Interruption, Interruption, Interruption

So, you have just settled down to go through Excel at the end of Q3 when the phone rings. It’s a staff member from customer services wanting to know how much holiday they have left. You stop what you are doing, look it up and get back to them with an answer.

Thirty minutes later there is a knock at the door. It’s someone from the shop floor wanting their P60 because they are applying for a mortgage. Again, you stop what you are doing, find it and print it out.

Then, just as you settle back into your spreadsheets a red flag email flashed up in your inbox. A Manager needs her P11D and she needs them now.

At this point, you don’t know whether to give up and make a cup of tea or go home. While you appreciate you are there to help, you still have to get your own work done.

So what’s the answer?

K3 Equator HR works with a wide range of businesses – from SMEs to big corporations, providing software to help solve the problem by giving staff the chance more autonomy through its Employee Portal.

Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean they can book as many holidays as they like or have access to privileged information at the touch of a button. What it does mean is they are able to self-serve the type of queries that eat into the time of the person responsible for wages without adding any value to the payroll department.

Top Payroll Queries

The three top payroll queries revolve around holidays, loans and loss of paperwork. These are all issues which could easily be resolved by the employee with access to the Equator HR Employee Portal.

Of course, there will be people who won’t want to do it for themselves or lack confidence in their computer skills. That is why we have made it really simple. The question is whether you, as a business, believe it will be beneficial both to yourselves and to the employee. So let’s look at the three top queries.

  • Holidays – How many days do I have left? This is the most common question and the one most commonly asked post-Christmas and New Year. Staff are back at work and feeling the winter blues. They want to book their summer break and you are their first port of call. How many days holiday do they have left this year?
  • Loans – I’ve applied for a loan and I need copies of my last three payslips. Credit checks are becoming increasingly stringent. Anyone wanting a loan will be most likely be asked for proof of income. For the employee that means payslips. If contacting payroll is the only way to get this information then obviously that is what the employee will do.
  • Loss – I’ve lost my P60, my P11D, my pension paperwork. By this time, if you work in payroll, you will be close to losing your mind. But remember, that while keeping documents safe is part of your DNA, it isn’t the same for everyone. So here comes the ‘can you just print off me a copy of……’

Keeping It Simple

So let’s see if self-serve does serve you as a business? The Equator HR Employee Portal is just one of the modules of our software package for business. It really is simple and the workflow allows you, as a business, to keep track of the requests.

Through the portal the employee can book an absence of a couple of hours e.g. a hospital appointment. They can request a holiday in the same way. That then fires off an email to the manager of the relevant department who can authorise the request.

The manager doesn’t even physically have to be in the office. He or she can do so through their phone, iPad or any other portable device. It means if he or she is off site at a meeting, they don’t come back to find they have to deal with half a dozen requests. It can all be done remotely if required.

Employees can see their payslip, P11D, P60, etc. via the portal, print them out or email the documents to whoever needs to see them. The Payroll Department doesn’t need to get involved. It saves time for staff in the department to get on with other things. Yes, it will feel to some like throwing the ball back over the wall to the employee, but why not?

So many of us do so much online now, why should it be any different at work? We shop online, book holidays online, buy insurance online and even date online. It is simply a matter of getting employees into the good habit of using the online Employee Portal rather than the bad habit of picking up the phone to payroll.

Advantages – Staff and Business

It doesn’t mean you, as a business, will say yes to every request. But being able to book online does mean staff will be able to have a clear view of things like holidays, how many, they have taken, how many they have left. They will be able to plan ahead.

It will also take the worry of employees who need paperwork and need it now. Rather than having to wait for payroll, they can print off their own documents and or email to mortgage companies and so on. If they have lost or do lose any, then they can simply print them out again.

For the business the Equator HR Employee Portal will leave the Payroll Department free to do what they do best i.e. sort out the payroll without interruption. But it will also save money too. If you have 150 employees and have to send out printed payslips every month, that is a lot of paper and a lot of printing.

Self-serve allows the employee to stipulate when and how they want to receive their payslip i.e. online or offline and how many times a year. With the bigger companies we work with when you multiply that cost for 4000 employees or more, then that can be a big saving.

So don’t be afraid of asking your employees to consider self-serve. If they can book their holiday online they can use the Employee Portal. We just can’t guarantee the sunshine.