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September 14, 2018 in HR, Employee Management

How ESS Tools Can Increase Your Organizational Efficiency

Streamlining business efficiency is a long-term goal for any owner. HR technology known as ESS, or employee self service, is a simple solution that saves money and time, and improves morale.

In a survey conducted by, 87 percent of respondents (all of them HR professionals) agreed that the most efficient way to provide employees with HR and payroll information is with the help of an employee self-service portal. 81 percent also stated that ESS improved employee engagement.

The right HR self-service software will eliminate business bottlenecks and save you money. Consider the evidence:

  • Enterprises are using WiFi, staying connected through portable devices and allowing more employees to work remotely.
  • Employees are increasingly going mobile-first to handle work responsibilities including timesheets and vacation requests.
  • 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone.
  • 1 in every 3 payroll professionals is working with software that is over a decade old. It’s time for an upgrade!

ESS Tools and the Business Advantage

Below, we’ll talk about how ESS payroll and other automated services benefit the employee. First, however, we will explore its impact from the company vantage point.

Task Automation/Time Saved: As any head of HR knows, a major portion of the job includes answering urgent questions. New employees with paperwork due, staffers who need to sign up for medical benefits, a last-minute illness necessitating time off . . . simply answering those requests can take up an entire workday. A self-service system naturally eliminates much of that busy work, along with the paper trail it creates. Task automation minimizes interference from human resources and allows those in charge to deal with bigger-picture concerns. Moving payroll, medical benefits, vacation and time-off requests, to an ESS portal frees up a manager’s time for what matters most: managing.

Money-Saving: This, in turn, saves money for the enterprise as a whole. Here is one example: Your employees transition to direct deposit and pay stubs viewable online instead of a printed check. You have already created savings based on the elimination of the paper and the ink, not to mention the distribution effort. Shifting schedules online also saves management from having to dive into stacks of time-off requests and shuffling endless paperwork.

Connection: If your company operates from multiple offices, or it includes both an office and a work site, HR employee self service tools bring them together. Long email strings and phone calls “just to check” are eliminated.

Owner/Manager Access: Those new connections created by an online system are increased tenfold (or more) by mobile access. A business owner can open their phone or laptop, head to a website or an app, and immediately find out who is scheduled for the next shift. They can ascertain employee satisfaction via any number of assessment tools. Data does not need to be requested; it is at their fingertips.

Trackable Training: Employee engagement leads to staff retention—the two are inextricably linked. A printed employee handbook is a valuable tool, but soon becomes outdated. Trackable training with an ESS system, on the other hand, ensures interaction. Proper training will lead to familiarization with the system and a staffer that knows where to turn when they have a problem. Linking to an online handbook from the self-service portal also provides access to a valuable resource that can be conveniently updated.

Regulatory Updates: As you know, here are just a few of the regulations and laws HR must keep tabs on at all times

  • FMLA and other maternity/paternity leave
  • Sick leave
  • Secure/fair scheduling laws
  • Tax regulations
  • ESS provides instant notification and updates when any of these change.

Taxes: Tax obligations can shift for a number of reasons, including new hires, local/state/federal law updates, and office relocations. Many ESS systems include the ability to file, manage withholdings, establish retirement funds or pensions, and ease other tax-related concerns for business leaders running organizations of all sizes.

ESS Tools and the Employee Advantage

Expectations Met: Nearly 3 out of every 4 employees already understand the advantage of an automated system and wants one established in the workplace. In their daily lives, they are reliant on technology to make their appointments, manage their bills, and accomplish other personal tasks. Adoption of payroll self service and other automated resources on the job is most often met with relief.

Clear Value Prop: The introduction of an ESS tool is a major step for the employee. Transparency and ease of use demonstrate a clear value proposition for the end user. Services such as benefits and timecard entry, along with the more irregular tasks, must come with intuitive navigation and clear and demonstrable results.

Onboarding: Any one of us can likely recall a memorable first day on the job that included a healthy stack of paperwork, manuals, forms to sign, and videos to watch on everything from how to use the equipment to the dangers of sexual harassment. An ESS portal can not only consolidate these tasks, it can also track progress, eliminate the piles of paper, and speed things up overall.

Retention Rate: People stay at their jobs for a few major reasons, including 1) Great employee culture, 2) flexible schedules and time off, and 3) development and training. While you cannot guarantee that your staff won’t have some turnover, an ESS system enables you to satisfy two out of the three main requirements. Hiring excellent people will complete the trifecta.

Vacation & Sick Time: Employee self service creates a portal for each and every sick day notification and vacation request. An employee does not have to tally how much time they have available or sit in another office to wait for approval. Similarly, ESS can include options for requesting overtime or compensation for a work trip—complete with a place to input expenditures and scan receipts.

Recognition Programs: A valued staff is a happy staff, and employee self service can help. A positive work environment can be fostered using recognition software. ESS systems include dozens of ways to inspire morale. What gets recognized gets repeated.

Wellness Management: All businesses provide basic benefits, including federal tax contributions, unemployment, and workers’ compensation. There are also medical, dental, vision, and leave benefits, which vary by company size and state. The employee views these benefits as invaluable, and ESS provides immediate access to all of them. Plan cost comparisons and review of new options during open enrollment are other advantages.

How to Take Advantage of ESS

ESS comes with a risk factor; if the system you implement is clunky, slow, or difficult to understand, the work environment will suffer. HR to-do lists will grow instead of shrink, and that burden will be passed on to managers and owners.

A good ESS system, on the other hand, is built upon proven software and professionals. It fosters enriched interaction between employees and management by eliminating the granular work. At the end of the day, people want to know that they are working for other people with their best interests at heart.

Excelforce is invested in the creation of successful, efficient workplaces from the top down. Call us at (800) 926-7670 or email us for consultation with an expert and a free demonstration of our single-platform solution, including Payroll, HR, Recruitment, Benefits, and Time and Labor Services.