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Everything you need to know about employee self-service platforms

Everything you need to know about employee self-service platforms

Most modern companies operate on self-service. Cloud technology provides a more convenient, consistent, and safe experience for this. This is good and it opens the reigns of the workforce – workers and managers alike, and leaves more time to concentrate on strategic initiatives. Employee self-service which is abbreviated as ESS is a commonly used Human Resource system that allows workers to perform several job-related tasks, such as demanding reimbursement, updating personal details and accessing the information on employer benefits — often mostly paper-based, or otherwise managed by management or administrative staff. But what exactly is an employee self-service platform?

What is employee self-service?

There is a good chance that your organisation is using some form of self-service for employees, even if you don’t call it that. ESS, or Employee Self-Service, is essentially a way for workers to access different types of HR applications and data directly. An employee self-service system would provide workers with a reliable, user-friendly Web site to make requests, manage requests and monitor the status of requests. At the back end, IT, HR, Finance, Accounting, etc. administrators will be able to create workflows and guidelines for automatically routing requests based on several variables, meeting employee demands, and performance evaluations.

While many point solutions serve a single department’s needs, such as payroll, HR or IT, few offer the ability to automate all workflows of departmental requests. Employee self-service platforms are designed from the ground up to provide a specific customisable application framework for quickly creating self-service applications for employees and demanding workflows that suit the way you are already working. This is part of the program open to all the staff, not just HR professionals. Employees can access the information on their salaries, schedules and benefits, upgrade to their records, and more. The transformation of organisational cultures needs the creation of HR programs, too. Although this may sound like a no brainer, HR systems have taken a long time to develop from the piecemeal manual approach that has been used for decades. The Human Resources Information Systems world is now making fast strides towards a more rational and effective method with the implementation of self-service Human Resources Information Systems.

Types of information employees can access via employee self-service platforms

There are several different kinds of information that employers can choose to make available via an employee self-service platform. Here are only a few examples:

  • Detailed personal data and contact information. Normally workers may use the site to change such items as their mailing address or phone number.
  • Payroll records including past pay stubs, descriptions of tax deductions, accumulated sick time and the like. Many programs require workers to use the platform to request changes, such as tax deductions or changes to direct deposits.
  • Time-conservation files. Employees who monitor working hours are generally allowed to access it here. Many programs also require workers to use the platform to file requests for PTO or other leave.
  • Company policies and procedures, and/or a complete company manual.
  • Benefits information including, in certain situations, the option to participate directly from the site in some forms of benefit programs. For example, this may be where workers go to choose their health benefits during open enrolment.
  • Employee development plans could also be incorporated. These implement workforce growth programs.
  • Employee or travel costs can be integrated as well as reimbursement (and recording of such).

How does an employee self-service work?

An employer may set up some sort of portal for workers, which can be accessed either through an employee username and password on the internet or via the software selected by the firm. It is mostly applied as one component of a broader information framework about human resources or another HR program. Self-service for workers is also offered via the employer’s intranet or database. This can also be part of broader human capital management (HCM), corporate resource planning (ERP) or benefit management applications, often delivered via SaaS platforms. Self-service software for workers, once marketed as a stand-alone app, is now widely integrated into more robust HR tech systems.

Employee self-service systems for workers are designed for company users. Create templates, add rules for the workflow, post them to the employee portal, and now they’re usually accessible from any computer to anyone 24/7.

Employee Self-Service Portal

Source: Integrify

Employees use these simple employee request management system to construct a large array of self-service portals that handle a wide range of cross-departmental requests:

  • Capital expense requests
  • Contract approvals
  • Leave of absence requests
  • Site selection approvals
  • Pricing discount requests
  • New hire requests
  • Vacation time requests
  • IT project requests
  • Logo and branding approvals
  • New product requests

Employee self-service technology in an increasingly competitive employee talent market is helping to create a positive work culture and retain talent by giving workers direct control over their employment information. Employee self-service systems on social media-like sites are gradually being designed for phones, and are also part of broader employee engagement initiatives, which may include wellness services, acknowledgement, learning management systems, and corporate social events.

