and used HCM suites out there. Their solution has been tested throughout the years and built out to the point where they have modules for just about everything you could imagine: payroll, benefits management, onboarding, time-tracking, and countless other HR functions.



Pricing for UKG Pro is not available on their website. However, it is usually on a per-employee-per-month basis, either billed annually or monthly. You’d need to contact a sales representative for an accurate quote. However, our research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

Pricing for UKG Pro is not available on their website. However, it is usually on a per-employee-per-month basis, either billed annually or monthly. You’d need to contact a sales representative for an accurate quote. However, our research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

Best For

UKG Pro is mainly marketed toward companies with more than 100 employees. That being said, their software is used in all kinds of industries. Smaller teams looking for an HCM-based approach to workforce management can also do a lot with the software.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Sage People HRIS software during the review

Sage People


Sage's HRIS is a customizable core HR suite built on top of Salesforce. Their product covers applicants through alumni and is a great option for companies in the small to medium enterprise range (150 - 5k employees) that have a global presence. They boast a 95% retention rate across their 500 customers, the result of a broad product that also integrates with the rest of Sage's ERP suite.

Sage People


While the pricing for Sage People isn't disclosed, you can take an interactive tour and see the tool for yourself. Afterwards, you can get in touch with their team to get a customized quote.

While the pricing for Sage People isn't disclosed, you can take an interactive tour and see the tool for yourself. Afterwards, you can get in touch with their team to get a customized quote.

Best For

SMBs with a distributed team, especially those that use Salesforce. Also medium enterprises with a global workforce.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Namely's HRIS system during the review



Namely has quickly become one of the best HR software solutions for the mid-market (from 50 employees to up to a thousand). Their modern, employee-friendly software sees nearly 80% of employees log in each month. Plus, their software saves their clients an average of 11 hours each week through automation and integrations which provides a strong ROI for overworked HR teams.



Custom pricing is available upon request of a demo. It will vary depending on which package you choose. They start with a basic HR package and then sell extensions or enhanced services for things like payroll solutions and employee benefits.

Custom pricing is available upon request of a demo. It will vary depending on which package you choose. They start with a basic HR package and then sell extensions or enhanced services for things like payroll solutions and employee benefits.

Best For

Mid-sized companies in any industry, but mostly in the United States.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Zenefits' HRIS platform during the review



Zenefits can take care of HR processes like onboarding, offboarding, benefits, payroll, performance reviews, and more. Their average customer size is just under 50 employees, which means that the user experience is thought out not only for human resources staff, but to be easy and quick enough for managers or executives that need to take care of some HR tasks as well.



Zenefits starts with the Essentials plan at $8 per month per employee. This includes all the Core HR modules, Time & Scheduling, Integrations, and the mobile app. Those features are all included, plus other modules, as the plans go up in price. They also offer independent add-ons like payroll software for free, advisory services at $8 per month per employee, and benefits admin using your own broker at $5 per user per month.

Enterprise pricing is available upon request.

Zenefits starts with the following plans: 

  • Essentials: This plan costs $8 per employee per month and packs all of Zenefits’ core HR features, employee time and scheduling tools, 3rd party integrations, as well as access to Zenefits’ mobile app.
  • Growth: This plan costs $14 per employee per month and includes all of the features under the Essentials plan, plus compensation and performance management tools.
  • Zen: This plan costs $21 per employee per month and includes all of the features under the Growth plan, plus tools and services for employee well-being tracking, employee engagement surveys, as well as access to Zenefits’ People Hub, where employees and admins can communicate and collaborate directly in their HR system of record.

 In addition to the above, Zenefits offers the following add‑ons that can go on top of any of its base plans:

  • Payroll: $6 per employee per month.
  • Advisory services: $8 per employee per month.
  • Benefits administration (with your own broker): $5 per employee per month.

The Essentials plan features ACA compliance. If you have 50 employees, the ACA minimum, it will cost $400 per month at its least expensive. However, if you use your own insurance broker, it's an extra $5 per employee per month. They offer a free two week trial before you have to buy. 

Lastly, for larger businesses looking into Zenefits, Enterprise pricing is available upon request.

