Payroll Self Service? Offer To Your Team Members? Part 2
When considering a self service solution here is a list of items to consider for both the employee, management, and strategic applications that will give you a competitive advantage long term in keeping and recruiting quality employees:
Employee Self Service Applications
- Personal data maintenance
- Employee communications
- Benefits inquiry
- Open enrollment
- Family status changes
- 401k/pension inquiry
Manager Self Service Applications
- Management reports (e.g. headcount)
- Employee change actions
- Time card approvals
- Leave of action management
- Travel and expense management
- Leave management
Strategic Self Service Applications
- Job posting review (Employee)
- Job requisitions (Manager)
- Job applications (Employee)
- Salary actions (Manager)
- Staff development (Manager)
Accessing Employee Self Service: Intranet or Internet?
A company can provide access to employee self service in two ways, via intranet or Intranet. With a corporate intranet, employees access the self service features from computers connected to a computer network within the company. Access from the “outside” world is not permitted. Concerns about intruders (commonly known as hackers) are diminished. Employees with desktop or laptop computers can use self service at their desks. In companies where employees do not have computers, computer kiosks can be set up in convenient locations and shared by employees.
If a company chooses to open access via the Internet, employees can access self service from anywhere in the world by using a computer, a browser and a phone line connection to the Internet. Companies with employees geographically dispersed in one country or in many countries find this to be an economical way to communicate with their employees. Typically, these companies use a “firewall” to prevent intruders from accessing the rest of the computer network. When establishing access via the Internet, many companies also implement security protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt and protect confidential data.
Benefits: Saving Costs and Improving Employee Satisfaction
Regardless of whether employees access self service via a corporate intranet or the Internet, the benefits are the same. The benefits of implementing employee self service fall into three categories: cost savings, cost avoidance, and revenue generation. In terms of cost savings, the primary gain is in reduced costs for delivering human resource and payroll services to employees. When employees have access to self service, they are able to answer many questions independently, thus lowering the number of phone calls to the HR and payroll departments. When employees and managers are able to update information online, less money is spent on paper forms. Because employee information is captured electronically and sent to the appropriate approver or database, less time is spent processing employee transactions. There is no rekeying of data from paper forms.
A prime example of hard savings is demonstrated by the move to electronic pay statements where employees no longer receive paper direct deposit advice statements. At companies such as Southern California Edison, employees can view and print their pay statements via self service as soon as the payroll has been posted. Not only do these companies cut out the time and cost of printing direct deposit advice statements, they also say goodbye to stuffing and mailing envelopes with the attendant postage costs. Employees have quicker access to their pay statements and do not need to worry about losing the document. By using self service, they can print a new pay statement on demand.
In the area of cost avoidance, HR departments can provide satisfactory service to more employees without increasing department headcount. Self service is speedier than interoffice or US mail. The potential to update information online is key. Who better than the employee to update his or her personal data correctly? HR managers can rest easier knowing the information in their databases will have a higher degree of accuracy than ever before. When managers can submit new hires, salary increases, and performance reviews and have them routed automatically to the appropriate HR manager for approval, transactions are processed faster than paper-based systems.
A third area of benefits to consider is revenue generation. Companies are beginning to establish their employee self service systems as a portal, or doorway, to other products and services. For example, a company might sign up with amazon.com and place a link to amazon.com on their ESS web site. Whenever an employee “clicks through” to amazon.com and purchases a book, the company would receive a small percentage of the price.
Finally, employee and manager self service results in a key benefit for the HR department. For years, HR managers have expressed the desire to play a strategic role in corporate operations but have been bogged down by compliance and clerical work. With self service handling much of the administrative transaction processing, the HR team is free to focus on issues of strategic importance for the company.
Where Can a Company Obtain Employee Self Service Software?
This is a good time to talk with your current payroll company for the sort of solutions they can offer to help you manage your employees as well as provide them with benefits that translates into happier and more productive employees.