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Employee Self Service: The big win for HR.

Human resources and self-development. Modern business - vector illustration

A study by Kienbaum proves: HR needs more time. Instead of being able to work strategically, HR professionals spend a large part of their day on administrative tasks. More than 39 percent of HR processes in German HR departments are attributable to administrative duties. Here, employee self-service portals and digital processes could bring enormous relief.

HR lacks the time to set the course for Industry 4.0

It’s a vicious circle: While HR professionals spend a lot of their time in bulky Excel spreadsheets, they have to do quite a different job. The changing world of work is in full swing, and in most areas, routine work is done by the computer. Consequently, HR is increasingly challenged to get involved creatively and actively in business processes and to help shape them. This requires lifelong learning. Because only employees whose know-how is always up-to-date can make valid decisions that will advance the company. A topic that clearly touches a core area of HR: employee development. For example, new learning environments need to be created that integrate learning into everyday work. But HR lacks the time to set the course for the digital age. There would be much more to do. Because according to the latest HR Report 2017 from Hays, a lot of work will come up for human resources experts in the coming years.

These are the biggest challenges for HR “The three biggest organizational challenges in digitization are managing the increasing complexity of cooperation (58 percent), followed by adapting the leadership culture to flexible work models (53 percent) and developing new forms of networking (50 percent),” it says , Instead, duplicate and trivial staffers beat around different systems and compare lists. That would be avoidable. After all, every HR process that is outsourced to the computer precisely opens up space for the strategic. According to the HR Software Report 2017 of the online portal, many HR processes are already handled by IT. However, only 21 percent of HR managers are “very satisfied” with their current solution. By far the greater part is struggling with recurrent technical problems, limited functionality and media discontinuity. With the right IT solution, on the other hand, everything could be so easy. Substantial relief is promised, for example, by so-called employee self-service portals.

What is Employee Self Service?

The principle: HR uses the appropriate tools to outsource bureaucratic processes directly to employees and management. Employee Self Service portals give employees access to and manage their personal information. HR software providers such as jacando have reacted quickly and launched employee self-service portals. For example, employees in a personal calendar can independently enter employees holiday, business or other absences and also submit the corresponding applications. These then only have to be processed and released by HR. In the calendar of HR managers, all absences of employees then automatically come together and are clearly displayed. Why Employee Self Service is especially interesting for SMEs Especially small and medium-sized companies profit from Employee Self Service. Here, the HR department usually consist of only one person, but the range of tasks is not significantly lower than with larger companies who can afford a whole HR department. Accordingly, administrative time-wasters are even more important here. All the better if employees can then change their master data such as bank details, educational path, career path, completed seminars, soft and hard skills with a few clicks and HR is out of the game.

Fields of application for Employee Self Service

Employee Self Service has also arrived in personnel development. Here employees inform themselves about the seminar offer of their company, apply for participation in events and make evaluations afterwards. There are many examples of this type of application for Employee Self Service and there will be more in the future. For example, car maker VW uses Employee Self Service to manage one of the biggest restructurings in its history. Together with the works council, the company has agreed on a “future pact”, which provides for the elimination of up to 30,000 jobs worldwide without any redundancies. In turn, thousands of new jobs are created in other branches.

Employee Self Service: Best Practice at VW

The Group intends to manage its internal labor market via Employee Self Service. For example, every employee calls vacancies via the corresponding internal job portal and can apply directly. In addition, he can pass on his qualifications to the HR department via app, making HR career planning much easier. This example shows: The access of the employees to their own data and processes of the human resources management via the intranet of the own enterprise or by app processes of the personnel management are simplified considerably, accelerated and unified. However, only very few companies have gained the taste of ESS, as Employee Self Service in short form means. This is the conclusion of an investigation by Bochum University of Applied Sciences. “As expected, more than 95 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 use a smartphone, but even in the over-45 age group, as many as 80 percent have a smartphone,” it says here. “An ESS system was used by just 15 percent of respondents, 40 percent of whom do not use it, and the vast majority (45 percent) of whom this type of self-service system is completely unknown.” 

Employee Self Service: Companies need to catch up

However, companies are missing important opportunities. After the successful implementation of ESS satisfied customers see a lot of advantages for employees, managers and HR:

• The data quality of the system is improved by autonomous updates
• Processes gain efficiency
• Costs are reduced
• HR departments are relieved by the use of ESS
• The error rate is reduced
• There are lower printing costs because all processes can be done digitally rather than paper-based
• Approval paths are becoming more transparent
• Data can be updated anytime, anywhere from mobile access to the system

Evaluations before and after the use of ESS systems have shown that productivity increases in HR are up to 30 percent realistic. A lot of manual input that was needed in the past is eliminated, saving time and resources for Human Resources personnel. Routine activities are simplified and the HR employee finally has time for the new challenges of today’s world of work. That’s a word!

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