Best For

Zenefits is made for small and mid-sized companies. Their mission is "to level the playing field for the other 99.7% — the underserved small businesses that fuel our economy."

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What are the benefits of having a top HRIS system?

We like to start with the “why?” behind any piece of software. With the HRIS, many assume that the answer is simple: it’s a must-have because a database that tracks your employee information is necessary. In fact, buying and using an HRIS is not the no-brainer choice it’s made out to be. It is a major strategic decision that requires a lot of time, thought, and buy-in, and in some cases, it’s just not the right tool for the job. That said, we’ve seen HRIS systems offer tremendous benefits when they are adopted at the right place and time.

Here are the key benefits of using a top-notch HRIS, whether you're a small business or Fortune 500.

Save Time with Automation: By automating recurring tasks like benefits, payroll administration, employee onboarding, time tracking, and attendance management, your HRIS helps make tedious HR processes quick, simple, and less prone to error. According to Nucleus research, companies that do use HR automation reported 67% faster new hire onboarding and 90% time savings on admin work.

According to Jones, if an organization has at least one employee whose full-time job it is to manage people systems and benefits administration, then it is time to start using an HRIS.

Improve the Employee Experience: An HRIS doesn’t just benefit your business and bottom line. It’s also a direct asset for your employees. With a user-friendly employee portal, your employees can navigate benefits options easily, review and update personal information, manage requests for time off, and much more. Employees who feel their employers’ onboarding software is effective are five times more likely to report high levels of engagement

Employee Performance: Beyond simply reviewing conduct and achievements, your HR system can actually drive employee performance. Performance reviews, engagement surveys, performance management capabilities, and customizable integrations with other tools can all be used to build culture and turn company values from ideas to action. Statistically, 72% of HR generalists engaging in self-service HRIS reported a lighter workload.

Increase Compliance: If you are careful with the setup and initial data entry, an HRIS can significantly improve your data accuracy and accessibility. In addition to helping out in a pinch, data accuracy, and task automation support compliance year-round. Automation results in fewer human errors. Many vendors do a great job of staying on top of changes in laws and regulations, keeping you in the loop, and updating their products accordingly.

Better Organization: If a team’s starting point is pencil and paper, using an HRIS will alleviate some data security risks and the hassle of sifting through physical files. For teams who have moved beyond the paper files to a patchwork of spreadsheets and other tools, buying a complete HR suite will help keep everything in the same place.

Richey shared her personal experience with this problem, and how an HRIS solved it.

Early on, her company used multiple tools for people processes: one tool for payroll, one for benefits, one for LMS, one for performance management, etc. Does this sound familiar? She knew it was time for an HRIS.

First, she identified the needed features and set her team off with a headstart and a list of non-negotiables. The result: they identified the right tool for the right price, and today, they save hours each month by not having to switch from one app to another, build integrations, or transfer info.

Streamline the Hiring Process: Some HRIS tools can also act as lightweight ATS, and some have a full-fledged ATS built-in. These features allow you to easily collect resumes, review candidate info, and speed up employee onboarding and training, providing new hires with a seamless transition into your company. Custom workflows also help ensure that the onboarding process does not overlook key steps or necessary documents.

Business Intelligence: Analyzing data metrics becomes increasingly important as your business grows. By creating custom reports, your HRIS makes it easy for your HR team to analyze hiring costs, calculate turnover, employee engagement, and ultimately use data to help inform business decisions.

Workforce Management: The top tools come from best-in-class HR technology companies. Progressive, forward-thinking HR departments can count on an HRIS platform for human capital management.

For example, employee engagement is sometimes built right into an HRIS or HRMS (human resource management software), along with intuitive employee onboarding, easy-to-access payroll and benefits, mobile first-time and attendance, and payroll management. This is done through a cloud-based service that automatically updates as new modules roll out.

Pro Tips on Best HRIS Systems

Common Pitfalls for HRIS Software

Making mistakes is a great way to learn, but with this complex and expensive software, sometimes it’s best to learn from the missteps of others.

