Types of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)

Operational HRIS

Operational human resource information systems provide the manager with data to support routine and repetitive human resource decisions. Several operational-level information systems collect and report human resource data. These systems include information about the organization’s positions and employees and about governmental regulations.

1. Employee Information Systems

The human resource department must maintain information on each of the organization’s employees for a variety of decision and reporting purposes. One part of this employee information system is a set of human resource profile records. An employee profile usually contains personal and organization-related information, such as name, address, sex, minority status, marital status, citizenship, years of service or seniority data, education and training, previous experience, employment history within the organization, salary rate, salary or wage grade, and retirement and health plan choices. The employee inventory may also contain data about employee preferences for geographical locations and work shifts. Another part of an employee information system is an employee skills inventory. The skills inventory contains information about every employee, such as work experience, work preferences, test scores, interests, and special skills or proficiencies.

2. Position Control Systems

A job is usually defined as a group of identical positions. A position, on the other hand, consists of tasks performed by one worker. The purpose of a position control system is to identify each position in the organization, the job title within which the position is classified, and the employee currently assigned to the position. Reference to the position control system allows a human resource manager to identify the details about unfilled positions.

3. Applicant Selection and Placement Information Systems

After jobs and the employee requirements for those jobs have been identified and after a suitable pool of job candidates has been recruited, the candidates must be screened, evaluated, selected, and placed in the positions that are open. The primary purpose of the applicant selection and placement information system is to assist human resource staff in these tasks.

4. Performance Management Information Systems

Performance Management Information Systems include performance appraisal data and productivity information data. Performance management information systems data is frequently used as evidence in employee grievance matters. Careful documentation of employee performance and of how the performance was measured and reported is critical to acceptance of appraisal information in grievance hearings. Performance management information can lead to a number of decisions beyond merely supporting the operational decision to retain, promote, transfer, or terminate a single employee.

5. Government Reporting and Compliance Information Systems

Government Reporting and Compliance Information Systems provide information needed both to maintain compliance with government regulations and to improve productivity and reduce costs associated with employees.

Tactical HRIS

Tactical human resource information systems provide managers with support for decisions that emphasize the allocation of resources. Within the human resource management area, these decisions include recruitment decisions; job analysis and design decisions, training and development decisions, and employee compensation plan decisions.

1. Job Analysis and Design Information Systems

The information inputs to the job analysis and design information system include data from interviews with supervisors and workers and affirmative action guidelines. Inputs also include information from sources external to the firm, such as labor unions, competitors, and government from sources external to the firm, such as labor unions, competitors, and government agencies. The outputs of the job analysis information system are job descriptions and job specifications. These outputs provide managers with the basis for many tactical human resource decisions.

2. Recruiting Information Systems

To direct the recruiting function, the organization needs to develop a recruiting plan. The plan specifies the positions to be filled and the skills required of the employees for these positions. To develop the plan and to monitor its success, a recruiting information system is necessary to collect and process the many different types of information needed to construct the plan, including a list of unfilled positions; the duties and requirements of these positions; lists of planned employee retirements, transfers, or terminations; information about the skills and preferences of current employees; and summaries of employee appraisals. Other inputs to the recruiting plan include data about turnover rates and about the success of past placements.

3. Compensation and Benefits Information Systems

The Compensation and Benefits Information Systems may support a variety of tactical human resource decisions, especially when compensation and benefits information is related to information from internal and external sources. Compensation and benefit plans can play an important part in improving an organization’s productivity. Tying employee productivity to pay or encouraging increased productivity with incentive pay plans can often improve an organization’s productivity substantially.

4. Employee Training and Development Systems

The training offered by the employee training and development systems must meet the needs of jobs available in the organization as identified through the position control system and the job analysis and design system. The training should also be directed at those persons interested and capable of benefiting from it, as identified by the skills inventory and human resource files.

Strategic HRIS

1. Information Systems Supporting Workforce Planning

Organization involved in long-term strategic planning, such as those planning to expand into new market areas, construct factories or offices in new locations, or add new products, will need information about the quantity and quality of the available workforce to achieve their goals. Information systems that support workforce planning serve this purpose.

2. Information Systems Supporting Labor Negotiations

Negotiating with craft, maintenance, office, and factory unions requires information gathered from many of the human resource information systems. The human resource team completing the negotiating needs to be able to obtain numerous ad hoc reports that analyze the organization’s and union’s positions within the framework of both the industry and the current economic situation. It is also important that the negotiating team be able to receive ad hoc reports on a very timely basis because additional questions and tactics will occur to the team while they are conducting labor negotiations.

3. Specialized Human Resource Information Systems Software

A great deal of software has been specifically designed for the human resource function. This software is available for all types and sizes of computers, including microcomputers. Software specifically designed for the human resource management function can be divided into two basic categories: comprehensive human resource information systems software and limited-function packages that support one or a few human resource activities.

Comprehensive HRIS

In the last few years, the software industry has produced several products that organize the various human resource information systems into integrated software referred to as human resource information systems or HRIS software.

In general, the computerization of HRIS has resulted in an integrated database of human resource files. Position files, employee files, skills inventory files, job analysis and design files, affirmative action files, occupational health and safety files, and many other human resource files are constructed in a coordinated manner using database management systems software so that application programs can produce reports from any or all of the files. Thus, the human resource management director can produce reports listing likely internal candidates for open positions by running an application program that queries position files, job requirements files, and skills inventory files.

Limited-Function HRIS

Numerous commercial software packages are sold for use on mainframes, minicomputers, and microcomputers that are designed to handle one or a small number of human resource functions. Microcomputer versions of these single-function software packages are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate and allow the human resource manager to automate a function quickly and easily.

1. Training Software

Many training software packages are available for all types and sizes of computers to provide on-line training for employees. They include

  • Management training software
  • Sales training software
  • Microcomputer training software
  • Word processing training software

These software packages can be used in computer-based training programs designed by human resource department for training specific employees in-group and independent study programs. Computer-based training aids often simplify the trainer’s job and allow the trainer to individualize instruction more easily than in traditional, group-based training classes.

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