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Employee on ESS Mobile App

Do today’s workers expect employee self-service technology? 

If you count yourself among the people who regularly read our blog then the business benefits of ESS (employee self service technologyshould be clear by now – efficiency, saving costs and time. But while it’s no secret that software such as employee self-service mobile apps make a lot of sense from a management perspective, what about staff themselves?  

 On the face of it, any system that allows workers to access their own shift rota, holiday requests, workflows and many other aspects of their day-to-day business should be welcomed by everyone. Employee self-service can help expedite processes that once took up vital resources, assist in keeping paper trails (or more accurately now, digital trails) and improve staff satisfaction.  

 But are we asking too much of people by making them learn new systems? Do they really expect ESS technology as standard? Or are employees seeing this as a way to make management’s life easier and theirs more complex?  

 According to a report by Paychex, ‘At Your Convenience: Employee Self Service Streamlines HR, Saves Money, Engages Staff, workers actively welcome these systems, and prefer to perform many HR-related tasks themselves. This is understandable, as it gives them more control and, therefore, better peace of mind.  

 The problem is many companies, particularly at the smaller end of the business world, are still failing to provide staff with the necessary DIY tools to get those jobs done. This can leave workers feeling frustrated, ignored and, if HR processes lag behind where they would be with ESS, ultimately demotivated.  

 “Firstly, it dramatically speeds up processing times for routine, paper-based tasks like rostering, leave requests, distributing payslips or creating timesheets,” Andrew Northcott, CEO and founder of workforce management specialist Roubler replies when we ask about the key benefits of rolling out ESS.  

 “Secondly, if the ESS is connected to the main workforce management system all functions can work from the same set of data and it’s always up to date as employees can update it whenever they need to. On a human level, faster processing times and less data entry and admin means that managers can really manage their people, not piles of paperwork and can focus on improving team performance which leads to happier employees.”  

 Nevertheless, implementing this technology does not come without reasons to be cautious. Successfully switching to employee self service relies on having confidence in the new software supplier to make the leap in full. And that means investing in the right platforms and training to get people up to speed. Factors management has control over.  

 “There are a few dangers to be aware of when it comes to rolling out workforce management technology. Trying to use old and new systems together in a phased approached rarely works, and timing can make or break a roll out,” Northcott explains.  

 We’ve also seen businesses come undone with new systems by not providing enough training and support in the early stages so both managers and employees end up struggling with the new system. 

 “We recommend having a clear deadline for when the old system will be cut off and the new one comes into play,” he continues, explaining how companies can avoid running into difficulties amid an ESS rollout.  

 “In seasonal businesses like retail and hospitality you need to pick the quietest period in the year for your roll-out so employees have the best chance of getting to know the new system. It’s also important to train your managers first so that when front-line staff are trained they have someone to go to for support.” 


Words by Richard Trenchard.


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