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5 Important Employee Self-Service Features You Gain With An ESS

One of the hardest parts of managing a business is figuring out how to get as much done in a day as possible. The more efficient you can make your workforce management systems for handling simple tasks, the more you can empower your employees to take on larger responsibilities.

An employee self service (ESS) system can help free up your administrative departments from small tasks like updating employees’ personal and financial information, managing benefits, and tracking time. It’s one of the best ways to increase your business’s efficiency and empower your employees to manage their personal information. Let’s look closer at some of the employee self-service features that can have the biggest impact on your company.

employee self-service (ESS) portal
An ESS (employee self-service) portal includes features to manage time, payments, time-off requests, benefits, employee forms, and more.

Employee self-service features

Implementing an employee self-service portal can seem like a big change for your team, but once employees and business owners see the benefits, they’re sure to embrace it. Your employees will love the ability to view and control their information. Your company will also prosper from spending less time filling out paperwork and managing HR requests. 

Employee information

One of the most time-consuming tasks for your HR department is keeping employee information up to date. Although each new employee fills out paperwork when they are hired, their personal information can change. Tasks, like changing addresses and adding new emergency contacts, can pile up and take time away from larger projects.

An employee self-service portal allows your employees to make these updates on their own. Once an employee signs in to the system, they can update their information with a few clicks of a mouse. There’s no time spent scheduling a meeting with HR and no money spent on printing out forms. It’s as easy as updating your profile information on any other website. Allowing your employees to take charge of updating their own information eliminates these administrative tasks and saves time all around.

Benefits information

Another advantage of an employee self-service portal is the ability for your employees to view and manage their benefits enrollment. While employees may have received an orientation packet upon hire, they may need to reference the details again or make changes to their status. This feature within the ESS portal can house exactly what kind of coverage they have and what service providers are in their network. It also shows them who to contact if they run into any issues, preventing phone calls and urgent emails after hours. 

Your company can easily publish important updates to the entire organization within the ESS portal. This saves you time from holding company-wide meetings or meeting with employees individually to explain the changes.

Financial information

Financial information can be challenging for your employees to sort through and can result in a lot of questions for your HR team. How are the retirement funds managed? What type of payment do I get for working overtime? What other types of financial benefits am I eligible for? A self-service portal gives employees the chance to look up this information on their own, saving time for your other staff members.

Managing direct deposit is one example of the ways an employee self-service portal improves efficiency. Otherwise, the process requires an employee to submit a blank check, process the paperwork with the HR department, and then wait a few weeks before the update takes effect. At any point  the employee wants to change their information, they have to go through it all again. With an online portal, the employee can submit all the information and make those changes on their own.

Time tracking

The most-known employee self-service feature is time tracking. At a very basic level, most portals act like an old-fashioned time clock. When employees get to work, they can sign in, and at the end of the day, they can sign out. Because all this information stored in the employee portal, it’s easy for your payroll team to figure out exactly how many hours have been worked.

Many self-service portals include self-management options, including checking PTO accrued, remaining sick time available, and overtime scheduling. Having access to this information helps your employees to take charge of their schedules and to stay informed about their benefits.

Some businesses even use workforce management portals to let hourly employees view their weekly schedules in advance. This can help to prevent call-outs and reduce the number of mistakes made when employees are trying to figure out their shifts. Given that these portals can often be accessed remotely, they can also provide a vital time-tracking tool for anyone who is working off-site.

Overall empowerment

One of the biggest benefits of an employee self-service portal is that they truly empower your employees. Of course, it frees up time for your HR and billing departments, but being able to manage their personal information, employee benefits, and finances or time reporting is hugely valuable for your employees. They no longer have to take time out of their workday to schedule meetings to make small updates or fill out tedious paperwork. 

“Across all 41 individual tasks studied, the average cost per data entry was found to be $4.39, with the highest costs for benefits enrollment and the lowest costs for time management and onboarding. The study found that labor costs constitute nearly all total costs related to these HR tasks. ‘This suggests an ability to reduce or eliminate the time associated with performing these tasks could result in significant cost savings,’ the study’s authors wrote.”

Dave Zielinski, shrm.org

Imagine how much more convenient it will be for your employees to request time off through an online portal instead of submitting paperwork and waiting to hear back on whether it is approved. Being able to take this type of control can have such a positive impact on your employees’ happiness and productivity. It also gives them the responsibility for managing their information. This can relieve a lot of pressure from other team members who may make mistakes with manual update entries.

Utilizing an Employee Self-Service Portal

Utilizing an employee self-service portal can be incredibly beneficial for your entire organization. It empowers your employees, reduces the hours spent on simple tasks, and allows your business to make more informed choices when it comes to workforce management. 

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