A human resources information system (HRIS) is an integrated system for managing information used in HR decision-making. A complete HRIS links all human resources data from the time professionals enter pre-service training to when they leave the workforce. HRIS performance measures are benchmarks for evaluating how efficient and effective HRIS investments are and how they can be improved to obtain better results to support HRIS strengthening objectives.
Continuous monitoring and evaluation is vital in determining what an HRIS is accomplishing, what needs to be improved and whether results are being achieved. This document provides basic guidance in the systematic monitoring and evaluation of an HRIS system. The goal of any performance monitoring plan (PMP) is not to focus on what is wrong and condemn it; rather, it is to highlight the positive aspects of the system that make it work, as well as to identify what went wrong as a basis for improving the system.
Ideally, a working group—often a subcommittee of the Stakeholder Leadership Group (SLG)—whose members have a key interest in monitoring the HRIS strengthening process is responsible for implementing the PMP. These stakeholders may include the HRIS manager, chief information officer, chief security officer, SLG secretary or chair and other key representatives of the organization hosting the information system (Chew 2008). This group will be responsible for managing the generic steps necessary to implement the HRIS monitoring and evaluation plan (WHO 2004):
We recommend institutionalizing monitoring efforts to ensure that it becomes a regular activity and will be allocated the corresponding resources and technical expertise.
At the end of this document is a set of suggested indicators for the quantitative and continuous monitoring of HRIS performance. The proposed indicators generally fall in five categories:
For each indicator, data collection must be as nonintrusive as possible and would ideally be automated. In addition, country-specific laws and regulations concerning privacy or protection of individual rights might apply to the HRIS and therefore would need to be examined and included.
In addition to continuous monitoring of system performance, periodic evaluation studies can be conducted to assess the strengths and weaknesses of HRIS data supply and demand. Figure 1 is a matrix that can be used to evaluate HRIS strengths or weaknesses on both the data supply and data demand side (MEASURE/Evaluation 2007).
Since "strengthening" is relative to the country's specific baseline conditions, the matrix helps to contextualize results of strengthening activities relative to initial conditions. In the MEASURE/Evaluation model, the data demand and information use (DDIU) assessment distinguishes technical, individual and organizational factors applied on either the supply or the demand side, which determine where a country might fall in this matrix.
An evaluation strategy includes conducting focus group and/or qualitative interviews focusing on four key groups:
A list of suggested respondents includes the following:
Ideally, access to these respondents should be negotiated with the assistance of local informants, such as HRIS managers or the chair of the SLG. The informants consulted should be active participants in HRIS management, known and trusted in the HRIS development community and able to provide insight into the best mix of participants who can give the broadest diversity of perspectives. As local partners in the evaluation, a sense of ownership is a strategic asset in obtaining access to key informants. As a general rule, it is advisable not to seek assistance from people who are controversial.
The key informants should provide a list of potential respondents with their respective departments and contact information. Interviews can proceed only with informed consent by the respondents. Documentary data collection includes an analysis of country-specific baseline assessments conducted in each of the target countries. In addition, progress reports and other documentation can be used to contextualize qualitative findings.
A list of suggested HRIS evaluation interview themes follows.
Chew E, et al. Performance Measurement Guide for Information Security. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Accessed 16 January 2009 at: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-55-Rev1/SP800-55-rev1.pdf
MEASURE/Evaluation. Data Demand and Information Use in the Health Sector. MEASURE/Evaluation Report. December 2007. Accessed 3 February 2009 at: http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/publications/pdf/sr-08-44.pdf
World Health Organization. Developing Health Management Information Systems: a practical guide for developing countries. Accessed 16 January 2009 at: http://www.wpro.who.int/NR/rdonlyres/3A34C50D-C035-425A-8155-65E8AD3CB906/0/Health_manage.pdf
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