Global HR 14 min

Understanding global HRIS: Who needs it, benefits, and useful features

Written by Barbara Matthews
December 15, 2023
Barbara Matthews


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Managing HR for any team is tricky. But onboarding, paying, and managing an international team with different local laws, tax compliance requirements, benefits, and currencies? Extraordinarily difficult. 

Globally distributed teams are those best placed to dominate market leadership. Restricting your hiring to your home country is a handbrake on growth. But the challenges of managing a global team can feel overwhelming. That’s why a purpose-built Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is so important. A global HRIS acts as one comprehensive HR and payroll hub that eliminates complex compliance and administrative tasks. Anyone can seamlessly manage international teams with the right global HR platform. You can focus on strategy and growth with the confidence that you have international compliance covered and a complete view of all your employment data at your fingertips.

If your goal is global expansion, then you need an HRIS that can handle the challenges that come with managing employees around the world. 

Read on to learn why global HRIS software is in demand. We’ll explain the qualities of a good HRIS, and how to find the best option for your business. 

Why are global HRIS systems in demand?

As more companies transition to hybrid or fully remote work models, the need for simplified international team management has become a necessity for any organization focused on scalable growth. 

At the same time, governments across the world are refining employment legislation to consider remote and distributed work and ensure all tax obligations are met. This makes compliance a constant concern for any company with international or remote employees and contractors. A purpose-built global HRIS like Remote is designed exactly for this use case.

HR teams need tools to help them manage their responsibilities on an international scale. Even the most robust enterprise HR department will struggle to keep up with the compliance obligations (and constantly changing employment legislation) of each country on its payroll. Global-first HRIS solutions mitigate this risk and eliminate so much time-consuming admin to make sure HR teams can focus on more strategic work.

The benefits of using a global HR platform

The thought of adapting to an entirely new HRIS can be daunting at first, particularly if you’ve used a generic HRIS for several years. But there comes a time when a global HRIS can benefit your company more than the familiarity of your current HRIS. 

Just consider leave management as an example. The statutory annual leave requirements of every country are different. Of course, public holidays also vary, even within regions and provinces for many countries.

Most generic HR platforms will not adapt to the specific statutory requirements of multiple countries. That means you’ll likely need to manually customize the leave requirements for employees based outside your home country.

A global HRIS like Remote manages the international compliance for you. Remote’s system is constantly updated based on changing international employment and taxation legislation. In this example of managing statutory leave, Remote adapts to the country of each team member once their onboarding details are submitted. All public holidays for the relevant region are displayed on the platform. The user and the employee also have clean visibility into a cumulative leave tracker tailored to the individual’s statutory allocation.  

Let’s uncover how global HRIS systems can help growth-focused companies that are hiring abroad. 

Manage your entire global team in one place

With the right global HR platform, you can access all of your employment data for all of your team members in one software hub. A global HRIS like Remote will give you this consolidated view across every country, region, and even for contractors as well as employees. 

That means you can ditch the spreadsheets, eliminate manual HR work, and remove the need for multiple HR tools for each country of operation.

Unlock international hiring 

Transitioning to a remote-first setup and hiring internationally gives companies access to global talent, helping them find higher-quality or cheaper work. 

International teams require robust and specially designed HR solutions to manage laws and requirements in multiple countries at once. 

Constant global compliance

A global HRIS gives you a centralized approach to international hiring. You don’t have to manually coordinate every country’s laws, compliance regulations, or local structures since the software handles these tasks for you. 

A global HRIS offers inbuilt guidance on local tax laws, benefits administration, and compliance requirements. Your internal HR team will be guided at every step of the employment process with tailored onboarding, pre-built forms, and country-specific documentation.

Global payroll solutions

HRIS systems introduce payroll automation features, which make it easier to clear payments on time while complying with each employee’s local laws. The payroll features of a global HRIS lower or even remove the chance of payroll mismanagement and the associated consequences. 

Eliminate admin

A global HRIS helps managers run international teams seamlessly by managing payroll, employee benefits, and contracts. This HR tool eliminates the chances of human error.

More efficient processes

A global HRIS reduces paperwork for international companies by handling all tasks online — without the need for manual updates whenever a law changes somewhere in the world. Recruitment, onboarding, time-off tracking, payroll processing, and attendance tracking are all managed in one central, digital location.

A global HRIS streamlines team management and other HR responsibilities by automating routine processes (such as reminders about country-specific public holidays) and removing inefficient information handling. 

Employee self-service features allow employees to update and modify their data when needed, taking the onus off HR to keep track of each employee’s details.

