Five ways Employee Self-service portals enhance HR efficiency

If you are an HR professional, how many times have you wished you could clone yourself to handle all those ad hoc HR requests coming your way? These requests could be regarding personnel information updates, benefits enrollment, time-off approvals, tax returns, deductions, and so much more. If this sounds familiar, these requests are consuming more time and resources than anticipated. HR teams are expected to be strategic entities, helping with talent and workforce management. These requests might turn your focus away from strategic tasks, making HR more of an operational department.

On the other end, remote employees, who are connected to work through technology. From the first day, they are heavily dependent on onboarding tools, messaging apps, and emails to get a sense of the new workplace. They might feel stuck, confused, and frustrated without the right tools, leading to poor employee experience.
This is where employee self-service portals can help.

What is an Employee Self-service portal?

Employee Self-service portals provide the employees’ access to certain HR functions, mostly using HRIS software. This way, employees become responsible for their personal information, apply for time-offs, and can access their employment documents, payslips, timesheets, benefits enrollment so on. Employee self-service portal is not just about delegating certain responsibilities to the employees themselves. Its implications lead to better employee experience, which in turn improves employee retentivity and turnover rates. Employees have a one-stop shop for all their needs; at the same time, HR managers have more time in hand to contribute meaningfully to the company. To understand this better, here are the components of an employee self-service portal.

Components of Employee Self-service portal:

Typically, an Employee Self service portal can help with the following:

  • update employee information
  • access to onboarding documents and handbooks
  • attendance and time-keeping
  • payroll information
  • benefits enrollment
  • expense management
  • performance reviews and appraisal
  • training programs
  • time-off requests
  • timely notifications and reminders.

And the list goes on. Now, imagine doing all these tasks manually. Sounds tedious? In a growing organization, apart from taking care of recruitment needs, HR teams have to use their precious time to do administrative tasks that can be easily automated. When more such requests pour in, it can eventually choke the workflow of the HR team and the rest of the organization. Further, with employees working remotely, delays can frustrate your employees. By delegating some of these responsibilities to the employees, it reduces the dependency on the HR team, leading to the smooth functioning of the organization.

Concerns about using Employee Self service

While there are numerous benefits to using employee self, you still need to be aware of the few drawbacks it might have, and be prepared to handle them.

  • Erroneous data: While HR professionals have the know-how of the tool, employees may not be well-versed. As a result, there’s a likelihood that their lack of knowledge leads to erroneous data. They may not know how to enroll for benefits, update their tax or insurance forms, etc. This may lead to a lot of back and forth and confusion. Set up a training session that your employees can watch on-demand, covering all aspects of the employee service portal in detail.
  • Lack of support: While a training session may help your employees familiarise themselves with the tool, they might still need help occasionally during troubleshooting. In such cases, HR professionals are stuck with answering their queries, which leads to double work. The best solution would be to use a tool that provides help documentation and has a support team that can be reached whenever needed.
  • Security: While cloud services are becoming prevalent, employees might still hesitate to provide sensitive information online. The company should ensure that the HRIS software is compliant and has all the security certifications to ensure that the data is in safe hands.

Things to keep in mind while selecting employee self-service software

While Employee self-service portals have numerous benefits and are a must-have, it is important to consider the following before selecting HRIS software that enables employee self-service:

  • Identify the needs of your organization. You may not need all the features that a full-fledged employee service might have to offer. For instance, you may already have payroll software in place that can take care of tax deductions, and your employee self-service doesn’t need to take care of that. So, have clarity on what your employee self-service portal needs to satisfy and choose accordingly.
  • Choose software that grows along with your company. You may not need all the features now, but as your company grows, your requirements grow too. Ensure that the software is scalable.
  • Integrations and Partnerships. Ensure that your software is compatible with the rest of the tools in your company. Does it work well with your payroll software? Can it work with your messaging tool?
  • Ask for support articles and employee training. When your entire company uses the tool, ensure that they have a go-to document and ways to reach the support when needed.

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5 ways how employee portal makes your HR team more efficient and productive

Employee portals are a boon to the HR team since it takes care of some of the most repetitive tasks, which albeit important, contribute little to the larger company goals. Using the portal, they cease to play the tactical role and focus on the strategic output. Also, according to a survey by Paychex, employees want to feel empowered too, with 73% of full-time employees expecting to individually take care of their HR tasks. Some of the ways in which employee portals help organizations are:

  • Saves time on administrative tasks by providing access to the employees

In growing organizations, time is money. Administrative tasks, although important, can be time-consuming. Every moment that an HR member spends on unnecessary paperwork, is a moment away from more important tasks. With Employee self-service, employees can update their personal information, access their payslips, documents, enroll for benefits, enter details on tax withholdings, deductions, and so on, almost immediately, without the intervention of the HR team.

  • Improves the accuracy and compliance of the data since employees become data owners

When HR teams are filling in personal data or filing expenses on behalf of the employees, there’s a scope for human error. With employees managing their own data, it eliminates duplication and erroneous reports, providing reliable data. With the inception of cloud services, employees can also access and update their information from anywhere and from any device, instantly.

  • Accelerates recruitment and onboarding

Companies are always looking for new employees. It could either be a replacement for an existing employee, or the team needs more hands to fulfill their goals. In either case, the HR team needs to be prepared and should be able to kick start recruitment on short notice. With Employee self-service taking care of all the mundane tasks, it gives the HR team the luxury to devise and implement a recruitment strategy. They can look into the past results and look for ways to optimize the process. It also helps them plan ahead on how the onboarding process should look. New hires can access their onboarding paperwork and get them e-signed, learn who’s who in the organization, and have a memorable first day.

  • Easily identify the time-off trends in the organization

When HR teams become the intermediary who has to take care of time-off approvals, it becomes another task in their ever-growing to-do list, taking forever to approve them. Without the intervention of the HR team, employees can learn about their company’s holiday calendar, apply for time-offs, and get them approved in a few clicks. Also, HR teams can generate time-off reports, identify the defaulters and take appropriate measures.

  • Empowers and enhances employee engagement

With proper tools in place, companies are empowering employees to get their work done by themselves, without depending on a third party. By doing so, it instills a sense of importance in the employees, where they feel that the organization is indeed looking after their well-being and helping them get their work done. By doing so, they will be personally invested in the growth of the organization and would perform to their full potential. This is applicable not just to the HR team, but to the organization as a whole.

When employees feel empowered and independent, it releases time that HR teams can channelize to more strategic tasks such as developing recruitment strategies, succession planning, organizational compliance, and so on. Thanks to Employee self-service portals, they will be able to generate reports and gather insights on what’s working and what isn’t and contribute meaningfully to the company’s growth plan.