An Employee Portal, sometimes known as an HR Portal, is an online employee engagement platform that puts a range of HR services at the employee’s fingertips. From providing employees with access to helpful HR content and self-service functionality that answers their questions, to Live Chat and case tracking, an Employee Portal enhances the employee service experience, which increases employee satisfaction and engagement levels. It is also a communications and change management tool, enabling HR to effectively engage with their employees and support the management of change and development within the organization. Additional benefits include increased workforce productivity and greater efficiency of HR operations.
Watch the Employee Portal video for a greater understanding of how an Employee Self-service Portal can help your organization.
Why is an Employee Portal important for your organization?
Successful businesses strive for long-term sustainable profits. An Employee Portal is a tool that HR can use to support this objective, by improving the employee experience, employee productivity and retaining staff.
In a Forbes article, entitled Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone, evidence suggests happier and more productive employees provide superior customer service, helping drive sales and repeat business faster than in organizations that do not provide the same service.
There are a number of benefits to adopting an Employee Portal:
Helping employees get the right answers to their questions
“Questions don't have to make sense, Vincent," said Miss Susan. "But answers do.”
Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time
An Employee Portal makes available a wide range of relevant HR content, including information on benefits, pay, HR policies, Well-being and careers advice, which means employees can find the answers to most of their questions. In addition, an Instant Search capability means as the employee types in search terms, he or she is ‘instantly’ presented with potential answers to his or her question, making finding answers to questions easier and more immediate.
If an employee cannot find the answer they are looking for on the Employee Portal, he or she can either Chat Live with a specialist in HR, or create a case, which is automatically routed to the team or person with the relevant expertise in HR. Employee Portal Admin functionality enables HR to give permission to employees to keep track of their cases, for example, checking for case updates. Greater case transparency is assured and the employee no longer has to guess what is happening with their inquiry.
“We wanted a great way to interact with our employees, providing them with a way to send questions to us. Whether it was transactional information or less structured requests, such as Employee Relations, security issues, investigations or benefits questions, that are a little bit more of a back and forth and less straightforward transactional, we wanted a platform that enabled employees to interact with HR.
"So that’s when we started looking for a solution and we found Dovetail’s Employee Portal and HR Case Management system, which plugged all these different gaps that we needed filling.”
Matt Pugatch, Manager Global HRIS Business Analysis at Sykes Enterprises, Inc.
An example of the Dovetail Employee Portal home page:
Improving HR Operations
An Employee Portal with self-service capability makes HR operations more efficient by cutting inbound inquiries, questions and requests into HR by as much as 50%, this is commonly known as “Case Deflection”. This reduction in the HR Services team’s workload frees up HR time for higher value-added activities, whilst contributing to delivering excellence in HR operations.
"The growing number of HR Transformation efforts in the last five years has produced a 20% increase in respondents who view HR functions as contributing strategic value (38% to 46%). This number increases dramatically when you look at Executive opinions, with over 50% viewing HR as contributing Strategic value this year."
Offering a ‘consumer-grade’ Employee Experience (EX)
Employees’ expectations of the technology they use in the workplace has risen sharply over recent years. Consumer technology Apps, such as Facebook, Google and Instagram, that employees use in their daily lives, and that enable simple, easy and intuitive processes, have raised the bar in terms of the technology experience employees expect at work. The following statistics reveal the magnitude of the transformation in consumer technology over recent years;
- Smartphone penetration rates in the US increased from 3 percent in 2006 to 81 percent in 2016
- From its launch to the public in 2006 until 2017, Facebook penetration rates reached 72.4 percent of the US population
- In 2019 the percentage of US adults who are using Instagram is 67% of 18-29 year olds and 47% of 30-49 year olds.
The days of employees putting up with antiquated, poorly performing technology at work, that makes them feel frustrated and, let’s face it, annoyed, are coming to an end.
“We preferred Dovetail’s Employee portal for its design and ‘easy’ user experience. We wanted the Knowledge base so that we could build our own knowledge articles. Some of the other providers took you out to an external website where you kind of do a Google type thing almost, whereas with Dovetail we were able to build our own knowledge content (tailored to First Midwest Bank’s needs) that could be accessed through Dovetail’s Employee Portal.”
Lori Sappington, HR Shared Services Manager, First Midwest Bank
Company executives who ‘get’ that the key to outstanding company performance is to retain their most prized asset; talented employees, are realizing that, if they don’t get their employee experience right, there’ll be a competitor organisation that will. And with unemployment rates at their lowest level in decades, the challenge of retaining staff has never been greater.
An Employee Portal enhances the employee’s experience in the workplace, making employees feel happier in the workplace and less likely to look elsewhere.
Increasing employee engagement levels
An Employee Portal engagement platform designed to consumer-grade specifications meets employee technology expectations and raises their engagement levels.
Companies with highly engaged workforces are 21 percent more profitable than those with poor engagement according to Accenture
New, modern communication technologies, such as Live Chat and Chatbots, which are accessed through an Employee Portal, are adapting to employees’ changing needs and behaviour, enabling employees to communicate with HR in the way they prefer.
Improving employee perceptions of your organization
How employees feel at work impacts their perception of the organization. A negative perception can lead to lower workforce productivity, retention rates and employee engagement. Rather than contributing to creating a positive workplace culture that attracts talent, drives engagement, achieves high satisfaction and ‘happiness’ among employees and improves performance, poor performing workplace technology can lead to negative perceptions of your company among employees and negative reviews. For example, in a recent Indeed survey, 83 percent of job seekers said they were likely to base their decision on which companies to apply to on company reviews, and 46 percent would make a judgement on a company’s reputation before accepting a job offer. With stats like that, can you afford not to offer your employees a great workplace experience?
Increasing workforce productivity and performance
If we calculate productivity as output per worker, then the more employees involved in producing a piece of work or delivering a service, the lower the workforce productivity will be. An Employee Portal with features such as self-service, case creation and automated workflow, reduces workload on HR Service Delivery teams substantially, meaning it takes fewer resources to do the same amount of work. By adopting an Employee Portal, output per worker increases, resulting in higher overall HR team productivity. Freed-up resources can be reallocated to higher value HR activities.
Studies have also shown that companies offering an enhanced employee experience generate more profit. According to a Glassdoor Study in 2015, companies with a great employee experience outperformed the S&P by 122 percent.
Reducing costs of HR Service Delivery
When employees can find answers to their own questions without the need to contact HR, the benefit to the organization is not only that employees feel more satisfied, but that HR can reduce its spend on delivering HR services by over 30%.
Enabling Continuous Improvement (CI) in HR
“Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.”
A focus on Continual Improvement (CI), the ongoing effort to improve products, services and processes, can help HR keep pace with transformational changes, such as the rapid development of technology and fierce competition for talent.
As stated in the latest Sierra-Cedar 2019 - 2020 HR Systems Survey WhitePaper, continuous improvement is the new reality for HR functions:
“As we see organizations move beyond major transformation efforts, a new reality is dawning for HR functions: one of continuous improvement. In an agile work environment, the desired business and organizational outcomes can change rapidly and be achieved in multiple ways. Continuously improving HR data flows, policy, processes, and supporting technology is the only way to meet the demands of an Outcome Focused approach to HR.”
Sierra Cedar 2019 - 2020 HR Systems Survey White Paper
An Employee Portal is an HR tool that provides the data and insight for management to make intelligence-led decisions that improve performance, enabling the HR function to continually improve.
Or take a closer look at key features of the Dovetail Employee Portal: