The People Inc. Employee Self Service (ESS) module is designed to provide efficient communication between employees, managers and HR. Amongst its key benefits, the system enables employees to view their details held within the People Inc. system. Access to the module is provided via a web browser enabling individuals to access the information from any computer or mobile device. The ESS is most often integrated into an organisation’s Intranet.
The ESS also enables an organisation to manage the flow of information submitted by employees for approval. This includes requests to take time off on holiday, and the submission of expense claims and timesheets. These requests are normally routed to a manager or supervisor for review or approval before the employee’s records within the system are updated. The routing of requests is flexible; requests from a group of employees can be routed to any individual or number of individuals (not just the employee’s manager).
It is also possible to provide access to attachments held within the People Inc. system via the ESS (for example the employee’s payslips). Furthermore, the system can be configured so that reports can be generated by employees or managers on demand. Both of these facilities are likely to reduce the cost of printing and postage (and provide a ‘greener’ approach to office administration).
The ESS screens are configurable and this enables users to add web-based forms to collect information from employees. For example, employees can opt out of any automatic enrolment in a pension in this way. Once again, this saves on both printing and postage costs, but it also speeds up the time it takes to process the information and eradicates issues with ‘forms lost in the post’.
Typically, managers will also have access to information about the employees in their team via the ESS. This can help them with resource planning and other management activities. For example, they can enter sickness records directly into the system, or can update on-line appraisal records (rather than use paper-based notes or documents stored on their PC). This speeds up the process and enables HR to monitor and analyse activity and results.
One important implication of this is that responsibility for keeping information up-to-date is delegated to line managers. This empowers line managers and means that the HR team is no longer tied up with repetitive data-entry and can focus on more productive HR activities.
While it is possible to restrict the scope of the information that is accessible to employees via the ESS (using configurable access profiles), the system provides organisations with an effective way to comply with the requirement specified in the Data Protection Act which gives individuals rights to gain access to all personal information held within a computer-based HR system.
Once the basic information and processes are being managed effectively via the ESS, it is then possible to look at further benefits that can be provided by the system. The ESS can be used to help employees to make choices about their development and career planning. They can also be more involved in setting their own goals and tasks. This helps to build a culture where employees feel empowered and feel that they really can make a difference.