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Dave Foxall 4 Key Metrics for Manager Self-Service Software Success

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 By Dave Foxall

Ensuring the Realization of Manager Self Service Software Benefits

The Shared Services Institute survey, HR Service Delivery Practices, concluded that, "Manager self‐service (MSS) [software] got a later start than Employee Self-Service, and the pace of adoption has been slower. Nevertheless, it has reached an apparent tipping point at which the majority of companies now offer MSS [applications;] in many cases positioning it as the primary service channel". Then, late last year, the annual Towers Watson HR Service Delivery and Technology research report confirmed that 94% of respondents either had Manager Self Service software in place or would have this functionality by the end of next year. Given these statistics, and the fact that Manager Self-Service technology is increasingly being seen as a core channel for HR transactions (and therefore the subject of significant investment), it is crucial that organizations keep tabs on the MSS software benefits that they are accruing in a number of key areas.

MSS Software Success Measure #1: Cost reduction

An Oracle white paper optimistically suggests that, "HR service delivery costs drop to near zero when employees submit their own HR transactions". Although the return on investment may not be that good, nevertheless self-service transactions (especially in the context of managers) can greatly reduce business operating costs in a number of ways. For instance:

  • Compared to manual processes, managers find necessary employee data more quickly.
  • By conducting transactions directly with the system, managers interact with HR staff less on administrative issues. And logically, if the system is intuitive, and if the manager has been properly trained, less people involved = less time taken.
  • Pre-set flags and alerts prompt action, enabling timely decisions in real-time.
  • With integration across different business intelligence systems, reports and analytics are more easily accessed, enabling more timely and better quality management decisions.

MSS Software Success Measure #2: Improved business performance

The Aberdeen Group's reports and surveys classify organizations as Best-in-Class, Average or Laggard, largely depending on business performance. When these performance ratings were juxtaposed against the utilization of Manager Self-Service applications (in the Case for HR Shared Services report) the business impact findings were staggering. Specifically as Aberdeen cited, "Self-service portals have proven instrumental in freeing up HR staff and enabling them to be a true strategic entity to the business. In fact, organizations that utilize self-service systems are nearly 50% more likely to achieve Best-in-Class status."

MSS Software Success Measure #3: Impact on workloads

One criticism of Manager Self Service technology is that it can, when utilized ineffectively, pass on HR tasks to managers in a way that increases their workload, sometimes leading to inappropriate delegation. Furthermore, poorly designed implementations can result in seeing HR personnel take this regained time and reinvest in other administrative tasks or worse; spend the time coaching and encouraging reluctant managers in MSS software use—a truth that is easily one of the worst Manager Self Service application mistakes that a company is capable of. In the end, positive workload impact is not realized and the self-service software initiative fails to translate into increased HR capacity for strategic business partnering. When completed correctly though, Towers Watson research found that "three-quarters (72%) of organizations report less work for HR generalists, and two-thirds report less work for the HR service center — with six in 10 (61%) reporting less work or no change in managers' workload."

MSS Software Success Measure #4: Better performance management

Quicker access to more up to date employee information coupled with agile team reporting functionalities has the potential to enable supervisors and managers to make timely and evidence-based management decisions concerning employee job performance. For example, real-time workforce management application data that combines labor standards with time and attendance data can prompt coaching, incentives and feedback. Likewise, talent management software suites with integrated compensation management options can ensure immediate appreciation of high-performers. As one provider, Unicorn HRO, states in an article on MSS automation benefits: "Manager self-service allows your managers to develop training plans and department strategies that will maximize efficiency and productivity ... Manager self-service simply makes it easier for each of your supervisors to lead their team."

Potential Sources of MSS Application Measurement Data

Of course, finding this Manager Self Service application data for the aforementioned areas isn't always easy; and as such, organizations should consider the following possible data options for quantifying these improvements:

  • Choose particular transactions to track. Choice may be determined by volume, importance to the business or simply the fact that pre-MSS software implementation data exists.
  • Compare time spent on the chosen transactions before and after Manager Self Service software implementation. Break the data down into management and HR time.
  • Measure any change in HR case management volumes (or, if possible, quality of outcomes) and establish correlations with reduction in administrative workload.
  • Determine the total cost per transaction, including the time and labor for all involved in pre- and post-implementation processes.
  • Compare error rates in Manager Self Service application transactions with previous processes.
  • Quantify as closely as possible the savings involved in online information and processes compared to previous manual systems.
  • Longer term, compare staffing headcounts in HR and cross-reference with savings in workload and workflow.

Manager Self Service Success – the Bottom Line

Towers Watson's regular HR Service Delivery report concluded, "Self-service remains a critical pillar of HR service delivery, and continues to grow in use and sophistication." This growth seems to have been matched by a strong realization of business benefits; and as the firm's report noted, "Across all countries and regions, more than three quarters (81%) of survey respondents said initiatives undertaken in the last 18 months to implement and leverage self-service had met or exceeded expectations, with more than half (55%) exceeding expectations." As the sophistication of these Manager Self-Service software tools increases so too does the focus on measuring tangible benefits—a fact that could well intensify as organizations seek to confirm their MSS application solution's return on investment (ROI) and justify the further development of MSS functionality to both its managers and HR personnel. End

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Poorly designed implementations can result in seeing HR personnel take new found time and reinvest it in other administrative tasks or worse; spend the time coaching and encouraging reluctant managers in Manager Self Service software use.

 

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