HRIS Explained: Essential Guide for 2024

Motivating employees in times of crisis

HRIS stands for Human Resources Information System. An HRIS is a system or software used to collect, manage and run processes and programmes based on employee data.

Beyond that, an HRIS should be able to manage a host of HR processes. This might include recruiting, onboarding, managing, developing and paying employees.

Think of it as marrying the power of IT with HR. A centralised place where you can manage information, make changes and craft reports while running automated processes.

Take a look at how Personio optimises every stage of the employee journey. Here's our guide.

HRIS: A collection of key facts

  • A human resources information system (HRIS) is a system designed to manage everyday HR tasks, large-scale projects and general workforce management.

  • The top benefits of an HRIS software include time saved, more secure data, automated processes, more satisfied employees and an improved candidate experience.

  • The right HRIS software should offer a user-friendly interface, a wide range of features and a dedicated customer support and implementation team at the ready.

Key features and benefits of an HRIS

personio HRIS software system
An HRIS, like the one Personio offers, is designed to better manage your processes and people data.

Most HRIS come with certain core HR-related competencies. This typically includes some high-level functionality, such as:

Digital employee files

A digitised form of record-keeping where employee information exists in the cloud.

Employee self-service

A function where employees can easily upload and make changes to their data.

Absences and attendance

Giving employees the opportunity to make requests for manager approval.

Training and development

Both performance reviews and logging various training sessions.

Analytics and reports

Turning data into digestible reports that can be shared with executives.

Which benefits does an HRIS bring?

Many organisations will want an HRIS for different, competing reasons. Sometimes, it simply comes down to getting all of your ducks in a row. Other times, it offers the chance to focus your time on more important, people-related matters.

In any event, here are some of the top advantages of having an HRIS in your organisation:

  • Time savings - For instance, Personio saves HR teams up to 60 hours per month. When you have a great HRIS, your HR team spends less time entering information manually, struggling to generate reports, capturing signatures from people quickly and easily and saving time to focus on more strategic initiatives.

  • Clean databases - An HRIS can help keep teams organised by operating from one single source of truth. That means one set of information, easily accessible by all, to eliminate confusion and increase transparency.

  • Complete compliance - The right HRIS will be 100% compliant with European data standards (GDPR). After all, people in your organisation need to trust that their data is in safe hands — and HRIS software, when designed well and with the appropriate amount of diligence, can ensure this is the case.

  • Great candidate experiences - When an HRIS has a strong recruitment function, it can ensure that new employees have a great recruiting experience and a great onboarding. Your processes, productivity and culture all benefit, which, if you ask us, is reason enough to implement an HRIS right this second.

  • Data-based decisions - A great HRIS should be able to generate reports that educate your HR team, as well as your entire organisation. Easily-generated reports, created at the click of a button, can make this a reality.

Modern HR teams deserve a modern HRIS

HR Management Tasks Preview

Trust Personio's all-in-one HRIS to help take your work to the next level. From one place, you can recruit, onboard, manage, develop and pay all your employees. Find out why 10,000+ companies trust Personio with their people work.

How do you choose the right HRIS?

There are a handful of considerations that exist for teams choosing the ideal system for managing your HR data. These top-level considerations often include:

Data privacy

The storage of personal employee data is massive for organisations. How is your HRiS going to keep your data secure?

Training and adoption

People need to know how to use your HRIS, and want to use it. Are you accounting for user-friendliness?


Purchasing an HRIS is an investment. How much it costs is naturally going to come up.

All of these considerations only make it more important that your team invests in the right solution. Below, we've provided five of the top questions you should ask when it comes to choosing the best HRIS for your organisation...

Choosing an HRIS: Ask these five questions

personio HRIS analytics software
Personio is designed to help organisations no matter their size or journey. Our HRIS offers a compendium of features that grows with your organisation.

Choosing the right HRIS software in the UK (or wherever you operate) will be easier if you frame your choice with five key questions. Let’s break each of them down, one by one:

1. How big is your organisation and team?

The right HRIS is designed to do two things: Manage the needs of your current workforce while being able to project ahead and handle the needs of your teams years from now. You effectively need a solution that can future-proof your HR function.

This is especially true when it comes to the strategic role of scaling HR teams. If you want the time to focus on topics like salary benchmarking, diversity and inclusion or even more core processes like onboarding or performance, you need a solution that doesn’t need babysitting every time you add new employees.

So, how big is your team? At Personio, we focus on the needs of European SMEs who are trying to streamline and standardise their HR processes for peak performance. For us, we offer a customisable solution designed to meet the needs of small or medium-sized teams.