The best way to avoid buying the wrong software is to ask the right questions. Keep this in mind as you start working with vendors – check out our suggested questions below, and take note of these shortcomings that are typical traits of bad HRIS software.

Lack of employee self-service: If your HRIS doesn’t allow employees to update their own personal information or choose their own benefits plans, then it’s not really saving your human resources team time. The tools that offer the greatest returns always include employee self-service capabilities.

Inability to integrate with other systems: If you really want to save time with an HRIS, make sure it integrates with your current tech stack. Manually transferring data from one system to another is the exact opposite of saving time.

Take, for example, the integration of a standalone ATS. Though there are some exceptions, most HRIS platforms don’t include an ATS that is sophisticated for high-volume hiring. Remember this as you shop: chances are good that your ATS and HIRS will be neighbors but not roommates. You can ensure they get along if you think ahead about integrations.

Lack of data accuracy: Your HRIS is only as good as the data it stores. A system full of inaccurate data is useless and potentially hazardous, so make sure your HRIS takes measures to ensure accuracy. This applies to data entered manually or via API from another HR or recruiting solution – be sure that your HRIS takes this step seriously. 

Lack of consideration of application’s limits: The HRIS that is right for a business with 5,000 employees is not the right HRIS for a company with 100. Your company’s current size must be a major factor in your decision, and if your business is growing fast, you’ll want an HRIS that can grow with it.

For very large teams, the options are relatively limited compared to what is available for small groups. This owes to the fact that the latest and greatest tech often comes from small, boundary-breaking startups that are too curious (and sometimes distractible) to focus on making incremental improvements to the feature set needed by enterprise-size orgs.

Incorrect or rushed implementation: Take. Your. Time. There are few things worse than technical debt, one of which is technical debt that results from preventable (a.k.a “stupid”) mistakes. Do not rush the data transfer process when setting up a new HRIS. If you cut corners, data will likely be entered or transferred incorrectly. Without a doubt, you will meet that data again during a frustrating and preventable (a.k.a “stupid”) moment when you discover you’ve entered the wrong pay rate or manager permissions.

It’s advisable to get a consultant if you can afford it. Someone who “has been there, done that” when transitioning data from one system to another can be advantageous. And, of course, if your new HRIS comes with a ton of vendor support, use it all!  Many companies offer tremendous support to their new clients to ensure a smooth implementation of their platform.

Non-user-friendly platform: An HRIS is only effective if employees actually use it. A poorly designed platform may generate net-negative productivity and net-positive frustration. Make sure your new system is designed for the humans who will use it: it must be easy on the eyes with good UX in all environments in which it will be used, whether an app, browser, or mobile web.

Insufficient data security: It will surprise nobody to read that a data breach on an HRIS is very, very bad. They store scads of sensitive, personal employee information, so even a  minor instance of compromised security could cause irreparable damage to your business. Be cautious and methodical when setting up your system’s security measures – and remember the sometimes blurry difference between your HR pros and your IT pros. And one rule of thumb: be weary of vendors with fewer than 20 employees listed on LinkedIn.

Insufficient planning: HR teams who have not sufficiently mapped out the process of installing and introducing their HRIS will face tremendous struggles getting their solution off the ground. To prevent this, your team should create a concrete timeline that outlines each implementation phase in great detail. Communicate with the relevant set of employees/managers at each implementation stage. Ask and expect a lot of questions, and remember: no rushing! And remember to save some resources for your future.

Having led many HIRS implementations, Richey has “been there, done that''. In her experience, she found that one of the biggest mistakes companies make is purchasing a product that works only for where they are today, with little thought of where they may be in the near or distant future. She added, "Think of all the possible changes your company might experience in the next five years and plan for that. You want a system that scales with the company to ensure you won't switch HRIS for a long time."

New HRIS Internal Stakeholder Management

Any time you manage a significant purchase for your business, internal stakeholders will be watching. In fact, part of the process of buying a new HRIS is stakeholder management. You must justify your choices from start to finish, from vendor selection to buy-in to implementation.

Generating wholehearted stakeholder buy-in is particularly important because it is crucial to maximizing the solution's value.

Identify these key stakeholders early and understand how to maintain their support.

