As an HR professional, it is easy to get lost in the world of acronyms: HRMS, HRIS, HCM, HRD, HRM, and the list goes on and on. While some systems (and acronyms) have clear differences, the lines blur easily for others, leaving professionals confused or frustrated about their needs. To make things even trickier, many people (mistakenly) use the terms interchangeably. 

If you’re considering HR software, we’re here to clarify the differences between HRIS, HRMS, and HCM and help you find the right solution.

What is an HRIS?

HRIS stands for human resource information system. An HRIS is software that stores and organizes data related to people at a company. While HRIS systems can vary from provider to provider and from organization to organization, their primary goal is to streamline HR processes and make things easier for all involved. 

An HRIS contains a relatively small group of functions designed to help an HR department run smoothly.

What are some of the most common HRIS features?

  • Recruitment: Job postings, tracking applications, resume organization
  • Training: Onboarding processes for new joiners, ongoing training for existing team members
  • Compensation and benefits: Keeping track of salaries, time off, health insurance, etc. 
  • Self-services: Allows employees, managers, and even candidates to log in and manage information, complete forms, and more
  • Workflow management: An HRIS can help organizations to create productive workflows, especially within the HR department

Over time, the functions included in HRIS programs have expanded, blurring the line between the various types of programs. 

What is an HRMS?

HRMS stands for human resource management system. It has a much broader scope and reach within a company than an HRIS. 

An HRMS is a total solution for managing HR and, in most cases, includes all of the features of an HRIS and many more. Usually, this addition includes time, labor, payroll, and other features different kinds of companies may need. 

HRMS systems are highly customizable, allowing them to meet the unique needs of every organization. Top-tier HRMS systems also help navigate laws and regulations across different countries. For example, taxation and direct deposit for salaries can often be dealt with directly from an HRMS.

Many HRMS’ also feature high-level analytics. These analytics can help generate reports and integrate them with other software used in the organization. In addition, many analytics programs can integrate employee advocacy information, providing insights into employee advocates on social media and more.

What is HCM?

HCM stands for human capital management and is often used together with the term human resource management. 

While HCM and HRMS have many things in common, HCM is typically considered an option that helps drive economic value from every team member. This means that an HCM software often focuses on things that will further the status and productivity of a team member, including training and performance evaluations. 

The analytics of an HCM will also zoom in on the economic side of things. This includes employee turnover, cost-per-hire, employee engagement rate, etc.

HRIS vs. HRMS: Choosing the right solution (what to consider and how to choose)

Now’s time to drill down into what type of program to choose for your organization. The first step when deciding HRMS vs. HRIS should be to ask yourself what your needs are. Do you need an all-encompassing solution that allows you to take care of every HR action, including paying salaries and having access to high-level analytics? 

Or are you looking for a lower-level solution that will keep you and your HR team super organized and able to focus on building the most high-quality teams possible? The answer to these questions will help you understand if you’re looking for an HRIS or an HRMS.

Once you’ve decided what you need, it’s time to choose an HRIS. Remember that not all HRIS systems are created equally. You’ll need to (once again) consider your needs, consult with others in the company, establish your budget, speak with vendors, demo some systems, and finally, implement! You’ll quickly realize what a huge difference a great system can make for you and your team.

HiBob: changing the way HR teams work with our advanced HRIS

HiBob’s HRIS will make HR teams and the people who work with them happier, more productive, and able to focus on the things that really matter at work. 

After all, no one wants to spend their day creating spreadsheet after spreadsheet, manually entering people’s birthdays in their calendar, and trying to figure out who has which day off.

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.