2. Are you trying to scale your teams and business?

Whether large or small, every organisation needs top talent. Therefore, recruitment is an essential part of any HRIS. This is not only true for sourcing great talent, but for ensuring a top candidate experience and recruiting journey.

If you are trying to grow your team, or meet your lofty hiring goals (whether quantitatively or qualitatively), you need an HRIS that can manage candidates, automate your responses (like confirmation emails for resumes) and store feedback from interview rounds and potential supervisors.

The greatest competitive advantage: An HRIS that can turn a candidate into an employee with one click. Within Personio, we try to make it easy by allowing candidates to sign contracts electronically while turning them into employees in a flash.

3. How important is development in your organisation?

What kind of weight does your organisation put on performance and development? A great HRIS not only focuses on storing data but on taking things to the next level when it comes to getting the absolute most out of your top talent.

In addition, it means your organisation doesn’t have to worry about purchasing, implementing and managing a solution for data and a solution for performance. Instead, you can have everything at once.

Performance with Personio looks like this: Automating your performance cycles, automatically reminding managers about performance talks and keeping feedback and goals in one place.

That way, your managers can focus on the quality of conversations rather than simply trying to make sure they happen at all.

4. Which HR processes do you want to master?

As an HR function, there’s likely a whole host of processes that you want to focus on. So, you need a solution that can help you get started, optimise and master whatever you want to accomplish for your people.

That could be recruiting, onboarding, performance, payroll or anything in between. An all-in-one solution can ensure that you are able to tackle everything that you want while giving you the time back to approach each of these issues strategically.

5. What does your budget look like?

Because it all comes down to the bottom line.

How much does it take to invest in an HRIS? Speaking from our own experience at Personio, our HRIS is positioned around three types of plans: essential, professional and enterprise. The idea is to provide something that works for just about any organisation and billed on the number of employees that need to be managed, per month.

But, to really answer this question, we’d suggest visiting our pricing page and using our cost calculator to find out more.

HRIS: A strategic system for your entire organisation

personio HRIS system
Manage and develop your employees with a seamless HR system. Personio helps tackle each stage of the employee lifecycle.

A great HRIS is not only built for your team today. It's built to help tackle your unique challenges now and into the future.

Personio is an HR software that serves each stage of the employee lifecycle. That means helping recruit, manage and develop your employees. And everything in between!

Speak to one of our product experts about our HRIS solution and implementing Personio in your organisation — for the benefit of your HR team — today.

HRIS: Frequently asked questions

What are must-have features for an HRIS system?

A strong HRIS software solution should include a certain level of basic functionality:

HRIS Must-Have


Document Storage

To keep all your company documents and policies in one place.


To streamline offer letters, travel policies and more.


To ensure data is up-to-date -- employees make changes and HR approves them.


To source, interview, provide feedback on and hire the best candidates.


To schedule performance cycles, house feedback and create goals.

When is the right time to invest in HRIS?

At what point should you invest in HRIS software? Here are some of the most common warning signs:

Warning Sign

The Consequence

You're struggling with HR paperwork

You spend more time on admin and not on your people.

You can't see the bigger picture of your people

You might miss out on an essential element of people strategy: people.

Reports take forever to collect and create

Less reliable data, slower reporting times, less confidence from management.

Onboarding processes aren't set

New employees struggle to catch up and performance dwindles.

Your performance review process is done manually

Your employees will feel frustrated, processes will lag and engagement will suffer.

You manage absences over email

Data gets lost, projects get dropped, business suffers.

Employee data is spread out across spreadsheets

Not only not organised, but a major security risk and a lack of compliance.

If there’s anything related to HR documentation that you could plan, store, save, access or retrieve in a digital way, you should start looking into an HRIS.

Are there different types of HRIS systems?

An HRIS isn’t the only type of human resource software available. There are two other common systems to be aware of, both of which offer their own benefits:

HCM (Human Capital Management) system

The primary distinction between HCM and HRIS solutions is that an HCM suite encompasses all HRIS processes and systems, while additionally providing functions such as onboarding, salary benchmarking, benefits, performance management, HR analytics and more.

HRMS (Human Resources Management System)

The key contrast between HRIS and HRMS comes down to the complexity of the tools provided. An HRIS is usually a more basic system, offering functions such as payroll and attendance, while an HRMS goes further and includes features like performance management and reporting.

An HRIS fit for the future

Tasks and Reminders Overview