HRIS Certification – What’s it Worth to You?

HRIS Certification: Stand Out From the CrowdAs HR technology continues to evolve, practitioners need to understand not only the functionalities of the software they use every day, but also how to derive the most benefit from emerging capabilities. Managers need a qualified support staff that can quickly adapt to software changes and leverage those new features to add value to the HR department and the company as a whole.

One way to stay abreast of the flood of new technology appearing on the HR software market is to seek HRIS certification through a trusted provider.

Technology and Today’s HR Practitioner

HR software and the accountability for outcomes has evolved rapidly with advances in technology. The needs and expectations of today’s workforce demand a new level of education for HR practitioners.

Many HR department personnel pursue continuing education at community colleges, online schools, and for-profit universities. However, each venue presents hurdles in terms of cost or convenience that can discourage companies from adopting them. Some progressive employers sponsor participation in workshops, training seminars, and programs offered through local professional organizations.

In this post, we’ll take a look at educational opportunities that assess knowledge and skills while also keeping participants informed about the latest developments in HCM and HRIS technology.

The HRIP Certification Program

The International Association of Human Resources Information Management (IHRIM) has created the only recognized certification program in human resources information systems provided through the Human Resources Information Program (HRIP). The program boasts that participants will “cover all aspects of HRIM/HRIS, including the latest trends and best practices.”

  • The HRIP Certification exam assesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities of staff in HR information management.
  • The studies expand knowledge and understanding of HRIM and HRIS technology, functions, trends, and best practices.
  • Three delivery systems match testing opportunities with participant needs: convenient testing centers, proctored exams at local sites, and hosted testing at HR industry events.

Candidates who pass the exam for the Human Resources Information Professional (HRIP) Certificate will be certified for three years. To continue the certificate beyond three years, recipients must re-certify with proof of 60 credit hours of continuing education.


There is no prescribed set of courses for the HRIP Certificate. However, there are some conditions worth attention:

  1. The best candidates have five years of experience in working with human resources technology solutions or information management.
  2. IHRIM offers courses to complete re-certification requirements, but the courses and webinars can also help prepare for the HRIP exam.
  3. HRIP offers exam preparation at rates discounted for IHRIM members.

HRIP has no specific curriculum, but it does offer a blueprint of preferred areas of expertise:

Study Domain: % of Certification Exam

Technology Strategy and Solutions Assessment: 15%
HR Technology and Business Processes: 30%
Systems Selection, Implementation, and Upgrades: 30%
HR Systems Operations: 25%

Education partners

Participants can take courses through approved vendors such as ADP, Kronos, WorkForce, and other leading HRIS vendors to meet re-certification requirements. Courses offered by and other human resources professional membership associations may prepare candidates for certification, but their credits may not be directly applicable.

Webinars and Online Courses

There are many online resources you can take advantage of to stay up-to-date on HR technology advancements. Many of these courses count towards recertification credits for HRIP certification, HRCI certification, or SHRM certification. Courses cover a wide variety of topics such as HCM payroll reform, leave management, candidate selection, integrated tools, implementation, and more.

What is HRIS Certification Worth to You?

The need for HRIS education may exceed the ability for employers to provide the training or improve the competencies of employees assigned to HRIS duties. The available certifications and online resources can help fill the gap, but they also have drawbacks, primarily in terms of cost on the one hand and lack of comprehensive subject coverage on the other.

We would love to know your thoughts on the matter! Do you see a need for HRIS certification? What is your opinion on the IHRIM certificate program and the cost effectiveness of the training. Do webinars and online courses provide enough fresh, relevant information to keep employees up to date without certification?

What is HRIS certification worth to your human resources operation?


HR Tech Trends Driving Changes In Performance Management

HR Tech Trends In Performance ManagementIn February’s issue of HR Magazine, Josh Bersin published an article about 9 HR tech trends that will transform the market over the next year. The article talked about how the shift from cloud to mobile combined with new technology such as AI and wearables has altered the way we think about HR in the workplace.