Below is a brief overview of the various important stakeholders and advice for managing each.

Company leadership (CEO and rest of C-Suite): If you want your HRIS to have the best chance for success, you’ll need to get buy-in and continuous support from the top leaders at your company. To accomplish this, present the business case to them and carefully lay out the ROI your new HRIS will drive. Present your plan for implementation and provide them with a detailed timeline. Throughout the life of the HRIS, provide leaders with updates about how the system is meeting the goals laid out for it, and how you plan to stay on track to achieve future goals.

Human Resources: The rest of your HR team is one of the biggest stakeholders involved in the implementation and must not be overlooked! A successful solution will make HR functions much easier, and a failed solution will make them much, much more difficult. It is important to use their help to get this right.

Because they will lead in handling employee questions, issues, and possibly grievances with the system, make sure your People team feels good about the selection and is properly trained to use it. Communicate to all human resources team members how a new HRIS will change some employees’ duties, especially with the automation of tasks that we previously performed manually.

Benefits Brokers: Some of the HR professionals we talked to consider it essential to involve benefits brokers in the process. First, ensuring that the HRIS vendors you're considering work with the benefits carriers you currently use is vital. If they do not, part of your implementation process will include justifying to your employees why they are being forced to make a difficult change. In some (but not all) cases, a benefits broker can help with this.

Although keeping current benefits unchained may narrow down and simplify your search from the start, brokers can be helpful to help navigate the notoriously tricky ins and outs of benefits and coverage.  Finally, some benefit brokers have an internal HRIS team you can partner with during the RFP (request for proposal) process.

Operations team: Your operations team will be involved in the budgeting, reporting, and legal compliance of your HRIS. They may also communicate with benefits management providers and external partners affected by your new HRIS. Communicating with your operations team is crucial to their continued support of your HRIS solution.

IT teams: Your tech teams will play an important role in helping implement and update new software, so involve them in the decision-making process to ensure they are comfortable with the technology and any security implications. It may also be helpful to open a communication channel between the vendor’s tech people and your IT team, so if they do run into problems, you are already one step closer to a solution. If the system will require a lot of updates, especially if they are not the automatic, cloud-based type, make sure that your tech team is aware and prepared.

All employees: Every employee has a stake in the success or failure of your HRIS. A successful, easy-to-use HRIS is a massive benefit to workers. At the same time, the success of your HRIS is dependent on your employees using it correctly, so be sure to provide the necessary training and communicate about the solution clearly and early. You should listen to your employees' feedback at every step of the road and take their complaints and concerns seriously.

Be sure to carefully explain the positive ways an HRIS will impact their day-to-day work and focus specifically on how the system will benefit them now and in the future.

HRIS System Pricing

Pricing of HRIS software depends on the breadth of the feature set offered and the size of your organization. Typically, it is charged on a per-employee/per-month basis.

Price ranges vary a lot for different solutions. You can find an HRIS that will charge you $2/employee/month and solutions that run as high as $30/employee/month (plus additional fees for payroll and benefits, as well as extra modules for hiring and onboarding).

As with many things in life, you get what you pay for. If you just need to check the box, a cheaper solution makes sense. Suppose you want to use your HRIS to be a tool for increasing employee engagement, retaining employees, and generally driving business value through human capital management. In that case, you’ll have to pay up for one of the better solutions.

Some vendors will also charge ancillary fees in addition to the recurring SaaS cost. Be aware that these add-ons can add up, and realize that you can often negotiate these fees much more easily than the recurring per employee/per month cost of the cloud-based solution. Setup, consulting, support, and software fees are all fair game for negotiation.

A quick note: we are continually crowdsourcing data on HRIS pricing through a survey. We do this to increase transparency and help HR teams better understand their options. It's anonymous and takes only two minutes; anyone who helps the community by filling it out will get access to the entire data set.

What Are Some Key Features Of An HRIS?

When looking for an HRIS, it’s essential to think about your goals and codify them into an organizer spreadsheet to make notes throughout your vetting process. In addition to the demo questions below, it’s worth thinking through some of the key features of your new system. Here are a few you’ll want to consider as you start watching demos for potential vendors.

Employee Self-service portal: Keeping employee information current can be a lot of work for your HR department. The self-service function of many human resource management tools helps eliminate this challenge by empowering employees to view and edit their own information, including benefits selection, time off, and more. It’s worth taking the product for a spin with the employee user in mind to make sure the system is set up for their ease of use.

Time and Attendance Management: An HRIS simplifies tracking time off and planned and unplanned absences due to sickness, injury, maternity leave, or unauthorized leave.

Onboarding Capability: While onboarding typically involves a lot of paperwork, with an HRIS, employees can complete much of the onboarding process electronically, including open enrollment. Most HRIS platforms even have electronic signature functionality, allowing employees to sign scanned documents that can be stored in the system.

Custom Reporting: As HR increasingly relies on data and trends, it’s crucial to have a system that can create reports to help improve business decisions. A powerful analytics system takes the manual labor out of preparing reports and replaces it with empirical evaluation speed,  accuracy, and objectivity.

Learning Management: Though a learning management system (LMS) may be baked into your HRIS software, it's much more likely that, like the ATS, you’ll use this tool as a standalone solution. Whether integrated or built-in, the LMS is critical for managing educational materials during employee onboarding and throughout the employee lifecycle.

Employee Database: The employee database of an HRIS allows you to store all employee records and information in a centralized location. The data is searchable, making finding details on employee salary and position, performance appraisal histories, disciplinary histories, and training records easier.

Recruiting functions: Many HR solutions allow you to post new roles on job boards, manage interviews, store resumes, and transfer information when a new candidate is hired. While not all HRIS platforms have their own recruiting and applicant tracking functions, they should at least be able to integrate with your current ATS so that you can transfer new-hire information to your system quickly and smoothly.

Training and Development Management: Tracking employee training is essential, particularly in an industry where employees require specific certifications or licensing. An HRMS lets you see what training employees need or want and helps you stay current on any required recertifications.

Central Storage for Company Documents: As a centralized location for any information your employees might need, your HRIS should be where employees can find employee handbooks, emergency evacuation procedures, safety guidelines, and more.

Benefits Administration: Your HRIS software should enable employees to enroll in health insurance, manage their 401(k), and track their benefits information. Many systems also have built-in payroll solutions, so when employees update their benefits information, that information is automatically updated in the payroll system and reflected in their compensation. Often, the payroll feature is an additional charge that your HR department needs to be aware of.

Compensation management: To reduce the risk of error when handling employee compensation, HRISs often offer payroll and compensation management functions. This allows you to handle many forms of compensation including salaries, paid time off, overtime pay, and bonus programs automatically.

What Should You Ask During A Demo?

The next step is working with vendors and doing demos. For this step, it’s essential to come prepared with questions that address the core needs of your organization from a functional standpoint, as well as the various items internal stakeholders are looking for (security, data migration, self-service portals, etc.).

Here are questions you should have in your back pocket to ensure your company's needs are met by the tool your vendor is selling.

  • How will information be exchanged with carriers (for benefits)?
  • How can we put important data into this system? (API, Excel spreadsheets, documents, other databases, and paper documents)
  • Does it accommodate benefits carriers’ rules?
  • Does it integrate with ATS/payroll system/any other systems you might have that impact workforce management?
  • What built-in security measures does it contain?
  • Does this solution have SSO (single sign-on) capabilities?
  • Are there multiple authorization levels for different types of users?
  • Is there a maximum number of employees it will support?
  • What types of reporting capabilities does it have?
  • Does it include features to help HR communicate with employees, like mass emails or sophisticated message filtering?
  • How much technical training will be required?
  • What kinds of technical support are provided?
  • What recruiting capabilities are built in?
  • Which HR processes will be automated?

Richey points out, "Demoing software can be painful, but it pays to go into the weeds for every single module." When approaching a demo, Stacey likes to get a feel for what every workflow will feel like for her employees. She believes they must be getting a tool that makes their lives easier, and often, this commitment requires a trial version to test out the software after the demo.

Does Your Company Actually Need An HRIS?

