Employee Self-Service (ESS) is a Web Self-Service (WSS) system where employees can perform various functions by themselves such as printing and viewing pay statements and tax slips, changing their basic employee profile, updating corporate collateral, and creating reports, messages and workflow.
Almost all Human Capital Management (HCM) systems have ESS capability and, by extension, Manager Self-Service (MSS) capability. A common requirement of ESS is time collection, where employees are able to enter their time worked. With MSS, a manager can then approve the time for payroll processing. More advanced MSS functions include benefits administration, performance reviews, talent management and recruiting.
So, is your company ready to embrace Web Self-Service? Where do you start when looking for an ESS/MSS solution? The first place should be your current HCM vendor. If your HCM vendor does not offer a web self-service solution or if you have multiple vendor systems for payroll, human resources, and time and attendance, then be prepared for a longer review process.
Here are the main points you need to consider when evaluating Web Self-Service solutions.
1. What functions or tasks do want your employees and managers to perform?
Creating this list will help you find the solution that will benefit your organization the most. The list forms your criteria when evaluating web self-service software. Even if you’re unsure what you need, an initial attempt will go a long way to helping the software evaluation process be more efficient.
2. Ask yourself, “Do my employees and managers have the means to do the tasks?”
Once you have determined the functions, ask yourself, “Do my employees and managers have the means to do the tasks?” For example, if employees are expected to enter time, will they have access to a device (computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone) and will that device have Internet access? You may need to review your organization’s policies for electronic devices. Once you have determined the device required, be sure the web self-service software is designed to run on the device and be sure to include this question as part of your evaluation criteria.
3. Where will the data 'live'?
In terms of data management, will the data be saved and stored in the HCM common database or do you need to import and export files from other locations? If the web self-service system is not located within your IT infrastructure, who is responsible for backing it up and how often? Is there a documented restore process in place and what is the turnaround time? Having the website unavailable on pay day would not be much fun if you’re providing pay statements on ESS.
4. How does the tax information get from Payroll to ESS?
If you are going to make tax slips available for employees, how does the information get from your payroll system to the ESS? Is there a process in place for the employee to give expressed consent for you to make their tax slips available online? In addition, all employees must be able to print pay statements and tax slips in a secure environment. You might have to provide employees access to a secure company printer if they don’t have one.
5. Does the web portal use a secure socket layer to provide a secure login?
If the web page address begins with “https: //”, then it is secure (similar to the beginning of the web address when you are banking online).This is usually a standard practice but it’s always good to confirm. 6. How are user names and passwords managed? Can the users reset their own passwords without you having to spend time administering them?
7. WSS access when the employee leaves your organization.
When it comes to termination of employment, how long after an employee leaves your organization can they access the web self-service system? What administrative work is required on your part to keep a terminated employee active in the system? Now you are prepared to find an ESS/MSS solution that will meet your needs. And with one of the key benefits being access anywhere, anytime to real-time information, you may find even the most reluctant employees ready to embrace web self-service as well.
This article was originally published for the Canadian Payroll Association in the March/April 2014 issue of Dialogue Magazine.
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