What’s a global HRIS, and why do you need one?


Feb 24, 2023

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the mass adoption of remote work tools and technologies, more and more companies are hiring outside of their home country.

However, managing a globally dispersed workforce can be a complex and challenging task, especially when it comes to human resources. This has created a need for global HRIS solutions to help companies manage their employees and contractors and streamline HR processes across multiple countries and regions.

Choosing and implementing the right HRIS can make or break your company's ability to go global. Here's what you need to know to choose a system that will help keep your HR policies and practices consistent and compliant—regardless of location.

What is an HRIS?

An HRIS (Human Resource Information System) is a software solution that helps organizations manage their human resources activities and processes. HRIS software can be used to automate and streamline tasks such as recruitment, onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, performance management, and more. It also provides a centralized database of information about an organization's employees, making it easy for HR professionals and other stakeholders to access and analyze data, manage employee records, and perform other HR-related tasks.

What is a global HRIS?

This includes accommodating multiple languages, currencies, tax laws, and other country-specific HR requirements. A global HRIS should work seamlessly with global payroll, benefits administration, and other HR systems in each country, while providing a centralized and consistent view of the organization's global workforce.

A global HRIS is designed to support the HR needs of organizations with operations in multiple countries. A global HRIS is typically more complex and sophisticated than a standard HRIS, as it must be able to handle global workforce management—specifically, the unique HR requirements of each country in which the organization operates.

In addition to the HR-specific capabilities of a standard HRIS, a global HRIS typically includes features such as:

  • Localization 
  • Global reporting
  • Compliance

A global HRIS can help organizations streamline their HR processes and gain greater visibility into their global workforce, while also helping to ensure compliance with local labor laws and regulations in each country.

Why does your HRIS need to be global?

The world is trending toward global work—the numbers on that speak for themselves.

  • 58% of small businesses now have international customers
  • 42% of businesses are seeking higher quality talent by looking to international employees and contractors
  • 28% of businesses are turning to international hiring to reduce staffing costs

And all these organizations are finding that standard HRIS systems are only built for local needs. Without the features and functionality needed for global workforce management, businesses are finding themselves wanting or needing to go global, but behind the ball when it comes to their HR tools.

And while some businesses are meeting their needs with individual, satellite HR departments, decentralized HR systems come with higher costs, less efficiency, and more risk of inconsistent practices than a single, cloud-based system.

Having different HRIS systems in different countries can be a temporary solution, but this strategy's limitations become apparent once you see that you need the time, resources, and staffing to collate, manage, and analyze several different sets of data. A different HRIS system in each country where your company operates means inconsistent employee experience, manual spreadsheet manipulation to get insights, multiple logins, and inconsistent levels of data—for example, one HRIS system might allow you to track dozens of things about your employees while another just offers the bare minimum tracking.

The only lasting and scalable solution for global businesses is a truly global HRIS that connects and centralizes HR information across borders.

Top features of a global HRIS

The most important features of a global HRIS can vary depending on the needs of each individual organization. But the most common features to look for are the ones listed below.

Easier, more reliable compliance

One of the most important functions of a global HRIS is making it smooth and simple to stay compliant with laws and regulations in multiple countries.

A global HRIS should provide HR teams with a centralized platform to manage and monitor compliance with local and global laws and regulations, including data protection and privacy laws, equal opportunity laws, and various local minimum wage laws, overtime regulations, and leave enforcement. It can also help automate compliance-related processes, as you can see all employee data in a single place—to ensure that all HR activities are performed on the right side of local regulations.

Seamless payroll integration

A global HRIS should provide a centralized platform for managing payroll and benefits across all locations, including the ability to manage multiple currencies and comply with local tax laws and regulations. It should also automate some payroll-related processes, such as calculating taxes and deductions, generating paychecks, and reconciling bank transactions. This can reduce the risk of errors and increase payroll efficiency. 

Streamlined workflows

A global HRIS improves workflows and saves time and effort by connecting all the HRIS information for your global workforce. It allows HR professionals in different locations to keep their workflows consistent, since they're all working in the same system and with the same data, no matter where they are.


Reporting is a core function of any HRIS, and making sure the system has the right reporting capabilities for your organization is crucial to choosing the right software.

When considering an HRIS's reporting features, see if it comes with any pre-set reports, if you can create your own reports, and if it includes workforce planning and succession planning features that will suit your organization's needs.

A unified employee experience

A global HRIS provides a single, centralized platform for teams around the world to store and access all HR-related data and processes. Having all HR data in one place provides a connection across teams, allowing them to easily access and share information, streamline processes, and improve communication and collaboration.

What to consider when shopping for global HRIS software

In addition to the top features that global HRIS systems should be equipped with, there are other considerations organizations should keep in mind when selecting a platform to meet their own needs.

Before shopping for global HRIS software, consider these factors and what your organization needs from each of them.

Ease of use

Any HRIS system will be a poor fit if its users struggle to learn and utilize it.

Your global HRIS interface should be intuitive and user-friendly, with clear navigation and accessible features. It should also be flexible and customizable to meet your organization's specific needs. The vendor you choose should provide comprehensive training materials and support to ensure that users can effectively use the system. And your global HRIS should integrate with other systems used by your organization, such as payroll and benefits administration systems, to reduce manual data entry and improve efficiency.

