Can I get a simple HRIS?

HRIS System: refers to the systems and processes at the intersection between human resource management (HRM) and information technology.

While I was going to college I worked in customer service for a credit card company. I handled escalated issues that couldn’t be resolved by the people at the 800 number on the back of your credit card. I reviewed a customer issue through a queue, looked up the customer’s account and did whatever was necessary to fix the situation. Usually this wasn’t a difficult job…I got to listen to music too while I was working which was pretty cool.

The system I worked on was pretty basic. But it was elegant in its simplicity. All customer information was accessed from one screen. That’s it: one screen. On the main screen I could see the customer’s tenure, their recent payment history, current balance, etc; I could press different function keys to view notes or their credit bureau. It was all very simple and easy to use.

Let’s move forward to the post-college work world and working within a Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Have you ever had to navigate three different screens just to find out basic information? It is extraordinarily frustrating. Some systems add an extra layer of complexity where you have to figure out which screen your information could be under: Job Information, Benefits, Compensation, etc;

“Why do I have to go to a million different screens to find basic employee information?”

Sometimes when I’m navigating the HRIS maze I drift into la la land and envision the kind of system I would design:

1. System generated notes – Move an employee into a different department or location? The system auto generates that xyzHRpro changed the employees location. No more wondering “How did Kyle get transferred to our Manitoba office?” Granted the person who moved him might not remember why they did that but still it’s a start.

2. Email – How about the option to send a confirmation email to an employee when a change is made to their record? This stops you from having to make a phone call or send an email to the employee.

3. One consistent search function- in some HRIS systems you search for an employee via an employee ID but other screens you search by last name. How about making the search function standard across the system?

4. A notes page- a nice place to write-up notes on interactions with an employee. This way when you leave the company, there is still a record of interactions with that employee. At best this avoids the employee having to constantly repeat their problem; at the least you can see some basic history on the employee.

5. One main screen- Call it a dashboard; call it an employee home page. Whatever – imagine a screen that contained the vital stats on an employee by tab: compensation, benefits, job details, job history. The key here is that you would only have to go to one screen to reach all of an employee’s information. That’s it. One Page to rule them all!

I don’t think I’m asking for a lot. I didn’t even get into social stuff like sending a message over Facebook or Twitter when something positive like an employee promotion happens…I’m just asking for the basics.

All I want is a reasonable amount of simplicity and ease of use. I want a system designed for the modern HR pro: someone who is busy and needs to get access to information very quickly. The modern HR pro doesn’t want to be scrambling to remember what screen an employee’s health care information is on. Instead, they want to go to one page. That’s it just one page.


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