Features of an employee self-service platform

Features of an employee self-service platform include:

  • Payroll capabilities, such as online access to pay stubs, the ability to change tax withholding and deduction amounts, and logging work time and hours;
  • The ability to shop for and choose benefit programs and manage open enrolment and other changes, such as major life events;
  • The ability to make changes to retirement investment plans, such as changing employee contributions, setting up loans and making withdrawals;
  • Expense management;
  • Business travel management.

The benefits of an employee self-service platform

Self-service software for workers and managers enables users to request, record, view, approve and execute activities with workflow approvals. The following are some of the benefits of an employee self-service platform:

  • It reduces admin time
  • It speeds up the HR operations
  • Providing workers with easy access to printing their documents will cut workplace costs. It is because only workers who truly appreciate the paper copy and need it would be willing to print it, thus saving the cost of printing and delivery. It is just one example of how an ESS can help an organisation become paperless on the way.
  • It ensures continuity and engagement
  • It keeps employee records safe and updated
  • These portals can be customised to extract data from multiple sources, allowing employees to find payroll information, policy information, development info, training info, and more — all in one place.
  • It empowers the workforce
  • Employees can access the network at any time, without needing to wait for others to assist. However, if their request ultimately needs assistance, they can, at their convenience, complete the first step.
  • It enables employees to request leave directly in the system
  • Employees can feel more satisfied at work if they feel they have more power and better access to information of this kind.
  • It allows supervisors to retain control
  • It improves employee satisfaction
  • Allowing direct access for staff ensures they are more likely to check the information and fix something incomplete or in error.

Managers and staff with human resources will save working hours and stress regularly if they are not overwhelmed with work by scheduling problems, time-off demands and open enrolment queries. Workers can have access from home to schedules and other information, which saves time for employees and can raise confidence feelings. Also, errors in the entry and other errors can be avoided by requiring workers to enter their information. If recruitment and on-boarding are available via the Human Resource Information System and connect directly to the self-service portal, entry errors can be avoided as early as the application process. The risks of incorrect information can be significantly reduced by removing the need for double entry and empowering workers to determine their information.

Downsides to using an employee self-service platform

There are also some potential downsides to using employee self-service platforms which include:

  • It could be technologically challenging to truly integrate multiple platforms, especially if all of the information comes from disparate locations.
  • Getting an employee self-service platform is just another thing that workers need to be educated on. The training can be more intensive for so many different facets of the program than certain other types of software, even though each segment is fairly straightforward.
  • It also has to manage both processes. It is always valid, of course, but more than ever if at all times workers deserve 100% reliable and updated details. This may mean additional administrative pressure.

The biggest downside to investing in employee self-service platforms options is the amount of time taken to make sure that every employee knows how to use the program. The rollout process can cost a company enormous amounts of time and money, taking away these resources from regular operations. Employees will need to use employee self-service regularly so an organisation can see a benefit from implementing the program. When workers don’t fully understand how to use the employee self-service platform choices, communication gaps may be created. Additionally, some workers may continue to use the new system and others may use older systems and manual procedures as workarounds, resulting in even greater process hindrances. If a company decides to utilise self-service options for common HR tasks, it is important to make sure that all personnel is on the same page and is ready for the transition before moving forward.

How to design an employee self-service platform for your organisation

Consumers are now increasingly familiar with ‘self-service’ ideas, such as flight check-ins, hotel reservations or simply ordering a choice meal from one’s favourite restaurant, in both private and professional functionalities. In line with the above, the majority of a company’s support departments-Facilities Management, IT, and HR-have incorporated self-service systems into their core structure to help workers navigate key facilities, processes, programs, or resources, easily over the web or through mobile devices. However, to maximize the true market interest of self-service models for employees effectively, one needs to look at these five critical starting points:

Keep it Simple, Silly or KISS

Remember it’s always the first step to consider the target market. Most workers don’t speak a back-office specialist’s nuanced, technical jargon, so they often don’t know the underlying meaning behind these demands. Therefore, workers need an easy-to-use self-explaining resource that carries only the necessary action. Through putting together various departments such as FM, HR, and IT into a centralised and cohesive self-help platform for workers, a convenient and secure point of contact can be provided with any request for assistance or help. This simplifies the method as a whole, reducing the number of portals or solutions, allowing greater efficiencies.

Make it look ‘Nice’

It is key-workers need to find a reason to use and use a self-service platform or mobile app regularly while ensuring a personal gain from the same. Recently, Paycom unveiled a completely revamped ESS app, based on enhanced CX. How does one do this? By providing content, data, and a rich and interactive Dashboard. Relevance can be built up by analysing past habits such as requested services, or demographics such as work functionalities or gender. Once an employee has booked a particular function several times it should appear in the selection list more prominently.

Don’t forget to follow-up

To make Self-Service a valuable and effective tool for both employees and businesses, an end-to-end connection will include regular and continuous monitoring of any service request. By unifying these processes into a single solution, one can map service levels, pre-empt possible escalations, and boost multi-stakeholder communication. Employees may use Self-Service to check the current status of an application, review the expected delivery times, and also better determine the job scenarios of the program. Upon completion of the order, an integrated self-service platform enables one to verify the standard of the service rendered, with feedback forms and automated surveys.

Always spread the good word

When people are not aware of the Employee Self-Service solution’s nature, it is possible they won’t ever use it. Explain the reasons behind its creation, its ways of using it, and its many advantages-across as many channels as possible (newsletters, social media, internet, email, posters and the like, helping to communicate portal uses and ease of access, including employee feedback, suggestions, and ideas. For the first time, if you are launching a mobile-friendly platform such as MenaME-Plus, the steps of knowledge and feedback become all the more relevant to ease the change.

Ensure there’s a balance between all your channels

Employee self-service is now a proven concept for facilities management, IT or HR management, offering greater accessibility to service and increased efficiency in processing and delivery. Does this, therefore, render Employee Self-Service a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model, which can be extended to any situation or requirement? The answer is No. Employee self-service is intended for regular and standardized processes which do not require special or sustained involvement or complex tasks to be completed. That is why the actual service desk, telephone calls or especially human experiences can never be fully replaced.

These are the five overarching principles which drive or direct the implementation of Employee self-service. Although most organisations are building their programs on these, it is wise to tweak each of the five according to your organisation’s particular strategies or needs and its key value proposition. Having self-service work for workers should be a priority for the company but it needs to be enforced by more than one department to do so. HR managers and administrators from other departments need to work together to make use of workers as efficient and widespread as possible.

Kudzai Derera is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.

LinkedIn: https://zw.linkedin.com/in/kudzaiderera    

Phone: +263 242 481946-48/481950

Email: kudzai@ipcconsultants.com   

Main Website: www.ipcconsultants.com

References

Leaveboard.com. 2020. [Online] Available at: <https://leaveboard.com/employee-self-service/> [Accessed 23 August 2020].

SearchHRSoftware. 2020. What Is Employee Self-Service (ESS)? – Definition From Whatis.Com. [Online] Available at: <https://searchhrsoftware.techtarget.com/definition/employee-self-service> [Accessed 23 August 2020].

HR Daily Advisor. 2020. What Is Employee Self-Service? – HR Daily Advisor. [Online] Available at: <https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2019/01/29/what-is-employee-self-service/> [Accessed 23 August 2020].

Hrpayrollsystems.net. 2020. [Online] Available at: <https://www.hrpayrollsystems.net/employee-self-service/> [Accessed 23 August 2020].

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