| By Micah Fairchild
Manager Self Service a Symbiotic Extension to Employee Self Service
Employee Self-Service (ESS) applications have been well established as organizationally beneficial for quite some time; enabling (and empowering) employees to perform a host of administrative HR actions. Following on the success of ESS, Manager Self-Service (MSS) applications can provide similar benefits and take organizational self-service to a new level both operationally and strategically. In fact, research conducted by Aberdeen cited that one of the key markers for organizational "Best-in-Class" performance is the use of Management Self Service software portals "to enable better decisions related to workforce deployment and leave management".
In some cases, the organizational impetus behind Management Self Service software rollouts could be as simple as just stepping up the value chain from Employee Self Service. In others, Human resource headcount reduction could be the driving force. Regardless of reason, however, what is clear is that the organizations are seeing Manager Self Service as an integral part of their overall HR strategy—and they're responding en masse. In fact, based on data from CedarCrestone's HR Systems Survey, Manager Self Service usage (in companies surveyed) is expected to see an uptick from 52% to fully 84% by the end of 2012. Further, Aberdeen analyst Tracey Jones even went so far as to cite that Management Self Service "will be ubiquitous" for $1B+ revenue companies.
Manager Self Service Defined
In its broadest form, Manager Self-Service is the use of Internet software to automate those administrative tasks that either require approval or support a manager's position from an HR standpoint. Promotions, job requisitions, employee leave work-ups, and compensation changes, are all examples of the types of tasks that are seen as being best performed by the managers themselves, rather than HR. Changes can be made 24/7 asynchronously which enables those changes to happen faster, and often, exactly when needed.
According to Mercer partner Karen Piercy, once added, Management Self Service usage tends to fall into one of three levels and progressively graduates up depending on organizational need.
Level 1: Allows for managers to simply view employee data and run ad hoc reports outside of the normal HR channels.
Level 2: Allows for managers to conduct administrative (largely transactional) activities such as employee transfers, terminations or pay raises.
Level 3: Allows for managers to conduct strategic talent management activities like recruiting, onboarding, performance management assessments, and succession planning.
As a general rule, most organizations start the self-service process by implementing Employee Self Service software system and gradually increasing MSS capabilities at later dates (often as entirely separate phases). According to research by Gartner, three significant reasons exist as to why organizations tend to start slower with Manager Self Service implementations.
- To put necessary software or systems infrastructure in place first through Employee Self Service
- To effectively manage change by not rolling out too much too fast
- To allow for ample prep time given the increased complexity of Manager Self Service (especially in the way of approval workflows)
Common Self Service Issues
A common misconception that revolves around deploying Management Self Service is that managerial conflict and indifference tend to stall the process. "It is quite the opposite," says Mercer's Michael Martin. "A lot of managers are eager to get their hands on [these] tools". Even so, Manager Self Service software applications may increase the administrative burden for managers, and as such caution should be exercised before heaping a mound of HR procedures onto them. Worst-case scenario, the manager will simply delegate the new process out, and defeat the entire purpose of the MSS deployment. It's best then to focus on staged, pragmatic, and directly-applicable functionality. After all, managers will likely be determining what Management Self Service software and process features are needed. Further, because of approval workflows, many Employee Self Service processes need Manager Self Service in order to function properly. As such, Employee Self Service utilities on their own may not be able to be deployed, cost savings might not be realized, and data integrity could suffer.
Management Self Service Wrap-up
Thomas Otter and James Holincheck (both of Gartner) point out that a growing force of niche vendors and mobile scenarios is likely to "accelerate MSS adoption" by companies within the near future. With custom-made cloud solutions, widget-based applications, and increasing investment in "usability" for both Manager Self Service and Employee Self Service solutions, a new age appears to be upon us for MSS. By allowing managers to have data at their fingertips, better business decisions can be made; however, a functional (and compelling) end-user experience is needed for success. There are no hard and fast rules to what that user experience should look like (as that decision will rest on organizational needs and culture), but the best approach is to view Manager Self Service as just a part of a broad-based service delivery model—understanding that MSS is a necessary and integral piece of the overall organizational puzzle.
Categories: Manager Self Service
Tags: Manager Self Service
Author: Micah Fairchild