How giving staff greater access to payroll information enhances productivity and reduces costs

Smart Business spoke to Mark Strippy, Executive Director, Payroll Services at Heartland Payment Systems®, about how implementing an Employee Self-Serve portal can save employers time and money.

A company’s payroll department can spend a huge amount of its day addressing employees’ payroll questions, sending payroll forms and updating payroll information.

Disruptive, time consuming and ultimately costly, these chores can be alleviated with a convenient system that not only enhances payroll productivity, but empowers your employees.

That system is an Employee Self-Serve (ESS) portal.

ESS is a convenient, secure and user-friendly resource that provides all your employees online access to personal data — including their payroll information. Employees have the ability to view and print payroll vouchers and W2s and view their paid time-off balances — reducing routine staff inquiries and easing the burden of distributing payroll vouchers to your work force. Employees can also use this portal to update bank account details.

What’s more, ESS portals eliminate the need for postage and paper printing of payroll forms, offering substantial cost savings. ESS has become increasingly popular as more businesses “go green” in an effort to reduce paper and energy waste.

Companies like the international coffee chain, Starbucks, deployed an ESS portal as a means of providing information to its employees, but quickly realized how much more it could be doing using this technology. The organization enhanced its systems so all individuals can complete just about every transaction via ESS.

And it’s not just the large companies. Many small and mid-sized businesses have been adopting secure and private ESS systems because they provide:

Ability to update personal information. Companies can give their employees permission to review and make changes to their personal data (name, address, next of kin, etc.), W4 elections and voluntary deductions, as well as view their payroll stubs and W2s. Encouraging employees to enter personal data through the self-service portal is one way to leverage technology in order to increase productivity in payroll.

Electronic time sheets. Electronic time sheets improve the payroll efficiency of employees who use computers, and they are especially useful for companies with multiple worksites. Electronic time sheets improve accuracy and, according to some reports, can cut handling time.

Savings. ESS systems can be economically implemented over the Internet or a company Intranet. Internet-based payroll solutions can facilitate cost savings by allowing companies to reduce the IT resources needed to support the payroll function. A Web-based payroll solution eliminates the need to purchase and maintain specialized hardware, thereby eliminating maintenance costs and assuring that the latest features are available to all employees. Additionally, ESS can save time and dollars associated with updating materials for employees, and in the cost of printing payroll forms.

24/7/365 access. Round-the-clock access to ESS is an added plus for companies that provide services to a diverse and often dispersed work force.

In today’s volatile business climate, your payroll department is no doubt being asked to do more with less. Implementing ESS is one way to achieve that goal and provide real value to employees in an effective and low-cost manner.

Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (NYSE: HPY), the fifth largest payments processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card processing, gift marketing and loyalty programs, payroll and related business solutions to more than 250,000 business locations nationwide. A FORTUNE 1000 company, Heartland is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices. The company is also a leader in the development of end-to-end encryption technology designed to protect cardholder data, rendering it useless to cybercriminals. For more detailed information, visit or follow the company on Twitter @HeartlandHPY and Facebook