Time management

The Benefits of Employee Self-Service Portals for Small Businesses

In this blog post, we explain what employee self-service portals are, and what are the benefits for small businesses. Learn more!

Just in case you missed a memo, an employee self-service portal is a convenient and centralized web-based platform that lets employees access and manage their personal information, HR-related tasks, and work-related resources. In other words, it allows employees to perform a range of administrative tasks without having to rely on and remind HR all the time.

While many companies nowadays understand that a self-service portal is an essential element for success and growth, for small businesses trying to stretch a dollar, employee self-service portals (ESS) are often seen as a nice extra—if and when they can be budgeted for.

What some small businesses haven’t fully internalized yet, however, is that an employee self-service portal can actually help their organizations tremendously in the long run—cost savings being among the many benefits.

Features typically included in employee self-service portals

While features can vary widely from portal to portal, these are some of the most common features offered:

  • Personal data. Employees can easily update their personal data, including contact information, mailing address and bank account information, without submitting paperwork to HR. Of course, HR approval may be required to finalize some of these submissions.


  • Benefits enrollment. Employees can view their salary and benefits information, and make changes to their benefits selections—like health insurance, retirement plans, and time off accrual, to name a few.


  • Time-off requests. Employees can request PTO, check the status of their requests, view their leave balances, their attendance records, and, in some cases, track their working hours with an integrated time-clock.


  • Payroll. Employees can access their pay stubs, tax withholding details and there pertinent financials—as needed and without delay, without having to make any special requests.


  • Training and development: Employees can explore training and development opportunities offered by the company, enroll in courses or workshops as desired, and track their professional development.


  • Performance management: Employees can access their performance evaluations, set goals, and participate in performance-related discussions. They can also give and get feedback on their own performance as well as the performance of others.


  • Employee onboarding. Many ESS programs allow new hires to submit required documents and access onboarding documents to boot. HR departments can then easily see who has viewed and completed which forms, and update their records accordingly.

How employee self-service portals streamline HR operations

In addition to the features listed above, here are just a few of the ways in which ESS reduces bottlenecks and streamlines HR tasks:

  • Reduced administrative work. When employees can access and enter their own information and requests, it takes some of the burden off HR departments. HR staff often get bogged down in navigating scheduling issues, manually submitting time-off requests, and fielding questions about benefit selections. ESS streamlines these processes by allowing staff to access all pertinent information in one centralized location—and it reduces the likelihood of data entry errors too.


  • 24/7 access. The online self-service portal never closes, which means employees can access the information they need at any time that is convenient to them. They don’t have to wait until business hours to get an answer.


  • Optimized support. Self-service portals can deliver help and information in a way that best serves the person seeking support. The portal’s content might comprise videos, articles, guidebooks, and interactive options.

How self-service portals can improve employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction has been proven to drive overall business growth. Here’s how employee self-service portals drive employee satisfaction:

  • Greater control. With an employee self-service portal at their fingertips, your employees have direct access to and more control over their information, which they can quickly update themselves and go about their day, saving them valuable time and energy, and letting them focus on their work responsibilities. 


  • Engagement. Since ESS can be used for performance appraisals, employees can view those too—a known motivational boost for improved performance! And, in the case of ESS portals that post information about training opportunities, employees can quickly capitalize as openings arise, allowing them to gain more autonomy over their careers and their desired trajectory. Overall, these effects boost employee morale and engagement. More engaged employees are more productive and more loyal, which as always, is good for business.

How self-service portals save on costs

Since money is always a concern, consider the ways in which investing in an employee self-service portal will save you in the longer term:

  • Reduced paper usage. With an employee self-service portal, documents and forms can be stored and accessed digitally, eliminating the need for printing and distributing hard copies of documents like employee handbooks, policies, training materials, HR forms, career development opportunities, and more. Employees can access these documents online and sign them electronically when required.


  • Reduced staffing needs. Employee self-service portals let employees manage their HR-related tasks independently, reducing the reliance on HR staff for routine administrative processes, thereby freeing up some of their time to focus on strategic initiatives and more complex HR functions—the big picture tasks no one ever has time for but which are key to the company’s growth.

Self-service portal options

There are many HR management solutions from general all-in-one platforms, to specialized solutions. Depending on your needs you can find a system that handles payroll, benefits administration, time-off tracking, document storage, performance management and more.

PurelyHR is a cloud-based HR solution offering essential features like time and attendance tracking, leave management, and employee information management. These features allow employees to manage their time off, view attendance records, and update personal information easily—and they can do so remotely and safely, thanks to robust security features that keep sensitive employee information protected.

The software also integrates with third-party tools like Google Calendar, Outlook, and payroll systems for seamless data synchronization. Finally, PurelyHR provides customer support and resources to help small businesses and their employees get the very most out of the platform.

When comparing PurelyHR to other employee self-service portal options, it’s important to evaluate factors like pricing, scalability, user interface, additional features, and integration capabilities against your organization’s unique goals and needs.

Engaging in this process will go a long way toward determining the best fit for your employee management processes and your business overall. Requesting demos or trials and speaking with sales representatives can also provide valuable insight into how well each platform might jive with your delicate employee-HR ecosystem.

Ready to take the leap? Consider taking your small business to the next level by implementing an employee self-service portal as part of HR operations. Your employees will thank you, and so will your bottom line.

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