Technology is transforming lives. In this pandemic, when going digital is the go-to solution and remote working is taking over the professional scenario, technology is coming to the rescue. Not just that, technology also ensures that we can work smarter and better. It helps us reduce our time spent on monotonous tasks so that we can be more productive. One such technology is the introduction of ESS, Employee Self Service, or an HR Self Service Portal.

Imagine having web-based tools at your disposal. These are investments by the organization that can automate HR information services and helps HR focus resources on more important tasks at hand. Employee Self Service or ESS is one smart step towards that. 

In this blog, we will talk all about ESS or Employee Self Service, what is HR’s role in leveraging it, what are the tasks it can tackle smartly, and much more. Let’s start this smart ride towards an agile and futuristic HR.

What is ESS (Employee Self Service)?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term? 

In layman’s terms, Employee Self Service is an automated system that cuts down the manual, one-route procedures and tasks that the HR department has to manage. An ESS or Employee Self Service is a form of a toolkit that brings all these types of HR procedures in one gateway. It enables the employees to access all the HR and corporate communications under one roof (portal/app) at their own convenience. This refers to employee’s personal data and the updates thereof, benefits, performance management, and more.

ESS or Employee Self Service portal is extremely beneficial for both the employee and HR.

What are the Features of a Good ESS portal?

Employee self service

Following are some of the features that a good Employee Self Service Portal should be able to streamline.

Time and Attendance

Recording time and attendance is no longer just a way of tracking employee productivity and information. It is also connected to calculating employee working hours, paid time off, wages, etc. It is also important to know these details so as to leverage the labor cost reporting. Time and attendance records are necessary because these are directly linked to the payroll process. The employees, depending on their agreement with the organization, need to verify their time and attendance details for their payroll to be processed. If there is any discrepancy, the employee has to correct it. 

The ESS portal makes it very easy by automating the entire process. The employees are required to punch in and punch out their timings. Thus, their working hours are automatically recorded and reminders are sent in case of any delays. Further, the ESS portal also makes it possible to record work hours and attendance in the case of remote working. This negates the need for manually recording and chasing each and every employee for attendance.

Benefits Enrolment

Employment and hiring come with an array of benefits for the employees. Through the ESS portal, they can now pick and choose from a list of options and create their own benefits package. Not only this, the Employee Self Service portal allows them to make lifetime changes, such as adjusting retirement plans, setting up loans, making PF withdrawals, etc. 

In the absence of a streamlined Employee Self Service program, cafeteria-style benefits programs become quite cumbersome. 

Online Documentation

Another feature and advantage of the Employee Self Service portal is that it streamlines all the employee documentation under their respective IDs. Users, in this case, the employees, can access all their documents under their ID and organize and download them at their own convenience. This does away with the need for physically storing employee data, which occupies unnecessary space and also stands the risk of being lost or destroyed. Agreed, digital data and storage come with their own set of risks too, but it is still safer. 

The ESS portal is your one-time storage for every employee and can be updated with just a few clicks.

Employee Training

Do you know around 75% of the HR managers complain that they cannot recruit the right people for the job because there is a huge skill gap in the candidate profiles?

One way to solve this problem is by investing in employee training. This is a huge task. Automating it by way of the Employee Self Service portal will not only reduce the burden on the HR managers but also enable the employees. There is a huge demand for e-Learning systems and Learning Management Solutions that can be integrated with the organization’s intranet and provide sufficient training and development. Such courses in the Employee Self Service should allow group studies, modules for training, certification, etc.

Employee Development Plans can be included in the learning solutions in the form of modules and courses that both the new hires and the existing ones can take up in their own time. Automating the learning system will not only make the lives of HR easier but also improve the productivity and knowledge of the employees.

Alerts and Notifications

This is one of the most basic features to expect from an ESS portal. An Employee Self Service portal should have all the necessary information with respect to each and every employee. This means that it should also have dates with respect to their joining, birthdays, etc. It should send out push notifications regarding such dates. Further, it should also send reminders and alerts in the case of any discrepancy in time and attendance or even shift change. The ESS portal should also have a clear record of the leave policy and should issue reminders and alerts regarding the same. 


Last but not the least, a good Employee Self Service system should give the employees the facility to retrieve their payslips in the required format. They should also be able to fill in their investment details and calculate their tax liabilities, accordingly. This feature of the ESS portal completely does away with the need to physically payslips. 

