HR Tech

What Is an HRIS and How Can It Help Your Organization?

January 19, 2024
January 25, 2024
Rosanna Campbell
Lattice Team

As an HR manager, you’ve got a lot of plates to keep spinning. It’s no wonder 47% of HR professionals say they feel overwhelmed or burned out, according to our 2024 State of People Strategy Report. With so much to do and so little time in the workday, 73% of HR professionals in that same study say they don’t have what they need to perform their jobs well. 

Part of the overwhelm can stem from juggling a different software solution for each HR function. For HR teams, managing data, records, and reports across different systems is a minefield for inefficiency and error. 

What you need is a streamlined HR tech solution that lets you bring all your data and processes together, consolidating your HR tech stack to improve the employee experience and simplify your team’s day-to-day operations. 

What is an HRIS?

A human resource information system (HRIS) is an integrated suite of tools that stores essential employee data and consolidates all your people management processes. 

Think of it as the central nervous system for your HR team. As a central hub, it collects, stores, and analyzes HR data from across the business. Just as your brain can create new synapses, an HRIS establishes seamless connections between all your HR processes, allowing data to flow smoothly and efficiently. 

From performance reviews to PRO tracking, an HRIS centralizes the employee record, giving people teams a more comprehensive and integrated understanding of their workforce. With an HRIS, you can get a holistic and accurate picture of your people and their HR needs so you can improve decision-making and strategy. 

Screenshot showing a list of employees in Lattice HRIS, tracking their status, department, and any key work milestones such as their start date and anniversaries.
Track your employees’ benefits and contributions with Lattice HRIS.

HRIS, HRMS, HCM, HXM: What's the difference?

If you’re looking into upgrading your HR tech stack, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the options. HRIS, HRMS, HCM, HXM…making sense of all this alphabet soup can be a challenge. 

Each of these acronyms describes the functions offered by the technology provider. Before you get overwhelmed by the options, focus on just two things: where your organization is today and what you need in order to scale your business. Based on your company size and needs, you may only need an HRIS, as opposed to the extra bells and whistles. 

  • HRIS (Human Resources Information System): An HRIS is a digital database for all your HR data management and storage. Everything you need to know about your employees, from their personal details and work history to their attendance, payroll, and eligible benefits, can be accessed through your HRIS.
  • HRMS (Human Resource Management System): An HRMS often adds other HR functions (such as talent acquisition, performance management, and employee development) to the data management of an HRIS. 
  • HCM (Human Capital Management): An HCM usually includes the functionalities of HRIS and HRMS but goes beyond the administration to connect HR to the whole employee lifecycle — adding workforce planning and strategy, for example. 
  • HXM (Human Experience Management): An HXM has many of the same practical functions as an HRIS, HRMS, or HCM, but with an emphasis on the employee experience — for instance, by making it easier to personalize each HR component. 

10 Key Functions and Features of the Best HRIS Solutions

When you’re choosing an HRIS, you should be looking for a solution that covers the unique needs of your organization. Consider the size of your HRIS team, the pain points you need the most help with, and areas for potential automation. Your HRIS should help you spend less time on paperwork, and more time implementing HR strategies that make a difference to business outcomes and employee performance. 

An HRIS can help you manage key aspects of the employee lifecycle, including the following functions.

1. Onboarding

An HRIS can help your HR team manage the entire onboarding process, ensuring employees hit the ground running and are set up for success. In fact, a 2022 report from Jobvite found that 30% of employees leave their job in the first 90 days. A clunky onboarding experience shouldn’t be adding to that turnover. 

If your organization is experiencing high turnover or looking to grow headcount, an HRIS with onboarding features can transform your onboarding experience efficiently and seamlessly — for new employees and HR teams. 

For HR administrators, a sleek HRIS can simplify and standardize administrative tasks, serving as a repository for onboarding documents like contracts, tax forms, and company policies. User-friendly onboarding checklists of what employees need to complete and submit help make sure that everything is present and correct, and reduces time spent by HR on reminders and progress-tracking.

GIF demonstrating the use of Lattice software for onboarding a new hire. The user logs in, completes an onboarding checklist, and concludes with a welcome screen for the new hire.

2. Professional Development

With comprehensive employee data, HRIS solutions can help you identify skills gaps so you can target them with relevant training and upskilling — helping them grow and leveling up their performance. 

Lattice HRIS, for example, integrates with the rest of the Lattice talent suite to provide relevant training modules and microlearning content at the point of need. 

An employee profile in Lattice software, displaying the employee's name, job title, and career goals.
Lattice HRIS integrates seamlessly with Lattice Grow to foster employee development.

