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Kazim Ladimeji 3 Ways Employee Self-Service Software Increases Employee Engagement

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 By Kazim Ladimeji

Understanding the Engagement Triggers of Employee Self Service Applications

With Goldman Sachs predicting a slowing of growth (and even negative growth) across the U.S. and Euro-zone there will be increasing pressure on business unit leaders to strengthen the link between any expenditure and return-on-investment (ROI) for HR software. As such, this is a great opportunity for HR leaders to make their mark by leading the way with Human Capital Management (HCM) technology interventions that not only increase efficiency, but which can also be shown to increase productivity, profitability and shareholder value. Of course, one of the more salient ways to achieve these ambitious goals is for organizations to devise strategies to drive employee engagement.

An increasingly cited topic in HR headlines of late, engagement (as defined by Gallup) is "an employee's involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with work"—conceptual facets that are largely seen as key levers which HR can pull to drive productivity in the business and command a seat at the boardroom table. In large part, the fascination with employee engagement comes from the fact that research shows an incredible disparity between those companies whose employees are engaged versus organizations whose staff are not. In fact, studies from the aforementioned Gallup company (which surveyed 17M employees over 30 years), uncovered that world class organizations have a near 10-1 ratio of engaged to disengaged employees while average organizations have around 2 to 1—a striking statistic to be sure. Yet, for all that is known about the benefits of macro-level employee engagement, many organizations and HR executives are left wondering about which efforts actually drive engagement; and thusly which initiatives to deploy.

One such strategy that is relatively easily employed is that of Employee Self-Service (ESS) software; an HR technology tool which gives employees the power to manage their own personal data. While at first glance this link between ESS applications and employee engagement may not be immediately obvious, the following 3 points should shed light on this process and highlight how, if effectively deployed, leveraging Employee Self-Service technology can drive employee engagement.

1) Employee Self Service Software Increases Autonomy

Employee Self-Service applications enable employees to view and amend personal data (such as bank details); make requests for leave; easily access corporate policies; access the employee directory; view organizational structuring; access corporate communications; and much more. As such, ESS software-empowered employees have a much higher level of control over the data that pertains to them. In much the same way that online banking has transformed the relationship between customers and their banks, self-service technology is transforming the relationship between employees, their data, and their organizations. In fact, research from the Aberdeen Group showed that the increased autonomy provided by Employee Self Service software leads to 18% higher employee engagement scores over those companies without.

2) ESS Software Increases Employee Input to Decision Making

Research by the Institute for Employment Studies and Towers Perrin cite the fact that enabling employees to provide input into decision making is one of the top drivers of employee engagement. Advanced ESS applications have capabilities for survey integration, and can be used to gather feedback from thousands of employees in a structured and highly practicable way according to function, location, or demographics. This employee feedback can then be compiled and used to provide an orchestrated staff viewpoint on a range of policy areas in the business. The board can then consider this so called "employee voice", giving the workforce a quasi-democratic input into the decision making process—thereby increasing engagement.

3) ESS Software Drives Employee Responsibility

While the above two points are certainly significant, perhaps no other aspect of ESS technology boosts engagement like the self-service movement towards employee personal and professional development. Indeed, a second generation of Employee Self Service software has emerged relatively recently that has shifted focus from purely efficiency-based solutions to employee empowerment—a move that gives employees more access, control, and responsibility for their own positions, performance, and development. As seen through leading applications such as SilkRoad Technology's Heartbeat HRMS; (SAP) SuccessFactors' Employee Central; and PeopleFluent's talent management system, career planning, skills profiles, learning objectives, and goal settings are increasingly being tied to employee self-service software—and with it bringing needed and strategic integration into nearly every functional HR area.

Final Words on Employee Engagement and Employee Self Service Software

As can be seen from the above points, Employee Self-Service applications can have serious impact on employee engagement levels. From the tactical advantages that autonomy can bring, to the strategic implications of giving greater responsibility to each employee for his/her career trajectory, employee self-service technology can be an incredibly powerful tool for engagement if utilized effectively. Partner these engagement benefits with the additional Employee Self Service technology successes of considerable costs savings and efficiencies, and it's hard to understand why any organization would not look to leverage self-service applications as a strategic tool. End

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A second generation of Employee Self Service software has emerged relatively recently that has shifted focus from purely efficiency-based solutions to employee empowerment—a move that gives employees more access, control, and responsibility for their own positions, performance, and development.

 

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