In this post, I’d like to look at just three of those trends as they relate to people management: the performance management revolution, real-time engagement evaluation, and people analytics.


Game-Changing Performance Management

The shift away from annual reviews continues, with increased automation for team-oriented HR and data-driven processes. Software providers like BambooHR have responded with increasingly flexible performance management tools such as:

  • Flexible surveys
  • Online assessments
  • Team management
  • Activity streams
  • Goal setting and tracking

For example, companies can design their own performance management surveys, making them shorter, more frequent, and with flexible ranking systems designed for regular, actionable feedback. Bamboo’s software allows for custom configuration with goals, peer reviews, and team assessments available based on role:

BambooHR Manager Assessment


Engagement Evaluation Tools

Frequent feedback is one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization. As HR tech evolves, Bersin predicts that feedback will become even more important. Already, many systems have begun integrating feedback options into performance management systems with the goal of better understanding and meeting the needs of their current employees. And as the demand for quality talent continues to build, feedback can also be used to make cultural improvements that will position your company as a more attractive place to work.

With new software capabilities, companies can schedule feedback based on their performance management structure whether that’s monthly, quarterly, or after an event such as a change in the company’s organizational structure. Notifications let employees know when their feedback is required and also send reminders about tasks and announcements:

BambooHR Feedback Notifications


Predictive People Analytics

Everybody’s talking about data, but not many understand the true potential of analytics as it relates to your workforce. As HR software vendors begin building deeper capabilities into their products, companies will be able to leverage the available data to make better decisions, recommend training and role changes, and predict future employee behavior.

Bamboo, for example, offers a performance ranking graph that shows how employees rank as compared to others on both performance and engagement:

BambooHR Performance Ranking Graph

Information like this can help predict performance and retention over time. In addition to tracking and assessing past behavior, people analytics also endeavors to consolidate HR data and motivate change. In the next few years, we’ll increasingly see systems that can:

  • Evaluate patterns of communication based on e-mail habits
  • Predict where security leaks may occur
  • Monitor time management habits
  • Identify job change recommendations
  • Suggest training based on work roles

Bersin urges companies to invest in analytics now, because it may take some time to clean up your data, eliminate redundancies, and hire the right people to mine useful information from the data in your system.

Of course, these aren’t the only HR tech trends you should be keeping your eye on. As software continues to evolve, we’ll see advances in cognitive processing, recruiting, learning products, and much more. Will your company be ready to capitalize on that forward motion?

Looking for better capabilities from your HCM? Take our survey to find your perfect software match!

Six Non-Negotiables to Consider Before You Buy HCM Software

Things to Consider Before You Buy HCM SoftwareHow do you know when it’s time to buy HCM software? Answer: When the inefficiencies and redundancies start costing you money, resources, and morale.

As your business grows and changes, old processes can’t keep pace with the new requirements of your workforce—and that means lost productivity and frustrated employees. Often, the solution is better software, but the sheer number of options on the market quickly gets overwhelming.

To help sort through the available features and functions, we sat down with representatives from ECI, a SaaS cloud-based human capital management solution designed to automate critical workflows and keep your HR department on track.

How to Choose the Right HCM

Like most software solutions, HR platforms comes with a wide range of options. Here are six of the most important features you should consider before you buy HCM software.


Almost all of today’s HCM solutions operate in the cloud in some capacity. But not all cloud solutions are created equal. There are different hosting options on the market, from managed private cloud solutions to software-as-a-service (SaaS). Saas solutions offer deep capability to companies at an affordable price, which makes them very attractive. You avoid heavy infrastructure costs and you benefit from the security and scalability of a robust solution designed for multiple business models. Other hosting and cloud solutions come with their own set of benefits, so take the time to evaluate your organization’s needs and requirements as you consider your options.

