What is Employee Self-Service? 5 Advantages of ESS Portals

May 2, 2022 9:00:00 AM / by HR Tech

Between recruiting talent, processing payroll, updating policies and maintaining employee records, HR departments must also deal with employee requests for time off, benefits information and more. But what if there was an HR platform that could enable employees to fulfill some of these tasks on their own? That’s where employee self-service comes in. 

Employee Self Service

Employee self-service (ESS) is human resource technology that facilitates employees directly handling many HR-related tasks, which frees up time and resources for a company’s HR leaders to work on more strategic initiatives. ESS can handle many administrative needs such as updating personal data and information, benefits enrollment and management, employee learning and training, performance management, and accessing company policies, procedures and information.

Employee Self-Service Advantages for Employees and HR Teams

Employee self-service portals are a win-win for businesses; employees find self-service portals convenient to use, and HR departments become more efficient and gain time to work on higher-level HR functions. With the ability to disseminate and receive information from employees, the technology behind self-service portals helps streamline many HR functions and improve overall accuracy of information.

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Let’s dive into some of the advantages ESS provides:

Using an ESS for Updating Employee Personal Data and Information

Most ESS portals allow employees to update their personal information like address changes, emergency contacts and beneficiaries. Employees can also update their time sheets, request vacation time, change tax withholdings, add or change direct deposit information, download pay stubs, and even use a paycheck calculator to see how various deductions affect their take-home pay.

Employee self-service portals often include a dedicated “life events” section that assists employees through the different changes they will need to make when a major life event has occurred. Getting married? The ESS could ask questions about name changes and contact information, request documents, and recommend adding or removing beneficiaries. Adding a new dependent? The ESS could ask about the dependent’s social security number, address, date of birth, and if they should be added as a beneficiary.

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ESS Portals Make It Easy for Employees to Enroll and Manage Benefits

Benefits enrollment can be cumbersome for HR professionals. Whether it's a new employee onboarding or open enrollment, the magnitude of questions pointed in HR’s direction about the different benefits programs your company offers can be staggering. An employee self-service tool could alleviate the repetitive questions and allow employees to take their benefits registration into their own hands.

Need to know how a 401(k) contribution affects your take-home pay? Not sure what the company’s match is? A tool inside of your ESS could help employees model their pay.  

Need to evaluate which of the company’s PPO plans is a better option? Not sure what an HSA is? Your ESS can host a video explaining the differences and a workflow could be added to help the employee decide which option is best based on their unique situation.

Accessing Policies, Procedures and Company Information With HR Software

Employee self-service portals are a great way to help employees find what they need about company policies, procedures and general information. ESS helps HR teams disseminate important company information and store updates all in one place. No more trying to figure out what version of the latest handbook each employee has.

From streamlining compliance with state and federal regulations to birthday announcements and employee praise, ESS portals ensure that each employee has access to the same information, at any time and from anywhere. 


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Using an Employee Self-Service Portal for Learning and Training

A well implemented self-service portal can keep track of employee learning and training. ESS portals can be used to track employee training requirements and completion dates, and recommend training based on job function and skill set. 

Optional training can also be offered. If an employee wants to move up in the company, a specific training plan can be implemented for them to complete before applying for the new position. Employees can also add outside certificates to their portal, and the recommendation engine inside of the ESS can help determine which training available complements their certificate.

Better Performance Management With ESS Tools

Employee portals enable employees to complete self-evaluations, set goals, and review, respond to and sign annual performance evaluations. This allows companies to monitor and evaluate employees’ work while allowing employees to participate in the process.

As employee retention and engagement is of great significance for companies, employee self-service tools can help with ongoing and open communication to identify and define expectations for everyone involved. Instead of losing an employee who might be overwhelmed, these tools can help identify if a team member needs extra support, can handle higher-level training or deserves a raise.

Keeping employees involved in their career progress helps reduce turnover and keeps down the costs associated with recruiting and hiring new employees. 

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 We just scratched the service of what employee self-service can do for your organization. To learn more about ESS and other HR technology, visit the next HR Technology Conference & Exposition®


Topics: employee self-service

HR Tech

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