6 Employee Self-Service Questions to Ask Your HRMS Vendor

HRMS employee self-service, or ESS, is in danger of becoming ‘old hat’. Most would agree that the concept is at the stage of majority adoption across the HRMS software landscape and the danger of that is we start to take it for granted, assuming that each new application comes with ESS as standard and that one vendor’s package of ESS features is much the same as the next. This is obviously not so and any potential provider should be in for a little quizzing on their ESS provision.

What Does HRMS Employee Self-Service Mean to You?

The employee self-service label can be applied to any kind of employee access to HRMS, however limited. It may be a simple ‘read only’ viewing feature for personal information but what you really want is to give your people access to and appropriate control over their data in the system – for example, not just a look at their pay stub online but the ability to update direct deposit details, update qualifications and certifications, and access total compensation and benefits details.

How Can My People Access the HRMS?

This question touches on issues around cloud deployment, mobile usage and even compatibility with your BYOD strategy. Put simply, just how does an employee get into the system. Do they need to be on-site or can they view and update the system 24/7 via a web portal accessed from their personal tablet or smartphone on the go?

What Proportion of HR Transactions Will Be Covered?

This is a fundamental question when it comes to predicting (and measuring) the future value of any HRMS employee self-service system. Some commentators and vendors suggest between 75% and 90% of HR transactions can be serviced via ESS. Whatever figure you’re given, ask the vendor to justify it.

How Much HR Time Will HRMS Employee Self-Service Free Up?

Regardless of the answer to the previous question, ESS does not necessarily result in a reduction in HR headcount (although that is how it was pitched back in the early days) but it should free up your HR resource from basic administrative tasks, leaving them available to focus on supporting higher value HR functions such as recruitment, performance management and so on. Knowing what to expect on this issue is a key part of predicting and calculating your return on investment.

How Will Your HRMS Employee Self-Service Improve Engagement?

This is a bit of a tough, maybe even unfair, question but the fact is that HRMS employee self-service is touted as an improvement factor for employee engagement levels so why not see what your vendor has to say on the matter? Ideally, ESS will result in increased involvement and confidence in the business and HR itself. Influential factors include the user-friendliness of the system, ease of access, data security, and any obvious advantage over the previous system (if any).

What Implementation Strategy Do You Recommend?

A fully-functioning set of ESS features have no benefit on their own; a fully-utilized ESS package on the other hand, does. The value of ESS lies in usage; how does the vendor suggest that people are encouraged to leverage the new system to its fullest? A worthwhile adoption strategy should include: surveying employee preferences, setting clear objectives and success measures for adoption, specific actions to drive up usage, a clear supporting comms strategy, an evaluation stage, post-implementation actions to further capitalize on the system’s capabilities.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall