What is Employee Self Service?

December 10, 2020 | 5 Mins David Daly

Employee self-service is a development in HR technology and global payroll software that empowers employees with access to their own payroll and personal data anytime they want it in any location.

Employee self-service tools and applications are often made available to global employees as part of a digital transformation project taking place in each are the human resources department or the global payroll department. These tools can form part of a wider digital project to transform payroll administration software and process is within an organization or they can be adopted as a standalone tool to be made available to employees in order to better manage and control employee system data.

Access is often via an employee self-service portal, or it is embedded within an existing intranet system. When the trend for ESS began back in the early 2000s, the systems were often poorly integrated and required multiple login details. However, nowadays fully operational employee portals are integrated into wider HR and Payroll software systems. 

Employee self-service system benefits

With employee self-service software, employees are empowered to complete administrative tasks regarding their own information, access their personal pay, compensation, benefits, timesheets and annual leave information as and when they need it and conduct interactive tasks relating to their role or their benefits.

Employees have the benefit of feeling empowered by 24/7, anytime, anywhere access to their payroll information on their preferred device -desktop, tablet or mobile devices. All of this plays a role in a positive employee experience which can influence the public brand image of the company. If a company wishes to create a brand or public perception as being digitally native and a technology-oriented organization, then employee self-service applications are the kind of innovative digital tools that can create such a reputation.

Giving employees access to their own data significantly reduces the administrative burden on HR professionals and global payroll professionals when it comes to pay related queries and data. This is particularly true of big businesses. With each employee responsible for their own personal data, human resources teams are free to work on more strategic tasks that further business operations as a whole.

Removing this HR task from the team also leads to increased accuracy in record keeping. First, employees are much less likely to make mistakes in the first place. Second, they are much more likely to spot errors in their own information. So, records are more accurate and more up to date. Employee self-service systems are also a far more secure way than email of enabling access to potentially sensitive employee information such as salary, tax and benefits.

Overall, staff efficiency improves because employees have direct access to the information, they need to complete their job to a high standard. All of this data is in one place, drawn from multiple sources, which employees are free to access autonomously. This saves the company time and improves productivity across the board.

Another benefit for employees is in company culture. Employee engagement improves as staff feel that their employer is communicative and flexible. With company news and training issued through the ESS system, employees feel more connected to the business as a whole. They, therefore, feel more motivated to perform. This culture shift is noticeable from the moment a new hire is brought on board. With a quick and effective ESS onboarding process, new hires feel more welcome and better equipped to succeed in their new role.

Administrative tasks

A major component in any ESS system is providing employees with access to their personal information which they can then update and edit as required. This includes their phone number and other contact information, their emergency contact information and their payroll information. Employees can update the system with changes in the event of a marriage, house move or switching banks without needing to go through the lengthy process of contacting HR with the details and placing the burden of additional administrative tasks on the human resources department.

ESS portals also allow employees to log their own work hours, make amendments to their tax details and track holidays. They will have a real-time view on how much leave they have accrued, how much remains and what time periods it needs to be used in. 

Employee self-service also puts the responsibility of logging expenses and business travel data into the system with employee. Most employees will tell you that they are quite happy to take on this responsibility as they feel more in control of the process and would prefer to list things like travel expenses themselves. Many of the more innovative portals come equipped with applications for mobile apps or tablet access so employees can access their data outside of office hours, in any location in the world on their preferred mobile device.

HR and global payroll information

Employee portals provide a hub where global employees can find all the information they need, and also feel engaged with the company. This includes access to pay stubs and other information regarding their tax, pension deductions, personal benefits and year-end tax information. Having simple and direct access to information like this can prove advantageous for employees in their personal lives – for example, mortgage applications or car loan applications often require financial information like payslips. Being in control of access to this information is something that employees everywhere want and enjoy.

Employees can also find company policies and procedures such as the employee handbook, code of conduct and annual leave approval process. Company news and employee updates can also be shared on this platform, reducing the need for regular and distracting internal communications.  


Selecting company benefits, opting into a pension, considering company health care facilities and tax saving initiatives like company shares all form part of the on-boarding process for any new employee. In the past, this often had to take place face to face and the burden of delivery fell to an already under pressure HR team.

With an employee self-service portal, employees get to access the full range of information they need to make a decision along with the time and space they need to fully comprehend the information. They are empowered to make choices and the functionality also allows them to amend these choices online, in a self-select capacity within the parameters of company policy.

Employees can self-calculate their benefits annually and self-select the most appropriate benefits based on their upcoming life goals, for example, their wedding or saving for kids’ university fees. Often, this will include access to and the ability to amend retirement plans or investment plans. Some systems even provide finance training and predictive savings calculators so that the employee can make smart and informed decisions on their own time.

Other benefits

A self-service portal allows future and current employees to search and apply for jobs within the organization, check the status of their job application and register for job alerts. This is good for employee empowerment and engagement- it also helps with employee retention as staff can move around or gain promotion within the company. HR departments can save money and time on the external hire process. 

Going paperless is a much more attainable goal with an ESS system, an ambition that is crucial in the battle against the climate crisis. Compliance auditing does not present a challenge as working hours, wages and employee data are more accurate and more up to date thanks to employee direct access.

The support of values such as communication and flexibility that adopting an ESS portal demonstrates improves employee engagement. Employees who are engaged work harder and more efficiently. Productivity improves and talent retention increases.

Many HR team state that, supporting a global workforce is their companies’ largest challenge. ESS systems are becoming instrumental in the rollout of businesses to new international markets. On-boarding remote employees and keeping them up to speed with company information is more manageable with ESS software.

Payslip ESS

Reporting screen single mobile phoneThe Payslip platform features an Employee Self-Service portal- an innovative tool for easy employee access to their personal payroll data anytime they want to, anywhere in the world. The portal can be accessed 24/7 via desktop and tablet. It is designed to ensure employees have the same level of access and control over their personal and pay related data, regardless of where they are located.

It empowers employees with anytime, anywhere access to their own personal and pay related data: from in-country statutory payslips to year- end tax data.

Available features include:

Electronic Payslip

View and download current and electronic past payslips

Salary Data

View compensation and benefits information along with personal information, salary progression and history.

Document Manager

Upload, access and store documents such as employee contract and identification documents.

 For more information on the ESS available on the Payslip Platform contact us today!


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