Every HR person will know the frustration of being interrupted by a phone call or visit from an employee to find out how much holiday they have left.

An employee complains that their salary has gone into their old bank account. The Change form is found not to have been processed.

I’ve seen many HR offices with a ’Twilight Zone’ where self-certification sickness forms lie fallow until an overworked HR assistant is dispatched to clear some of them.

What do these three commonplace problems have in common? The first is a waste of two people’s time, the second is a nuisance for the employee and the third guarantees that any management figures on absence are inaccurate.

They can all be cured by the self-service module in an HR system.

Self-service has come a long way since its inception when it was both costly and limited in its uses; an additional downside was that the systems were run on in-house servers, and so to use self-service one would have to be on the company premises unless you had grudgingly-granted remote access rights.

These days, self-service is a standard feature of mainstream HR software and gives appropriate access to all who need to view or take action.

Employees can view their personal records and have the facility to change or modify certain fields such as Address, Bank Details or Emergency Contact, as well as generate requests for Holidays, Training or submit Sickness absence data.

Managers can view their departmental data as well as standard or bespoke reports at any time; many HR colleagues tell me that they do their analyses on the train home!

Self-service also enables actions such as appraisal reporting online, connecting it to objective setting and consequent training / developmental needs; these in turn can be approved and booked using work flow deployed through the module.

Don’t underestimate the amount of preparation for all this, as there are varying security layers to configure for every employee. Additionally, this represents a significant culture change for any organisation, so time and resources must be invested in gaining acceptance and giving user training; don’t assume everyone will take to it like a duck to water.

The HRmeansbusiness consultancy has calculated that a typical organisation of 1000 employees, saves round 5 FTE of time over a 5 year period, and that is conservative figure*. The bulk of time and admin. savings will be made in HR activity, but a bigger advantage is making data available in virtually real time, which makes the self-service business case irresistible.

The Big Five:

  • Self-Service
  • Work Flow
  • Report writer
  • Automatic Triggers / Notifications
  • Organisation Charts

*Derived from empirical studies by HRmeansbusiness Ltd over a rolling 10 year period)
Copyright ©Hrmeansbusiness Ltd 2018

David BarnardDenis Barnard is acknowledged to be a leading expert in the selection of HR & payroll systems, and other HRIS, both inside and outside the UK.

He has been instrumental in leading successful selection and implementation projects in a wide range of sectors, including local government, Higher Education, publishing, music industry and manufacturing.

His recently-published book “Selecting and implementing HR & payroll software” has been acclaimed by leading HR practitioners.