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ESS – Driving New HR Culture


The upcoming trend in business is the increasing demand of making the HR contribute  more into the strategic part then in to the day to day operational activities which takes maximum of their time. Employee self service (ESS) window-a concept which has evolved in the last decade and gained a lot of prominence now in the business. Self-service portals have dramatically come to rescue HR professionals by providing them some time to relax and contribute more into strategic ideas for their business to succeed successfully.

Let us see how it helps:

Employees get more ownership: By providing a self-service solution to the employees, HR gives them access to their personal data, company information, rules and regulations; and enables them to fill out various forms, pay slips, etc. These are some common areas which invites a lot of queries from the employees. Moreover, if the employees don’t get the kind of response they expect, their trust towards the organization reduces and their frustration level increases. This, at times, affects their performance too. Thus, to make your employees satisfied with the organization and its people, self-service portals will definitely make a significant difference.

Does it really help the organization that way?

Not surprisingly, the success of an employee self-service system often hinges on several other key issues. Obijiski believes that no matter how dazzling the technology is, it’s necessary to overcome several common obstacles. Information technology (IT) professionals often see the project as a winning proposition, but do not take into account the cultural factors surrounding the change. As a result, they’re likely to design the site without human factors in mind. “The same work processes that existed with paper become part of a Web-enabled application. Instead of an employee viewing only the two or three relevant fields, they’re bombarded with 25 fields and they wind up overwhelmed and confused.”

Resistance to change is often the biggest headache of all. In a typical implementation, about 20 percent of employees are likely to dig their heels in and battle the new way of doing things. An additional 20 percent are likely to resent the change but use the system with a bit of cajoling, says Obijiski.

And the human resources department is hardly exempt. After all, the project can mean getting rid of file drawers and forms that have been part of the department’s collective psyche for decades. It means rethinking work and retraining individuals to handle entirely different tasks. And then, if the project succeeds, it could eliminate jobs.

But the greatest resistance can occasionally come from the most unlikely source: management itself. It’s particularly a concern at large corporations with entrenched ways of doing business. Although it would seem logical that senior managers would embrace employee self-service, it thoroughly muddles the idea of who’s responsible for record keeping and who’s to blame, says Obijiski. “There’s nobody to point a finger at and say ‘fix it’ if employees aren’t using the system right or if records are a mess. ESS crosses departmental boundaries and gets to the root of the company’s culture.” she states.

ESS  helps in bringing in process to run successful error free payroll and lessens the time of the HR in collating the attendance inputs and calculating the pay and preparing the pay checks . This activity has always been the daunting task of HR professionals. Manual way of doing this process involved a lot of risk of making errors without the HR’s knowledge. By employing  the employees, they can themselves clarify their presents and absents and inform the HR regarding the same. The attendance is also calculated automatically and paychecks can be easily generated. Moreover, all pay slips are made available to the employees through the same portal so that they can analyze and download them as per their ease.

Driving success for the new arena of HR

Alexia Martin, a management consultant for The Hunter Group, believes education and training are paramount to success for this new device’s success. Employees have to understand what’s coming, why it’s coming and what’s in it for them, she says. If a worker realizes how much easier it is to enroll in training, request vacation time or check on a 401(k) balance through the company’s intranet, he or she is likely to embrace the technology and use it. And once the person’s sold on the capabilities of ESS, he or she is likely to approach future changes with a positive attitude.

Obijiski insists an ESS rollout shouldn’t be rushed. Not only can it take months—sometimes a year or more to plan and implement—it’s essential to beta test the program, measure feedback and thoroughly understand the cultural ramifications at all levels of the organization. It’s also crucial to develop an overall strategy and timetable for implementing new technologies—and, as much as possible, understand the underlying financial issues.

Ultimately, employee self-service requires a major behavioral change. “You can never go backward once you’ve introduced employee self-service. It will have a profound impact on the organization,” McLaughlin observes. Yet, whether that impact is positive or negative has as much to do with how human resources manages the process as it does with the hardware and software that’s deployed. Employee self-service is more than a technology, it’s a state of mind.



Jayati Tapadar
A seasoned HR professional with more than 13 years of work experience in the whole gamut of HR.She graduated in Economics from Banaras Hindu University and has a degree of Masters in Business Administration with specialisation in Human Resource from Nagpur University. Jayati has varied exposure in the industries like IT, HR consulting, auto ancilliary , manufacturing and worked with corporates like Randstad .
Her rich work experience has given her opportunity to know the varied dynamics of HR domain.
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