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How to get your employees to adopt to self-service HR system

By 22/03/2018November 16th, 2022HR Software, Human Resources, Technology

Self-service HR was once the preserve of big companies with big budgets. But today – thanks to the Cloud – costs for these self-service HR systems have come down and are affordable for businesses of all sizes.

The benefits of adopting Employee Self Service (ESS) and Manager Self Service (MSS) are huge. They speed up processes, cut down on paperwork, reduce administration, allow for instant checks on holiday availability and much more. In short, they save you time and money and take a lot of pressure off your HR department.

So, it’s no surprise that many firms – big and small – are adopting ESS and MSS.

However, having the technology in place doesn’t guarantee people will actually use it. In fact, ESS/MSS adoption is often much lower than expected.

There’s a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • Employees and managers may be unwilling to switch to a new system, after years of doing things a certain way
  • The less digitally-savvy amongst your workforce may find self-service tricky and intimidating to use
  • Training and support is sometimes inadequate, leaving people struggling to use the new system and unsure how to get help
  • People often find it difficult to transition from human contact to a largely digital system

So, how do you overcome inertia and encourage your whole workforce to make use of employee self-service software?

Here are three simple but effective steps you can take to improve ESS/MSS uptake and get the most from your investment:


Step 1 – Make it easy

As with any new technology today, simple user experience is vital. Make it easy to use and people will like it, use it – and share their opinion with others. Make it difficult to use and people will hate it, not use it – and again, share their opinion with others.

So, much time and effort needs to be put into finding an employee self-service system that’s easy to use – not just by the tech-savvy few, but by everyone. This will probably mean a fair bit of initial investigation, but that effort will be repaid through increased uptake.

Being usable from any device also makes things easier. Systems that are mobile friendly can be ideal, as employees can use the system wherever they are with just a few simple taps on their smartphone.  

Step 2 – Manage change properly

Some people love change, others hate it – most are somewhere in the middle. But you need to recognise that there will be resistance and apathy within your organisation and plan accordingly.

Start by educating the whole workforce on the benefits that self-service will bring – how it will save them time and hassle and generally make their lives easier. For example, being able to instantly check when you can and can’t book holidays is a simple benefit that everyone can understand.

Also, utilise those within your workforce who are always happy to give new solutions a go. Their help can be invaluable in championing this change, so encourage them to shout about the benefits and help others.

Step 3 – Provide proper training and support

This may sound obvious, but providing training for your new system is essential. It will ensure people are comfortable before they start and gives everyone a chance to ask questions and understand how to use it. But don’t be tempted to squeeze training into lunchtimes and breaks – that will just lead to bad feeling.

Having dedicated training sessions within normal working time may affect productivity initially, but that will be more than repaid in terms of increased ESS/MSS uptake. You could also consider providing online and video training guides that people can refer to at any time, and in-system tutorials that guide people through a specific task as they do it.  

But training is not enough – you have to provide ongoing support to help the system bed in and ensure your whole workforce is confident in using it. Try setting up a dedicated helpdesk that people can contact if they have specific problems with the new system. Providing a human point of contact can make the system appear less faceless and help people feel more comfortable about moving to an employee self-service system.


The benefits of self-service are obvious – it’s one of the best investments any company can make. By introducing self-service HR you have started a journey within your company – one that could be frustrating and difficult at times, but which will ultimately provide a better working environment for everyone.