What factors to consider before selecting an ESS portal?

What factors to consider before selecting an ESS portal

Any feature that enhances organizational cohesiveness and boosts employee engagement will positively impact a company. Those outcomes are exactly what HR digital transformation software and ESS portal try to achieve. Employee self-service closes the gap between HR and employees, putting everyone within the company on the same page and allowing them to work in a better environment.

In this article, you will learn everything about the ESS portal, its features and challenges this system brings, the relation between the ESS and other aspects of HR management, and how we can help you choose the one that suits your company best.


    1. What is an ESS Portal?
    2. Features of an ESS portal
    3. How to choose an Employee Service Portal?
    4. Benefits of employee self-service
    5. ESS portal and onboarding
    6. ESS portal and employee development
    7. Employee self-service and HR compliance
    8. Employee self-service and document management
    9. ESS portal and engagement
    10. What challenges can you face with employee self-service?
    11. Why should you use an ESS portal?
    12. How can Connect HR help you choose the best ESS portal?



1. What is an ESS portal?


Employee self-service (or ESS) is an aspect commonly included in many Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS). The ESS portal allows workers to access a wide range of HR-related services and information. This not only minimizes confusion but also puts the employees in charge of certain HR tasks. For example, managing time-off, etc.

The employee service portal, generally, allows employers the freedom to manage and/or access the following:


    • Employee personal data, such as contact and banking information.
    • Payroll and benefits information.
    • Time off requests and managing scheduling changes.
    • Employees can use an HRIS/ESS portal to communicate directly with HR.


However, these features can vary from software to software. In addition to this, the approval settings for employees to make updates can change depending on the platform.


2. Features of an ESS portal

Some features of this system are the following:


    • Payroll capabilities, such as logging work time and hours, the ability to change tax withholding and deduction amounts, and online access to pay stubs.
    • The ability to shop and choose benefits programs, and manage open enrollment and other changes.
    • Expense management and business travel management.
    • The ability to make changes to retirement investment plans, such as setting up loans, changing employee contributions, and making withdrawals.



3. How to choose an Employee Service Portal?

ESS allows employees to be in charge of their own attendance management, payroll monitoring, and document updating through a user-friendly interface. There are several ESS portal solutions to choose from, catering to different companies and different industries. Some considerations you must take into account to choose the best for your company are the following:


3.1 Make sure that your employees use the portal

While the opportunity to be self-sufficient may be attractive, some employees can resist introducing a new tool as an extra inconvenience. It is advisable that you conduct an internal survey to understand the needs and wishes of your employees, what they expect from the portal, and how much time they are willing to spend on it.


3.2 Check the features offered

To maximize the benefits of employee self-service, it is necessary that the portal combines as many useful features as possible. Some features include the following:


    • Payroll history
    • Training modules
    • Information change requests
    • Knowledge library
    • Peer-to-peer messaging
    • Leave management


Uploading details like training certificates or new jobs could also motivate employees to seek growth opportunities on their own initiative.


3.3 Confirm that it is easy to install

An ESS portal must be compatible with your office system and hardware. The less you need to spend on setup costs; the more open the IT team will be to working with it. Do your research on the portals available and choose the most cost-effective option for you.


3.4 Ensure that the learning curve is not steep

The ESS employee portal becomes inefficient if the portal itself is difficult to navigate. Ensure that it has a simple interface with clearly labeled features, and make sure that it loads equally well across different internet speeds and different browsers. The portal should also have a mobile app version so that your employees have quick and easy access to the information.


3.5 Instill enthusiasm on team managers

This system can be used to learn more about employee management issues, such as compensation, turnover, and work culture. To make the most of it, human resources should focus separately on promoting manager self-service options and on educating managers about the portal.


3.6 Use it to share company updates

Besides giving control to employees over day-to-day functions, another significant benefit is the ability to share updates and company news instantly. Policy changes can be uploaded to the portal to the employees’ knowledge and the messaging feature can be used to share complaints and queries.  Company schedules of events, holidays, and other important dates can also be updated publicly. This way, employees can confirm their presence through their login IDs.



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4. Benefits of employee self-service

Among all the benefits of this system you can find the following:


    • The main benefit of an ESS employee portal is the ability to unify the work team and create a cohesive organization. This allows employees and HR departments to spend less time performing administrative tasks and more time on important things.
    • An employee self-service will boost your workers’ empowerment and autonomy.
    • It will save time for your employees since they will not be contacting HR for information.
    • If your workers have any doubt about the company’s policy, they can go directly to the source. In the same way, they can schedule time off with just a couple of clicks.



5. ESS portal and onboarding

Onboarding can be a complicated and time-consuming process for both the HR department and the new employee. A disorganized onboarding process will reflect bad management and chaos in the inner workings of the company.

An employee self-service portal can help you get the new employee up and running at your company with a minimum amount of fuss. Once they enter the portal, the new employee can sign his contract digitally and access the company’s documents.


6. ESS portal and employee development


This portal does not only positively impact your company. It also helps individual workers to get better at their job. With the employee portal software, managers can review employee performance, with feedback from colleagues, direct reports, and supervisors. Performance appraisals can celebrate work well done and motivate workers to find areas for positive growth. Management can also set and track goals, and create development strategies to impulse employees to succeed.

This supports employee retention and engagement. It also helps the HR department, by providing access to the employees’ entire performance history. Besides this, HR can leverage performance information (apart from attendance and time off data) that will provide insight into the company’s inner workings.


7. Employee self-service and HR compliance

Tracking working hours can be a tedious process and is definitely no one’s idea of a good time. Many companies decide to invest in time tracking software to ensure accuracy and compliance, boost efficiency, and improve internal communication practices. With an online employee clock, workers can log their own hours and submit them for managerial approval.

HR departments can also have a difficult time managing time-off requests. This is why, time off and employee portal software puts workers in total control of their absence requests, allowing them to submit their time-offs electronically. HR departments can deny or approve, either manually or automatically.

In addition to this, workers can see their remaining time off and the company’s policy regarding vacations, which is updated by the HR department.



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8. Employee self-service and document management

Every company needs to produce a lot of documents for their employees. Historically, all documentation was paper-based and stored in a corner file cabinet under lock and key. However, this type of security did not prevent pages from going missing. As the year passed, the switch to digital made accessing and securing this information more straightforward. However, having digital copies is only half of the job.

Without a centralized point of access for documents related to payslips, time-off, and benefits, along with other policies that every company must produce, confusion can arise among your employees and the HR department. This can lead to a general state of frustration, and things can become even more problematic when there are multiple versions of the same document.

Organizing and storing documents should be the least of the problems for your company. This is why an employee record management service allows the human resources department to share documents with all workers within one portal. The staff can access this site regardless of where they are working. They will always have the information they need just a few clicks away.


9. ESS portal and engagement

When the employees feel connected and integrated within the company’s culture, the workplace morale rises. Employee portal software provides the human resources department with the ideal tool to reinforce the company’s ideals. As a result, workers can share company events, announcements, and success stories. This is important for all employees, especially for the remote team.

Due to the remote nature of the work, these employees can easily become disconnected from the company’s sense of unity. And although the statistics show a high level of satisfaction with their work, we must not neglect the company-employee relationship.

An employee portal that empowers workers can cultivate positive feedback that creates a more positive workplace culture.


10. What challenges can you face with employee self-service?

Every business has its ups and downs, and processes like HR and employee self-service may present some challenges.

The integration of different types of employment self-service channels, such as portal, intranet, retirement accounts, and wellness program apps can be technologically difficult because of differing login procedures and data formats.

Also, educating workers about self-service capabilities and motivating them to use them can be a long process.

In addition to this, going from legacy self-service systems to new ones can involve difficult decisions about vendors. For example, you must decide whether systems from disparate vendors are compatible, or whether to replace a stand-alone self-service system with a specialized module from an ERP, HCM, or benefits software vendor.


11. Why should you use an ESS portal?

Cutting costs, creating a cohesive team, streamlining operations, boosting employee engagement, and much more. Having an employee self-service will solve all your company’s issues, but it can surely relieve a lot of your worries.

There are many reasons why several companies are choosing to enjoy the benefits of an employee self-service portal, such as human capital management, HRMS software, people management software, and more. It is not just the reduced phone calls and emails, having this system can reshape internal communication and directly impact the employee experience.


12. How can Connect HR help you choose the best ESS portal?

On Connect HR, we take care of every process related to human resources, payroll management, and more, simplifying the tasks of the many companies that trust us. Our professionals are highly-skilled to manage and solve any need your company may present.

We work tirelessly to offer you only the best products and services. By choosing our agency, your company will benefit from solutions such as:



If you wish to read more articles like this one and learn more about what HR software can bring to your company, check out our blogs. We offer you the most complete guides to help you understand these systems, their benefits, and more!


It is time for your company to upgrade to a better environment, organization, and inner relationship. We are pleased to hear from you and answer to any inquiries you may be having. Call us at +971 44 316 688 and request information regarding the services your company needs, pricing, and more. Also, you can email us too at [email protected]. Our representatives will assist you immediately. Contact us!

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