HR Self Service - What’s Holding You Back?

You’re in the midst of implementing a new HR technology solution that provides the capability to extend its access to both employees and managers through self service (sometimes referred to as “direct access”).

Throughout your HR technology solution review and selection process, the concept of empowering and engaging employees to view, validate and update their own personal information within the new system really sounded like a great idea. Adopting self-service to relieve some of the administrative burdens on your HR team as well as eliminating the line-ups of employees outside the door of the HR office would certainly allow more time for your HR team’s strategic projects. At first blush, this feature appeared to be a terrific time-saving solution.

Yet there remains some level of angst and discomfort as you decide to what extent the system should be configured to actually grant that self-service access to individuals outside of your HR department. You ask yourself: Can the employees be trusted? What about data privacy concerns? Do all of our employees have the technical aptitude or computer literacy to actually access and interact with the HR technology solution?

That thud you hear is the Payroll Administrator falling out of her chair upon hearing that employees could be allowed to input their own banking information into the system’s direct deposit information page.

In reality, your organization likely already uses some degree of self-service among your existing business solutions. This may include providing your employees with on-line access to your benefits insurance carrier or granting access to the organization’s intranet for online review of company policies, internal career opportunities, and training programs. Most of your employees use online banking, shop online, and use advanced technology every day within their vehicles, their home entertainment systems and their cell phones. Unless your employees have been insulated from technology and have been working a mile below the surface of the earth for the past 30 years, you can realistically anticipate a relatively high adoption and competence rate for self-service HR functions. It’s not rocket science.

Most employees adapt very well to being empowered and engaged to view and validate their own secure HR information and are able to perform specific transactions within a well-communicated, phased-in and controlled program of employee self service. Providing basic access for employees to simply view and validate home address information, emergency contact details, and other specific personal information, for example, goes a long way to reduce paper-based administration, data errors, and phone calls from HR and Payroll to manually track down the correct information.

Gradually phasing in self-service access to allow employees to input basic information doesn’t mean that you’re handing them the keys to the kingdom. Your solution may be configured specifically to grant self-service access only to the employee’s own record, to view and/or input data into certain specific fields of information.

Vacation time requests, access to online pay statements and T4 slips, and updates to dependent information for employee benefits plans are among the most common areas of self service that many organizations are providing to their employees. These companies are realizing both the cost-saving and cultural benefits of empowering their employees to manage these tasks themselves rather than relying on HR.

Self-service capabilities of HR technology solutions may also be extended to empower managers and executives by granting secure access to their assigned employees’ records. This manager-level access can further support workflow processes and approvals (for example, to manage employee vacation requests). It also can provide managers with controlled access to HR reporting to assist in their strategic decision making (like, for example, reviewing an employee’s attendance record in preparation for his yearly review). Using self-service access to reduce the number of individual requests from managers for inquiries or reports on their employees would save your HR team many hours of work each year.

Overall, implementing self service may positively affect every functional area of your business, helping to efficiently manage and support the entire life cycle of an employee record from recruitment and onboarding through termination and separation.

So what’s holding you back?

Self service can be the first step towards effective employee management. Find out what fuels effective employee management in our latest ebook !

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