Buying Strategies

6 Ways A Subpar HRIS Is Ruining Your Employee Experience

June 7, 2023
Brett Ungashick

The right HRIS can have a strong effect on your employee's day-to-day experience and can increase retention, engagement and productivity. The wrong HR systems can do the opposite. Here's how it might look if your HRIS system isn't working for your business:

Some companies choose not to invest in an HRIS because they fear the costs of purchasing and implementing a new piece of software.

While an HRIS is an investment that can raise operating costs, many companies fail to see the costs of not investing in an HRIS. Not having a quality HRIS can cause consistent challenges for your employees that can ultimately have detrimental effects on retention, employee productivity and recruitment costs.

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If you've never had a quality HRIS before, it might be hard to notice the ways your subpar HRIS is effecting your employees. Here are a few examples:

Uncertainty on their first day

We all remember the nerves we felt on the first day at a new school. We didn't know who we would be meeting, what to expect and how to prepare.

Those same nerves exist for your new hires. They hope they made the right choice in choosing your company, but it's natural for a certain degree of fear, uncertainty and doubt to creep in as they leave the comfort of their previous employer.

A strong HRIS platform can ensure that employees don't feel those first day jitters. Most modern HRIS platforms have robust digital onboarding tools that can allow new hires to: meet their new team, learn about the company's mission, vision and values, fill out their new hire paperwork and start having conversations with their new manager.

Smart companies leverage these onboarding tools so they can create a great first impression with employees. Rather than an employee spending their entire first day alone with a stack of papers, that same employee can come in to the office already knowing what to do and who to talk to.

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Inability to control their information

Most employees do not have static lives. The information that is accurate on their first day, may no longer be accurate six months later.

Employees will move and their home address will change. Employees will have children and need to add new dependents. Employees will talk with their financial planner and need to change their withholdings.

These are all very important life events for your employees that can have implications on their healthcare coverage and tax filings, so the easier that it is for employees to resolve these issues, the happier they are.

A quality HRIS system is one where employees have full access to their own demographic, pay and benefits information and, ideally, can make any of these changes on a mobile app from the comfort of their own home.

Forcing employees to request these changes in a manual, paper-driven process will only add stress and frustration to your employees' daily lives.

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Unable to have their voice heard

Some companies have an enviable culture that is constantly being recognized as a "great place to work". Other companies are experiencing the pain of low retention and engagement.

No matter where your company falls on this spectrum, all companies can improve by being more equipped to listen and learn from their workforce. A company's culture is dynamic and always changing, so what was true a few weeks ago may no longer be relevant today.

Smart companies are leveraging their HRIS to make sure that they have a constant pulse on their employee's feelings, morale and suggestions. Most HRIS's can enable companies to capture employee sentiments via surveys, suggestion boxes and even AI analytics.

By giving employees the tools to safely express their true feelings about the company, smart companies can head off costly turnover challenges before they reach a critical point.

Uncertain which task is done in which system

For companies that do not have a modern, unified HRIS system, many of the HR and personnel related tasks that they need to accomplish get spread out over a variety of tools, systems and processes.

Many of the functions that an HRIS can solve are critical business functions that need to be accomplished. These include: conducting annual reviews, offering open enrollment to employees, collecting timesheet information, compliantly terminating employees and more.

If a company chooses not to invest in a unified HRIS, these processes still need to be carried out. But instead, these processes are often done on paper, in spreadsheets or with standalone tools.

When employees have to submit benefits selection via paper, do annual reviews in a Google Doc and submit their work hours via email, you are asking your employees to remember too many actions. Without a single place to accomplish those tasks, employees are bound to get confused and your HR team is bound to receive an increased number of inquiries and requests.

Unclear path for future growth and promotions

We no longer live in the world where employees are expected to work for the same employer their entire life. In that traditional employment structure, employees got used to the idea of the 'corporate ladder.' Employees knew that, at regular intervals, they would be up for promotions and they knew exactly what job sat above their own.

The modern landscape is much more dynamic as employees are less tied to their employers and, in turn, employers do not have the same promotion structures. Because of this change, modern employees have a much harder time understanding where they fit into their organization, how they are performing and what opportunities lay beyond their current role.

The best HRIS systems are particularly adept at helping employees better understand their job and how it fits into the larger organization. An HRIS can: provide a detailed org chart for employees to explore, it can track annual/quarterly goals that employees are working towards, it can identify skill and competency gaps that employees will need to resolve in order to get promoted and it can house the learning materials to help employees obtain those skills.

By putting an employee's future firmly in their own grasp, an HRIS can help companies keep their workforce motivated and developing.

Lack of connection to colleagues and the company

Especially in the days of COVID and work from home, employees do not have the same access to their corporate culture that they once did. The water cooler is not available to all employees these days, and smart companies are recreating it online.

Most modern HRIS's help companies: connect disparate teams, blast out important company updates, enable peer-to-peer messaging and better receive employee suggestions.

Giving your employees a space where they can connect with their peers, stay in tune to key business updates and communicate to the broader organization is something that we took for granted in physical offices. Now that we are moving more and more online, it is something that employees will come to expect from their employers.


If you are interested in upgrading your HRIS, or buying an HRIS for the first time, keep OutSail's free services in mind. OutSail is the only HR software broker in the market. OutSail works with every major HRIS vendor and can help you find the right solution for your needs. Additionally, due to their broker model, you don't have to pay a cent for OutSail's advice.

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Brett Ungashick
Brett is the founder of OutSail. He spent the early part of his career selling HR software before switching sides and going to work for the people buying the software.

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