HR Tech | Can Employee Self-Service (ESS) Be Used To Boost Engagement?

Can Employee Self-Service (ESS) Be Used To Boost Engagement?

Is your organisation using an employee self-service (ESS) system? The major benefit of having one is enabling employees to manage their own data, in order to save time for your HR team.

But what if we told you there was more to the story? In this article, we dive into ESS systems and the case for leveraging self-service models as a way to boost engagement and retention in your organisation.

What Is Employee Self-Service?

Employee self-service (ESS) refers to systems or softwares that allow employees to manage elements of their work. At its most basic level, this might include being able to view things like their payslips or contract.

A more progressive system will take this a step forward, allowing employees to make changes to their data (like their address, bank account information or even their surname). Of course, HR should still play a role in approving changes.

By putting these kinds of functionalities at your employees’ fingertips, ESS frees HR teams from having to endure repetitive tasks and allows them to focus on far more strategic initiatives.

How Do Organisations Typically Benefit From an ESS?

The practical advantages of having a self-service system are numerous. Here are some of the major benefits for those who haven’t yet implemented an ESS yet:

  • Higher rates of efficiency: Allowing employees to update their own data or make their own leave requests introduces automation, cuts down on cumbersome processes and makes HR teams' lives easier.

  • Less security risks: A self-service system will typically be tied to some kind of HR source of truth. This ensures a high level of data compliance and security – always a must when dealing with people’s precious data.

  • Improved accuracy: When you allow employees to make their own changes, critical updates to people data can happen faster and with greater levels of detail and accuracy (leading to cleaner data).

  • Reduced costs: New levels of automation and centralising data can save time, but it can also save on budget. At the same time, reducing administrative overhead can help unlock the full potential of your entire workforce.

Finding a New Level of Employee Self-Service for Your Organisation

For all of its benefits, ESS systems are not being used to their full potential. While it can hugely benefit things like administrative overhead and matters of data security, we’ve also identified an underrated opportunity.

That opportunity is transparency. Our latest research at Personio found that employees who perceive their organisation to be ‘very transparent’ report far higher levels of:

  • Satisfaction (95%)

  • Performance (91%)

  • Loyalty (only 25% are looking to switch roles)

But transparency is often a fluffy term. Many organisations know that it’s important, but struggle in trying to implement real-world ways to make it concrete. Employee self-service may be the trick.

How To Use Employee Self-Service To Boost Transparency

That same study we referenced highlighted a handful of areas where heightened transparency would boost employee sentiment, including:

  • Pay levels/pay bands at all levels: 61%

  • Pay review timetables: 59%

  • Non-salary rewards and compensation: 57%

  • Our strategy and future plans: 52%

  • Promotion timetables: 52%

  • The results of employee surveys: 50%

What we can’t forget here is that an ESS platform, with a great HR portal, can give employees access to data that sits within each and every one of these subjects.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Employees should be able to use their ESS system to view their salary and various forms of remuneration, including various benefits and non-salary-related rewards.

  • Your organisation can share data on pay levels, pay review timetables and promotion timetables through extensive documentation that can be shared out via an HR portal.

  • Not only can the results of employee surveys be shared, but a great ESS will also have built-in survey functionality. That way, employees can share their opinion in the same place they book their holidays.

How To Take Your ESS Beyond Administrative Tasks

The most common issue with ESS is that it too often becomes a purely administrative matter. Many who discuss it or offer solutions focus purely on updating or making changes to data.

While that’s certainly helpful and a big benefit to the system, we’d recommend thinking bigger and going beyond ESS as a purely administrative affair. A great example, tied back to our previous data, is feedback.

Our research found that over a quarter (28%) of employees say that they are not given a chance to share feedback to leaders on their experiences. This kind of lack of upward feedback can have a disastrous impact.

If employees can share feedback with their managers or colleagues, from within an HR portal, it can make adoption easier. This can help to address what is a prevalent pain for many organisations.

A great self-service system is going to not only maintain necessary data, but invite more valuable data to be added to it. From our side, that has to include things like performance and feedback – tied into one system of record for your organisation.

Introducing a New Era for Your Organisation’s ESS

For an HR software like Personio, employee self-service software is baked into the heart of our platform. It gives employees the ability to update their information, request holidays, track time and so much more.

At the same time, that means ease of use for HR professionals. This reduces administrative overhead while gaining back time to focus on more impactful measures – all from one centralised and secure platform.

Speak with one of our HR experts today about how Personio’s ESS can help set your entire workforce up for success.

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Personio is the all-in-one HR software solution for now and the future that upgrades your people operations by helping you recruit, onboard, manage, pay and develop employees more efficiently. More than 10,000 customers across the UK and Europe use Personio to create more impact. Help your teams work better together with flexible software and integrate with the applications and tools that are exactly right for your team’s work.