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What Is a Personnel Management Information System?

A personnel management information system plays an important role in a business's hiring practices.
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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2014
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A personnel management information system is a set of procedures and applied technology that human resources workers use to track and organize data about the employees within a business or organization. This information can include payroll records, tax documents, and records of assigned benefits such as health insurance. Other employee information is often kept in a system of this type for periodic performance evaluations. These records are usually resumes and copies of relevant industry certifications. This area of human resource management entails both the use of a computer software program and of routine practices for entering and updating relevant data.

Businesses with large numbers of employees often need a separate human resources (HR) department to keep accurate records of all of this information. Working with a personnel management information system requires both a good grasp of technology and an ability to retrieve needed data quickly. A software package designed for these human resource tasks typically consists of linked databases containing different sets of information. One database may contain records of issued paychecks linked to another database with information about withheld taxes, for instance. HR personnel are responsible for keeping this workforce information up to date and accurate.

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In addition to regularly maintaining the data in a personnel management information system, HR personnel also need to perform specific queries that retrieve certain information. Depending on the type of system installed, they may query this information with commands such as those in structured query language (SQL) or a similar database programming language. Other types of human resource management software have graphical user interfaces with features for creating and storing forms, tables, charts, and reports. When a personnel manager wants to keep scanned copies of employee resumes and similar documents, the information system often includes optical character recognition (OCR) capability for creating searchable electronic copies.

A personnel management information system also has an important role in a business's hiring and firing practices. Many companies use the OCR features of this type of program to scan resumes for designated keywords. Applicants whose resumes have keyword matches often have better chances of receiving an interview invitation. Some businesses use this technology to track and record any new certifications that employees complete, particularly those that count as paid training. Workers who may require disciplinary action or counseling also frequently have records of this information kept in their electronic personnel files in the HR department.

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