A good Employee Self Service portal should be able to streamline all of the above, and more, if possible. For instance, the AttendanceBot ESS portal gives you the facility of not just tracking time and attendance but also scheduling employee shifts and absence management. You can have just one tool to manage the entire workforce, thus making your life easier. It also has a feature wherein you can search basic employee information by their names and ids. The basic information includes email IDs, the size of the t-shirt that they wear, etc.

What are the Benefits of an Employee Self Service Portal?

A good ESS or HR Self Service Portal with all the features has the following benefits.

Saves Time

One of the biggest advantages that an Employee Self Help portal or ESS portal has to offer is that it saves a lot of time and hassle, both for HR and the employee. Most of the regular tasks of, streamlining communication and documentation, are draining. An ESS portal automates and regulates them, thus driving away from the need to manually tackle and trace every single aspect. This saves a lot of time and also gives the HR department the necessary breather to invest in activities that actually matter, such as grievance redressal, creating better and more employee-friendly policies, etc. They can also focus on talent acquisition and forming better business alliances, which all work in the favor of the organization by growing business and improving employee productivity.

The Employee Self Service portal also saves employees time by regulating their schedules and reminding them in the case of any irregularities. It also gives them all their details and documents on one platform that they can access anytime, without having to reach out to the HR department every now and then.

Improves Employee Satisfaction

The ESS portal gives direct access to the information to the employees, thus giving them more control over their important details. This establishes a transparent relationship between the employee and the organization. It fosters loyalty, thereby reducing employee attrition and increasing employee retention. Satisfied employees are also the most productive employees. Further, in case of any personal requirement for documentation, the employees know that they do not have to run pillar to post for their documents and that everything is accessible via the Employee Self Service portal

Increases Data Accuracy

Employee self service

Manual recording of data is prone to errors. Such things are done away with an Employee Self Service portal as the entire process is automated. Only the first set of information needs to be punched in, the rest of it is either automatic or requires minor changes.

Given most of the data is fed by the employees themselves, it also reduces the chances of any errors.

Improves Compliance Reporting

Every department within the organization needs a certain set of documents and information. One common ESS portal ensures that everyone gets the same information and they can extract the data that they need for internal reports and other compliance reporting within the organization. This removes internal bottlenecks and speeds up the procedures, thus helping the organization be up to date when it comes to legislative procedures.

Streamlines Communication

Another benefit that a good ESS portal has to offer is that it streamlines communication effectively. The HR department has to tackle individual attendance, payroll, and leaves at the same time ensuring accuracy when it comes to recording the information. Manually recording it may have errors. On the other hand, having an ESS portal in place does away with the task of recording each and every request and entry. 

For instance, if an employee needs to raise a leave request, all that an employee has to do is talk to the direct supervisor or manager and raise a request in the portal and the manager has to approve it. The portal would also alert the employee with respect to the number of leaves left. This streamlines communications. An Employee Self Service system ensures that there is transparency when it comes to the procedures, involving managers, employees, and HR.

Manages Expenses

An ESS portal also offers the features to let the employees submit reimbursement or advance requests, and creates a record of the same. This helps the HR department in adjusting the same in the payroll. It also generates receipts for employee usage, which they can submit when their pay for the period is due. The whole process manages the expenses and does away with any error when it comes to the finances.

What Challenges Does the ESS Portal Pose?

The Employee Self Service portal does come with its own set of challenges. But they can be tackled.

  • It is a one-time investment as it is tailor-made to suit your company
  • HR needs to train employees to avoid any kinds of mistakes while using the software
  • It requires heavy online security, given the confidential nature of the information
  • You need to invest time to find out that one portal that will suit all the needs of your business. You can customize it to add more tools. 

These challenges are mostly temporary and only appear once a company is transitioning from a manual HR system to an automated one via an Employee Self Service portal. 

Products like AttendanceBot make this process simple by doing away with the limitations of traditional ESS. For starters, it is not expensive to set up and it does not require extensive employee training. Plus, the software provider manages the data security protocols.

Do you Need an Employee Self Service Portal?

An ESS portal of HR Self Service portal is important in today’s tech-driven world. It is a myth that having an automated HR system in place will do away with the HR itself. It elevates their status and helps them concentrate on things like business growth and better talent acquisition. Having a good Employee Self Service portal in place ensures that you can be agile in your job. Let the portal take the burden of monotonous tasks while you flourish in improving yours.

Does your organization have an ESS portal in place?