Data Storage

ECI’s solution uses a single system of record to store and access data, meaning that modules can share data with one another, and changes made in one module will automatically update in other modules. All employees can access the data they need from a single point, and you can manage access capabilities based on an employee’s security clearance.

Single Source Vs. Best of Breed

Demand for better integration across modules has prompted many HCM providers to create single source solutions rather than best-of-breed solutions. The difficulties associated with integrating multiple modules from different vendors can be overcome, but single source solutions offer broad functionality while keeping costs low. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, so make your decision based on the functionalities you need and your budget considerations.

System Capabilities

We won’t go in-depth into the many system capabilities on the market, but the bottom line is that you should dig deep into the processes of your organization to understand your requirements before you buy HCM software. Different solutions bring different strengths to the table, and you’ll want to match those to your specific needs.

For example, ECI has a robust payroll functionality that allows you to perform essential actions like:

  • Calculate gross pay based on net amounts
  • File local and federal taxes
  • Track and report wage garnishments and remittance
  • Calculate percentage raises for union workers
  • Import files
  • Utilize effective dating

ECI’s strengths also include their analytics tools and dashboards, self-service tools, and reporting configurability.


Reporting is the backbone of HR. You need a strong analytics tool with deep reporting capabilities in order to make the important decisions that keep your workforce functioning every day.

ECI’s analytics tool, for example, gives you the ability to drill down deep into your data, viewing information in different configurations.  You can break down the data by various demographics, such as gender, work state, and ethnicity. In this example, the chart on the left shows the termination breakdown by code across the entire workforce, while the chart on the right shows the code distribution of female workers only.

ECI Analytics Chart

ECI’s tool gives you the freedom to view data in any number of configurations based on your reporting needs—and it’s all with the click of a button.


While look and feel might seem like a less important factor, the truth is that the usability of the software can significantly impact employee productivity. The look and feel of your software can also make a difference in recruiting and onboarding, where user experience communicates the culture of your company to candidates and new employees.

Supporting Business Growth With HCM Software

HR is directly tied to the growth and morale of your workforce—and therefore, of your company. By giving your HR staff the right tools to do their jobs efficiently, you contribute to a more engaged, satisfied workforce across the enterprise. And that’s a direct contributor to productivity and business profit.

Ready to take your research deeper? Take our comprehensive survey to find out which HR software provider meets your unique business specifications


New Research on How to Foster Happier, More Committed Employees

What drives employee fulfillment

Every employer can benefit from a more positive, committed, and engaged workforce. This means going beyond meeting the basic needs of your employees and figuring out what really drives their fulfillment on the job.

In this exclusive live webcast, learn how to apply powerful new research from The Center for Generational Kinetics by focusing on the three true drivers of employee experience.

Can’t attend the webinar? No worries. Register for the event, and you’ll be sent a recording.

Register Now!

5 Ways Bad Managers Undermine Employee Engagement

5 Ways Bad Managers Undermine Employee EngagementRecently I talked to a friend who shared with me some struggles she encountered with her manager at work. When she went to the manager with a problem, he brushed aside her concern and she was met with radio silence for the next 3 months. Needless to say, this caused a fair amount of frustration as she tried to resolve the issue on her own.

This incident got me thinking about the role managers play in employee engagement. How could my friend’s manager have handled her situation differently, both to address the current need and head off future problems? And how can companies hire the kind of managers who contribute positively to employee wellbeing?

How Bad Managers Sabotage Employee Engagement

According to Gallup, managers cause employee engagement scores to vary by as much as 70%.

Let that sink in.

Good managers have the power to make employees feel motivated and happy at work. Bad managers do the exact opposite. They make employees feel frustrated and unhappy with their jobs.

