Now that most large organizations have automated benefits administration, human resource managers are trying to apply the same automation strategies to other areas, such as employee hiring, firing and promotions.
The new manager self-service systems give mangers the ability to handle tasks such as granting pay raises, transferring employees and filing employee evaluation reports through the Web.
The MSS movement is giving HR executives and their benefits advisors new tools for cutting employers HR costs and increasing managers flexibility.
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Experts say MSS is taking root today because the Web has done so much to streamline benefits administration. Whats more, Web technology itself has improved.
Today, finally, the HR systems are ready and capable of delivering efficient and effective manager self-service, says Thomas Keebler, a human resources and technology consultant in the Philadelphia office of Towers Perrin Inc.
Players in the manager self-service market include giant software companies such as SAP A.G., Walldorf, Germany, and Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, Calif., and benefits technology specialists such as Employease Inc., Norcross, Ga., and Workscape Inc., Framingham, Mass. Workscape, for example, recently introduced the OneForce family of employee management products.
Employers are looking into MSS technology partly because the benefits administration technology companies already have succeeded at transforming most big employer benefits operations. More than 90% of 250 large employers that Towers Perrin surveyed earlier this year say they already offer Web-based, employee self-service benefits administration systems.
Of course, plenty of smaller companies still need to replace manual benefits administration systems, and many employers need to update existing automated systems.
But because penetration of Web-based employee self-service benefits administration systems is so high, employers are especially interested in manager self-service systems.
One example of an issue that crosses the line between benefits administration and manager self-service is improving the systems that calculate and update benefits contribution percentages and dollar amounts for employers and employees, according to David Freund, president of Common Census Inc., Westbrook, Maine.