3. Payroll

An HRIS collates all the details necessary for accurate payroll processing — from tax status to bank account details and salary data. Automated calculations of salaries, taxes, Social Security, and retirement contributions limit errors and take the load off HR and accounting teams.

Some HRIS software offers payroll functionality, too, allowing HR to send payments directly to employees’ bank accounts and lets you generate end-of-year reports and key documentation. 

Not every HRIS has payroll, but a great HRIS should connect easily with your payroll system. When both systems play nicely with each other, your HR team can update information in one system and rely on the other system to follow through without manually duplicating the work. 

4. Time Off and Attendance

HRIS solutions can track working hours and overtime, making sure that employees get the correct pay for their work. Scheduling tools help to minimize scheduling conflicts, keeping workflows moving efficiently.

Employees can log their own hours through the HRIS, while HR and managers can approve or deny requests and access real-time attendance data to keep tabs on punctuality and absenteeism. 

GIF showing an HR professional using Lattice to compare data from two HR reports, engagement rates and time off.

5. Compliance

An HRIS solution makes it easier for employers to stay compliant with federal, state, and local tax and employment regulations. HRIS tools help manage compliance-related data and processes and minimize the legal and financial risks of non-compliance.

With good access controls, your sensitive compliance data can be reserved for authorized personnel only.

6. Reports and Analytics

Since an HRIS collates all employee data in one platform, it’s easier to access and analyze that data accurately. HRIS solutions have reporting and analytics tools that enable managers to dig into people metrics, generate valuable insights, produce and share reports, and assess and demonstrate ROI. 

GIF showing a user creating a new report in Lattice HRIS to analyze employee attributes (such as disability status and veteran status)

7. Employee Self-Service

Today’s HRIS solutions often provide user-friendly self-service portals. These allow employees to take care of many routine administration tasks themselves without having to chase overworked HR teams. They can easily access their records, receipts, and tax data, update their preferences, and submit requests for PTO or family leave. 

Example of company calendar and vacation requests in Lattice HRIS
Lattice HRIS makes it easy for your employees to manage their vacation requests.

8. Performance Management

The ideal HRIS platform can connect employee data with performance management to help businesses build a high-performance business culture

Keeping performance ratings, benchmarks, and pay guidelines aligned helps inform constructive and productive performance reviews and ensures fair compensation. 

9. Employee Benefits Administration

An HRIS helps you manage employees’ benefits needs, such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and voluntary deductions. This supports the payroll function and keeps employees’ bottom-line pay and contributions accurate. 

Not every HRIS offers benefits administration — and some companies choose a separate benefits vendor entirely. What’s important is that both systems integrate well together to eliminate duplicate work, cybersecurity risks, or manual errors. 

10. Integrations

For an HRIS to be that nerve center that consolidates your data flows and processes, it needs to integrate well with your existing tech stack. This makes for streamlined workflows, without the disruption of replacing your old software. 

Lattice connects with a whole ecosystem of integration partners to offer a customizable best-of-breed HR suite for your company’s specific needs and preferences. 

What are the benefits of HRIS software?

By connecting your talent programs to a full employee record, an HRIS will help you clean up your HR tech stack and get a complete picture of your people. Here are just a few of the top benefits of using an HRIS: 

Clean and Trusted Employee Data 

Using an HRIS helps you consolidate many types of employee data in one place: talent management, employee engagement, compensation, employee demographics, and more. 

When you centralize your company’s HR data in a single platform, stakeholders across the business can access up-to-date data wherever they are. This allows for accurate reporting, while automation helps to limit the chance of human error. 

Easy for Employees To Use

Onboarding tools and resources ensure that new hires get a thorough, consistent, and effective introduction to the company. But no one wants employees to be spending all their time in an HRIS — they have actual work to do. A great HRIS makes it easy for employees to update information quickly.

HR can streamline performance management tasks, such as setting OKRs, handling employee engagement surveys, and scheduling performance reviews, under one umbrella. 

What’s more, letting users self-serve everything from PTO requests and benefits questions to training opportunities via a single portal makes the user experience simple and consistent.

Maintain Compliance

An HRIS solution protects your business by ensuring you and your employees are complying with relevant labor laws and regulations. Plus, notifications and alerts can remind you of tax filing dates and other compliance deadlines.

  • Documentation: Prompting new hires to fill out legally required forms.
  • Permissions: Ensuring only the right people have access to view sensitive employee information.
  • Regulations: Support with laws and regulations that impact HR teams, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

An HRIS is vital for reducing the burden on your HR teams and making life easier for everyone. A great HRIS solution supports the automation of workflows, such as promotions and onboarding, and offers employees self-service portals — both of which reduce time-consuming busywork and free HR teams for more strategic and human-focused objectives.


