HRIS Requirements Checklist: A Guide for Getting Started

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HRIS Requirements Checklist: A Guide for Getting Started

An HRIS is the backbone of your HR technology because it centralizes all HR data. That’s why you need to select it carefully based on what your organization needs. Here’s an HRIS requirements checklist to help you find the right vendor.

Why have an HRIS?
Choosing an HRIS
Key HRIS requirements & features checklist

Why have an HRIS?

An HRIS (Human Resources Information System) is a software system that simplifies the management of HR processes and data. It integrates and consolidates multiple functions like employee records, time off, payroll, and benefits in one place. I

Investing in an effective HRIS will provide your organization with many benefits, which include:

  • Streamlining and improving access to information in a single system
  • Producing useful reports 
  • Saving time on administrative tasks by eliminating data duplication
  • Ensuring the safety of data
  • Supporting compliance efforts
  • Enhancing your employee and applicant experiences

In both small and large organizations, HR is in charge of many critical responsibilities that involve documenting, storing, and retrieving data. Handling this digitally with a capable HRIS leads to a more efficient HR department.

The following circumstances can be indicators that it’s time to consider implementing an HRIS or change to a new system:

  • Your workforce is growing rapidly.
  • You know there is a better way to handle paperwork.
  • You want to simplify processes and track more data.
  • You want to capture the big picture of your employee data.
  • You need to be prepared for an audit.

Choosing an HRIS

Choosing the right HRIS is a significant undertaking, and it depends on your organization’s unique requirements and budget. It’s also important to compare several options before making a decision. 

Try following these steps during the HRIS selection process:

  1. Know your organization’s needs and long-term plans.
  2. Gather a team of HR employees, IT professionals, managers, key decision-makers, and others to get input and gain perspective to create an HR system requirements checklist.
  3. Conduct extensive research on reputable HR software vendors that offer products with the capabilities you need within your budget.
  4. Request free trials and live demos from vendors. Use this opportunity to evaluate their customer service.
  5. Make an educated choice and then re-evaluate it after implementation.

Key HRIS requirements & features checklist

What should an HRIS have? It depends on what your organization needs to achieve its goals. The following checklist is by no means exhaustive, and some of the functions may overlap, but it includes common requirements and components to consider. It’s possible that you won’t need all of these, but you can use the checklist to create a customized HRIS requirements template.

The following HR system requirements specifications are broken down into seven technical considerations (with example features for each module) and five recommended elements:

Technical considerations

Employee information management

Your HRIS will house employee records that include the information needed for making HR decisions and supporting employees. You can also use it for tracking and reporting purposes.

  • Personal information
  • Job history
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Headcount tracking
  • Skills inventory

Financial/Payroll management

Ensuring that your workforce is paid correctly and accurate financial records are kept are crucial functions of an HRIS. In other words, you need to have financial and payroll management features on your HRIS requirements checklist.

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  • Payroll (If payroll isn’t included or you want to continue using your existing payroll solution, make sure that it integrates with the HRIS.)
  • Overtime calculation
  • Automatic deductions
  • Salary administration and history
  • Commissions and bonuses
  • Banking and tax information
  • Incentive management

Benefits management

An HRIS should govern benefits administration. This includes managing personal information changes, enrollment options, and status changes throughout the benefits life cycle.

  • Insurances
  • PTO
  • Travel compensation
  • Retirement plans
  • Employee wellness programs


Compliance is an HRIS requirement that can be twofold. First of all, it must support compliance with local and national employment laws and regulations. In addition, for European companies, your HRIS must fulfill the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for handling employee data. 

An HRIS can be designed to send alerts for reporting due dates and when action must be taken to abide by any regulation changes.

  • Employee eligibility (I-9)
  • Payroll/tax compliance and reporting
  • EEO adherence
  • ISO standards
  • GDPR
  • Company-specific compliance tracking/management

Learning and Development

An HRIS can centralize your employee training, learning, and personnel development programs. This is especially helpful for companies that require licenses and certifications. You can also use it to run reports for skills inventories and succession planning. 

