This work is about the implementation and use of the Human Resource Information Systems (HRISs) in various organizations. It investigates the effectiveness of HRISs and how the systems meet the demands of the users. The study was conducted by TNS on behalf of the CIPD’s and 317 organizations were involved.
A questionnaire was sent to 4000 Human Resource professionals and only 317 respondents were received. This means that only 8% of the sample responded. Statistically, this is a misrepresentation, and the findings cannot be taken as perfectly representing the actual ground situation. The study explored various uses of HIRSs, which include: absence monitoring, cited by 76% of the respondents; training and development, cited by 64%; recruitment and selection, cited by 55%; among others as indicated in table 1.
From table 1 (Areas covered by HRISs), we can identify the greatest omission in the study, at a glance. The number of respondents is not proportional to the size of the organization. We expect the study sample to increase with the increase in the size of the organization; which is not true in this case.
We can base our comparison according the size of the organization (i.e. small Vs large organizations), and the sector type (i.e. public sector vs. private sector).
An organization with more than 1000 employees is considered as a large organization; otherwise, it is a small or a medium size organization.
From the results, it is clear that small and medium sized organizations commonly use the HRISs for absence monitoring and appraisals. This is probably due to their small sizes. However, larger organizations commonly use the HRISs for recruitments, expenses, managing diversity,
HR planning, and communications.
The use of HRISs in training and development is almost similar in all organizations regardless of the type and size. This, I believe, is overlooked. It is obvious that the bigger the organization, the more it uses the HRISs for training and development purpose. I therefore link this omission to the imbalance in the respondents’ sample.
Public organizations vs. private organizations
Organizations in the public sectors use the HRISs for recruitment and managing diversity. The private sector organizations commonly use the systems for appraisals and reward. This is due to vast application of rewards and appraisals in the private sector as opposed to the public sector.
Working of the system
In the investigating of how best the systems meet the needs of the users, various respondents were dissatisfied, with only 36% citing that their systems meet their needs. It is clear from the findings that the larger the organization, the less effective the HRISs are. This is due to the large size of the organization hence inefficiency. However, with smaller organizations, the HRISs are more effective.
The HRISs in private organizations are normally effective, with 41% citing that their systems fit their needs well. However, the public sector has HRISs which rarely meets the needs of the users, with only 27% citing their satisfaction.
A big challenge is posed to the providers of the HRISs. They must ensure that these systems meet the vast expectations of the users, as most organizations are currently dissatisfied with the operations of these systems. Table 2 illustrates these findings.
On the choice of the system to be used, 70% of the respondents stated that the HR professionals normally decide on the system. In small organizations, the HR professionals have the greatest freedom in choosing the HRISs (72%) as compared to the larger ones (67%). However, CEOs have an equal influence in both cases. Table 3 illustrates this. The HR professionals in the private sector also have the greatest influence on the choice of these systems (72%) as compared to their counterparts in the public sector (66%).
If we look at the degree of the dissatisfaction on the HRISs and the choice of such systems, we come to a conclusion that the HR professionals must clearly and perfectly specify their system requirements in order to be satisfied with such systems. The functions of such systems must also be very effective. The providers of these systems must ensure that the systems perform as specified by the users.
In the past years, off-the-shell systems have been very common. Their use has been highest in small organizations (71%) as compared to large ones (55%). Organizations in the private sector also use off-the-shell systems (67%) more than the public ones (61%). However, the use of bespoke systems is more popular in public sector as compared to the private sector, as indicated in table 4.
Benefits of the use of HRISs
The use of HRISs encourages the sharing of knowledge (72%) and improves the internal communication (70%) within organizations. At the same time, it improves productivity. Even when the systems’ performance does not satisfy the users’ needs, the above benefits still accrue.
From table 5, it’s only the public sector that lags behind in realizing the benefits of the HRISs with 47% productivity as compared to 52% in the private sector.
Factors affecting the use of HRISs
The use of HRISs in organizations is affected by lack of training (28%), and limited knowledge and understanding (7%). Lack of resources also contributes significantly. Other problems include cost, time, and staff attitude towards such systems. Several organizations introduce HRIS without giving proper and adequate training to the users, as depicted in table 6.
The necessary changes for smooth implementation of HRISs include negotiations with the contractors over the service (23%), negotiations over price, establishment of more centralized control, among others, as given in table 7. These factors stress the fact that users of HRISs are dissatisfied. Necessary measures must therefore be taken for full exploitation of these systems.
This study also reveals that 20% of the users plan to change their systems within the next three years. Also, 25% of the organizations intend to increase their budget of HRISs in the next two years while 14% intend to lower it.
On the use of internet and e-mails, there is a 50% misuse by employees.