But how do you know if your managers contribute to stress on the job? Here are five signs to watch for:

  1. Poor soft skills. Ineffective managers communicate infrequently and don’t develop positive relationships with their employees. Good managers, by contrast, encourage regular meetings, communicate consistently, and return calls or messages within a day or two at most. They also show interest in their employees as people, staying up to date on what’s happening outside of work and making employees feel valued.
  2. Unclear expectations. When managers fail to cast vision and set measurable goals, employees don’t know what is expected of them at work. Effective managers contribute to employee performance by setting clear expectations, checking up on progress, and holding all employees to the same standards.
  3. Infrequent feedback. There’s a reason most companies no longer value the annual review. Infrequent feedback leaves employees feeling disconnected from their jobs and unsure how to improve. Annual reviews feel superficial and provide no actionable insight into daily decision-making. When managers provide frequent, actionable feedback, workers become more productive contributors.
  4. Focus on weaknesses—Every employee has strengths and weaknesses. Bad managers focus on the weaknesses, while good managers help employees develop their strengths. By placing workers in a position to excel, managers can boost morale and encourage productivity.
  5. Emphasize hierarchy as a measure of value. Poor managers see themselves as the sole source of ideas and solutions, and expect their subordinates to implement those ideas. By contrast, effective managers know how to solicit contributions from every member of the team, understanding that each person brings different strengths to the table.

Unfortunately, companies choose the wrong manager more than 80% of the time.

So how can you reverse the trend?

How to Hire Managers That Foster Productivity

Managers hold the power to make employees happier—and more productive—on the job. And that means hiring the right ones should take top priority. Here are a few tips for finding the right people:

  • Don’t assume someone will be a successful manager based on success in their current role.
  • Look for people with management skills, not just job skills and knowledge.
  • Provide manager training that focuses on communication and performance management.
  • Invest in continuing development for managers.
  • Consider the candidate’s current relationship with co-workers.

When managers  help employees use their natural talents, skills, and knowledge to perform their jobs , everyone benefits.

And that’s worth investing in.

Why Job Hopping Is Good For Your Company Culture

Why Job Hopping Is Good For Your Company CultureDoes culture matter in the workplace? Consider this job hopping stat: 36% of job seekers said they changed jobs because they were unhappy with the company culture.

And what about all the employees who kept slogging along, but hated clocking in for work every day?

Savvy marketers have built whole industries around luring dissatisfied workers away from “mind-numbing, soulless jobs.”

And workers finally feel empowered to do something about working conditions they don’t love.

As the economy recovered, we saw a rise in job hopping. By the age of 35, 25% of workers have held at least five different jobs. And almost half of employers expect new college graduates to stay at their first job for less than two years.

That’s the bad news.

But there’s good news too. Millennials job hop the most, and we have lots of data on what these workers are looking for in an employer.

Hint: It’s not money.

When Culture Matters More Than Compensation

Overall compensation matters less to Millennial job seekers than it does to Baby Boomers. In fact, compensation doesn’t even rank among the top five factors for millennials. But even among more seasoned workers, cultural elements like management style and interest in work outranked compensation when applying for a new job.

One study found that 95% of candidates valued culture more than compensation. When the culture isn’t to their liking, they don’t accept the job or they don’t stay long.

Which brings us back to job hopping. Why are so many workers looking for different jobs?

It’s all about engagement.

In 2015, only 32% of employees were engaged in their jobs. That’s only 3 points higher than the 29% who were engaged in 2011.

Clearly, companies need to make some changes that will increase employee engagement and keep their best workers from jumping ship at the first opportunity.

Focus on HR Experiences, Not Tasks

While HR managers may not be responsible for establishing culture, they are often the first point of contact for candidates. And that means culture must take a leading role in the HR office.

Unfortunately, HR often fails to communicate culture and values at all.

To remedy that problem, we must shift our focus from tasks to people experiences. Let’s take a look at four ways to make that happen:

Create a strong employer brand.
The key to a strong culture is knowing exactly who you are and why people should want to work for you. That’s known as your value proposition. Move beyond hackneyed phrases like “great customer service” and “fun atmosphere” to the heart of your company’s deepest values.