While tiny businesses may be able to handle all of their employee information in spreadsheets, an HRIS becomes increasingly essential as your business grows. If you’re still not sure if an HRIS is right for your business, here are some key signs that you should be thinking about implementing one:

You have more than 25 employees: While 25 employees is not a rigid threshold, it is an excellent place to start thinking about using an HRIS. With more than 25 employees, keeping track of data becomes a chore, and at a certain point, it becomes impractical (and error-prone!) to manually enter and update all employee data.

Many of your jobs require licensing or certification: If you are in an industry where employees require up-to-date certifications for legal reasons, staying on top of the schedule is critical. An HRIS can streamline the process by setting up automated reminders when certificates are due to expire.

You’re growing fast: Companies face changing legal requirements as they pass different size thresholds. Keeping up with the legal requirements of a growing company is much easier to do automatically with an HRIS than by hand in spreadsheets.

You want your HR team to play a more strategic role: Having one easily searchable system that stores employee information, runs payroll, and handles benefits saves a lot of time for your HR team. It allows them to focus on more strategic projects for your business, like increasing employee engagement and retention or improving company culture.

You manage hourly employees: With hourly employees, you often have to track hours and manage changing schedules. This is another process that is made infinitely easier with an HIRS system.

You need custom data reports: As businesses become increasingly data-driven, accurate and readily available data-based reporting about the life of your company becomes more and more critical. Many HRIS solutions have features that easily create custom reports for you so you can get a better idea of your company's health.

HRIS Systems: FAQs

What is an HRIS?

An HRIS is an employee management platform that allows HR teams to store and manage employee records. They generally include or integrate with standalone tools that offer core HR functions like payroll, performance reviews, and ATS.

What does HRIS stand for?

HRIS stands for Human Resource Information System.

What’s the difference between HRIS, HCM, and HRMS?

HCM stands for Human Capital Management. HRMS stands for Human Resource Management System. On the surface level, there isn’t a massive difference between HRIS, HCM, and HRMS. They are all people management systems that help companies optimize their HR processes.

However, there can be some subtle differences.

  • An HRIS is an all-encompassing in-house software for managing people, procedures, and policies.
  • An HCM has all the features of an HRIS but often includes talent management capabilities.
  • An HRMS is an end-to-end system with all of the features of an HRIS and HCM but often includes payroll and time and labor management capabilities.

Pro Tips For A Smooth Implementation Of HRIS + Final Thoughts

Here are some best practices to help you make sure the process of implementing this new technology is successful:

Fully commit: To take full advantage of the services your HRIS offers, you must fully understand all of its features and how to use them. Get your data migrated into your new system quickly (but do not rush!) and dedicate time to get used to the new processes.

Decide on an implementation team: Before you choose an HRIS, you should create a team who will take full responsibility for the rollout process of the product. This team should be in charge of communicating the new HRIS to employees and providing employees with training and support. Experts from different areas of the company should be equipped to take full ownership of the implementation process.

Concentrate on adoption: If people at your company aren’t using your HRIS, then its value is drastically decreased. To prevent poor adoption, ensure employees are aware of the new technology before you roll it out. It’s also essential to select a user-friendly HRIS and provide the necessary training so all employees, from new hires to executives, feel comfortable using the technology.

Pro tip: Get one leader from each functional area to communicate the new system is coming and ensure they highlight its benefits.

Don’t be afraid to seek support from the vendor: Choose a vendor who cares about your success with the product will help if you run into any significant issues. It’s unrealistic to rely entirely on the vendor to fix all your problems, but don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Your vendor should be willing to help you if they care about their success as a business and happy to provide support if they care about yours. Understand in detail the support that will be offered, and get SLAs in place if you can.

Be able to adapt: Being adaptable is always important for an HR team, especially when it comes to implementing an HRIS. If the roll-out lacks energy or employees are responding negatively to the system, you need to be ready to change your approach to set your HRIS program up for success.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, the information here is helpful as you start to think about which HR software vendors to contact for demos, what questions you want to be answered, and which internal stakeholders need to be engaged to ensure a successful implementation of a new HRIS.

Good luck!

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