Employee self-service provides great benefit to everyone by making it easy for employees to view and update HR-related information anytime from anywhere. They can view timecards, PTO balances, and contact details. They can update direct deposit information and view paystubs. They can see their schedules, claim open shifts, and clock in/out. They can request PTO and schedule changes. This convenient and empowering service is now a must-have for remote working.

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10 Reasons why ESS is a Must-Have for Remote Employees

Before 2020, remote work was the domain of sales people, consultants and others whose work required them to be at job sites such as construction workers and tradesmen.

During 2020, many more workers shifted out of central offices to their homes. It now appears likely that remote work will be a large portion of the workforce for years to come. Given that reality, HR managers and business leaders need to rethink how scheduling, timekeeping and other key HR processes can be modified for effective remote work. Here are many reasons why.

#1: It’s what people expect

Self-service is no new idea. In fact, virtually everyone expects (and desires) a self-service option. We bank online, pay at the pump, make donations, and schedule appointments via text or mobile apps. Self-service lets us avoid unnecessary trips, shortens transactions, and allows action outside of brick and mortar hours of operation.

Employee self-service makes sense, leverages tools already at hand (smartphone), and fits the modern mindset of all access all the time.

#2: Self-service is empowering

Employee self-service gives employees access, information, and timing control. Whenever they choose, they can login to a secure portal to submit requests for time off, volunteer for shifts or update details including:

  • Company directory
  • Performance evaluations
  • Timecards
  • Time off requests

Managers have ultimate oversight and can reject or accept actions in real time. Employees have quicker response times and managers spend less time solving problems.

#3 Self-service saves time and increases efficiency

HR managers and business leaders save significant time by avoiding interruptions and having easy access to data. Think about an interruption for a pay stub request. Looking up and printing out that pay stub may not take more than a few minutes, but those minutes cost more time because of the interruption of focused work. And if a conversation ensues, the interruption can easily more than double. With self-service, there is no need for interruption.

There is an even greater need for self-service when the business has remote workers. Think about how remote workers can otherwise make requests or check information. They could send an email or text to their manager. And wait. All too commonly, they will also end up calling to be sure that the request was received, potentially causing multiple interruptions. With self-service, employees can securely access the information they need any time of day or night, and they can be sure that no requests are ‘lost in the mail’.
Self-service benefit managers as well. They transfer many time-consuming tasks to employees. This helps managers be more efficient with the remaining tasks. When employees handle most HR functions, managers can focus on helping team members succeed.

  • Approve timecards, shift changes, and PTO requests (It costs $15.14 each time a manager verifies the accuracy of an employee timecard)
  • Monitor onsite, mobile, and virtual employees
  • Ensure employees sign important documents
  • Provide flexible schedules without coverage gaps
  • Limit overtime without missing production goals
  • Identify top performing team members and reward accordingly
  • Spend less time doing paperwork and more time helping your employees succeed

#4 Self-service standardizes compliance and minimizes risk of violation

Compliance is one of the great challenges for small businesses. Make it easier by ensuring that you can communicate effectively. With self-service, you have a greater chance that employee contact information is up-to-date. And you can send alerts and notifications more easily. On top of that, you have a record of everything from timecards to PTO requests and communications.

It’s hard enough to keep track of what goes on in the workplace. When employees are remote, you need a standardized system for document distribution, performance management, communication, timekeeping, schedules, and engagement to support regulatory compliance.

A few compliance related benefits of employee self-service are:

  • Accurate employee information
  • Distribute employee notices in a timely manner
  • Track notice distribution in case of a dispute
  • Make employer policies (and the employee handbook) easily accessible
  • Avoid misunderstandings by providing all employer policies in the portal
  • Simplify onboarding
  • Improve scheduling and sick leave notice requirements

#5 Self-service eliminates the middleman

Nobody wants to be the middleman unless there’s something in it for them. Self-service gets HR and business leaders out of transactions like retrieving pay stubs, verifying pay dates, calculating PTO balances, fielding PTO requests, updating employee contact info, updating direct deposit information, and much more.

For HR and business leaders, this saves time and reduces interruptions. For employees it does even more. Employees have access around the clock access, giving them great control and convenience. They have instant access, allowing them to get the information they need in real time. For example, if they need to show their pay stub at the bank, they can access it right there from their phone. Self-service also feels more private and less prying.

For remote workers, eliminating the middleman has huge benefits. With a middleman, there is likely to be an inefficient email, voicemail, or text exchange (or all three) before the transaction is complete. This is annoying and wasteful.

#6 Employee engagement goes up

Employee engagement increases productivity. It increases retention. Giving employees access tot their information and company policies increases their engagement at work. It reduces misunderstandings and clarifies processes and policies, which is invaluable for remote workers. While 92% of C-suite executives say they are satisfied with the technology experience their company provides for making progress on their most important work, only 68% of staff agree. According to a key leadership expert, technology is 30% of the overall employee experience.

#7 Hours worked are accurate and easy to track

With employee self-service, employees can track their own statistics. Hours worked this week, hours worked this period, hours worked forever. It’s all in there, and employees have access. For remote workers, hybrid workers, and multi-site workers this is fantastic—they can instantly see where and when they worked. Employee self-service ties into your time and attendance system, making it easy to review, revise, and approve timecards.

#8 Improved shift change process

Employees can drop and pickup shifts with manager approval. Overtime alerts take the worry out of the equation, giving managers the information they need to make a good business decision. Again, this is particularly helpful with remote workers who do not have the opportunity for hallway conversation. It also provides a better record of shift changes, documenting that all changes where unbiased and fair.

#9 Automated alerts and notifications

It might seem counterintuitive to improve communication with employee self-service. But when employees have tools to solve HR problems, it de-stresses their jobs considerably. Open shift notifications make it easy for employees to volunteer and managers to fill open time slots. Alerts for meals and breaks are a helpful reminder. Alerts that prompt the employee to clock-in before they are late save everyone time in correcting timecards. Manager alerts that flag approaching overtime give them time to make any schedule changes required.

#10 Easy schedule access

Employee scheduling laws require early posting of schedules as well as notices of any changes. Using self-service, you can easily distribute and track schedules and employee requests. It provides a living record of when employees are willing to work or want time off.

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Supporting Remote Workers through Self-service and Beyond

Remote workers are here to stay. They are an integral and essential part of the workforce. Employee self-service is one important way that HR managers and business leaders can keep the overall organization efficient, connected, and engaged. Enabling self-service for all employees including remote workers is part of a larger HR strategy to ensure optimum scheduling, accurate timekeeping, legal compliance, automated benefits enrollment, performance evaluation, communication and process efficiency.

SwipeClock WorkforceHUB is an affordable, intuitive HRMS that can unify your Human Resources functions. If you decide to implement a unified solution, keep in mind that one million employees use SwipeClock products every day. We’ve been helping small to mid-size organizations lower labor costs since 1999.

Began writing at age seven and never stopped. Devoted decades to content strategy, communications and digital media. Dabbler in all things, including cycling, piano, ukulele, and art.
Kari Johnson