from Interactive Corporate
Your company probably already has detailed, company-wide databases in the form of either an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or an HRIS. But only a small group of HR managers can access that data. What if you want to let employees view their own information about pay, benefits and HR policies stored on that impressive database?
Employee self-service is fast becoming a way of life for HR. One ESS product that allows employees to review recent pay stubs, vacation information, 401(k) savings and other data using their web browsers is ClickHR from Interactive Corporate Communications Inc. (ICC).
"There is such valuable information [on an ERP system]," explains ICC President Rosalia Bacarella. "It's important that people other than administrators have access to it."
What It Does
To use ClickHR, employees connect to your company's ClickHR web site, then enter their passwords and user names. On a web page designed to look like a company handbook, they select the tab for the topic they want - Health, Financial, Work/Life, Total Compensation or Policies.
In the financial section, for example, they can find personalized information such as recent pay statements. Or, they can go to other tabs for total compensation for the year or available sick leave or vacation.
For other information, they choose the appropriate tab. For example, they can check their 401(k) plans and manage them live on the Internet or use the Health tab to see current insurers or even change insurers.
A "toolbox" on the left side of the screen allows updates of personal information, such as change of address or marriage. Employees can also schedule conference rooms.
Ambrose Employer Group, a New York professional employer organization providing HR services for several companies, uses ClickHR to allow companies to file pay statements, invoices and other financial information online. "We provide paperless payroll," says John Iorillo, a company founder. "Have you ever seen paperless payroll before? People are blown away by that."
Managers can view a list of standard reports defined for the company, such as payroll cost reports. Those with the privileges to administer ClickHR can customize the look and feel of the web site, control privileges available to employees or post job openings. People can apply for the jobs from their web browsers.
What I Like
ClickHR's greatest plus is probably what it call do for HR. "We don't get calls any more for people changing exemptions on withholding" and other routine administrative things, Iorillo emphasizes. "People call when they've got a problem. We deal with the stuff HR should be focusing on."
For employees the benefits may be even greater. "Employees love this," says Iorillo. "They don't want to call during working hours. At midnight, at home, is when they want to check their funds or see how much it costs to have life insurance."
It's nice that ClickHR doesn't just provide information but actually allows people to do transactions, such as managing their savings or changing their health provider.
Ease of use is critical to employee self-service, and CIickHR's web-based "handbook" lives up to the company name. You simply click to find what you need.
Security is absolutely essential to a web-based program containing payroll and other sensitive information. ICC's product offers the latest in encryption and password protection.
ClickHR is impressive technically, too. It interfaces with both ERP databases and web users with a three-tier architecture consisting of the web browser, an applications server and a back-end system like PeopleSoft or Oracle.
Though technically ambitious, ClickHR may prove cost effective. It saves HR time and puts many benefits enrollment tasks directly into the hands of employees, which also reduces errors. "It's not cheap," says Iorillo. "But we view it as a money saver."
What To Watch For
My biggest caution for HR people approaching a program like this is simply to be aware that you are dealing with a technically sophisticated package. First, check out the technical requirements for the program. If you don't have a back-end ERP system or a server-based system, then you're not a candidate for ClickHR.
To set up the program, you will almost certainly want to consult with and involve your IS people, particularly the database or ERP administrator. Similarly, plan to invest in training for those who will be administering ClickHR. Other employees who are seeking information will need little training to use the self-service features.
"The only limitation I see to the product," says Iorillo, "is a company's own ability to develop for it. A company might not have the resources. It's just a matter of cost."
Getting employees to use the program is not a problem, Iorillo says, though it sometimes can be a problem that they use it too much - getting fascinated with their 401(k), for example, and spending too much time managing it.
The web is a major reason for the growth of ESS. With ClickHR, employees can access the company's complete database, which otherwise is available to only a few managers.
Interactive Corporate Communications Inc.
410 Saw Mill River Rd., Suite LL 135 Ardsley, NY 10502 Phone: (800) 422-3307 or (914) 693-1000 Web site: www.interactivecorp.com
Total HR benefits and payroll web-based self-service solution.
End-user side - Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator or Netscape Communicator.
Server side - any platform supporting Java.
Version 3.0, Spring 1998.
About 20 clients.
License ranges from $70,000 to $180,000, depending on number of ClickHR modules licensed and number of users. A flexible pricing model based on usage is also available.
Jim Meade, Ph.D., is president of Meade Ink Inc., a writing and translating services firm in Fairfield, Iowa. He is a regular software reviewer for HR Magazine.