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HRIS Manager Career Guide

What is an HRIS manager?

An HRIS manager, or human resources information system manager, connects the HR and information technology (IT) departments. They focus on using technology and systems to improve and streamline the operations within human resources. These professionals are at the heart of many businesses and organizations as they’re vital to managing employee data, policies, procedures, and compliance information, as well as introducing and managing HR system improvements to enhance the overall efficacy of HR processes.

Duties and responsibilities

The HRIS manager is critical in managing and overseeing the HR systems that house vital employee and company data. Some of their primary tasks include developing and implementing HRIS strategies, ensuring data integrity, producing and analyzing reports from various HR metrics, supervising HRIS team members, and training HR staff on new systems and processes. They also oversee system upgrades, installations, and troubleshoot issues. Lastly, they ensure that the human resources data is processed accurately and privacy standards for information system records are met.

Work environment

Like many other managerial roles within a business, an HRIS manager primarily works in an office environment. This could be within a specific department of a company, such as HR or IT, or they may have their individual office. Their role regularly requires them to communicate with other teams, so interaction with others in a professional setting is a key part of their work environment. Due to the technical aspects of the role, they may spend significant time working on a computer to manage systems, analyze data, and implement new processes.

Typical work hours

The HRIS manager usually maintains traditional business hours, working around 40 hours from Monday to Friday. However, in cases of system upgrades or solving critical IT issues, they may need to work occasional evenings or weekends. The nature of this role also opens the possibility for remote or flexible working options depending on the organization’s policy and the specific work requirements.

How to become an HRIS manager

This career guide section outlines the steps to become an HRIS manager. The primary steps revolve around acquiring extensive knowledge and experience in human resources information systems, information technology, management skills, and related certifications.

Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree

The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, these degrees should be in human resources, business administration, information technology, or a related field. These disciplines provide the foundation of knowledge to understand the complexities of managing human resources information systems.

Step 2: Gain experience

After acquiring a relevant degree, gaining professional experience is essential. Many start in entry-level human resources or IT roles, gradually accruing knowledge of the opposing IT or HR department. This experience is crucial since they need an understanding of both human resource processes and technology.

Step 3: Acquire HRIS skills

As one gains experience, specific skills in HRIS should be acquired. This involves gaining proficiency with HRIS software platforms, understanding data analysis and reporting, becoming familiar with HRIS database structure, and learning about HRIS security compliance.

Step 4: Earn relevant certifications

Certifications allow individuals to enhance their reputation as IT and HR professionals. Examples of relevant certifications include the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) offered by HR Certification Institute (HRCI) or technology-specific certifications like Oracle HCM Cloud certification.

Step 5: Develop management skills

As this job involves leading a team, individuals must work on their management skills. This can be through hands-on leadership experience or by completing a relevant course. Good project management, communication, and strategic planning skills are just some of the attributes one should develop.

Step 6: Apply for jobs

Once equipped with the necessary background, individuals should apply for open HRIS manager positions. This includes everything from preparing a relevant and targeted resume to passing the interview process with prospective employers.

Step 7: Continue learning

After landing the role, one must continue to learn and stay updated with the latest trends and technological advancements in HRIS systems, management strategies, and relevant legislation changes. This step ensures the professional is always well-suited to offer optimal solutions and strategies for their organization’s HRIS needs.

How much do HRIS managers make?

HRIS manager salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Additional variables such as the complexity of the HR systems managed, the number of system users, and the HRIS platform used can significantly impact their salary range.

Highest paying industries

  • Computer Systems Design – $139,900
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $132,560
  • Insurance Carriers – $130,210
  • Scientific Research and Development Services – $128,760
  • Advertising and Public Relations – $126,550

Highest paying states

  • California – $134,780
  • New Jersey – $131,640
  • New York – $129,920
  • Massachusetts – $127,390
  • Washington – $125,980

Browse HRIS manager salary data by market

Types of HRIS managers

Below, we explore common focuses and areas of specialization for HRIS managers. This section will aid your understanding of the diverse roles in this field and aid your decision-making process during a job search or career transition.

HRIS analyst

An HRIS analyst is responsible for managing and troubleshooting the HRIS, a software package that enables the HR department to manage and analyze their data effectively. These professionals ensure the system meets the organization’s needs and propose solutions to improve its efficiency.

