What Is An Employee Self-Service Platform? (With Features)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many larger companies may often benefit from an employee self-service platform (ESS). ESS allows employees to perform various job-related tasks or human resources (HR) related tasks on their own instead of redirecting them to HR personnel or administrators. Understanding ESS and its key features can help you appreciate what these platforms do and how they help both the employer and employees. In this article, we discuss what is an employee self-service platform, its features, integrations with other software and major benefits they bring to organisations.

Related: Human Resources Management System: Features And Benefits

What Is An Employee Self-Service Platform?

To better understand the answer to, "What is an employee self-service platform?", it is effective to review its definition. An ESS allows employees to access corporate data and place requests for IT, HR or facility-related services through a centralised and secure portal. Employees can usually access the ESS through the organisation's intranet or a web portal. These platforms allow employees to perform basic administrative tasks, update necessary information and raise requests seamlessly.

Key Features Of ESS Platforms

ESS platforms carry useful features to simplify tasks for employees. Following are some key features that ESS platforms usually include:

Employee onboarding

An ESS platform combines several important features to help new hires have a seamless onboarding experience. Having an easy and swift induction process ensures employees can get to work quickly, thus saving the organisation time and money. Employee onboarding features allow employees to:

  • View and edit onboarding forms

  • Sign important employment-related documents

  • Read and acknowledge company policies

  • Connect with other new hires

  • Have an online onboarding tour

  • Stream videos and training content for new hires

Related: Employee Information Form For New Employees (Format And Tips)

Employee data and labour relations management

These platforms can help employees manage their personal information in one place and access them whenever needed. ESS can allow employees to manage their relationship with the organisation and take up compliance-related tasks and dealings. This feature allows employees to:

  • Add and update employee personal information

  • Upload and attach various documents related to trainings and qualifications

  • Add their e-signatures

  • Submit suggestions and complaints

  • Get notified about changes to policies, agreements and corporate form updates

  • Take part in employee satisfaction surveys

Time management

With time management features, employees can use the ESS to manage and track time in a better way. It can help employees stay on track and be more productive. Time management features on ESS can help an employee to:

  • Track time spent on tasks and projects

  • Schedule and edit work shifts

  • Automate notifications regarding schedule changes

  • Track manager's approval for a change of schedule

  • Reserve rooms and resources for meetings and conferences

  • Enroll in various training courses

  • Schedule vacations and log other forms of absence

Compensation and benefits

ESS incorporate information related to employee compensation and benefits. This provides employees with more autonomy, transparency and control over their financial information and decisions. Through this feature, an employee can:

  • Update bank account information

  • Access time sheets and various forms

  • Make charitable contributions

  • Manage automatic savings

  • Reimburse travel expenses

  • Manage benefits

Related: Q&A: What Are Compensation And Benefits? (Plus Importance)

Corporate knowledge base

An ESS can offer features to allow employees access useful information when required. The portal stores information related to guidelines, policies, trainings or other valuable information. When an ESS works as a knowledge base, it helps employees to:

  • Access corporate guidelines, handbooks and policies

  • Access corporate training materials

  • Get notifications about events and HR announcements

  • Access blogs and media galleries

  • Follow discussions and forums on trending topics

Related: What Is Self-Awareness? (And How To Become More Self-Aware)


With the advancement in technology, ESS can offer a high level of security for employee information. This helps employees stay assured information security and no misuse. An ESS can offer the following security features:

  • Multi-factor authentication

  • Content retention and deletion

  • Permissions to access and edit data

  • Encryption of employee data

  • Compliance to security standards and regulations

Related: What Are Identity Access Management Tools? (With Examples)

Centralised employee helpdesk

With a centralised employee helpdesk, employees can address their needs at a single place in a professional and timely manner. An ESS can offer employee helpdesk features to help employees:

  • Get resolution for tickets, incidents and requests

  • Ask queries and gain clarity

  • Track statuses on requests and incidents raised

  • Raise complaints or concerns

Related: How to Practise Self-Discipline in the Workplace

Essential Integrations To ESS Platforms

Following are some common and essential integrations with ESS platforms:

1. Human resource information system

A human resource information system (HRIS) integrates with ESS platforms to store, maintain and track changes for system data entered by employees. This can include things like employee personal data, benefits enrolment information, working time, life events and scheduled vacations. An HRIS comprises all functionalities for end-to-end Human Resources Management (HRM) and makes it easier for employees to retrieve their data when needed.

Related: What Is an MIS System? (Definition, Importance and Benefits)

2. Time-tracking software

Time-tracking software with ESS portals helps employees track and record time spent on projects and tasks. This integration can help automatically export schedules, employee hours and monitor employee performance and productivity. Time-tracking software can track attendance, labour analytics, employee absence and establish more transparency and accountability at the workplace. HR personnel can also use the data for metrics analysis.

3. Accounting software

Accounting software integrated with ESS portals help provide payroll related information. ESS platforms combine time-tracking software and accounting software to calculate compensation for employees after taking leaves and other deductions into account. Employees can also claim and reimburse expenses, manage taxes, generate reports, and manage leaves in one place. It can also help extend insurance coverage and automate compliance like PF and TDS.

4. Health monitoring system

When a health monitoring system integrates with an ESS, it helps keep track of important employee health-related information. It ensures the protection of employees from workplace hazards and risks depending upon the type of work and an employee's location. It can keep track of an employee's health status through medical surveillance programs and routine tests for the early detection of adverse health issues.

5. Ticketing software

With ticketing software, employees can raise various requests and report incidents when necessary. Employees can use the ESS to access or track their tickets and requests until they find a proper resolution. Tickets can range from basic requests for security badges, parking passes, computers, uniforms to requests to report complaints and grievances.

Related: What Is Employee Empowerment? (Definition And Benefits)

Benefits Of ESS Platforms

ESS platforms offer a host of benefits to the organisation and its employees. Following are some important benefits of these platforms:

  • Saves time: Having an ESS portal enables employees to look for information they need on their own. This helps HR personnel and managers skip routine, time-consuming work and the time gained can address valuable activities aimed towards business growth.

  • Saves costs: Most HR professionals spend a lot of time answering questions and processing information for employees. Thus, having a smart ESS platform can save workforce-related expenses and moving data to the cloud and going paperless can help an organisation cut a lot of costs.

  • Offers access to transparent and updated information: Having an ESS can give an employee ready access to updated information. It is often accurate and transparent, and employees often feel in control of their information.

  • Reinforces corporate culture: Company intranets, when merged with an ESS, can be a significant source of motivation and engagement for an employee. Intranets when intelligently designed can remind employees of organisational values, foster team spirit, reward performance and boost engagement.

  • Increases data security: Well-designed employee platforms can store employee data in a secure and confidential manner by leveraging advanced technologies. Employee data is much more secure when stored digitally as compared to information stored in physical folders, where they can be subject to damage, theft or misuse.

  • Reduces carbon footprint: A company can save tonnes of paper and thus reduce the carbon footprint and damage to the environment by saving data digitally. By going paperless and reducing dependence on physical folders and files, companies can contribute to reducing deforestation, while cutting costs too.

  • Helps in better compliance: With an ESS, a company ensures that employees meet all compliance requirements. HR managers can collect and keep track of various employee documents for the same and the platform can help record that employees have met compliance requirements.

  • Increases efficiency and tracking: A self-service portal can efficiently help employees access information whenever they want and perform basic tasks on their own, like updating leave and attendance information. The platform can also help managers track and review this information regularly.

  • Increases employee autonomy: With an ESS, employees can retrieve essential information, manage their payroll configuration and benefits on their own. This autonomy and control over information can boost employee morale, save time and increase productivity leading to a positive work culture.

  • Helps in data analytics: A centralised platform is a great place for HR personnel to understand and gain insights about employees. They may assess employee data to track development, gauge performances and start specific trainings wherever necessary.

  • Helps in knowledge sharing: An ESS can be a good place to share new knowledge about the industry and help the workforce stay up-to-date. With an ESS, organisations can share important tasks or data specific to teams or projects to ensure better coordination.

Related: What Is An Employee Management System? (With Benefits)

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