At Southwest Airlines, voluntary turnover is just 2%. That’s because they’ve developed a culture that brings out the best in their employees, and their culture is woven into every aspect of the workplace. When speaking with candidates, they look for a warrior spirit, a servant’s heart, and a fun-“luving” attitude.

The takeaway? Find your bottom-line values and weave them into the fabric of your organization.

Emphasize culture in recruiting.
As we saw earlier, the majority of workers value culture more than compensation. Are you leveraging your culture in your recruiting efforts? If not, you should be. Ask specific questions designed to create a picture of how the candidate will behave in various circumstances. Look for candidates who reflect your company values before starting the job.

Weave employer brand into HR.
A positive cultural experience should begin before Day 1. Let your value proposition inform your recruiting approach, preboarding and onboarding process, management style, communication, and every other aspect of the job. Even routine tasks should reflect and support the company culture. For example, manage onboarding tasks with your employee mobile app. Using the app, you can provide alerts for completion goals, submit immediate feedback, and help managers track progress. At the same time, you’re immersing the new hire in your company’s brand message.

Evaluate your HR software
Does your current software focus on task completion or employee experience? Does it make things easier for HR people or for employees? Can you brand the employee portal to fit your cultural vibe? Candidates and new hires experience your company through software first, so make sure they come away feeling engaged, not frustrated.

Why Is Job Hopping Good For Your Culture?

 Let’s go back to our original question: what can job hopping do for your company culture?

Answer: It shows you when you have an engagement problem. Engagement and retention go hand-in-hand.

Millennials may always have higher rates of job hopping than more seasoned employees because they’re still determining what kind of work they love. Still, if you find it difficult to retain employees long-term, take a close look at your culture. The answer may be hiding in plain sight.

Five Ways Your HR Department Can Capitalize on the Mobile First Trend This Year

Build Your Mobile HR Strategy With Mobile First AppsStatistics don’t lie, and they’re telling a consistent story: mobile strategy is taking over the world. People spend over three hours a day shopping, engaging with brands, using apps, and researching products. And it’s not just consumers who rely on mobile devices to get the job done. Sixty percent of employees use mobile apps for work and 71% use mobile devices to access company information every week.

Companies seem to have gotten the message, and many are scrambling to jump on the mobile bandwagon with HR apps intended to boost employee engagement and productivity. But not all apps are created equal.

What Makes a Bad Mobile App?

Aside from apps that simply don’t work, bad mobile apps are those that don’t deliver a satisfactory user experience. In the HR arena, that usually means the app has been designed around HR processes rather than the user’s needs.

And that’s why you need a mobile-first strategy.

When you focus on the mobile experience first, you can build the app around specific use cases and create mobile-specific solutions. If you’re not building the app yourself, look for a vendor that takes this approach.

Mobile First HR? There’s an App for That

Many HRIS vendors have risen to the mobile app challenge by developing apps that give managers and employers access to information through their phones or tablets. In addition to these comprehensive solutions, numerous companies have entered the market with apps designed to perform a single specific function like onboarding or time and attendance. But in terms of potential mobile capabilities, we’ve only scratched the surface.

As employee behavior continues to shift toward mobile, here are five ways your HR department can capitalize on the trend:

  1. Recruiting—GlassDoor reports that 89% of job seekers believe mobile devices are important for job searching, and 45% use mobile devices to search for jobs every single day—yet, 90% of Fortune 500 companies do not support the ability to apply for a job via mobile. If you don’t have a mobile recruiting solution in place, it’s time to start planning.
  2. Time and Attendance—In addition to mobile clock in/clock out, some apps offer geofencing capabilities that will automatically clock an employee in when arriving to a particular location. This is especially helpful if employees work from multiple locations since the app will track not only the hours worked, but also the specific facility.
  3. Employee Self-Service—Give employees the ability to access their profile, pay information, vacation requests, retirement contributions, and more. Managers can track teams, manage goal completion, and take needed actions from the convenience of a smartphone while on the go.
  4. Analytics—Manage data and keep a close eye on trends with apps that monitor workforce performance, predictive analytics, voluntary quits, transfers, promotions, and other data insights.
  5. Onboarding—Onboarding apps engage new hires and give them a positive, branded experience designed to help them hit the ground running. They also facilitate training, track tasks and goal completion, promote communication, stimulate productivity, and help employees integrate into their new team.