Some questions to ask to evaluate whether your system will be easy for both employees and managers:

  • Does it have responsive design, so it can be viewed on different screen sizes and types without sacrificing functionality?
  • Does it have a good search function that helps users find information they need quickly?
  • Does the vendor provide resources to get new users up to speed easily?


Pricing is, of course, an important consideration when choosing an HRIS. But the cost is only one side of the equation—you need to also consider the return for your organization's investment in the right HRIS system.

It's important to weigh the cost of any software solution holistically by considering the hours—or even the headcount—that can be saved due to the efficiency a software solution offers. A higher cost HRIS might be the right fit for your organization if it consolidates systems or automates work that would otherwise require a full time employee, for example.

To consider whether the pricing and ROI for an HRIS will benefit your organization, consider these questions:

  • How much does it cost to add new employees? What about employees who have left but need to have HR information kept on file?
  • Is there a free demo for you to see its capabilities, or reduced pricing for small businesses?
  • Will this software allow you to eliminate or consolidate any other tools or processes?
  • How much time will you save by using this tool?


A centralized, global HRIS acts as a single source of truth for all HR-related data, making it easier for HR and management to access and share information. It also provides HR professionals and employees with real-time access to HR data, and this increased visibility helps to promote transparency by providing everyone with a clear view of the HR landscape that they know is accurate and up-to-date at all times.

Here's what to consider when evaluating whether an HRIS fits your organization's transparency needs:

  • Is it centralized, cloud-based, and accessible by users in different countries?
  • Do all users see updates and changes in real-time, regardless of where they're based?
  • Is it simple and straightforward to share data and reports with different HR professionals, employees, and stakeholders?


As the old adage goes, "It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are." Your HRIS system will be powerful, but it may also encounter hiccups from time to time, making support an important consideration when choosing a platform.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the vendor's customer support reputation?
  • Do they have a highly responsive support team?
  • What channels can you use to contact support? 


And finally, before selecting a global HRIS system, be sure it will be able to grow with you. As your organization grows and scales, so will your HR processes and needs, and you need an HRIS that can accommodate that.

Consider these questions:

  • Is the system flexible and able to accommodate changes to the company's HR processes, policies, and employee headcount?
  • Can the system integrate easily with other HR and business tools that may become necessary to use as the company grows?
  • Can it accommodate an increasingly global workforce, as your organization expands into new countries or regions?
  • Does the system have granular permission settings that allow you to offload tasks without compromising sensitive employee information?

Finding a truly global HRIS solution

There are many global HRIS options to choose from. Options like Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, BambooHR, Namely, and others all come with their own pros, cons, and target markets—from mid-market to enterprise companies.

But there's only one truly native global HRIS.

Meet Rippling

Rippling is an all-in-one global HRIS platform that combines HR, payroll, and benefits with a wide range of integrations, a customizable and easy-to-use interface, advanced security features, and more. 

Rippling is the one HRIS system that can support your team around the globe by bringing all their data into a single system (and dynamically localizing everything from fields and documents to currencies, all based on each user's location). 

With other HR systems, it may be possible to go global. But it won't be seamless and practical like Rippling, which supports a global workforce right out of the box. There's no repeating foundational work, like building custom fields, or patching together disparate systems to support functions beyond payroll or hiring.

Rippling's top features:

  • All-in-one platform: Rippling combines HR, global payroll, benefits, time and attendance, learning management, talent management, PEO services, and global employment—all in a single, cloud-based platform your teams can access from anywhere in the world.
  • Compliance 360: Rippling automatically flags possible local, state, and federal compliance issues—and recommends an action plan for each one. It allows you to fix potentially costly compliance mistakes, and before they become a problem.
  • Integration with other systems: Rippling integrates with a wide range of other HR and business systems.
  • Automation: Rippling allows for automation of both simple and complex processes, so you can create multi-step approval processes with daisy-chained workflows that happen automatically—without coding or IT help.
  • User-friendly interface: Rippling has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for both HR professionals and employees to find and manage their HR data.
  • Customizability: Rippling allows organizations to tailor the system to their specific needs, making it a flexible solution for HR teams—especially as they grow and scale.
  • Mobile app: Rippling provides a mobile app for employees to access HR information on-the-go.

It's already the most powerful HR out thereand now you can use it to run a global workforce with features to manage and automate all of your people operations around the world in one place, from onboarding to offboarding.

Rippling truly does it all, right from day one.

Are you looking for a way to run your entire workforce from one place? See Rippling in action today.

Global HRIS: the answer to your global workforce management prayers

A global HRIS is an absolutely crucial tool for any company managing a global workforce. With the right HRIS in place, companies can remove country borders from their HR processes and workflows, allowing teams to work together more seamlessly, stay compliant, and focus on what matters: the company's work and impact.

A global HRIS allows HR teams to be more efficient, better connected, and positioned to help their company succeed and grow. For companies operating on a global scale, it's not a nice-to-have—it's a must-have. With the rise of remote work and an increasingly diverse and globalized workforce, it's clear that a global HRIS is the solution companies need to effectively manage their global workforce and drive business success.

Whether you have a workforce of 1 or 1,000, Rippling is ready to handle all your HR needs on one global HR platform. Schedule a demo to see Rippling in action today.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of counsel.

last edited: April 17, 2024

The Author

The Rippling Team

Global HR, IT, and Finance know-how directly from the Rippling team.