What is a Human Resource Management System (HRMS)?

A human resources management system is a suite of software tools designed to assist employees and HR professionals by supporting core HR functions.

Whatever business you are in, whatever product or service you offer, your success depends on your employees. It’s through the skills, commitment, and insight of your workforce that you can connect with customers and address the hurdles between you and success. Human resources departments exist to help organizations of all kinds better support the people who are the foundation of the company. 

Unfortunately, changing business dynamics and the increasing need to scale HR functions as organizations grow create ever-more complex HR environments. The right human resource management system (HRMS) can help ensure that your workforce has the support it needs to remain committed, productive, and satisfied in the face of evolving expectations. By introducing improved collaboration tools, centralized data dashboards, and advanced workflow automation features, HRMS optimizes HR management to place employee success front and center.

As mentioned above, HRMS supports and expands upon HR functionality. In many cases, this is made possible thanks to automation features within the system.

By intelligently automating many essential HR processes, HRMS solutions empower HR professionals to more efficiently address critical tasks while focusing most of their attention on strategic concerns. Self-service capabilities likewise help alleviate stretched HR departments by allowing employees to take more direct control of their HR functions.

Many HRMS solutions also function as centralized platforms through which all HR communications and analytics may operate. This helps optimize HR/employee collaboration, provides organizations with improved employee monitoring, and pulls from stored HR data to create sophisticated reports at the push of a button.

Simply put, HR automation frees your HR department from the demands of manual, repetitive tasks, while additional HR support tools put you more firmly in control of how your people are managed. With HRMS, businesses see improvements across the board, gaining competitive advantages, saving money, more effectively prioritizing HR tasks, and improving employee metrics over time.

The most effective HRMS solutions touch upon nearly every aspect of HR functionality, including employee analytics. As such, they are sometimes equated to human resource information systems (HRIS). But while there may be some overlap between the two, HRMS and HRIS are not strictly synonymous.


HRIS solutions are designed specifically for tracking and organizing employee information—such as names, salary benefits, social security numbers, reviews, and more. HRIS helps ensure accurate record keeping and reporting.


HRMS solutions assist in managing employee functions, such as recruiting, onboarding, talent management, employee experience, and more. Top HR management systems also include data management, analytics, and reporting options, creating overlap with HRIS functionality.

HRMS and HRIS operate in conjunction, and providers often pair the two together as a single HR service.

In answer to the growing need for more comprehensive HR support, there are many HRMS options currently available providing similar core functionality. These areas include:

Employee engagement

A major responsibility in HR is to ensure that employees have the support, appreciation, and resources they need to remain fully engaged. Employee engagement in HRMS promotes positive connections between employees and leadership, and offers solutions for acquiring additional training, creating mentor relationships, managing recognition programs, and more.

Employee experience

Going hand in hand with employee engagement, employee experience takes into account employee benefits, resource accessibility, employee feedback options, and workplace transparency to provide your workforce with increased satisfaction in their jobs. At the same time, HR can apply real-time HRMS data and learnings to identify and eliminate issues that may be negatively impacting the employee experience.

Payroll management

Payroll management is a complex-yet-essential part of human resources which goes well beyond simply sending out paychecks. HRMS automates many aspects of payroll, including calculating earnings, withholding deductions, facilitating direct deposits, and giving employees easy access to pay documentation (such as earning statements) without having to request help from the HR department.

Process optimization

HR processes need to be accurate and timely if they are to effectively support company goals. At the same time, these processes are expected to remain within established budgets. Automation in HRMS eliminates many of the bottlenecks that can slow HR processes to a crawl. Human error likewise becomes a non-issue. Process optimization creates an efficient and cost-effective solution and is a primary functionality of HRMS.

Talent management

Talent management functionality relates to the recruitment and development of candidates who are interested in positions within the company. This applies not only to external hires, but also to those current employees who make employee referrals or apply for other positions within the organization. Talent management solutions may include everything associated with recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and internal movement.

Workforce management

HR exists to help employees provide their best effort. Workforce management in HRMS helps track and optimize employee development while also giving managers clearer insights into employee hours and attendance and offering a platform for conducting and reviewing employee evaluations. Workforce management also relates directly to incident recording, compensation planning, time-off and vacation policies, and goal management. This area even extends into contingent workforce management, helping manage non-full-time employees such as interns and contractors.

Depending on the provider, not every HRMS offers the same tools or capabilities. To help ensure that your business has what it needs to support your workforce, consider prioritizing the following essential features when reviewing possible HRMS solutions:

Compensation and benefits administration

HRMS tools facilitate accurate compensation and benefits, providing resources HR departments can use to configure and track eligibility and collaborate with providers to establish plans and make payments.

Employee Self Service

A centralized HRMS platform may be configured to include employee portals where workers can access their own data, update their information, manage their benefits, find answers to common questions, request support, and more.

Reporting and analytics

Another benefit of centralizing HR management is that it collects all relevant HR data in a single location, making analytics and reporting a much simpler process. Top HRMS solutions take this further, assisting HR professionals in establishing KPIs and employee metrics, building financial dashboards, tracking operational data, and ensuring total transparency into HR processes. This can also help promote regulatory compliance.

Learning management

Employees are happiest and most productive when they are evolving their skill sets. Learning management tools in HRMS bring together available courses, testing, and certifications options, and make it possible to set and track compliance training.

Workforce planning

Workforce planning tools are crucial for understanding and preparing your people for current and upcoming scenarios. This includes forecasting and budgeting, establishing recruitment priorities, identifying skill gaps, and more.

Employee record management

Data silos in HR can be extremely damaging, making it difficult to locate and retrieve vital employee information. Centralizing employee records through HRMS creates a single source of truth for maintaining employee data. This improves the effectiveness of reporting, auditing, and compliance tracking while also reducing many of the costs associated with each.


HRMS solutions often give companies better control over managing employee rewards. Bonuses, sales commissions, overtime pay, etc. can all be addressed within the HRMS while also considering any taxes or other deductions.

Intuitive user interface

A centralized HRMS should be easily accessible for users of every technological skill level. Taken further, users should be able to customize their own dashboards to include the most relevant information and establish role-based notifications. The more intuitive the interface, the higher your HRMS adoption rates will be.

Talent acquisition and management

HRMS options provide tools for creating and publishing job descriptions, managing resumes, tracking candidates, performing background checks, and guiding new hires through the onboarding process. Once the new hire is situated in their position, HRMS tools can take things further with performance and goal management and competency testing.

Time and attendance

HRMS solutions provide tools for scheduling employees around availability and other variables. Automated capabilities make it possible for time-off requests to be instantly processed and time-off balances updated in real-time, and timecards can be integrated directly with payroll.

Taken all together and correctly applied, these functionalities have the potential to significantly improve your business. Top advantages of HRMS include:

  • Improved HR data insights
  • Optimized process efficiency
  • Enhanced HR time management
  • Increased employee engagement and experience
  • Reduced back-end costs
  • Improved regulatory compliance
  • Better workforce deployment and tracking
  • Faster, more effective recruiting and onboarding

The right HRMS can make a major difference in how you support and administer HR functions throughout your organization. But for human resource management to be truly effective, it must empower employees with the HR resources and services they need, exactly when they need them.

ServiceNow HR Service Delivery integrates directly with your human capital management (HCM) solutions and unlocks enterprise-wide productivity. This employee experience platform gives your people the freedom and capabilities they crave while supporting your business with improved productivity, digitized workflows, and a completely unified experience. ServiceNow makes it all possible.

Learn more about HR Service Delivery, and take human resource management further than ever before.

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