Improved employee performance

Automating routine processes allows HR professionals to focus on employee-benefitting tasks, such as creating employee training programs and improving employee policies and organizational strategies. 

Employee-benefitting measures go a long way in boosting employee productivity, increasing employee engagement, and improving retention

Streamlined data capture, organization, and reporting 

Global HRIS provides a single platform for centralized and secure data capture that can accommodate multiple formats and currencies. It introduces automation features that reduce the chances of manual data capture errors, allowing for improved data accuracy.  

Access to accurate data allows for data-driven decision-making. For example, you can track employee skill sets so you don’t hire someone unnecessarily.

Most global HRIS systems have advanced reporting functionalities, making it easy for you to analyze team performance, workflow productivity, and company output. 

Smoother global expansion 

A global HRIS facilitates coordination on a global scale by centralizing all HR tasks. HR staff in different locations can maintain consistent workflows since they have a standardized hiring process and platform. 

A global HRIS simplifies the onboarding process by automatically prompting employees to tell them what documents to upload to be compliant with their local tax laws. 

Ultimately, using a standard, custom-built platform saves time, effort, and money while your company grows.

7 key features to look for in a strong global HRIS

Aside from key functionalities, like talent management, applicant tracking, learning management, and attendance management, certain features set a good global HRIS apart from the competition. 

Look for the following features when choosing the ideal platform for your company:

1. An intuitive user interface 

Your HRIS’s interface refers to the way you and your employees interact with the software. When choosing a global HRIS, you want the user interface to be intuitive, easy to use, and able to work on multiple devices. 

Look for responsive design and good search functions to help flatten the learning curve as you adjust to the new software. 

2. Fair pricing

You need your global HRIS to have a price point that fits your budget long-term. When comparing different providers, find out how much it costs to add new employees or modules, whether there are hidden or additional costs, and whether each provider offers a free trial to test their platform. 

Many HRIS providers offer a basic plan that suffices for small to mid-sized businesses. 

Remote’s global HRIS has an unbeatable price by the way…

It’s free!

Yes, Remote’s HRIS product is free to use. You can sign up for a free account and start adding your employees at any time.

You have the option to use Remote to process payroll for your direct employees, onboard and pay contractors, or hire international employees in countries where you don't have an entity; these complementary products do have an associated cost.

3. Reliable employee data management and reports 

Managing HR data is one of the most important functionalities of an HRIS. You want your employee and workplace data to be secure and easy to analyze. 

Does the system have pre-built reports, custom reports, or both? How many formatting options will you have when exporting your data? Are workforce or succession planning available within the system?

Remote has the added benefit of managing employment data for your entire global team in one place. If you have employees or contractors in multiple countries – you don’t need multiple tools with Remote. You can ditch the spreadsheets, manual work, and multiple logins.

4. Quality customer support with specialist knowledge

Access to reliable support services increases your chance of utilizing the full range of features available in your HRIS. 

Before choosing an HRIS provider, find out what their customer support reputation is like and whether they have a helpful and supportive customer service system. 

Determine whether they have a support team with hours that coincide with your business hours, their average response time, and how many options you have when contacting them. 

Importantly, if you do have a globally distributed team, look for a global HR platform with in-house support. You don’t want your software partner relaying your questions through different third parties in each country of operation. In this case, Remote is the ideal option, with the best global infrastructure in the industry. Our deep localized expertise is built into the platform, and if you do have specific questions — we have global coverage to support you or your employees, no matter where your team is based.

5. Scalable features 

Sticking to one HRIS helps keep productivity constant by removing the friction associated with adapting to a new HR management system. 

You want to choose a global HRIS that can grow with your business. A system that can handle larger data input, bigger and more widespread teams, and constant compliance with international legislative requirements so you can add team members in new countries with confidence. 

6. Simplified global compliance

Robust global HRIS software should offer workforce management functionality that can support your needs on a country-to-country basis. The best platforms adapt to changing local laws and requirements without you needing to manually adjust your systems. 

7. Flexibility to add integrations

The best global HRIS tool for your company will integrate with multiple platforms to make it as easy as possible for you to scale. As your organization grows, your HR requirements can become more complex. Ideally, your HRIS will have an open API and the ability to integrate with other more specific tools to give you flexibility as you expand. 

How to choose a global HRIS

When you begin your search for the best global HRIS, you want to find the ideal solution for your company, colleagues, and employees. It’s important to figure out which of the above features you’re willing to compromise on and which are essential for your success. 