  • Enrollment
  • Certification/completion of training
  • Budgeting/costs

Time and attendance management

All time-related issues can be handled by an HRIS and integrated with payroll and benefits administration software. It offers the functionality of tracking attendance and scheduling/approving time off to coordinate with staffing needs across the organization and improve operations. 

  • Time clock management
  • Attendance tracking
  • Biometric identification
  • PTO accrual and use
  • Holidays calendar
  • Paid and unpaid leaves
  • Overtime management
  • Scheduled vs. actual hours worked comparison

Recruiting and onboarding features

Using an HRIS will upgrade your entire hiring process. It streamlines multiple tasks, from posting a job to multiple websites and social media platforms to structuring onboarding to speed up paperwork and introductions. This automation can also assure that new employees won’t start work until all required documents are completed.


  • Job postings
  • Social media integration
  • Online applications 
  • Applicant tracking system (or integration)
  • Auto-response
  • Pre-screening of candidates
  • Employment offer letters


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  • Pre-employment preparation
  • Completion of paperless employee records with e-signature 
  • Instruction on essential information
  • Introduction of company and key personnel
  • Legal compliance

Once you manage to whittle down your selection of vendors to a couple, consider the following functionality elements in your vendor shortlisting process:

Integration capabilities

HRIS integration capabilities mean that there is a seamless connection between each HR process and even other systems within your organization. The data is always synced and shown in real-time, and it eliminates the time-consuming double-entry of information. For example, if you change an employee’s pay rate in the payroll system, it will be automatically updated in every other applicable record.

You have easy access to consistent data and efficient reporting. Also, it’s prudent to have an HRIS that contains integration capabilities for accommodating any new systems in the future.

Employee self-service

Ideally, an HRIS will provide employees with a self-service option to review company-wide resources and their own information. Supervisors should also be able to retrieve relevant data for managing their employees. It saves HR time when employees are able to use the self-service portal to request time off, enroll in benefits, and update their personal records.

Since most employees are accustomed to a digital world, they prefer completing transactions themselves and having immediate access to the material they need and answers to their questions. Bear in mind that your employees will appreciate clear, user-friendly interfaces.

Data importing and exporting

Having the means to import and export data from one system to another offers greater efficiency. If you can populate your new HRIS by pulling as much current data as possible from other sources, it will be far less tedious than manual entry.

With constant changes in technology and the workforce, it’s likely that a switch to another HRIS is not far down the road. Data exporting capability will make the transition much smoother. 

Data security

Employers are entrusted with a great deal of their employees’ highly sensitive and confidential data. Your HRIS will house personal details, such as banking information and personal identification numbers. Data breaches can be detrimental to those involved. As such, you must be confident your HRIS has the security needed to provide protection from both internal and external threats.

It should be sophisticated enough to not only block hackers but also ensure that every user only has permission to view or alter the information they are entitled to. That’s why a system enabling different levels of access is essential.

Pay close attention to what HRIS vendors offer for protection and how their customers rate the software’s security quality. Starting with the implementation phase, cybersecurity must be made a priority. Then continue with strict security measures and precautions to keep your employees’ data safe.


The cloud, also referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), is a network of servers that store data, run applications, and provide online service. An HRIS can be either cloud-based with a subscription or sourced from on-premise hardware with HR software.

Since a cloud-based HRIS is all online, it certainly saves physical space and overhead costs versus an in-house system. There are other advantages as well, which include:

  • Intelligent applications that offer a simple, customized user experience. 
  • Scalability for changing circumstances and business needs. 
  • Easy and affordable upgrades for emerging technologies.
  • State-of-the-art data security and privacy features.
  • Customer service and technical support included with the subscription fee.

The bottom line

An HRIS provides the technology today’s business world demands to better support HR and your entire organization. The first step to successfully selecting an HRIS is to have a thorough understanding of what your company and your HR department need. Then you can work through the HRIS requirements checklist to find out the best vendor.

If you struggle with understand the technical features, don’t hesitate to consult colleagues from other departments like IT. 

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