What is Employee Self Service (ESS)

3 min read  |   26 July, 2021   By Breathe Australia


Employee self-service (ESS) – aka self-service HR software – is cloud-based technology that facilitates many typical HR functions. It is a secure, centralised platform – often delivered via an organisation’s intranet or portal – where employees can access and modify their personal information anytime, anywhere, from any device.

ESS technology automates people management and gives staff the ability to update things like personal contact details and bank details and perform work-related tasks: view leave balances and make requests, access payslips, and access important company documents.

Manager Self-Service is often a function of ESS, where managers can oversee their team and check employee leave balance and absences, for example. Today, ESS is typically part of a broader human capital management (HCM) platform or human resources information system (HRIS) and delivered via a comprehensive software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

Common features of employee self-service (ESS)

Common features and information on offer via ESS are as follows:

  • Personal information – Employees can add next of kin details, update mailing address and phone number and change bank details.
  • Payroll data – Employees can view and print payslips and Payment Summaries, change bank details, log work time and hours and access superannuation details
  • Leave allowance – Employees can view leave balances and accruals, forecast leave entitlements and request leave.
  • Company policies – Employees can view company policies and procedures, including the company handbook.

It’s also possible to streamline the entire employee lifecycle by incorporating employee learning and development and performance management into an ESS platform.

The benefits of using employee self-service

ESS offers a multitude of benefits for both employees and HR/managers. See below.

The benefits of employee self-service for employees

  • Employee autonomy – With access to a centralised people management system, employees are afforded the autonomy to view and update their own personal data, such as leave requests, pay slips, etc. in one place, at any time.
  • Greater efficiency and accuracy – ESS gives employees the ability to take control of many paper-based human-resources-related tasks that would otherwise be completed by HR personnel, administrative staff or by managers. An employee entering their own details also increases data input accuracy.
  • Employee empowerment and engagement – ESS is a great empowerment tool and improves productivity. It may even foster a greater sense of engagement and brand advocacy in employees.
  • Greater development incentive – Employees will become more motivated to grow and develop within the organisation if they can clearly see opportunities for learning and development and up-skilling.

A workforce that is happy and satisfied results in reduced staff turnover and higher return on investment.

The benefits of employee self-service for HR and managers

Employees aside, ESS also offers many benefits for managers and human resources personnel. These include:

  • Eases admin burden – Perhaps the biggest benefit for HR is reduced workload. With self-service technology, people management is automated and centralised – there is no need to fill out, chase up or process paper forms, as all information is in one place – so HR don’t lose time completing administrative tasks.
  • Conducive to remote working and practical – Cloud-based technology is the only option when it comes to managing and navigating remote working environments. HR and managers need to have full visibility of up-to-date employee records whilst they are at home, and a centralised system allows this.
  • Accessible anywhere, on any device, at any time – Having one centralised system for all employee management is more productive. When teams are dispersed – perhaps geographically and in terms of scheduling – people management isn’t compromised.
  • Reduces paper waste – Another huge benefit of cloud-based technology and specifically self-service functionality is that there is a reduction of paper. This is both eco-friendly and makes sense when it comes to filing and storage space, as well as printing/postage logistics. Cloud-based technology removes all these antiquated workplace problems.
  • Reduction of errors – Another advantage of self-service is that it improves accuracy. Paper-based, manual-handling processes are prone to human error, and automation eliminates the risk of errors in data transfer and makes it easier for HR or managers to spot incorrect employee data or information entry.
  • Better insights – Self-service technology provides managers with a complete view of their team and enables them to make informed decisions. This improves productivity and empowerment for all involved.

ESS is a valuable technology that all businesses must harness if they wish to grow and compete in their market.

Author: Breathe Australia

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