e-service with a smile

advances are changing the relationship between employer and employee.
Investments in self-service technology can allow organisations to to deliver
more strategic HR services to staff

arrival of e-business is transforming the employee’s experience of the
workplace and changing the relationship between employer and employee. Mobile
computing devices, wireless communications and continued exploitation of
Internet-based technologies promise to deliver more flexible working practices
for employees, and a better skilled and managed workforce for employers by

those seeking cost reduction, the continued exploitation of economies of scale,
and web-based self-service will deliver greater efficiencies, particularly for
transaction processing.

HR administration predicted to move out of the hands of the traditional HR
function, it signals a more holistic approach to the management of the
people-employer relationship. The move to self-service, shared services,
centralised data processing and outsourcing should break down this divide and
focus back office activities on people, customer and supplier services.

Trend 1 Continued centralisation of data processing and growth of

will continue to benefit from the ongoing centralisation of data processing in
shared service centres. The traditional divide between the back office elements
of HR, finance and procurement will break down into a common support function
for people management. This will be helped by the widespread adoption of

solutions will extend beyond the current use of the Internet for recruitment
and training to cover a range of other uses. This could include skills trading
with business partners, third-party delivery of self-managed benefits,
purchasing of on-line personal tax services and connection to global on-line
salary survey databases.

2 Growth in mobile computing devices and pervasive computing

of the biggest changes in technology will be the rise in the use of mobile
computing devices or Personal Digital Assistants. Smaller devices, such as
handheld machines, tags and watches will be widely available and need less
power. Through advances in pervasive computing, chips will be planted in many
objects around the home and office, such as clothing, headsets, home appliances
and, possibly, inside human bodies.

will impact on people management by:

Increasing the use of self-service but extending the range of access devices to
employees who do not have easy access to work PCs. This will be helpful in
the  manufacturing and travel
industries, where only a small proportion of staff have access to personal PCs
in the workplace.

Supporting the rise in home working, with employers providing mobile devices
that are easy to carry around and connect into compatible home or office

Supporting the growth of alliance networks in certain industries, by networking
people across these industries, supporting the sharing of skills and knowledge

3 Growth in wireless communication networks, and personal area networks (PANs)

Application Protocols (WAPs) are already in place to network mobile devices.
The use of this technology is expected to grow rapidly, as application
development for people management catches up with available hardware.

will deliver PANs for people connecting a range of mobile devices and
appliances at home and in the workplace. This technology will convert mobile
devices to "wireless communicators".

will impact on people management by:

Increasing "training on demand" and self-service, by providing
"anywhere" access to web content and services

4 Growth of the outsourcing and ASP market

62 per cent of UK organisations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers HR 2000 European
Benchmarking survey are outsourcing some elements of HR. Organisations are
expected to outsource a greater range of HR activities over the next five
years, particularly transactional services and those requiring precise areas of
expertise, such as career management. Transactional service delivery will
increasingly rely on self-service as the first point of service delivery.

vendors are offering a wider range. The "sale of software" model will
be replaced by Application Services Provider models, where services are
accessed via the Web and fees are based on transactions. This may be combined
with the use of outsourced services.

5 Rise in the use of "middleware"

middleware solutions are expected to become available to help organisations
connect applications. Connection to external suppliers is expected to become
increasingly common. This provides exciting opportunities for e-HR, including:

Better connection with suppliers, providing integration of supplier-led
services such as training, recruitment, and outsourcers. This technology
potentially links employees, as the primary customers of people services,
directly to service suppliers through web-based self-service. This is expected
to improve HR service delivery and reduce costs.

The use of lnternet auction facilities for trading "spare" people
skills and knowledge with business partners and for procuring HR services such
as training.

Better and more accurate data for measuring the efficiency of people services,
and for assessing the effectiveness of these services across a range of


self service and e-HR revolution has already started and will expand rapidly
over the next five years. Evidence from the HR 2000 Benchmarking survey for
Europe reveals that some countries are pushing the frontiers of this technology
more quickly than others. UK employers could benefit substantially from
adopting a more proactive response to these technologies to stay truly
competitive in the ever-expanding global market place.

Voisey is a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers She will be addressing the
issues of self-service in a Masterclass session, entitled: Leveraging
self-service applications to provide greater employee empowerment at the
forthcoming Softworld Human Resources & Payroll event, taking place at
Excel, London from 7-8 February 200, Contact 07000 763 896 or visit www.softworld.co.uk

do you get there?

is best to start a self-service and e-HR project with a definition of where you
want to be. This could involve looking five years ahead and then working
backwards on what is achievable within the constraints of your organisation.

starting a self-service and e-HR project, most organisations will adopt one of
three general types of delivery model or progress from one to the other.

pioneers generally started with Type 1 and moved on from there. Those starting
a service today, should look at starting at Type 2 as a minimum, aiming for
Type 3.

1 Static display

static display of information is provided for viewing only. The audience is
usually employees, managers and sometimes applicants, and the content is,
generally, available to everyone. This typically includes, for example, copies
of policies and procedures, and lists of vacancies and training courses.

some cases, confidential information is provided to employees for viewing, such
as electronic copies of payslips and total compensation and benefits
statements. Password access would then be used.

2 Transaction processing and workflow

self-service functionality can offer users the option of completing on-line
transactions. These transactions can be routed via workflow to others within
the organisation for information or approval.

typically involves services for employees such as booking or accessing training
courses, applying for leave, and enrolling for benefits. Services for managers
are also provided, such as performance and pay reviews for their team.

to applicants could involve on-line job applications. Access to information and
services is generally managed through role-based security profiles.

3 Integrated, interactive, context-sensitive self-directed web access

this model, services are offered to employees through a web portal that is
context-sensitive and based on role, development needs and personal details and

is more emphasis on knowledge management and context-based training on demand.
The profile of the individual is used to personalise the service and this
profile is shared with other applications, delivering a seamless movement by
the user between applications and access devices. Integration of transaction
processing is achieved and integration with HR suppliers is common

Jane Voisey

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