What is HR employee self-service?

Employee self-service (ESS system) for HR is technology that helps businesses become more efficient and give more autonomy to team members through software.

Whether it’s inputting personal details during onboarding or requesting holidays, employee self service allows team members to complete their own admin, freeing HR teams from some of their most time-consuming tasks.

In this guide, we explore what HR employee self service is all about and how you can make the most of it.

What are the benefits of employee self-service in HR? 

Looking after HR management is hard, especially if you work at a small company with no real HR department.

HR automation can help you by taking care of repetitive and manual HR tasks — all you have to do is implement employee self service at your business.

So let’s have a look at the benefits employee self-service portals like CharlieHR can offer and what you could achieve with them.

1- Self-service HR frees yourself from time-consuming admin tasks 

HR admin tasks can easily escalate to take most of your time — it then becomes very difficult to focus on more impactful processes.

With self-service HR software like CharlieHR, you can reduce HR admin and make two of your most time-consuming tasks effortless:

  • Onboard your team members with a self-service process – let them input their personal information and bank details, as well as upload their passport and P45 directly into the software
  • Say goodbye to manual calculations when it comes to time off – everything is done directly in the software – error-free 
Team members fill in all their details themselves

2- Whatever they need, your team members can self-serve 

As an HR person, you’re the first point of contact when someone has a question.

This becomes rather challenging when you’re already busy or when remote work makes it perhaps more difficult to communicate.

With automated HR workflows like CharlieHR’s, you don’t need to answer questions about annual leave allowance — people can find all the employee information they need in the employee self-service software.

Time off overview on Charlie

On top of this, you can also give people direct access to your employee handbook in the software, where they can easily browse your policies and find the right answers to any HR question. 

Give your people all the information they need

3- You can support managers and team members with their growth

Supporting development is key to retaining your team members in the long run, but that’s not done without investing in effective HR automation tools.

For that, you need managers to be confident they can have effective, regular and frequent performance conversations with their direct reports.

Choose from best practice review templates

Simply activate the performance review cycle in the software, and managers and direct reports will be able to record their notes about their performance, to then inform performance review conversations.   

What are the most common employee self-service features? 

There are a few details to consider when choosing a HR self-service tool, but you should first understand where and how you can save time to focus on the most impactful tasks — in other words, what self-service features do you need?

To do this successfully, here are some essential features every employee self-service system should have:

  • A time-off management system – your employees can request, amend and cancel time-off requests at any time from the platform.
  • An automated onboarding process – give new employees access to your HR platform where they can carry ou their own onboarding admin by filling in personal information, right to work details, bank details, P45, etc on their online profile. 
  • A secured place to store personal data – you can keep your employee records secure as well as store important documentation such as your employee handbook.

These are the core elements you should get as a start, but there are also more advanced features you should consider as you grow such as performance management, employee engagement surveys and employee perks.

Find out more about these features in Charlie.

What is the best employee self-service HR system for you? 

Rolling out self-service HR is an essential step towards your HR digital transformation goals, and one of the most important HR automation trends of the past few years. 

However, each business has its own goals. Most companies will need their ESS portal to help them manage time off, onboarding and employee data; but as for all other aspects of Human Resources, their needs will vary.

Let’s have a look at different types of employee self-service tools and how they meet the needs of specific types of businesses.

Management cloud

Best for large enterprises

Compared to small or medium businesses, HR professionals at large enterprises have more complex HR needs due to the number of employees they have.

Their priority will be getting the whole company to streamline and automate processes on one platform to ensure consistency across the various teams.

Cloud systems like Oracle do just that: they offer an all-encompassing solution to span everything from HR, finance and IT. This is the ideal solution for companies with multiple offices around the world (or a remote, global workforce) who need one, advanced employee self-service system to keep everything under control.

Pricing will be too steep and functionalities too complex to appeal to small businesses and startups, who need more straightforward solutions.

Time management software

Best for timesheets 

Time management software is a type of employee self-service that allows you to manage shift scheduling for your team.

If you’re for example in the retail and hospitality industry, it can be very useful as it will allow your team members to:

  • Check their shift patterns
  • Swap shifts with their colleagues 
  • Request time off through the app 

This type of employee self-service is usually pretty cheap for a small business or startup. However, it won’t be suitable for everyone as it only allows you to manage shifts (it is not relevant for companies working normal office hours, Monday-Friday, 9-6).

If you really want to invest in a tool that will help you grow your business and support your team’s development, in our experience it is best to invest in HR software (see below).

HR software 

Best for small businesses and startups 

With HR software (also known as HRIS), you get all you need to automate your HR processes at your small business:

  • An easy setup so your team can use it in a matter of seconds
  • Time-saving features such as time off management and onboarding 
  • Opportunities to support your team’s development and growth with automated reviews 
  • Features that will help you build a great environment to work in and a positive employee experience, such as engagement surveys 

On top of this, HR software for small businesses like CharlieHR usually comes at an affordable price. 

With Charlie, you can get all of our features, including our Perks for as little as £5 per month depending on company size.

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