HRMS Software Employee Self Service (ESS) Defined

Employee self service (ESS) systems continue to be one of the most popular options with HRMS software and the demand is only growing. From a random sample of those that completed our HRMS Software Selection Tool, we found that 75% of those who completed the survey had an interest in ESS systems and, of those, 83% said ESS was a required option. For those that scored the importance of the option from one being the lowest, to ten being the highest, the average score was 8.5. In short, this information reflects what we already know; when it comes to HRMS, ESS is a highly sought after option. The objective of this article is to define the typical capabilities of today’s ESS systems.

If you find this article helpful, you may also want to read another ESS piece. With this article, we covered a few other topics regarding ESS.

Typical HRMS ESS Options

Employee Access – In the most basic sense, employee access is the main purpose of an ESS system. Employees have the ability to view or update their own information without having to communicate with HR or their managers to do so. This access may include simple demographic data, emergency contacts, attendance details, benefits, training, payroll information, or insurance plan details. When an ESS product is set up, an HR software administrator will typically have the option to define field by field what information employees can view, not view, or update. There may also be situations where they can change data but that change must be approved by others before the change is live. This important capability will be discussed later in this article under the option title Work Flow Management.

Manager Self Service – With many of the companies I have worked with in the past, this option has been viewed as being more important than the employee self service. With this option, managers are able to view or change data on their direct and indirect report employees. An indirect report is an employee who reports to the manager and also has employees reporting to them. In this example, the CEO or President of your company should be able to see all employees. Managers typically may be provided access to all the information employees are but they may also be able to run additional reports on their employees and managers.

Integration of HRMS and Payroll Information - If your HRMS and payroll application are integrated or you have an interface that can populate an HR Management System ESS option, employees and managers may also be able to see payroll data or payroll history. I worked with a twelve hundred employee company and, for them, the most important capability of ESS was having the ability for employees to print their own direct deposit advices.

Work Flow Management – I briefly touched on this very important capability under the employee access option section. With this option, you can designate an approval process for any changes that may occur in the system. For example, an employee requests time off, the manager then may approve or deny this time; if they approve it, the information may move to human resources to make a final approval. If the manager is out of the office, they will typically have the capability of designating a temporary approver while they are out.

As mentioned earlier under employee access, the HR software administrator has the ability with each field to determine if the employee can view, not view, or change the item. You are typically allowed to setup a work flow for each change, as well.

Time off Management – We briefly touched on this topic but the important thing to mention is that employees are typically able to view their time off history, leave balances, and request time off. Managers are typically provided the ability to approve or deny this time and view reports relating to when employees are scheduled to be out or view attendance summary reports.

Benefits Open enrollment – Benefits Open Enrollment may or may not be an option included with ESS. Sometimes it is an extra option with its own price.

Benefits open enrollment allows for the creation of a benefit setup wizard by the HRMS Administrator. The employees are often able to read details regarding the plans and compare the costs and coverage of multiple plans side by side. This allows employees to complete their benefits setup and changes at home where they can, perhaps, view their spouse’s coverage options to make the best decision for their family.

Training Management – If your HR software has a detailed training management system, you may also see a number of the following options included in your HR application:
• Ability to register online for in house classes
• View training history
• View course catalog
• Take online tests
• View reports associated with programs requiring CEU’s or credits for completion or renewal.

In House Recruiting – If your company HRMS software offers a recruiting option, you may also be able to offer in house recruiting options to your employees. They may be able to view a job, the description, and requirements or post directly for a job.

Company Information – If your company does not offer an employee intranet, an ESS application can also assist with this demand. You may typically place a variety of links within the employee or manager access portion of the ESS product that may include the following:
• Employee handbook
• Company policies
• Links to benefit providers
• On the first page of the employee or managers access, notes may be added on upcoming events such as benefits open enrollment or other company news.

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