HRIS and Affirmative Action Plans

HRIS software does a great job straightening out the nightmare of HR record-keeping. Because the software integrates information resources, it collects, stores, and cross files employee records. By centralizing files, it pulls data on employees from many systems in different departments from different locations into one single efficient system.

Employees have limited secured access to part of the HRIS, and this reduces the labor load among HR personnel. Because other data channels are accessible by interested and authorized senior and peer managers, formal reports are simplified and reduced. In-boxes, emails, paper files, and the other detritus of "old school" office systems are largely eliminated. And, all the sorting, putting and pulling becomes a virtual event.

Affirmative Action needs

An Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is required of any employer (or employer location) with 50 plus employees and $50,000 in government contracts. This involves extensive statistical and narrative reports. While the centralization enabled by HRIS seems a no-brainer in warehousing and integrating the data needed for AAPs, corporations that would benefit from the labor and risk savings have been slow to buy-in.

The data required includes the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It may be expanded to include veteran's status and status as a disabled person. To make it more difficult, that data has to be integrated with tracking of the job description, ad placement or recruiting tools, applications and related forms, I-9 status, and so on. The warehousing is vertical and horizontal, and it is correlated with considerable difficulty if done by hand.

HRIS and Affirmative Action costs

HRIS software, installation, maintenance, and training can be pricey. But, it earns its keep quickly in many ways. However, to focus on Affirmative Action, HRIS relieves HR staff to focus on more creative and satisfying tasks other than manual record-keeping. HR specialists in equal employment opportunity can be re-assigned to strategize implementation and long-range planning. A sizable organization with 30 distribution facilities, each with 50 employees or more, would have to produce 30 separate plans requiring the attention of 15 to 30 employees. With centralized software, a team of 3 to 5 employees could do the same work in a shorter time. Moreover, the central database assures matching, on-time, and correctly written plans.

Employee satisfaction

Employers succeed when they stick to their core strengths and values. This applies to employees as well. The more they are pulled away from their trained and appointed duties the weaker their interest and performance. Human Resources personnel, asked to enter tedious data, run multiple statistical reports, and prepare volumes of photocopy are not likely to remain focused or accurate. Because Affirmative Action reporting is deemed to be an occasional need, most companies do not employ specialists, so the AAP labor is additional work for regular staff.

HRIS reduces threats

Employment discrimination litigation concerns any conscientious employer. But, the concerns are not limited to lawsuits. As large a threat to a company contracting with Federal agencies is the open possibility of an audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Such an audit is exhausting, tense, probing, and time and labor-intensive. HRIS centralization reduces this threat because it reduces the number of processors involved, the inadequate training of staff, the inconsistency in report data and language, the improper dating and delivery, and mistakes made by unfamiliar staff processors.

Early HRIS approaches evolved from payroll duties with an accounting and clerical point of view. The software placed and sorted employees by function and pay rate. It could run reports - once converted to Excel - on alphabet and numerical prompts. It produced thick monthly reports to store and take up space in the office. It could calendar events such as birthdays and anniversaries for performance assessment. But, it channeled and cubby-holed the data; it did not integrate and correlate.

HRIS solutions

Modern systems do more with even more information. More flexibly structured, they offer powerful and complex features and solutions to Human Resources and the understanding and forecasting of human capital. Among the analytic and reporting abilities is their strength in Affirmative Action reporting.  The cost savings in this function alone are a significant return on the original investment.

Author: Carolyn Sokol
copyright (c) 2013