HRIS administrator

This focus involves overseeing the daily operations of an HRIS system. An HRIS administrator handles the ongoing management of the system, including maintenance, user access, security, and system upgrades. They must ensure that the system’s data is accurate, confidential, and secure.

HRIS implementation specialist

As the job title suggests, an HRIS implementation specialist takes charge when a new HRIS system needs to be set up or an existing one replaced. Specialists in this area are experienced with a number of different types of HRIS systems and typically lead the implementation project from start to finish. They may also provide training and support to the end users of the system.

HRIS project manager

Stepping up from the role of implementation specialist is the HRIS project manager. These professionals oversee the overall management of HRIS projects and are responsible for planning, executing, and closing projects. They coordinate with various departments and stakeholders to ensure that the system functions as expected, meeting the organization’s needs.

HRIS consultant

An HRIS consultant can advise an organization about their HRIS system. They typically have a deep understanding of the capabilities of various HRIS systems and can recommend suitable systems for an organization based on their specific needs. A consultant may also assist with system implementation, workflow optimization, and staff training sessions.

Top skills for HRIS managers

This career guide section outlines the skills and abilities that will help you find success as an HRIS manager.

Technical proficiency

These professionals often utilize advanced software systems to manage human resources data and procedures. Any individual in this field must possess a deep understanding of HRIS systems, databases, and system development methodologies. They should also be adept in utilizing data analysis tools and software.

Communication skills

As a manager, effective communication is a key skill. One must have the ability to articulate technical concepts clearly to a variety of audiences, as they are frequently working with stakeholders across the organization. This includes presenting complex information in a simplified manner, facilitating meetings, and offering system training.

Analytical thinking

Being able to analyze system processes, identify optimization opportunities, and troubleshoot systems issues are key requirements for success. One should also possess the ability to interpret complex HR data and convert it into actionable insights to drive decision-making and strategic planning.

Project management skills

Often, individuals in this field are tasked with managing projects like implementing a new HRIS or updating existing applications. This involves planning, coordinating, allocating resources, and ensuring projects are completed within the established parameters. Hence, knowledge of project management principles and practices is crucial.

Understanding of HR procedures

While technical skills are necessary, one also needs to have a solid grasp of human resource procedures and policies. This understanding allows for the configuration and design of the HRIS to align with the organization’s human resources needs and goals.

Leadership abilities

This role often oversees a team responsible for maintaining the HRIS. Strong leadership skills, such as team collaboration, decision making, and giving constructive feedback, help to ensure team productivity and the successful execution of tasks.

HRIS manager career path options

An HRIS manager typically starts their career progression by enhancing their managerial skills and professional knowledge. This includes a strong understanding of personnel data management, creating strategic HR plans, and ensuring system compliance with organizational policy and governmental laws. As one gains experience and expertise in the field, several career opportunities are available.

Senior HRIS manager/HRIS director

With considerable years of experience, one can advance to a senior position or even become an HRIS director. In this role, one would oversee an entire team — spearheading the organization’s HRIS strategies, planning budgets, and ensuring data integrity. They would also be responsible for the execution of projects and maintaining vendor relationships.

Chief HR officer

Another possible path is becoming a chief human resources officer (CHRO). This high-level executive position requires extensive experience and leadership skills. Professionals in this role shape and enforce the organization’s HR policies, strategies, and goals. They liaise closely with the CEO and board of directors and play a significant part in the company’s decision-making process.

HR technology consultant

If one is inclined to work for themselves, an HR technology consultant is a viable career option. As a consultant, one would work with different companies, helping them implement, improve, or replace their HRIS. This role requires a deep understanding of HR processes and the latest technology trends in the field. As a consultant, you should also be able to develop new clients, which involves an entirely other set of sales and people skills.

As HR departments have seen accelerating digitization, there’s been a dramatic rise in the requirement for competent professionals capable of managing, implementing, and leveraging these digital tools to enhance department efficiency and organizational performance.

