Employee self service (ESS) is technology that allows employees to handle a number of human-resources and administrative tasks on their own.
Effective companies are built on dedicated, talented workforces. But supporting those workforces takes significant administration. Human resources departments in particular face a constantly growing need for improved efficiency and accuracy. Addressing payroll benefits, dealing with large amounts of essential-yet-time-consuming paperwork, and managing employee data tend to monopolise a HR department's time, preventing them from becoming true strategic assets to their companies.
Employee self service is designed to alleviate much of this burden, digitising and automating important tasks. At the same time, ESS gives employees more direct control over their own data.
Generally, ESS is available to employees through their company’s intranet or portal. These online employee engagement platforms provide easy access to searchable knowledge bases and interactive web applications—often combining automated systems and advanced user support options. Some employee portals also include
forums or social-media style discussion tools where employees can come together to discuss issues, answer each other’s questions, and workshop possible solutions to problems.
As previously mentioned, ESS is a solution to issues faced both by HR departments and the workforces they serve. On the one hand, ESS makes HR’s job easier and more effective. On the other, it gives employees improved visibility and a greater say into how their HR data is managed. As part of larger employee engagement strategies, these factors help streamline the entire HR process and improve the employee experience, creating a more efficient, productive, and cost effective organisation.
ESS is not designed to take the place of an experienced HR team; it exists to free HR from certain repetitive tasks and to allow employees direct access to HR information and functionality. This creates a number of advantages for the ESS-enhanced organisation:
ESS is a broad category of HR management, with many different kinds of systems serving a range of industries. Even so, the most effective systems tend to share certain functions, including the following:
Organisations can use ESS systems to create, schedule, and share important content to departments and employees through multiple channels. This includes mass emails, announcements, links, and other content for distribution to the workforce. Recipients can be filtered based on a variety of criteria, such as job title and location.
To-do pages within an ESS show, at a glance, all of the tasks currently assigned to any specific employee. This includes the conditions that must be met for the task to be marked as completed. Employees can arrange and organise their upcoming tasks, and apply filters to show specific tasks.
Employees and managers can easily see open requests, review past requests, and check up on the status of specific current requests, all from a single page.
An employee knowledge base is a searchable database of useful, HR-relevant information. Employees can quickly find answers to common questions, as well as get links to important tools, forms etc.
With an ESS organisation chart, employees can see the structure of their company, including employees, job titles, responsibilities, and more.
Live-chat options in the ESS platform allow employees to interact with live support agents in real time. Employees simply select a conversation topic from a list of provided categories.
Links to employee forums give employees a place within the ESS system where they can interact, engage, collaborate, and workshop solutions to problems.
Generally, the most effective ESS systems come from third-party vendors. These vendors provide resources and guidance to ensure that their client businesses have everything they need to get the most out of their ESS solutions. That said, there are ways that organisations can improve the effectiveness of their self-service solutions. When implementing ESS, consider the following best practices:
ServiceNow Employee Center provides a single unified portal for multi-department service delivery, enabling customers to easily scale their service solutions across IT and HR to find information, get help, and request the services they need. With enhanced capabilities, Employee Center can expand the portal experience from service delivery to employee communication and engagement with tools like content publishing and campaigns, content experiences, and employee communities.
With built-in live chat and virtual agent options, detailed knowledge-base structure, task management, case management, and more, ServiceNow Employee Center goes beyond the traditional self-service portal. And with full, cloud-based mobile optimisation, ServiceNow empowers employees to take a more active role in their HR and IT management, no matter where they are.
Learn more about Employee Center from ServiceNow, and see how the right self service solutions can improve your business.
Elevate the employee experience with connected digital workflows.