Follow these steps to choose the best global HRIS for your team: 

1. Assess the current HR landscape to learn what your organization needs 

The best place to start when looking for a global HRIS is to analyze your current HR setup. Look for pain points, friction points, inconsistencies, and pressing HR problems to find the gaps your new HRIS solution needs to fill. Knowing what your current landscape lacks gives you direction when searching for the best global HRIS. 

For example, you might find that it takes longer to pay employees in one country than it does in another. Your new global HRIS must address this inconsistency if you want to transform your HR setup to accommodate a global team. 

2. Consider your long-term HR goals 

Looking at your long-term HR goals helps narrow down your search to an HRIS software that can accommodate your company’s vision. Common HR goals include talent acquisition, talent management and retention, culture development, and process excellence. 

3. Collect feedback 

Feedback is invaluable when looking for any type of software solution. Discuss with other HR personnel, stakeholders, payroll employees, and managers to learn their pain points, needs, wants, and expectations for an HRIS. 

When collecting feedback, find out what each person feels is lacking from the existing HRIS, as well as what tools would make their jobs easier.  Curating personal experience from multiple angles within your company will ensure a well-rounded approach as you search for an HRIS, increasing the chances that the HRIS will benefit the entire organization. 

4. Evaluate constraints 

After you’ve identified your top priorities for your global HRIS, evaluate your company’s constraints to narrow the search down even further. Know which features you’re willing to invest in and which your company can compromise on to reduce costs. 

For example, if you’re looking to adopt a cloud-based HRIS, you should prioritize and invest in server space. 

The most pressing constraints are typically your company’s budget and technological limitations, but it’s also important to consider the time it takes to adjust to different HRIS platforms.

5. Consider a specialized global HR platform 

Unfortunately, few HRIS platforms are custom-designed to manage global teams, and they typically lack the features required to manage global employment. 

Remote is a global HR platform that makes it easy to take your workforce global. It helps you manage your end-to-end employment lifecycle. You can also benefit from our employer of record (EOR), global payroll, and contractor management solutions, bringing together everything you need to spread your company’s wings overseas under one roof. 

How to avoid challenges when implementing a global HRIS

Many companies make the mistake of rushing into HRIS implementation, harming their productivity and delaying their global expansion progress. 

To avoid the most common challenges when implementing a global HRIS, follow these steps:

1. Establish goals and a strategy

Although quickly getting your new HRIS up and running is good for your business, rushing can do more harm than it’s worth. Don’t rush in before you have clear goals and a well-thought-out implementation strategy to help make the transition smooth.

2. Seek multiple opinions

As your company transitions to the new HRIS, gather as much feedback as you can from employees, stakeholders, and other HR personnel. This allows you to adjust your strategy to accommodate everyone’s needs. 

3. Hold the timeline loosely 

Sticking to a rigid timeline can make you move too quickly through key steps, miss important details, and leave your employees feeling overworked and unenthusiastic about the coming change — ultimately damaging your HRIS’s implementation. Maintaining a flexible timeline allows you the space to adjust your strategy as needed. 

4. Keep budget in mind 

Take the time to anticipate costs and pace your spending as you transition. Keep in mind that productivity is likely to decrease as your company adjusts to the new platform. 

Evaluate your spending and reevaluate your financial priorities throughout the process to help you stay on budget. 

5. Make your employees your priority 

Organizational change management is the process of looking at HRIS transformation from a people-centered standpoint. You need to guide team members through the transition with patience and transparency. 

Offer adequate training so they can grow comfortable with the new system, and communicate with them about what’s happening, why it’s necessary, and what the changes mean for them.

Remote: The ultimate global HRIS solution

If you’re looking to hire international employees, connect worldwide teams, and streamline your global expansion process, a global HRIS is the best tool to ensure success.

While reviewing HRIS providers, you’ll discover that Remote offers the best-in-class experience for companies looking to manage international teams and pursue steady global growth. Remote can cater to teams of varying sizes, from startups to enterprises, and you won't have to worry about data security because we have solid protections in place. 

Some key features that make Remote an exceptional HRIS solution for your needs are:

  • A centralized global HR platform

  • International hiring without an entity

  • Global payroll and compliance

  • Employee lifecycle tracking and management

  • Contractor management and payment 

  • Employee self-service

Learn more about how we can streamline employee management around the world. Or get started with Remote to begin growing your global team right away!

link to The ultimate HRIS guide for companies going global
30 min

The ultimate HRIS guide for companies going global

Explore HRIS technology in detail, learn the variations in common terminology, and understand how to select the best global HR platforms for your company’s specific needs.

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