HR Administration

What Is an HRIS Manager?

December 18, 2023
January 22, 2024
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Lattice Team

Human resources departments increasingly have new tools at their fingertips that can help them unlock their strategic edge — software solutions that enable better HR processes and policies.

But to glean the best information from these HR information systems, organizations need the right people who can turn the data into actionable information that boosts employee hiring, retention, and engagement.

Enter HRIS, or human resources information systems, managers. For organizations that have HRIS systems in place or are considering implementing them, HRIS managers can play a mission-critical role. 

What does an HRIS manager do?

The HRIS manager evaluates, deploys, and supports the implementation of HR information systems, which track HR-related goals such as hiring, onboarding, payroll and benefits, and talent management. As an organization’s HR tech stack grows increasingly complex and covers a wider swath of HR functions, HRIS managers can ensure that these solutions are deployed effectively and efficiently.

“This is going to become a job more and more as you talk about the technologies and tools we’re implementing,” said Brianna Rooney, founder and CEO of TalentPerch, a recruiting solution, and Thriversity, which provides training for talent acquisition professionals. 

What are the responsibilities of an HRIS manager?

An HRIS manager’s primary responsibility is to ensure that an organization is optimizing the HRIS software that it has deployed and pulling actionable information to bolster hiring practices and other HR-related workflows. 

“An HRIS manager is someone who is responsible for managing [an HRIS system], updating it, patching it [with new cybersecurity protections], and making sure there’s the integrations with other systems,” said Kimberly Prescott, founder and president of human resources consulting firm Prescott HR.

The main responsibilities of an HRIS manager include: 

  • Managing the daily operation and regular updates of HR software.
  • Guiding the evaluation and deployment of new HRIS solutions with internal stakeholders, including the information technology (IT) department.
  • Securing data integrity within the systems through regular audits.
  • Confirming that HRIS systems are aligned with labor regulations, data protection rules, and organizational hiring goals and policies.
  • Analyzing employee data to uncover insights about human resource management activities, including human capital management (HCM)
  • Supporting the swift adoption of HRIS systems through training and leadership. 

What are the required skills for an HRIS manager?

The required skills for an HRIS manager will vary based on the industry and the types of systems in use.

In an industry that requires certifications for its staff, such as healthcare or finance, for example, HRIS managers may need systems that track employee information about professional licenses. In a sector that employs hourly workers, such as retail or manufacturing, the HRIS manager may also be monitoring overtime pay. 

HRIS managers are usually responsible for managing the systems that contain employee profiles and other critical information.

Regardless of what HR-related metric they’re tracking, however, most HRIS managers will need to bring some essential skills to the table as they help to spearhead organization-wide change management projects or smaller process improvements. “It’s going to have to be somebody who’s insightful, who’s a visionary, who can stay with where the trends of the future of work are going to know what I need,” said LaShawn Davis, founder of The HR Plug, an HR consultancy.

HRIS Manager Skills

HRIS manager jobs require skills and expertise such as:

  • HR Knowledge: Real-world experience with HR-related functions, such as payroll systems, recruiting, or performance management, is helpful. So is a strong knowledge of internal HR-related and broader business processes that are driving the demand for an HR system to ensure that what’s adopted meets business requirements, Prescott said. 
  • Technical Know-How: HRIS managers should have analytical skills, so they can segment and analyze data gathered in the HRIS system and draw actionable guidance from it. The ability to translate technical documents from an HRIS vendor is also vital, Prescott noted. An HRIS manager often must explain to colleagues across an organization why a specific tool is important to them and how to use it. 
  • Interpersonal Skills: Project management experience, organizational skills, and communication skills are critical for collaborating with other departments as new systems are sourced and deployed, Prescott explained. 

Successful HRIS managers also must excel as leaders who can get end users excited and eager to start using the new tool, Rooney said. “This person has to be really good at getting people together and saying, ‘This is what we’re doing because look at all the things we can do with this.’”

What is the career path of an HRIS manager?

A natural career path for an HRIS manager may start in the HR department. However, the role requires enough varied skills that prospective HRIS managers may hail from different departments across an organization.

Payroll specialists, database administrators, business analysts, and project managers all could bring relevant work experience from related fields, Rooney said. “In the grand scheme of things, you’re dealing with a lot of data and processes,” she explained. “It’s essentially an operations person for the HR department.” 

What is the average salary of an HRIS manager?

The average nationwide salary for an HRIS manager ranges between $95,000 and $144,000, according to 2023 Glassdoor data. The relative newness of the role is one reason for that vast range, Rooney pointed out. 

And, as with most positions, that total can vary widely, depending on location and years of experience. The average HRIS manager salary in New York City is approximately $203,000, according to Randstad, while it’s about $109,000 in Tampa, Florida.

Does your company need an HRIS manager?

Small and midsized organizations may not have the HR tech stack that requires a full-time HRIS manager. But, as organizations deploy more sophisticated tools, an HRIS manager may be warranted.

Signs that a company needs an HRIS manager include:

  • Rapidly expanding number of HRIS tools with few demonstrable benefits.
  • Wasted time spent on manual data management tasks that could leverage automation
  • Evidence of low employee engagement or retention or needed upgrades to the onboarding experience.
  • Planned organizational growth, requiring an expansion of HR operations.
  • Compliance issues with labor laws or data privacy regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

With the right systems in place, an HRIS manager could analyze the data to uncover a variety of business processes that are holding organizations back, including poor onboarding experiences that trigger high attrition rates or overtime tracking policies that may violate labor laws.

HRIS tools are used by organizations to streamline cumbersome administrative processes like employee onboarding.

“HR data will never replace the people who need to look at the data to tell your story because it’s about people,” Davis said. “It should be used as a guide…[to determine] here’s what our issues are, let’s now jump in and dive in and see what we can do.” 

Data drives strategy these days, and HRIS tools allow HR teams to make data-driven decisions. “It’s non-negotiable in business,” said Davis. “You absolutely need to care about the data and the stories that it tells.” 

An HRIS manager helps to craft those narratives — ensuring organizations have the right tools that capture the correct information, Davis noted. “It’s all going to be based on what’s important to your organization. And if people are important to your organization, then you’re going to want to invest in an HRIS system and team to leverage that.” 

If you’re ready to optimize your HR strategies, schedule a demo with us to get your personalized people strategy assessment.