HR systems need to be adaptive and scalable to handle growth in the workforce, expansions to new locations, and rapidly evolving technologies for digital and hybrid work. 

Cloud-based HRIS solutions offer businesses globally accessible HR services and data storage, without the space limitations of additional physical hardware. 

Check out Lattice HRIS to learn how those benefits could add up for your company.

What are the challenges of an HRIS?

As with any new system, adding an HRIS to your tech stack is not without its potential issues. Here are some of the most common challenges to plan for when you implement a new HRIS: 

Regulations and Compliance

Staying on top of regulations and compliance guidelines is a perennial challenge for HR departments. You need to have the appropriate monitoring and reporting in place to stay on the right side of laws like the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

And, as work becomes increasingly dispersed and international, it’s crucial to stay up to date with any legislation governing labor and human resources for the regions in which your business operates. 

Data Privacy and Security

When you are handling data as sensitive as employees’ personal details, financial documentation, and tax status, security is paramount. Customizable permissions are essential for ensuring only the right administrators can view and make changes to employee data. 

To avoid running into data security issues, look for vendors with a clearly defined security policy, and confirm that they offer compliance with the GDPR and other stringent data protection regulations. 

Learn more about how Lattice keeps your employee data safe by viewing our security measures and commitments in the Lattice Trust Center.

How to Choose an HRIS

Here is a selection process to follow in order to choose the right HRIS for your business.

Step 1: Identify challenges with your current HR processes.

Start by auditing your existing systems. Identify any gaps or inefficiencies in how you manage your HR processes. 

Next, gather feedback and input from employees and HR personnel. An employee survey can be helpful here, to gather opinions about your current systems and set a benchmark to measure future improvements.

Step 2: Consider the growth trajectory of your business.

Clarify your current employee count and your projected growth. It's important to be clear on this as your needs for your HRIS platform will differ depending on whether you are a small business, a large organization, or a company with an international workforce.

Step 3: Build an HRIS requirements checklist.

Assessing your specific needs is an important step to ensure the HRIS you select is a good fit for your business. You don't want a platform bloated with tools you don't need or won't use. 

Start by identifying which of the following criteria are the most important for your organization: 

  • Increased profit and productivity
  • Widespread tech adoption from the entire team
  • Support for talent strategy and management
  • Actionable data insights
  • Seamless integrations with current tech stack and core systems
  • Compliance support

Consider which of the following features and functions you’ll need: 

  • Recruitment and onboarding
  • Training and continuing education
  • Payroll
  • Time, attendance, and scheduling
  • Benefits administration
  • Compliance
  • Reports and analytics
  • Employee self-service
  • Performance management

Finally, make a list of the platforms that you want your HRIS to integrate with. 

Step 4: Find an HRIS that fits business needs.

  • Make a shortlist of 3-5 vendors who best meet the priorities you've identified.
  • Request a demo of each of your shortlisted platforms. 
  • Create a table summarizing your requirements. Rate each platform against each requirement, and leave space for qualitative notes. This will help give you an overview of your options, and also stop you from getting overwhelmed with too much information. 

Should you get an HRIS for your organization?

If you’re still stuck with an antiquated PEO, it’s time to refresh your tech stack. Ask yourself if your current methods of information management:

  • Cost too much for your organization
  • Don’t offer enough control over managing and safeguarding employee data
  • Have outdated user experiences for employees and administrators
  • Waste valuable time with clunky user interfaces
  • Require manual data integration with other systems like talent management

If even a few of these are challenging for your business, it’s time to look into a solution like Lattice HRIS. As your organization’s HR tech stack grows increasingly complex, you may even consider hiring an HRIS manager to ensure that these solutions are deployed effectively and efficiently.

How to Get Started With Core HR Software 

If you’re spinning too many plates, you’re going to have inevitable wobbles — and eventual breakages. With only one plate to worry about, you can keep it spinning steadily with less effort. 

That’s what an HRIS is all about. By bringing all your HR data and processes into a single, unified, and trustworthy platform, you get the insight you need to gain a comprehensive understanding of your people.

Lattice HRIS helps businesses simplify their HR tech stack into a single integrated solution. By automating administrative work and integrating with best-of-breed talent products, Lattice HRIS helps HR teams access trustworthy people data to inform strategic business decisions. 

Employees will be empowered to manage their own HR needs. With Lattice HRIS, you’ll get a powerful people management ecosystem that drives company-wide efficiency, engagement, and performance, while ensuring compliance. To get early access, join the waitlist for Lattice HRIS today.