The 10 most common HRMS modules & features


“HRMS” can be a slippery term. Some vendors use it to describe a basic employee database with limited functionality, onto which can be bolted a number of compatible modules, each providing software support for one of the different HR functions listed below. Others use it as a blanket label for a broader system that actually includes most if not all of the following modules in a single streamlined package. Whatever the definition, here are brief descriptions of the ten most common modules by HR function, together with the key features for each.

The most popular HR system modules include:

  • Core HR and payroll (as standard)
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Performance management
  • Benefits administration
  • Workforce management
  • Time and attendance
  • Absence and leave management
  • Learning and development
  • Talent management
  • HR analytics

HRMS module 1: Recruitment

A recruitment module should handle all your internal form-filling and authorization processes; allow managers +/or HR to post advertisements and supporting documentation online, offer applicant tracking and even initial sifting. There may also be functionality to build talent pools which can then be ‘trawled’ for suitable candidates when a vacancy becomes available. Of all HR technology, it’s recruitment modules that have embraced social media to the greatest extent – for example, compatibility with LinkedIn and other platforms are increasingly found as standard – and social capabilities are a key topic when questioning vendors.


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Common recruitment module features include:

  • Customized pipelines for different roles
  • One-click posting of jobs and job descriptions to a variety of jobs boards
  • Automated assessment processes, inc. interview scheduling
  • Applicant tracking
  • Resume parsing
  • Standard metrics and analytics for candidate profiles
  • Mobile app
  • Gamification (though opinion is divided between the pros and cons)
  • Social media interface
  • Digitized offer management

HRMS module 2: Onboarding

Once you have your new hires, they need to be guided through your organization’s onboarding and induction procedures. This process can benefit from automation, significantly reducing the burden on both managers and the HR team: new recruits can be ‘introduced’ to the necessary people and to the organization itself; there may be automatic notifications to relevant departments for issues such as building access, user accounts, security passes, etc. In an ideal system, the onboarding functions also interface with the performance and talent management modules.

Common onboarding module features include:

  • Pre-first day preparation
  • Easy (and paperless) set up of accurate employee records
  • Provision of essential information about the company and key personnel
  • Gamified learning
  • Automatic scheduling of essential meetings
  • Compliance with legislative mandates
  • Goal-setting as a basis for probationary period

HRMS module 3: Performance management

Automating the appraisal process, recording and tracking objectives and targets, this module should incorporate your competence framework, job standards and/or other relevant systems.

Common performance management module features include:

  • Setting and managing goals
  • Links to competency framework
  • Scheduling of appraisal meetings
  • 360 performance feedback
  • ‘In the moment’ feedback tools
  • Big Data gathering for a broader picture of individual performance
  • Links to talent management and succession planning functions

HRMS module 4: Benefits administration

Benefits management is all about providing timely information and aiding employees to make the right choice for their circumstances. This module should manage and monitor employee benefits, healthcare and pension/welfare packages, tracking enrolment options and any financial implications.

Common benefits administration module features include:

  • Online open enrollment
  • Automated communication of enrolment options and information
  • Plan comparison tool to aid employee choices, inc. costs and contributions breakdowns
  • Automatic event management of the benefits life cycle
  • Legislative compliance for your territory

HRMS module 5: Workforce management

Primarily a scheduling function, this module should link closely to (and is often combined with) time and attendance and leave management. Similarly, real-time functionality may involve linkages to other business intelligence systems such as ERP and CRM to match workforce deployment to shifting needs.

Guide: 52 features to look for in your next HRMS

Common workforce management module features include:

  • Scheduling and shift management
  • Workflow monitoring
  • Management dashboard with real-time data and metrics

HRMS module 6: Time and attendance

Alongside payroll, this is probably one of the longest-standing HR automations: the time clock. These days, such systems often incorporate biometric identification to avoid ‘buddy punching’ and will link directly to (or be an integral part of) the workforce management module, with information links to your payroll and accounting software.

Common time and attendance module features include:

  • Employment attendance tracking
  • Time clock management
  • Biometric systems 
  • Functionality for remote and mobile workers
  • Legislative compliance (e.g. minimum mandated rest breaks)

HRMS module 7: Absence and leave management

Again, often linked to the time and attendance and workforce management functions, your leave management module is an automated way to allocate, book, approve, track and monitor any absence from the workplace. It may be for vacations, compassionate reasons, illness, parental leave, even jury duty. Request and approval processes should be streamlined and the outcomes incorporated into team calendars where appropriate.

Common absence and leave management module features include:

  • Self-service leave requests
  • Integration with workforce management (scheduling) and time and attendance functions
  • ‘Account management’, tracking accrued vacation time and usage.
  • Metrics and analytics, including absence levels and trends

HRMS Module 8: Learning and development

Often using the outcomes of the performance management process as a starting point, this module may produce individual training plans for staff, deal with bookings (for training courses and other learning options), and manage the follow-on evaluation and feedback process, while tracking training expenditure against budget allocations.

Common learning and development module features include:

  • Learning portal
  • Training recommendations linked to role, skillset, and career aspirations
  • Individual user learning plans
  • Setting and managing goals
  • Links to competency framework
  • Streamlined learning administration (reducing the HR overhead)

HRMS module 9: Talent management

Focusing on identifying individuals with potential, this module should assist with setting up talent pipelines with specific roles and succession planning in mind. Links to recruitment, learning and development and performance management should be seamless.

Common talent management module features include:

  • Succession planning
  • Alignment with organizational strategic business goals
  • Identification of career paths and individual career planning
  • Integration with key recruitment campaigns
  • Reward benchmarking (internal and external)

HRMS module 10: HR analytics

Often incorporated as functions within other modules, HR analytics provide reporting capabilities (frequently in the form of libraries of HR metrics and benchmarks) assessing and analysing the data gathered and stored with the HRMS (and other business systems) to provide strategic and predictive insights that can be used to guide the business strategy of the organization.

It is important to note that some of these modules might overlap, for example, benefits management might fall under the payroll banner; and indeed payroll itself (and/or compensation management, taking in the wider reward and recognition packages) is often viewed as an HRMS module as well as a stand-alone function or application.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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