Technology has been one of the greatest equalizers in the last decade and a half — it enabled smaller organizations to compete with larger ones since it allowed the smaller ones to spirit away their administrative tasks and keep the resources spent on non-essential tasks to a minimum. One of the ways in which larger organizations have been able to score better than smaller organizations is in the number of resources they can bring to bear on employee empowerment and enabling good HRM practices. With technology, however, gone are the days when organizations needed to have huge swollen HR departments that took care of every need of the employee — firms today can be just as effective in their Human Resource Management practices by using technology. This is where Human Resource Management (HRM) software and one of its most important features — employee self-service (ESS) come in.
Employee Self-Service (ESS) refers to the set of different activities that employees can perform themselves, activities that employees can be enabled to do by using Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) or HRI Software. One of the standard features of most HRIS solutions, ESS allows employees and HR departments some much-needed respite and allows them to perform more important tasks rather than spending time away on unnecessary and time-consuming tasks. So what is this ESS, and how does it help?
At its basic level, ESS allows employees more transparency into HR practices. Take leaves, for example. In the olden days, employees had to depend on HR professionals to keep track of their time off and monitor them. Even though there existed some sort of self-service pre-HRIS in the form of employees applying for leave themselves, they still had to do so to the HR team, and the HR team had to tell the department heads that the employee had enough leaves and could be granted more.
With the ESS, though, time off becomes much easier to give and track since all the concerned people, the employees, department heads, and the HR team all have their own credentials to log into the system and perform the requisite tasks. Employees can request time off, team leads, or managers can grant the same, and HR teams can ensure that time off is not being mismanaged.
Similarly, ESS also makes requisitioning for new employees easier and more transparent. It allows managers to requisition more human resources online in a jiffy and keeps HR teams and higher-ups within the organization tracked up with whether these requests are really necessary or whether these human resources can be misused. The software’s analytics suite also aids the different stakeholders in making these judgments quickly and easily.
It also empowers HR departments to be more effective. One thing it does is make HRM error-free. Errors in maintaining records were a common aspect of HRM a long time ago. That, however, is changing, with employee expectations also improving. By using tools such as ESS, HR professionals, and managers can ensure that HRM is kept error-free, which is one less thing employees have to worry about in the course of their day-to-day work. Furthermore, employees are also now more in control of their data and work output and can make necessary changes quickly from their desktops.
Also, ESS systems allow HR professionals to improve their scope of functionality. HR professionals can move on from simple data collection activities to conducting more serious and important complex HRM activities since the data collection is taken care of by the ESS systems, allowing HR professionals more time to do more. Another thing they do is that they improve the auditing ability at different levels of HRM, the employees, department heads, and HR professionals, not to mention the C-suite managers. It also acts as a sort of document management system (DMS) and social media for employees by giving them the ability to store and retrieve their documents at will and allowing them to contact other employees and congratulate them on important work anniversaries. They can also be used as a readily available source of information for all things related to company policies and issues.
ESS systems, thus, act as a great resource for different stakeholders in the organization. It can be very helpful to have all the stakeholders in the same place at all times and interact whenever necessary. Organizations will also find it helpful to have ESS systems installed and used by employees as soon as they join the organization since that will get them accustomed to the many benefits of ESS systems and allow them to understand that their organization cares for them. All in all, therefore, ESS systems offer much-needed respite from administrative tasks and allow the firms to be better versions of themselves.