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Human Resource Information System – HRIS

The purpose of this paper is to identify other companies who have faced similar human resources issues in regards to information technology. Through benchmarking different companies, we can learn how other companies have handled certain human resources issues related to information technology, information systems, new technology, and data security.

An overall analysis has been completed using research on IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. This paper also includes eight synopses of companies facing similar issue to those in the reading.

New Technology

With the changing world and constant new technology that is available, managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase the effectiveness in their company. Human resource information systems (HRIS) have increasingly transformed since it was first introduced at General Electric in the 1950s. HRIS has gone from a primary process to convert manual information keeping systems into computerised systems, to the HRIS systems that are used today.

Human resource professionals began to see the possibility of new applications for the computer. The idea was to integrate many of the different human resource functions. The result was the third generation of the computerised HRIS, a feature-rich, broad-based, self-contained HRIS. The third generation took systems far beyond being mere data repositories and created tools with which human resource professionals could do much more.

Many companies have seen a need to transform the way Human Resource operations are performed to keep up with new technology and increasing numbers of employees. Terasen Pipelines moved its headquarters from Vancouver to Calgary to be closer to the oil and realised significant growth in employees. In the past recording, keeping was done on paper and with spreadsheets. Managers at Terasen realised that there was a need to change to a more computerised system and looked into different HRIS vendors. By making a move to an HRIS system, Terasen can keep more accurate records as well as better prepare for future growth.

Another company that saw the benefits of keeping up with new technology is WORKSource Inc. To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like an electronic pay stub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). By adopting these new programs, WORKSource was able to reduce waste and cost.

The Internet is an increasingly popular way to recruit applicants, research technologies and perform other essential functions in business. Delivering human resource services online (eHR) supports more efficient collection, storage, distribution, and exchange of data (Friesen, 2003). An intranet is a type of network used by companies to share information with people within the organisation.

The intranet connects people to people and people to information and knowledge within the organisation; it serves as an “information hub” for the entire organisation. Most organisations set up intranets primarily for employees, but they can extend to business partners and even customers with an appropriate security clearance (Byars & Rue, 2004).

Applications of HRIS

The efficiency of HRIS, the systems can produce more efficient and faster outcomes that can be done on paper. Some of the many applications of HRIS are Clerical applications, applicant search expenditures, risk management, training management, training experiences, financial planning, turnover analysis, succession planning, flexible-benefits administration, compliance with government regulations, attendance reporting and analysis, human resource planning, accident reporting and prevention and strategic planning.

With the many different applications of HRIS, it is difficult to understand how the programs benefit companies without looking at companies that have already benefited from such programs.

One such company is IBM. IBM has a paperless online enrollment plan for all of its employees. Not only has the online enrollment saved the company 1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs, but the employees also enjoy working with the online plan. “Since we began offering online enrollment, we have learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly [Senior Communications Specialist] says so that they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere (Huering, 2003). By utilizing the flexible-benefits application HRIS has to offer, IBM was able to cut costs and give employees the freedom to discover their benefits on their own time and pace.

Another company that has taken advantage of HRIS applications is Shaw’s Supermarkets. For Shaw’s to better manage its workforce, the company decided it was time to centralise the HR operations. After looking at different options, Shaw’s decision to implement an Employee Self Service (ESS) system.

The use of self-service applications creates a favourable situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information (Koven, 2002).

By giving employees access to their personal information and the ability to update or change their information as needed, HR was given more time to focus on other issues. Understanding the different applications, HRIS has to will give companies the chance to increase employee efficiency and reduce costs.

Measuring the Effectiveness of HRIS

The evaluation should determine whether or not the HRIS has performed up to its expectations and if the HRIS is being used to its full advantage (Byars & Rue, 2004). One of the most significant challenges faced by public personnel executives today is measuring the performance of their human resources information system (HRIS) To justify the value-added contribution of the HRIS to accomplishing the organisation’s mission (Hagood & Friedman, 2002). Implementing an HRIS program may seem a necessary stem for a company, but unless it will be a useful tool for HR operations, it will not help increase efficiency and may hinder it instead.

One company that implemented an HRIS system is Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS). TAMS put all employee benefits information online and created an open enrollment option when TAMS changed healthcare providers. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal [new HRIS technology] to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004). By determining the efficiency of the new program, TAMS was able to realise the benefits of the new HRIS system.

Security of HRIS

The privacy of employee information has become a significant issue in recent years. With identity theft becoming a common problem, employees are becoming more sensitive about who sees their personal information, and the security it is kept in. By making sure employee information that is kept in the HRIS is relevant to the company and making sure there is limited access (password protection) to such information, companies can make its employees more secure with the safety of their information. Whether electronic or paper, employee files deserve to be treated with great care. Establishing security and end-user privileges calls for a balance of incorporating, HR policy, system knowledge and day-to-day operations (O’Connell, 1994).

One company that faced a major security issue was CS Stars, LLC. CS Stars lost track of one of its computers that contained personal information that included names, addresses and social security numbers of workers compensation benefits. The bigger problem was that CS Stars failed to notify the affected consumers and employees about the missing computer. Though the computer was retrieved and no information seemed to have been harmed, many employees lost their sense of security with the company.

New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization (Cadrain, 2007).

Another company that experienced a breach of security is Ameriprise Financial. In late 2005, a computer that contained personal information on clients and employees was stolen. Because many of the employees at Ameriprise take their computers between work and home, the company determined there to be a need to put more security into those computers. Ameriprise made sure all employees had the new security suite installed on their computers.

By responding quickly to the need for more security, Ameriprise made sure all information is being kept secure. Making sure employees information is kept as secure as possible there will be more trust in the company and the HR employees working with that information.

Conclusion

IBM, Terasen Pipeline, CS Stars LCC, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. are good examples of companies facing issues similar to human resources information technology and human resources information systems. All of these companies know the importance of new technology, human resources information systems, and data security.

The remainder of this paper provides synopses of more companies facing human resources issues, how the company responded to the issues, and the outcomes of the company’s responses.

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