How much time do your managers spend updating and managing employee information per day? Is it 15 minutes? Maybe 30 minutes? That time adds up when you aggregate across your store, and it costs even more when you go beyond a single location. Why not enable employees to manage their own information? Employee self-service empowers your organization to do just that.
This solution is not just a one-size-fits-all. The functionality and access afforded to employees is configurable based on what best fits your organization. Most companies allow employees to download an application (app), which offers access to a personalized portal in a convenient and mobile way. Once registered, employees directly access their profile and schedule to make updates and request changes.
Here are a few examples of basic functions included in many employee self-service portals:
- Employees can easily view their schedule from the app once it is published. This eliminates employee calls to the store regarding work hours as well as interruptions to the service desk for copies of employee schedules.
- Employees can request a change in availability. Their request will require approval by a supervisor, but it eliminates paper forms and data entry on the manager’s end.
- Employees can request time off from managers. Employees can view their requests any time; they can also escalate them to another supervisor. System rules are configurable for managers, including auto-accept or auto-deny capabilities.
Some organizations provide advanced functionality to employees. With the right training, monitoring and accountability, self-service gives employees autonomy and managers margin. This freedom helps organizations focus on their vision and mission versus day-to-day survival. Here are some excellent self-service portal options:
- Employees can swap shifts. Employees can identify a shift they would like to swap with another qualified and available employee. The shift is then approved by the manager.
- Self-service offers shift replacements and bids. If an employee cannot work a scheduled shift, she can request to be replaced. Other employees can accept the shift to pick up additional hours. If no one picks up the shift, a supervisor fills the spot with another employee.
- Employees can request additional shifts. Employees can submit a request for additional hours or shifts for given days.
Often, companies struggle with how much access to give hourly employees to their schedules, as well as whether to allow them to use their own devices on the clock. In general, most organizations find it acceptable to permit access to scheduling-related items off the clock that employees would perform on their own time anyway.
For businesses concerned about the obtainability of self-service for employees without smartphones, some companies provide access through a store portal or break area. Other stores utilize mobile devices already in store. All that to say, organizations are finding ways to make self-service accessible to their employees because of the tremendous benefits.
The advanced capabilities are not limited to scheduling functionality for hourly employees. Some companies maximize connectivity for management by enabling other functions like reporting, messaging, sending tasks, executing tasks and more. These capabilities can be powerful tools for leaders:
- Ad hoc reports can be viewed or run. Managers can review key data whenever they want, such as during floor walks with department leads.
- Messaging enhances communication. Where the content does not warrant an email or a task, messaging provides quick communication between managers.
- Tasks can be sent or completed on-the-go. The versatility of self-service makes multitasking a breeze, increasing managerial efficiency and in-store communication.
Here is a good example of the tool’s power. One of my prior clients found when managers were completing store walks, departments fell behind in meeting their goals. The store had a limited number of devices, so during their walks, managers had to share. By enabling tasks through the mobile app, managers used their personal devices instead of searching for available technology. Efficiency improved all-around and even produced an added bonus. Managers realized they more effectively assigned one-off tasks due to self-service at their fingertips.
Overall, self-service is an instrument that will empower your employees while reducing managerial administrative work. Self-service even improves the accuracy of your employee information for scheduling. Try it and see for yourself!