Analysis of e-HRIS (e-HRM) Software Programs
Clerk.ly is a medium-sized company delivering office supplies to small businesses. The company currently employs 80 employees who possess computer skills of different levels, ranging from intermediate to advanced. Most members of the HR staff possess an intermediate level of computer skills, which means that they have a moderate understanding of word processing, databases, spreadsheets, and operating systems. The company’s goal for the next year is to have gross sales of $40,000. Its strategic goals for the next seven years are to increase gross sales to $120,000, expand its customer base, and improve customer service. Clerk.ly currently outsources payroll functions, and the rest of HR activities are performed by the company’s HR department. The company is faced with a choice of whether it should transit to e-HRM and implement one of the existing e-HRIS software programs. This report aims at defining e-HRIS (e-HRM), analyzing four options of e-HRIS software programs, and providing recommendations for Clerk.ly as to whether it would benefit from adopting e-HRIS.
Definition of e-HRIS (e-HRM)
Technology has found its application in many areas of business, leading to increased automation and reduced costs and allowing for directing more efforts toward attaining strategic organizational goals rather than dealing with routine tasks. Recently, it has been assumed that HRM can also benefit from the use of technology, and it has led to the development of electronic HRM. According to Poisat and Mey (2017), e-HRM is defined as “a way of implementing HR strategies, policies and practices in organizations through a conscious and directed support of and/or with the full use of web technology-based channels” (p. 2). Thus, e-HRM differs from traditional HRM in the extent to which it relies on the use of technology.
Sometimes, e-HRM is referred to as the human resource information system (HRIS). However, Poisat and Mey (2017) do not agree that these terms can be used interchangeably. HRIS is defined as “a system used to acquire, store, manipulate, analyze, retrieve and distribute pertinent information about the human resources of an organization” (Poisat & Mey, 2017, p. 2). Hence, HRIS comprises a network of HR-related information, databases, services, and tools and serves as an integral part of e-HRM. Apart from the difference in the magnitude of functionality, e-HRM and HRIS differ in terms of their target audience. According to Poisat and Mey (2017), HRIS is intended for the HR department because the information and tools contained in it are used mainly by HR personnel. In contrast to HRIS, e-HRM is useful not only to the HR staff but also to other employees and managers in the organization (Poisat & Mey, 2017). Consequently, HRIS and e-HRM are interrelated concepts differing in their scope.
E-HRM performs various HR functions similar to those carried out by traditional HRM. Thite and Kavanagh distinguished three types of HR activities: transactional, traditional, and transformational (as cited in Poisat & Mey, 2017). Transactional activities include tasks performed on a day-to-day basis or related to recordkeeping, e.g., entering payroll information, tracking employee status changes, or administration of benefits. Traditional activities are recruitment, selection, performance management, training, and compensation.
While traditional activities can add value to the organization if they are performed by organizational goals, transformational activities are solely intended to add strategic value to the enterprise. Such activities include cultural change, knowledge management, or strategic redirection. Poisat and Mey (2017) mention three types of e-HRM that may be connected to the outlined three types of HR activities. Operational e-HRM deals with basic administrative tasks and may be considered responsible for transactional activities. Relational e-HRM supports relationships between the HR department and the rest of an organization and may be related to traditional HR activities. Finally, transformational e-HRM is concerned with achieving strategic goals and focuses on transformational activities.
Description of e-HRM Software Programs
Electronic HRM relies on various software programs that facilitate the processing and management of HR information and allow HR professionals to focus on achieving important organizational goals. In this section, four e-HRM software programs will be explored: Ascentis HCN Software, iHRIS, BambooHR, and Oracle HRMS. All these software programs are suitable for small and midsize businesses but have differences in functionality and ease of implementation and use.
Ascentis HCM Software
Ascentis HCM Software is a web-based software program developed in 1994 to provide user-friendly HR solutions to small and midsize companies. Transactional HR activities that can be performed using this software include time and attendance tracking, payroll processing, and benefits management (Blytheco, n.d.). Ascentis HCM Software provides HR professionals with a powerful reporting tool by allowing them to generate various reports based on real-time and accurate information. This software also has features facilitating the execution of traditional HR activities, such as recruiting, talent management, employee self-service, performance management, and employee compensation (Blytheco, n.d.).
Ascentis HCM Software allows HR professionals to reduce the amount of paperwork since it allows new hires to fill their application forms online and provides online access to important information to employees within an organization. The software is easy to use and has customizable options to let companies adjust it to their specific needs (Ascentis, n.d.). Yet, the software is not intended to perform transformational HR activities.
iHRIS is an open-source HR software program that is designed for various healthcare organizations. iHRIS allows governments to have accurate data about the available health workforce in their countries (iHRIS, n.d.). This data provides governments and healthcare facilities with an opportunity for tracking, managing, and planning the health workforce. iHRIS is primarily used in low-resources countries, such as Guatemala, Tajikistan, India, and African countries (iHRIS, n.d.). Transactional activities that are possible to perform with iHRIS are recordkeeping, reporting, and employee management (iHRIS, n.d.).