As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile-oriented, a mobile-first strategy has the potential to keep your employees engaged, increase their productivity, and strengthen your employer brand.

So what’s the key to achieving these lofty goals? Look for companies that build their apps with the user experience in mind rather than simply tacking an app onto an existing process.

It’s all about the user.


8 HRIS New Year Resolutions To Breathe Life Into Your HR Department

2017 New Year ResolutionsThe ball has dropped, the confetti has settled, and you’re back at work in the same old HR department staring at the same old software issues. You know the ones: those nails-on-the-chalkboard nagging problems that make your life difficult and contribute to that especially tender knot in your shoulder muscles.

Well, it’s time to make a change! January is the month of new beginnings, but most of us resort to tossing vague ideas out into the universe in hopes that inspiration will strike:

  • “This year I’m going to be more intentional.”
  • “This year our HR department will be agile.”
  • “This year we will deliver greater value.”

We all know it’s just pie in the sky. But what if you could make specific, measurable goals to act on every day? By December, you would not only have reason to celebrate, but you could also look back and say, “Yes, in fact, I was more intentional, agile, and valuable to the company.”

Eight Resolutions Guaranteed to Make the Most of Your HRIS

If you’re ready to quit dreaming and start doing, you need a plan. Here are our top eight resolutions for whipping your HR department into shape this year:

  1. Introduce mobile HR apps. Mobile apps are taking the HR world by storm. Apps can give you all kinds of new capabilities, such as:
  • Automatic clock-ins by location
  • Video learning for the onboarding process
  • Employee challenges
  • Peer-to-peer communication
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Embedded analytics
  • Scheduling and vacation planning

But perhaps more importantly, apps are great tools to promote employee engagement and build your employer brand. Win-win.

  1. Turn the focus on employees, not HR people. With the rise of the millennial generation, we have seen an upsurge in job-hopping, with loyalty to any one company becoming more rare. In order to retain your top performers, you’ll need to make employee engagement a priority. Tools like social platforms, employer branding, mobile apps, mentorships, and feedback platforms can help create a positive employee experience as you reassess your company culture. HR software should improve the experience for employees as well as HR people.
  1. Revamp the performance review process. The stodgy end-of-year annual review is dying a slow and painful death. In its place, consider more frequent, shorter reviews that provide actionable feedback. Also consider incorporating peer reviews and self-evaluations into your performance review process so managers can get a more in-depth look at each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
  1. Develop a stronger employer brand. As the balance of power shifts toward the employee rather than the employer, companies will need to position themselves as desirable places to work in order to attract and retain quality talent. This year, create a step-by-step plan for improving your culture, strengthening diversity, celebrating employee successes, increasing flexible work options, and leveraging the strengths of team management.
  1. Start an employee wellness program. This one might seem like an “extra” rather than a necessity, but analyst extraordinaire Josh Bersin lists it as one of his nine top HR trends for the coming year. That’s because the explosion of wellness apps to help people manage their heath is trickling into the workforce, and companies can utilize the trend to support workforce management and engagement.
  1. Take a long, hard look at people analytics. The HR world has been talking about analytics for years, but only recently has it come into its own as a driver of business success. People analytics can help you create predictive retention models, analyze sales productivity, evaluate performance, and create programs for better work quality and engagement. This year, focus on cleaning up HR data, consolidating it, and hiring people who know how to draw useful conclusions from the available information.
  1. Evaluate the idea of collaborative team management and consider its potential impact. Old-school hierarchical management styles no longer deliver the same impact they used to. Instead, team-based management styles focus on utilizing the strengths of every team member and working together toward a common goal. HR tools make this process more effective by managing workflow, facilitating training, encouraging communication, and creating prescriptive learning platforms.
  1. Build a network of technical gig workers for contract work. The gig economy is exploding, and 2017 will see a surge in the number of people who freelance or self-employ. Companies can capitalize on the trend by discovering qualified contractors to help them complete projects and manage workflow, and your HRIS can help you manage the logistics.

