HRIS: It’s Time You Got Organized

Izzie Egan

You’re a small team…for now. But you’re growing fast, and by year-end, you plan to double, maybe even triple, the number of current employees at your company. The paperwork seems endless, though, and you’re constantly trying to update your local HR Dropbox file. Or was that .pdf in Google Drive? Your own calendar, never mind your team’s, is a jumble of important dates to remember.  Maybe you’ve given up on keeping track of how many vacation days  Sonja took–it’s Unlimited Vacation Policy for everyone! At this point, who really cares that the new hire finished their probationary period six weeks ago anyway? Newsflash: you do! If this sounds familiar, you need help managing your HR Administration. It’s probably time for an HRIS.

What is an HRIS?

An HRIS, or Human Resources Information System, is a central database for all of your HR-related info. It contains information for every employee, including their:

  • Resume
  • Completed reference checks
  • Emergency contact info
  • Tax forms
  • Benefits information
  • Payroll
  • Salary history
  • Training records
  • Signed policies and handbook
  • Performance reviews
  • Vacation accrual and requests
  • Sick days
  • And much more!

An HRIS contains the entire spectrum of the employee lifecycle, with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to assist in recruitment, as well as workflows for onboarding, offboarding, and everything in between.

How is an HRIS better than what you’re currently using?


Have you heard of PEPIDA (the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act)?  As an employer, you’re required to ensure that you are protecting and managing your employee’s personal information securely. A password-protected HRIS keeps important information from being misplaced (or worse).


Right now, it might make sense to use filing cabinets, spreadsheets, and a couple of apps to keep track of important employee data, but how do your processes scale with your growing company? If you don’t have an efficient, centralized system in place, the amount of time that it takes to stay on top of employee documentation balloons as headcount increases.


BC’s Employment Standards Act requires that you store employee records for “two years after the employee’s employment ends.” Hopefully, your turnover is low, but storing physical files for all current and former employees can start to take up a lot of space–and we know that in Vancouver, space isn’t cheap. Are those filing cabinets earning their keep?


Labour is likely your single largest expense. How much time does it take your HR generalist or administrative coordinator (or maybe even you) to assemble packages, calculate vacation days, and enter the same data into multiple spreadsheets? Any HRIS system you implement does require an initial time investment for setup, but that cost does not recur. As for ongoing costs? BambooHR, one of our favourite HRISs, offers affordable rates, and bills per employee on a monthly basis.

So how does having an HRIS help you?


First impressions are a big deal. An advanced system that facilitates a smooth transition from applicant to new employee goes a long way towards building your brand as a professional employer. Smaller companies often have a harder time attracting talent, but when you make it easy for candidates and employees to submit and review that boring-but-necessary paperwork, you create a positive and memorable experience.


HRISs move much of the burden of data entry to the employee, instead of the administrator. Employees can update their own contact information, request (and be approved for) sick days using mobile apps, and project their vacation balance for future dates–all without requiring assistance. This frees up your HR generalist for…

Analysis and Forecasting

An HRIS is a rich source of internal data for your HR department (even if it’s a department of one). HRIS analytics can help you pinpoint potential problem areas, like positions with particularly high turnover. An HRIS also gives you data to help project labour needs and highlight star performers. Growth is about retention, and if you’re better able to focus on your current team’s needs, you’re better able to plan for the future as well.

Is it time for you to look into an HRIS for your organization? Drop us a line–we can help!