White Paper

Employee Self Service – Why? Why Not?

Published on

March 29, 2016

By

by

Lisa Simpson

When talking to Human Resource professionals, they tell me that the number one type of call they get from their employees is “How many vacation hours do I have available?”  Other high volume requests include reprinting copies of past checks, address/name changes, 401K contribution percentage changes and logging/approving paid time off requests.

So, if these inquiries and tasks could be automated, what kind of time could be given back to HR personnel to perform other analytic and team-building projects?  Let’s take a look.

Sage HRMS Employee Self Service (ESS) is an online module that connects to Sage HRMS and allows employees, management and HR staff to perform their own tasks and inquiries. With a multitude of setup options, you can effectively manage what your employees can see, change and request. Employee Home Pages provide easy to locate sections of information.

But, taking it further, approvals can be set up for each change request allowed in ESS. An employee submits a change request which then flows through to the people in your organization that need to approve it. Additional people can be notified when changes are requested. An email with a link will be sent that directs that approver to the ESS website. In there, a queue of pending approval requests will display. That approver can then approve an item to move it on to update HRMS or they can reject an item, sending it back to the submitter with or without comments on why the rejection occurred. As an example, vacation requests can be routed to the employee’s supervisor so they’re made aware of the request, perhaps add it to a departmental work calendar, approve it and then move the request on to HR. HR can directly receive and approve actions related to changes that will affect other areas such as benefits or demographics. Managers can view information about both their direct and indirect employees (moving down the organizational chart).

ESS is broken down into various sections and can be deployed in a staged methodology. Think about the volume of questions the HR department receives and address the highest volume areas first. An example of the ESS Home Page is shown below. You can customize the colors, style and add your own company logo here.


  1. Personal Information – Allow employees to view and make changes to their address, phone number, dependents, beneficiaries, and emergency contacts. Since most of these do not affect payroll directly, changes made can update Sage HRMS without any further approval necessary although notifications can be sent via automated email to HR and/or supervisors.
  2. Time Off – Allow employees to view their enrolled-in plans and the available balance there. This is one of the most common requests, especially if plan balances do not print on paystubs. Allow employees to also see their recorded time taken and initiate requests for time off. Determine who the approver of these requests is – the employee’s manager or and Administrator HR or Payroll). Internal company PTO policies can be set up as links to provide information to your employees on plan dates, rollover balances and the approval process. Managers are provided with a view to all the requests that have been routed to them and can also see who has or hasn’t completed their enrollment options. This makes it easy to complete or reject the requests made. Managers can also assign a temporary approver in those cases when they will be unavailable.
  1. Payroll – If you are processing your payroll onsite, check stub information can be uploaded into ESS automatically for employees to review. This will save you from having to print out and distribute paper copies. When financial institutions request copies of prior paystubs, employees can print themselves.
  1. Benefits – Deduction and Benefit totals that affect an employee’s pay can be displayed here. Without Benefit Self Service (BSS), this is a view only. If you have also implemented BSS, then you have the ability to set up Life Events from which an employee can choose to select alternate insurance plans, assign or change dependents and beneficiaries. Examples of Life Events might include new hire, birth, adoption, marriage, etc. The other main purpose of BSS is to provide online Open Enrollment selections. Steps for setup include:
  • Identify each group of employees based on eligibility requirements.
  • Identify the benefit options available to this group – as an example, you may have employees working in different states for which there are different insurance plans. Assign those insurances in this selection.
  • Set the dates for the open enrollment period – open and close.
  • Set the options required on each window for each type of plan. It’s very helpful if you require an employee to either elect or waive each benefit – that way you know they’ve reviewed their options and made an informed choice.
  • Provide the ability to add dependents and beneficiaries if appropriate for each particular benefit.
  • You can include links to your Benefit Guides and to Provider websites to provide more information regarding the premium options offered.
  • Include error checking to make sure each choice is completed properly.
  • Set up automatic email reminders to employees who haven’t completed their enrollment.
  • Set up the approval process – the Benefits Administrator can accept or reject each completed enrollment which will then update HRMS without manual entry.
  1. Employment – This area provides a summary of the employee’s current and historical compensation, their department and job title assignment and performance reviews. Attachments to actual performance documents can be provided.
  1. Training – If the organization has purchased the HRMS training module, information can be output to ESS to show available courses that have been scheduled or are required along with a history of classes taken. Certifications can also be updated/reviewed.
  1. Company – This area can be specifically modified to fit the needs of your individual company. Provide links to your employee handbook, Company vision and mission statement, safety policies, job descriptions, and job postings. There are just endless opportunities to keep in touch with your people.

Employees are much more self-sufficient and knowledgeable about using the internet now than ever before. With an easy navigation flow, ESS, BSS, and training can provide the employee with information at their disposal and keep the volume of calls and interruptions in the HR department to a minimum.


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