What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Self Service Human Resource System?

A traditional human resources department has staff to handle all aspects of the employee payroll, benefits and other human resource concerns. A self-service human resources system allows employees to enter information and fill out paperwork, such as benefit enrollment forms and time sheets, by themselves on a computer. Using a self-service human resources system may save a company money, but there are some drawbacks.


The rate of errors in personnel records is likely to increase under a self-service system. Although a traditional human resources department will also make mistakes, the staff is trained and experienced with the system. Employees who use a self-service system have less experience and training and won’t use the system as often, which increases the likelihood of mistakes. Since there’s less human oversight, errors may go undetected for a longer period in a self-service system.

Training and Support

Employees must have training before they can use a self-service system. Training must not only cover how to use the system but also how to troubleshoot problems and fill out certain forms, such as benefit enrollment packages. As a company’s practices change, employees may have ongoing training needs that require multiple or occasional training sessions. Training will usually not cover everyone’s questions or address every possible scenario, so ongoing human support is still necessary.


Implementing a self-service system requires an upfront investment. The cost depends on the company’s needs, the type of service and the service provider. Pre designed self-service packages must be amended and tweaked to accommodate a specific business. The company’s existing technology may need an upgrade if the current equipment is not sufficient to run the required software. A larger business may be able to handle the upfront cost, considering the potential for savings later, but a smaller business may find the initial investment difficult.

Security and Employee Concerns

Since self-service human resource systems involve storing and accessing employee’s sensitive information on a computer, the business must have strong Internet and technology security. If an employee’s information is compromised, the employer may be liable if the security was poor or nonexistent, depending on state laws.

Concerns over security may make employees uncomfortable with using a self-service system. If the employee is not comfortable, she may hesitate to update her information when it’s necessary and create snags for the human resources department.

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