Implementing HRMS Employee Self-Service

HRMS Employee self-service or ‘direct access’ is seen as a major benefit of most HRMS systems these days. Usually, it is not difficult to implement technically, but it does require thought and preparation: what transactions do you want to allow via self-service? How should you present this new functionality to your employees? Fortunately, with some simple guidelines, it is easy to be set up a successful HRMS employee self-service system.

Define Your Transactions and Approval Levels

As you begin your HRMS implementation, it is best to define a list of HR data transactions and to start to identify which ones will be suitable for HRMS employee self-service. Then, it is necessary to establish, will these transactions require further approvals or documentation? How will documentation be submitted, online or in person? Different transactions will have varying levels of complexity in implementation. It is helpful to start with low complexity self-service transactions that are not interfaced to other systems. For example, allowing an employee to upload a photo with the manager as the approver may be a small way to try out how well employees will embrace such a technological change. Other transactions commonly defined as low complexity and suitable candidates for self-service include: adding education and degree details, entering and updating emergency contacts, and adding preferred names or social media ids such as connecting to LinkedIn, facebook or Twitter profiles.

Establish the Background for Self-Service

Employees sometimes see self-service as ‘doing HR’s work’, so it is important to present it positively, similar to how an employee would enter education details into LinkedIn or Facebook, HRMS employee self-service is a way for the employee to promote oneself in the company. HR cannot lose touch with their employees, however! It is important to retain this relationship which allows for more of a strategic partnership with HR by allowing simple data updating to flow out via self-service, when feasible.

A tip: think carefully about the possible negative impacts of self-service.

For example, I was analyzing the effectiveness of a self-service transaction that allowed the employee to enter a preferred name to see if it should be included data for an upgrade. It was designed for the preferred name to be sent to other systems, so that the employee logging into the portal would see ‘Good Morning, Bob’ rather that the more formal ‘Robert’. We had employees who self-nominated themselves as ‘Princess’ and ‘Goddess’, thus going well beyond the informal impression the company was trying to make with self-service! In this case the negatives far outweighed the advantages and the transaction was not enabled in the new system.


As well as establishing the transactions which you wish to carry out through self-service, it is also crucial to identify an HRMS vendor who can provide the tools to carry out these transactions.

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Heather Batyski

About the author…

Heather is an experienced HRMS analyst, consultant and manager. Having worked for companies such as Deloitte, Franklin Templeton and Oracle, Heather has first-hand experience of many HRMS solutions including Peoplesoft and Workday.

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Heather Batyski