Human Resources Kit For Dummies, 3rd Edition
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Human Resources Information Systems (HRISs) designed with an employee self-service interface give workers more ownership of their data by providing ready access to information such as their profiles, benefits, and payroll records. For instance, employees can see how many sick days and vacation days they’ve accrued, check on health insurance issues such as deductibles and co-pays, and review personal and dependent information.

Employee self-service software typically isn’t a separate system on its own but rather a feature or function of some of the systems designed specifically for other tasks.

Employee input is another option. Certain programs allow employees to enter their own hours into a system for approval by management, as well as provide a simplified way to submit vacation requests.

Perhaps even more valuable, employees can participate in open program enrollment and review benefits enrollment summaries, plan comparisons, documentation, and employer contributions to benefits. Employees also can make changes themselves to W-4 information, adjust direct deposit information, and handle various other tasks.

These features not only make employees feel more in control but also serve as an invaluable timesaver for HR. Instead of bombarding HR with phone calls and e-mails — many of which request the most elementary of information and guidance — employees can review the very same material by themselves and on their own time. That allows you to redirect energy to other responsibilities.

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Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, the world's largest specialized staffing firm. He is one of the leading experts on human resources and employment issues.

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