Human Resource Information System

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The HR function is still to a large degree administrative and common to all organisations. To varying degrees, most organisations have formalised selection, evaluation, and payroll processes. Efficient and effective management of the human asset has become an increasingly imperative and complex activity to all HR professionals. The HR function consists of tracking innumerable data points on each employee, from personal histories, data, skills, capabilities, and experiences to payroll records. To reduce the manual workload of these administrative activities, organisations began to electronically automate many of these processes by introducing innovative HRIS technology. Due to complexity in programming, capabilities and limited technical resources, HR executives rely on internal or external IT professionals to develop and maintain their Human Resource Management Information Systems (HRIS). Before the "client-server" architecture evolved in the late 1980s, every single HR automation process came largely in form of mainframe computers that could handle large amounts of data transactions. In consequence of the high capital investment necessary to purchase or program proprietary software, these internally developed HRIS were limited to medium to large organisations being able to afford internal IT capabilities. The advent of client-server HRMS authorized HR executives for the first time to take responsibility and ownership of their systems. These client-server HRIS are characteristically developed around four principal areas of HR functionalities: 1) payroll 2) time and labour management 3) benefits administration and 4) HR management. The payroll model automates the pay process by gathering data on employee time and attendance, calculating various deductions and taxes, and generating periodic pay cheques and employee tax reports. Data is generally fed from the human resources and time keeping modules to calculate automatic deposit and manual cheque writing capabilities. Sophisticated HCM systems can set up accounts payable transactions from employee deduction or produce garnishment cheques. The payroll module sends accounting information to the general ledger for posting subsequent to a pay cycle. The time and labour management module applies new technology and methods (time collection devices) to cost effectively gather and evaluate employee time/work information. The most advanced modules provide broad flexibility in data collection methods, as well as labour distribution capabilities and data analysis features. This module is a key ingredient to establish organisational cost accounting capabilities. The benefit administration model permits HR professionals to easily administer and track employee participation in benefits programs ranging from healthcare provider, insurance policy, and pension plan to profit sharing or stock option plans. The HR management module is a component covering all other HR aspects from application to retirement. The system records basic demographic and address data, selection, training and development, capabilities and skills management, compensation planning records and other related activities. Leading edge systems provide the ability to "read" applications and enter relevant data to applicable database fields, notify employers and provide position management and position control. Typically, HRIS technology replaces the four core HR activities by streamlining them electronically; 1) payroll, 2) time and labour management, 3) benefit administration and 4) HR management. While using the internet or corporate intranet as a communication and workflow vehicle, the HRIS technology can convert these into web-based HRIS components of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and permit to reduce transaction costs, leading to greater HR and organisational efficiency. Through employee or manager self-service, HR activities shift away from paper based processes to using self-service...
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