Students in Steve Lewis’ HRIR 6114 Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) course this spring received hands-on practice with an HR information system software that most new HR professionals don’t access until they’ve been on the job a while.

Lewis, ’98 MA-IR, is director of talent acquisition for Hearth & Home Technologies and an adjunct instructor at the Carlson School. He knows the importance of having a strong understanding of technology and its role in the field of human resources. From applicant tracking systems and payroll; to training, development and benefits, accurate and efficient use of information systems is integral to the HR professional’s role.

Lewis partnered with the Infor Education Alliance Program to bring HR software into the classroom. Infor develops and provides Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology, including a robust human capital management suite of products. 

“I wanted to give students a good grounding in technology that can help HR deliver transformational support to business through providing data for decisions,” he says.  He also participated in 15-20 hours of instructor-led training so he could properly teach about this technology.

The class was split into two parts: during the first half, Lewis gave the students foundational information about HRIS and databases. The second part of the class addressed applications to support talent that these students will most likely engage with once they graduate. When the students used the database, they worked with “dummy data” for training purposes, rather than actual employee information. Nonetheless, students got a new view of talent management modules, and saw how a company might work with these data.

So what does Lewis see for future collaborations?  “I’m working on gaining access to further utilization of the system so I can expand on the foundations I taught this year,” he says. Lewis says the class is a win-win situation: students are introduced to technology that many of their peers don’t have experience with, and future employers can hire someone already familiar with HRIS systems and processes.