Bonus Resolution: Update Your HRIS 

If your current HR software isn’t built for the new age of digital disruption, it’s time to upgrade. Software vendors have shifted their focus to employee engagement, cloud offerings, mobile strategies, performance management, and a people-centric design, making their software more usable and intuitive for employees and managers as well as your HR team.

At CompareHRIS, we make the selection process easy with our HRIS Comparison Tool. Simply answer a series of questions and receive a customized vendor short list based on your requirements. It’s the fastest way to comb through the many features and capabilities you need to keep your HR department running efficiently.


Got Gig Workers? Keep Them On Track With HRIS Tools

Keep Gig Workers On TrackIt’s 1:30 on a Friday and Jane is sitting at her desk counting the hours (literally) until she can clock out for the weekend. As she slogs through the last of her quarterly reports, Jane allows her thoughts to drift toward a secret ambition:

“What if I could work at home and be my own boss?”

Jane is on the brink of joining 54 million other Americans who engaged in some form of independent work last year. That’s a full third of the U.S. workforce, and some researchers think that number will grow to 50% in just five years. The burgeoning gig economy generated upwards of one trillion dollars in the U.S. alone in 2014.

Gig workers offer scads of benefits to employers: targeted skills for special projects, smaller resource investments, mobility, digitization, and more—all with no benefits required. But they also bring some risks to the table, including legal disputes, tracking requirements, payment issues, engagement problems, and communication hitches.

But does the benefit outweigh the risk? It certainly can, especially if you have a process in place for managing independent worker contracts.

That’s where your HRIS can help.

Creating a Predictable HR Process for Gig Workers

One of the most significant challenges of the gig economy is managing the logistics of a workforce that comes and goes, works remotely, and constantly evolves. Your managers need a predicable process they can follow to classify these employees and avoid potential legal problems and other pitfalls.

Your HR software likely already has built-in tools to track contingent workers, so let’s take a look at how you can use those most effectively:

  • Determine classification—In order to track and pay contingent workers, you’ll need to group them together under a single classification. In Criterion’s software, for example, you would create a position titled “Contract Employee” or something similar. Here you can enter a code to specify 1099 classification, location and wage information, and tag the individual as a temporary worker:

Criterion_Create Position_resized

  • Create a workflow for payroll—You can run all 1099 workers as a group, entering hours manually or pulling them in from an employee time sheet. In the example below, the employee group is titled “1099 Employees” and income has been designated as “regular hours.”

Criterion_Create Pay Group_resized

  • Track time remotely—If the contractor will be working at multiple locations, your software may be able to track time punch locations using geofencing or by capturing an IP address. For remote workers, you can use mobile apps to facilitate time punches via smartphone or tablet.
  • Use Your ATS to track hires and completions—Your software’s applicant tracking system (ATS) makes it easy to track start and end dates for specific projects. You can also track reasons for termination (project completion vs. unsatisfactory work) and quickly determine which contractors you want to work with in the future.

Keeping Contract Workers Engaged

Keeping remote contract workers engaged with the company also presents significant challenges. As the percentage of gig workers increases, maintaining a unified, vibrant company culture becomes more difficult. Gig workers are attracted by the flexibility of contract work, but they also want to work for companies they believe in—and that means you should pay close attention to the messages you’re communicating.

