HRIS Trends for 2021: The Future of HR Management

HR management has grown increasingly complex over the years, especially with growing remote work and globalization trends in the workforce. When your employees all work in different departments, specializations, and locations, the right HR software makes all the difference in organizing and delivering the best user experience to your employees. The drive for HR quality explains why companies’ expectations of human resource information systems (HRIS) continue to grow and change.

A traditional HRIS system focuses on managing all of the backend administrative tasks, policies, and checklists for your organization’s employees. These features can include anything from recruiting and training to benefits and compensation to performance management. But with a changing workforce and growing technological capabilities, HRIS software is evolving into a more all-encompassing workforce tool. Four particular HRIS trends stand out in 2021, paving the way for the future of HR management.

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HR Management Trends in the HRIS

Adding AI to the Hiring Pipeline

Artificial intelligence is ramping up and automating many of the most mundane and repetitive tasks across enterprise software architecture. HRIS software platforms are among those continually growing their AI capabilities, particularly in keeping the hiring pipeline filled and flowing efficiently. Some HRIS AI features that are starting to benefit recruiting and HR staff, as well as applicants, include:

  • AI readers that merge text from candidate resumes into applications and background check submissions to eliminate frustrating, repetitive data entry. Many of these same readers also provide sorting and scoring metrics to help recruiters find the most promising applicants first.
  • AI-powered candidate matching criteria for the hiring team to review.
  • Chatbots and automated checklists for existing staff and new hires to get the answers they need related to benefits and company policies.
  • Technology deployment checklists launched for each new hire and automatically run by an in-system assistant. This trend is especially important with a growing number of remote and international employees who require equipment deployment from a distance.

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Creating User-Friendly, User-Facing Dashboards

Employees are spending less time reading employee handbooks and sitting in mandatory onboarding sessions. Instead, onboarding is assigned, administered, and tracked inside the actual HRIS system. A trend that shows no signs of slowing down is the focus on creating dashboards that make navigation easier for all users, regardless of their role with the company. Traditional HRIS software prioritizes fancy design and a large number of HR modules, but with a growing focus on the UX/UI of a dashboard, HRIS platforms are moving toward a simpler, more navigable design that works on both mobile and desktop platforms.

Beyond aesthetics, the HRIS dashboard is also moving away from heavy hiring and benefits data to a stronger emphasis on the “people side” of HR. That’s not to say that users can’t easily find their benefits and payroll information in a sidebar or tab. But on the dashboard itself, employees can now keep track of coworkers’ birthdays and “workaversaries,” recognition of accomplishments, and other ways to engage. In an increasingly remote and hybrid workforce environment, this HRIS trend offers another resource for making employees feel connected to their company’s community.

Namely HRIS platform screenshot to illustrate the "human" side of trending HRIS dashboards.
Namely HRIS platform screenshot to illustrate the “human” side of trending HRIS dashboards. (Source: Namely)

Automating Compliance Features

Compliance is a top concern in all areas of a business, but especially in the area of employer-employee relations. Local, state, and national regulations require extensive documentation at all stages of a person’s employment. But these processes and checklists can become overwhelming for your HR team, especially as regulations change and the company grows.

That’s why many HRIS platforms automate compliance features, making it easier for employers and employees alike to update their information, policies, and procedures.

  • Automated scheduling of compliance procedures, with alerts to appropriate administrative employees prior to deadlines for upgrades and audits.
  • Automated reminders and instructions for both new hires and existing employees to correct and update their personally identifiable information (PII), as well as any requirements for background checks and contracts.
  • Integrated self-service help for employees, including compliance training, FAQs, and a knowledge base platform for any HR or compliance questions.

Integrating or Moving Beyond the HRIS

HRIS systems have traditionally been siloed from other company software, owing to the presumption that employee analytics don’t affect revenue or business intelligence directly. However, many businesses are starting to recognize the fallacy in that belief, noting that data metrics such as key hires and performance of tenured staff vs. newer staff directly impact an organization’s KPIs and business intelligence for future planning. 

Knowing that employee data can inform other kinds of business data has increased the focus on easing integrations between HRIS and other business software. Take Paylocity, a major HR vendor as an example: they launched their Paylocity Integration Marketplace in 2018, and since then, they have expanded their integration options and their open sandbox capabilities for further app development. Whether it’s through an open API key, a dedicated devOps team, or a large library of pre-existing partnerships and integrations, many HRIS vendors are working to show how their portfolio will work with other business technology solutions.

Taking it a step further, many users are transitioning beyond the limitations of an HRIS platform to tools that include more payroll and business intelligence capabilities internally. These tools include human capital management (HCM), human resources management systems (HRMS), and even enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms that offer an HR management module. 

HR software continues to be an important component of business technology, but many organizations are finding that these HR management trends in HRIS software provide the only solution to wholly integrate HR data into the infrastructure of the whole company. Whether you already have an HRIS tool that you need to upgrade or you’re looking for a new solution that meets more of your organization’s growing needs, dozens of larger and smaller HR vendors should be able to speak to trends in the HRIS marketplace and how they are responding.

Shelby Hiter
Shelby Hiter is a marketing content writer with more than five years of experience in writing and editing, focusing on healthcare, technology, data, enterprise IT, and technology marketing. She currently writes for three different digital publications in the technology industry: Datamation, Enterprise Networking Planet, and CIO Insight. When she’s not writing, Shelby loves finding group trivia events with friends, cross stitching decorations for her home, reading too many novels, and turning her puppy into a social media influencer.

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