The upcoming holiday period can be an administrative nightmare for an HR department. The phone doesn’t stop ringing with staff asking questions about how many days holiday they have left to take, what the office hours will be over Christmas, if there will be any salary changes in the new year, and what date they will be paid on in December. At the same time the email inbox is filling up with requests from various managers about reports for absenteeism, holiday entitlement, ethnicity, training, health and safety, talent management or recruitment.

To remove your holiday headaches before they even start here’s a simplified guide to choosing and setting up self-service HR as well as some key benefits it will give your organisation.

Start with calculating how much time you spend on simple administrative tasks. By using a return on investment calculator you can then easily see exactly how much time you will save when you implement a self-service system. In many instances HR managers can save up to a week of their time each month. Let the figures talk for themselves when you create your case.

The next step is to decide which functionality you want to roll out to your employees. It can include simple tasks such as requesting holiday days, viewing payslips online, looking at training plans, or upload their CPD activities. You might also want to give managers access to authorise holidays, timesheets, absence, or even manage departmental development plans, appraisals, and other reports that they need to run on a regular basis.

Once you have your requirements and criteria set out it’s time to research and select the right system. Apart from attending industry events organised by reputable associations such as the CIPD, reading research and reports from authoritative organisations, and reviewing websites from suitable vendors, you should also speak to industry peers and get their recommendations as well as help with identifying potential pitfalls. Selecting the best system then comes down to asking the right questions during demonstrations, being thorough when reviewing functionality, and checking references.

After signing on the dotted line the real work begins. The implementation doesn’t have to be difficult but you need to approach it with the understanding that to be successful you will need to design an accompanying communication and training plan, work closely with IT to ensure everything fits, and manage the project into the smallest detail. Don’t leave everything to the vendor, it’s important to be involved yourself!

If you are involved during the entire implementation it will be easier to see real business benefits from the start:

1. Data improvements – everyone can access real time information, instant and accurate, and  staff can access and edit their personal details at the click of a button

2. Reduced paperwork – improved and streamlined processes, no more lost pieces of paper!

3. Compliance becomes easier – activities can be audited, processes are outlined and adhered to

4. Employee engagement is boosted – staff feels more in charge of personal information, creating a sense of loyalty and ownership, helping to motivate everyone

5. Greater return on investment – HR team members are freed up from performing basic tasks and can turn their attention on more value adding activities, this builds the profile of the HR department within the business which in turn can lead to a more productive and profitable business

Giving your employees access to what they need and focus on helping them stay motivated and enthusiastic can help you avoid feeling stressed about the end of the year holiday period. At the same time, you will contribute to building a great company to work for.

To read more about how to create your requirements and set up a self-service system in more detail download the Cascade HR ‘Guide to rolling out HR Self Service’ white paper.