Culture and branding comprise a huge part of the solution to the engagement problem. In order to attract skilled workers, you must brand yourself as a desirable employer in terms of work environment, values, and personal investment. Let’s look at two ways your HRIS can help you achieve this goal:

  • Personalized home screens—Many systems can personalize an employee’s online experience based on their classification, security access, and workflow. Here’s an excellent example from Bamboo showing an HR Director’s home screen. For contingent workers, this screen would show only the information relevant to each worker and the groups he or she interacts with:

Bamboo_Employee Home Screen_resized

  • Engagement Tools—Engagement tools like social message boards, employee interactions, notifications, and performance reviews can help contingent workers feel like part of the team. In Bamboo’s software, the employee portal includes a “What’s Happening” section to highlight important announcements, news, and reminders:


Undoubtedly, the gig economy will challenge the way businesses interact with employees. As the number of contract workers grows, companies will need to answer questions about communication, training, engagement, onboarding, and culture.

The good news is that HR software is evolving right along with your workforce needs. At, we’re seeing encouraging new developments in employee engagement and branding tools, and those trends will continue as software providers respond to new technology demands.

Looking for HR software that can meet the challenges of the gig economy? Check out our HRIS comparison tool to find the right software match for your company.

About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.

HRIS Holiday Hacks to Rocket Productivity and Spread Cheer

HRIS Tools for Holiday ProductivityThe Thanksgiving dishes have been cleared away and the sprint toward Christmas is gaining speed. December may be one of the most difficult months of the year to stay focused on work, but it’s also one of the busiest months for many companies. If that’s true for your sales team, it’s equally true for your HR department. It may seem impossible to manage employee time requests, seasonal hiring, holiday pay and all the paperwork that goes with the season.

But don’t worry. That’s what your HRIS is for.

Here are five HRIS tools that can make this your best holiday season ever:

  • PTO Calendar: Get Home For the Holidays—It’s that time of year when everyone and their cousin wants extra time off. If you don’t have a plan, squabbles can break out over who submitted their request first and who deserves first pick of holiday time. Many HRIS systems include a PTO calendar where employees or managers can see who has already requested or received time off for a given day. The calendar makes it much easier to fit PTO requests into your existing schedule, and managers will have an easier time filling shifts if they can see at a glance who is planning to take vacation.
  • Social Message Boards: Send a Letter to Your Secret Santa—Communication breakdowns can throw a wrench in your well-oiled machine—but they don’t have to. Whether you’re planning a holiday party, welcoming new temporary staff, or providing a way for employees to interact about the office Secret Santa, social message boards make it easy to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Goal Setting: Make That Goal List and Check It Twice—When we enter the home stretch just before Christmas (i.e., the entire month of December), it can be difficult for employees to keep their heads in the game. Goal setting functions let you set specific productivity, training, or personal goals for each employee. As workers check off completed goals, managers can see who is meeting expectations and who might need a little extra motivation.
  • Mobile Clock In/Clock Out: Work at Home, ‘Cause Baby It’s Cold Outside—During the holidays, employees may be working at different locations or they may take advantage of flexible work policies to work at home. Mobile time management options make it easy to clock in and out with a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Geofencing pinpoints an employee’s location using the GPS coordinates on his or her phone so you can see at a glance where they clocked in. Most systems can also identify the IP address from which the employee clocked in so you can identify time punches at different locations.
  • Applicant Tracking System: It’ll Be a Blue Christmas Without Your Seasonal Workers—If you hire additional staff during the holiday season, the applicant tracking system in your HRIS can help you sort resumes, screen candidates, and evaluate based on test results. Some can also hide demographic information to place all applicants on an even playing field, which is an excellent way to promote skills-based hiring.

If your Christmas wish involves avoiding the annual rush of PTO requests, office hoopla, and extra recruiting demands, let your HRIS help you out this year.

Don’t have these features in your current software? Maybe it’s time for an update. Check out our HRIS comparison tool to find a software system that can help you grant your Christmas wish!