Instances of artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and cloud platforms have become the norm rather than the exception, spurring the necessity for knowledgeable practitioners in this path. As a candidate considering this career, you need to embrace this digitization trend. For aspiring HRIS managers, a combined understanding and practical experience in data analysis, project management, HR practices, and the latest HR tech software are vital skills that employers often look for.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for individuals in the HR management field, which includes HRIS managers, are projected to grow by 7 percent through 2031. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations. Continued new uses for digital and electronic recordkeeping will motivate growth in this sector. As a poignant note, despite any economic downturn, the increasing emphasis on strategic planning and the necessity for digitizing HR processes should sustain the demand for these professionals.

HRIS manager career tips

Understand the system landscape

You are in charge of a company’s HR information systems. Start by gaining a comprehensive understanding of your company’s HR system landscape. Familiarize yourself with the systems currently in use, how they are configured, and how various systems interface with each other. Understand the functionality of each system and how it aids HR processes. This knowledge will help you efficiently manage these systems and identify opportunities for improvement.

Develop technical proficiency

Staying updated with technological advancements in the HR field is vital. Focus on the technical skills relevant to your company’s HR information systems. This could mean learning SQL for database management, enhancing your Excel skills for data manipulation, or learning programming languages used in your company’s HR tech stack. Such skills will allow you to troubleshoot issues and make better-informed decisions about system enhancements and updates.

Build a professional network

Here are some organizations that you may want to consider joining to build a strong professional network within human resources as a whole.

  • International Association for Human Resource Information Management
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • American Payroll Association

Stay updated with legal compliance

In the HR field, understanding and adhering to legal compliance is vital. This extends to the management of HR information systems. Staying current on laws related to employee data handling, privacy and consent, especially in the regions where your company operates, is important. This awareness will enable you to ensure that the systems are properly configured to meet all data privacy and reporting requirements.

Engage in continuous learning

With the constant evolution of HR systems and technology, staying on top of new advancements and trends is essential. Regularly engage in professional development and learning opportunities to stay at the forefront of your field. Some ways you can continuously learn are through:

  • Conferences and webinars on HR technology
  • Online courses focusing on emerging HR technologies and practices
  • Certification programs, such as HR Information Professional (HRIP)

Where the HRIS manager jobs are

Top employers

  • IBM
  • Cisco Systems
  • Paycor, Inc.
  • Oracle
  • SAP

Top states

  • California
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Illinois
  • Florida

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder


What skills does an HRIS manager need?

As an HRIS manager, you will need a strong grasp of computer systems, especially those related to human resources and information management. You should also have excellent problem-solving skills to address system-related issues. Additionally, good communication and team management skills are crucial.

What type of education is required for HRIS managers?

Moving into an HRIS management position often requires a bachelor’s degree in a field like human resources, information technology, or business administration. Additional certifications in HR or IT systems could further enhance job prospects.

Does the HRIS manager role involve lots of teamwork or is it largely independent?

HRIS manager positions often involve significant teamwork, as you may be working with human resources staff, IT professionals, and other department heads to ensure systems are meeting company needs. However, there will also be plenty of independent tasks, such as troubleshooting system issues or analyzing data.

What is a typical day like for an HRIS manager?

As an HRIS manager, your day will likely be filled with a combination of overseeing your team, attending meetings with other department leaders, assessing HR system performance, developing strategies for optimization, and troubleshooting any system issues that arise. Each day can offer new challenges and opportunities for problem-solving.

What are the most challenging aspects of being an HRIS manager?

One of the biggest challenges in this role is keeping pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape. HR systems are constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices is a must. Additionally, troubleshooting system issues can be complex and requires a deep understanding of both HR workflows and IT infrastructure.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being an HRIS manager?

Helping to streamline the company’s HR process can be highly rewarding. Your work directly impacts your organization’s efficiency. Plus, solving complex system issues and seeing how your solutions lead to better business operations is often a highlight of this role.

What qualities make someone a good fit for an HRIS manager role?

A knack for problem-solving, a high degree of technical acumen, and a strong understanding of human resources processes are all key traits for this position. Additionally, good team management and excellent communication skills are essential, as the role often requires coordinating with different departments and leading a team.

What are the career advancement opportunities like for HRIS managers?

The career advancement opportunities in this field are robust. With sufficient experience, an HRIS manager can move on to higher positions like director of HR operations, VP of human resources, or even CHRO. The skills you gain in this role are transferable to other fields as well, opening up even more career paths.