The benefits of introducing a self-service HR system also including enabling your HR team to spend more time working strategically
Today’s employees expect to have direct access to many core HR functions – such as booking holiday and tracking, managing personal details, and reviewing their performance – without having to go through their HR team or line manager. For younger workers who’ve grown up with the web, the idea of filling in paper forms to change address, or receiving a paper payslip through the post, seems almost archaic.
HR professionals are also expecting more from the technologies they use – that they assist, not hinder, their efforts to be a strategic force. Instead of requiring staff to complete an insecure paper form or Word document to change their bank details or home address, with self-service HR systems they can enter the information online themselves. No rekeying of data is required, which reduces the administrative burden on HR and reduces the risk of errors.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also recommends as good practice that users have self-service access to their own data, so choosing to introduce a self-service HR system can help your organisation comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) too.
Four ways self-service HR software could save you money
While there are many operational and strategic benefits to implementing self-service HR systems, many business cases start with a focus on cost reduction. Here are four ways that it could save you money.
1. Eliminates rekeying of data
This cuts HR data processing time. Traditional HR setups require data to be transferred from paper or electronic documents into the core HR management system. This step is eradicated by allowing employees to enter data into the HR system directly.
2. Cuts time spent on correcting errors
There’s an assumption with self-service that employees will take greater care inputting personal data, such as bank account details, than a busy HR administrator. Self-service data entry is an effective way of improving data quality; rather than attempting to clean up the HR database before introducing such a system for the first time, organisations are often better served by allowing employees to amend their own information.
3. Streamlines and standardises processes
Because paper-based processes are inherently inefficient, many organisations develop their own ways of gathering basic HR information such as absence or holiday data. Self-service systems give organisations an opportunity to standardise their process and improve data consistency.
4, Reduce the volume of calls to HR
Because employees have more ownership of their HR-related information, they won’t need to contact HR to resolve queries and update data so frequently.
Caveats to cost savings
As with any software implementation, if you choose to introduce self-service HR there will be some upfront implementation fees and ongoing subscription costs.
During the transition to self-service HR, staff may need extra support from HR as they get used to the system and doing tasks themselves. In many cases, it may make sense in the short term for HR employees to spend more time than normal helping out a user, because this will reduce their need for support in the future.
While modern self-service HR software can be accessed via desktop computers and mobile devices, you might need to consider if non-desk-based staff will need extra support or equipment to access the system.
And, although introducing self-service technology will typically alleviate the administrative burden on your HR team, it’s worth bearing in mind that it may not lead to a reduction in headcount. You might find that your team was overloaded with work before the system’s introduction, and afterwards they are able to devote more time to tasks that were previously being pushed to one side. You might even be able to reshape some roles to have a more strategic, value-adding focus.
Finally, you might find that employees and line managers expect a higher level of service from your HR team, whether that’s in terms of quicker response times or more involvement in high-level organisational initiatives. Service improvements should be assessed in the context of the broader organisational impact, whether that’s reducing opportunity cost by cutting the amount of time managers spend on recruitment administration, or improving talent acquisition by making the online job application process smoother.
“I used to spend a day a week processing holidays. Now I don’t need to do anything at all because it’s all done through the employee self-service functionality.”
Read Kavli’s success story to find out how CIPHR’s self-service system changed their HR department for the better