Navigating Benefits

Employee Self-Service Portal Implementation

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Posted by June 9, 2017

Wouldn’t it be great if your employees could manage their own benefits and perks — things like health insurance and discounted movie tickets — with an employee self-service portal? Not only would it make HR’s job easier, but it makes the employees’ lives easier as well.

Setting Up Your Employee Self-Service Portal

You’ll need to work with your IT department or hire a consultant to set up the intranet part of your portal. This is a web page that only people within your company can reach. That way, random people aren’t signing up for perks your company pays for.

Your health insurance plan probably has a web page that allows people to manage their own health benefits, select doctors and apply for health savings account reimbursements. Make sure that page is connected to your intranet page.

Other perks, like discounts on dry cleaning, employee assistance programs and restaurant coupons, can also be managed through this site. The vendors that provide these perks can help your IT department get all these things linked together, so employees can quickly log on to the company’s intranet site and manage it themselves.

Training is Key

You’d think the technical side of things would be the hard part, but that’s not always the case. If your employees are used to managing things on their own, a simple email announcing the self-service portal should take care of it. However, most companies have at least a few people who prefer the old way of doing things.

If the old way means that HR spends half its time and resources handling things that people can now do on their own, you need to put a polite end to it. Educate your employees that while it may be time-consuming to learn the system at first, it will save them time in the long run. You should teach employees to manage on their own by refusing to do it for them.

Reel in the Holdouts

So, when Jane comes in and says, “I need movie tickets for this weekend,” don’t just log on to the system and print them for her. Instead, say, “I’d love to help you with that! Let me show you how.” If it’s at all feasible, accompany Jane back to her office to demonstrate that she can do this on her own computer. If not, log out of the system yourself so Jane can log on. Have her sit at your computer.

Don’t type or click anything yourself, as that will only encourage Jane to come back to you again with another request. Instead, tell her how to do it. It’s critical that you remain cheerful during this whole process. Never give in and do it for her. That defeats the purpose of a self-service program.

By doing this with every holdout, you’ll eventually wean them off the HR department and onto the self-service portal.

Formal Training is an Option

Ideally, an intranet portal should require no training. It should be intuitive to operate. After all, most of your employees probably spend a good amount of time on a computer and have no problem using a large variety of websites.

But if you want to offer formal training, you can do so. Keep it short (under 30 minutes), informative and entertaining. Understand that people inclined towards self-service won’t need the training, and people who hate self-service won’t want the training, so prepare yourself for a low turnout.

However, if you include training as part of your onboarding process, you can also direct holdouts to take the class with the next group of new hires. It solves the problem without driving everyone else crazy with yet another mandatory class.

An employee self-service portal can make your business a more people-friendly place to work and free up HR to do work that helps the company grow. It’s a winning idea for everyone.

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