The software deals with collecting and analyzing information about available healthcare workers, so it is not focused on providing payroll processing, time and attendance tracking, or benefits management. Traditional HR activities that can be executed with iHRIS include recruiting, learning management, and performance management (iHRIS, n.d.). iHRIS also allows healthcare organizations to carry out strategic workforce planning, which is a transformational activity. The software collects and analyzes information about the availability of the health workforce and enables healthcare organizations to forecast future workforce needs and develop effective plans and policies.
BambooHR is an HR software program designed to automate major HR processes and reduce the amount of paperwork. It facilitates the execution of such transactional activities as time and attendance tracking, benefits management, recordkeeping, reporting, and employee management (BambooHR, n.d.). It also offers its customers an opportunity to install an add-on, TRAXPayroll, which allows for processing payroll (BambooHR, n.d.). With BambooHR, one can perform such traditional HR activities as recruiting, performance management, employee self-service, and employee compensation. Although this software allows for tracking training, it does not provide a learning management feature (BambooHR, n.d.). The program has a feature of time-off management that allows for automating requests and approvals of sick days or vacations (BambooHR, 2018). BambooHR provides its customers not only with computer software but also with a mobile app, and it enables users to send automated e-mail alerts to other employees in an organization.
Oracle HRMS is an integrated HR solution consisting of different modules that encompass various aspects of HRM. This software is suitable for managing the global workforce because it supports many languages, date formats, and national identifiers (Ashraf, 2014). With Oracle HRMS, HR professionals can effectively manage employee data stored in the Core HR module (Ashraf, 2014). The software offers such features for transactional activities as payroll processing, time and attendance tracking, benefits management, recordkeeping, reporting, and employee management. However, the payroll module requires a separate license, and, thus, it is possible to provide access to payroll processing only to certain people in the organization (Ashraf, 2014).
Traditional activities that can be performed with the help of Oracle HRMS include recruitment, training tracking and learning management, employee self-service, performance management, and employee compensation (Oracle, 2020). The software does not provide features for transformational HR activities. Table 1 provides an overview of the features of Oracle HRMS and other software programs reviewed above.
Table 1. Summary of the main features of HR software programs.
|Ascentis HCM Software||iHRIS||BambooHR||Oracle HRMS|
|Time & Attendance Tracking||+||–||+||+|
|Strategic Workforce Planning||–||+||–||–|
|Ease of Use||+||+||+||+|
HR software programs provide an opportunity for reducing costs, decreasing the amount of paperwork, and increasing organizational performance by allowing employees to focus on strategic goals. However, e-HRM can hardly be regarded as a universal approach to human resource management since not every organization will benefit from implementing it. Poisat and Mey (2017) outline several factors that may influence the effectiveness of transitioning to e-HRM. Firstly, for e-HRM to be effectively implemented, employees should possess such skills as “consultancy, strategic thinking, analytical, advanced communication, negotiation, process engineering, project management, and business writing skills” (Poisat & Mey, 2017, p. 4).
Secondly, introducing e-HRM is not enough; the organization should also provide its employees with sufficient training so that they could effectively use new software (Poisat & Mey, 2017). Poisat and Mey (2017) also mention the importance of user-friendliness of software since it can influence workers’ willingness to use the software. Finally, the organizational culture should be appropriate for implementing e-HRM to ensure user acceptance of the new technology (Poisat & Mey, 2017). The organization should consider these factors before deciding to transit to e-HRM.
Given the recommendations regarding factors influencing the effectiveness of implementing e-HRM, it may be suggested that Clerk.ly should investigate its employees’ willingness to switch to new HR practices. Since most employees in the organization have intermediate computer skills, they will need sufficient training to be able to effectively use the new software. As for software programs, it may be suggested that Clerk.ly should use Ascentis HCM Software. This program is user-friendly and easy to use, and it is specially designed for small and midsize companies. It has a learning management feature, which is absent from BambooHR. In addition, it has a built-in payroll processing feature, which seems to be more convenient than an add-on of BambooHR and a separate module of Oracle HRMS. iHRS is not relevant to Clerk.ly because this company is not related to healthcare services.
Ascentis. (n.d.). HR Software. Web.
Ashraf, S. F. (2014). Oracle HRMS overview. Learn Share & Grow. Web.
BambooHR. (2018). BambooHR product overview. Web.
BambooHR. (n.d.). Packaging. Web.
Blytheco. (n.d.). Ascentis: Solutions (th)at work. Web.
iHRIS. (n.d.). Frequently asked questions: General questions about the iHRIS software. Web.
Oracle. (2020). Oracle® HRMS for South Africa. Web.
Poisat, P., & Mey, M. R. (2017). Electronic human resource management: Enhancing or entrancing?. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 15(a858), 1-9. Web.