Employee Self-Service the HR portal

Employee Self-Service does for HR what ATMs do for banks.  Where do you start with a solution like this and is it not only for big business?

The short answer its for any business who wants a professional HR department.  The more staff you have, the more an ESS saves you time, money and hassle.

This article looks at where to start with an ESS and where an ESS can grow into a people platform for your staff.

  • Getting started
  • Features
  • Expansion
  • Setup approach

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Getting started

Employee Self-Service

Every business has legal requirements to look after their staff.  Whether it’s minimum wage, health and safety compliance or just motivational management looking after more and more staff requires more and more effort.

The Human Resources (HR) department is there for just that reason, the human resource.  Business often spend most of their time looking outward to the tools and features they provide to their customers.  What tools and features can they provide to their staff?

If access to your money was to be available 24/7/365 banks would have a lot of staff and security headaches.  Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) revolutionized how your interact with your bank and how easily you can get access to your money.

The same revolution has happened for HR departments and Employee Self-Service is the HR’s ATM machine.



So your HR ATM, your ESS, is a web based service that is available 24/7 to staff.  It will facilitate as much as the HR department wants you to be able to access.

Simple questions like “where is your company noticeboard?” for staff in the field can sometimes be difficult to answer.

So off the bat what can an ESS facilitate?

  • Contact and Emergency contact details
  • Ability to update personal details, such as which bank account your money is paid into
  • Legal documentation (payslips, P60s and other tax documents, etc)
  • Signed documentation of compliance (contracts, attendance and acknowledgement of training)
  • Overtime, compensation history and reimbursement slips
  • Application for all types of leave
  • Internal job advertisement

So if you think about every aspect of your own employment in a company, how and where do you go for all the above?

Even if you only have 8 staff you have paperwork storage and documentation overheads.  What tool does your HR person have to help them?


The employee life cycle

As a sense check the employee life cycle allows you to examine different parts of employment in isolation and sense check “how do we handle that?”

An Employee Self-Service can provide tools at each stage.

  • Firstly improve communication
  • Explain and inform without taking up HR time
  • Sense check and validate information
  • Furthermore centralise documentation and employment requirements
  • Add quality checks to every process
  • Finally but not exclusively ensure legal and business compliance


What tools do you interact with, with HR for these stages?




Most businesses keep information on their customers to target marketing and sales efforts.  What information do you keep on your staff?

HR is a complex pattern of legal, operational and desired outcomes for the business.  Personal information can help or hinder those goals.

Being able to keep things clean and up to date is a legal requirement and features as part of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) of Europe.

For example when data is “out of date” or no longer needed, when do your current systems automatically purge that data to ensure your compliance with the laws?

Your ESS allows staff to keep their own details up to date reducing the data entry overhead of the HR department, as an immediate win.  The ESS should also be able to automate removal of data that is no longer needed.



For all the documents that are relevant to your employment.

  • Firstly contracts of employment and associated documentation
  • Also confirmation of Health and Safety training.
  • Furthermore security and online behaviour understanding and compliance documentation

Instead of these documents being around the business, an Employee Self-Service portal gives the employee the chance to go to one place.

As part of this, the portal provides a place for uploading updated documents, like drivers licences, work permits and other documentation that doesn’t need HR’s time.



Time sheets, various forms of leave, how many days holidays do I have left? meetings and everything diary related can be in one place.

Certainly whilst useful for you, for HR and for operational managers this kind of information can help planning and strategic choice.

For example an “abutment report” is for Friday and Monday reports.  This report allows managers to see are there many Mondays and Fridays missed.

Someone may need help and the pattern of their absence go missed simply because the data wasn’t easily accessible.

How can you help your team?  Spotting patterns in centralised data enables HR to help.



Every business uses forms for one thing or another.

Forms are part of workflows which often have outcomes marking a new stage in the process.

For every type of application and process, centralising staff processes into forms and workflows ensures a high quality business for everyone.

Instead of having piles of papers and varying editions of forms, single, centralised and validate-able forms online can save hundreds of hours.



The legal requirement or more importantly the staff recognition of internal promotion is often a difficult area to manage for any business.

A company vacancies noticeboard and application management process ensures that everyone is given equal notification of roles and opportunities for advancement.

Above all communication is the biggest element.



Training and Career Pathing

It’s one thing to request to go on training and have that training recorded but what if the platform could also deliver and track the training.

Employee Self-Service platforms are evolving into a full HR suite of tools which include Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Career pathing in software is where you pass tests and reviews from one set of training and the next set of training opens up.

This saves time for trainers and HR staff alike whilst also enabling employees to develop themselves at a rate they are comfortable with.


Quality and Gamification

Quality processes in any business lead to improvements but present challenges in getting there.

As a result of being able to put an individuals quality results in a centralised place, appropriate training and support mechanisms can be integrated.

Consequently the entire employee experience is improved as they feel valued the business invested in them.  How would you feel?

With the addition of Gamification and a focus on the motivation of the staff, an Employee Self-Service portal becomes more than just some employment details.


Setup approach

Find the right tool

Most HR staff I’ve chatted to expect Employee Self-Service be expensive to set up and maintain, when in fact the opposite is true.

There are big solutions such as Core and SAP but there are also tools like bxp software which can offer all of the above.  Consequently shopping for something you know you want is key.

You already have data, documents, forms, diaries and potentially vacancies.  Therefore the setup process is gathering those and a bit of housekeeping which is time consuming in itself.

Certainly getting some outside help to get the project up and running can make the transition a lot faster.


If there’s anything in this article you’d like to chat to me about you can contact me here or on social media.


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