Implementing Self Service at East Kent Hospitals

East Kent Hospitals (EKH) is one of the largest hospital Trusts in England, with five hospitals and community clinics serving a local population of around 695,000 people.

EKH also provide specialist services for a wider population in Medway, Maidstone and Ashford.  As a teaching Trust with approximately 12,000 staff, they play a vital role in the education and training of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, working closely with local universities and Kings College University in London.

The Trust made the decision to roll out Manager Self Service to improve the timeliness of changes, quality of data and to streamline processes to become less paper reliant and reduce duplicated data entry.  The organisation also wanted staff and managers to feel empowered to be the owners of their own data.

Having established the project, a pilot group was selected to trial the various Self Service functions and the intended approval methods - the pilot started in January 2021. 

Before planning the full roll out across the organisation, the team assessed the outcomes of the pilot. All managers within the pilot group had reviewed the data available to them and no paper change forms were received from these users.  It was therefore decided to roll out self-service to the rest of the organisation, from June 2021.

Because East Kent chose to utilise the Payroll Approval role, it is important that relevant members of the Finance Team are also aware of changes and able to approve them.  The manager (or their proxy user) therefore includes their Finance representative - as the ad-hoc approver on relevant changes.

All ESR Self Service functionality is being used, except the ability for managers to hire external candidates; a reliable trust wide process is already in place for this. However, managers are using ESR self-service to hire internal candidates.  A combination of Manager, Supervisor and Admin Self Service URPs are in use along with the ability to delegate to Proxy users.  There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the URPs used - this is assessed and agreed with each department before their roll out commences.

At the start of March 2022, approximately 800 managers have access to ESR Self Service, and full roll out is expected to be completed by the end of April 2022. 

Feedback from managers has been positive and there has been recognition that ESR Self Service could be utilised further.  The ability to see team information and real time compliance data has been a popular benefit for Managers.

Midwifery Matron, has praised the implementation of Self Service stating that:

Changing employee hours, adding appraisal dates and extending contracts work seamlessly on the online platform.

The original project plan didn’t include the utilisation of the Applicant Dashboard, but this was soon identified as a quick win to introduce new hires to the organisation.  This implementation has also improved the onboarding experience for applicants and has sped up the process.  The main improvement has been a decrease in time taken to move new starters from Applicant to Employee and large increases in engagement with Applicant / Employee Self Service – the trust no longer relies on paper for this process. New starters are increasingly using the system, including completing statutory and mandatory training, booking onto courses such as Manual Handling, adding their EDI information and payment information all before their start date.

The Learning and Development Team have also increased their use of ESR Learning Management to allow self-enrolment onto classroom training, local eLearning content and directing applicants to the Applicant Dashboard to review their compliance before their start date. 

As part of the project plan, the use of online payslips was reviewed.  Approximately 5,000 employees were already accessing their payslips online.  The Self Service project supported the decision to move forward to online only payslips from July 2021.  The development was widely publicised to staff in advance and the transition has gone well. 

The use of Smartcards and the considerations when building the manager hierarchy was one of the key lessons learned from the pilot review. Because Self Service URP requirements vary between each team, the hierarchy requirements can be different and time should be allocated to create these within ESR.

In terms of next steps for ESR in East Kent Hospitals the team plans to review the use of Appraisals.  Managers are currently entering appraisal dates only, but the trust are aware of the ability to recreate the EKH Personal Development Review within ESR and the additional appraisal reporting benefits; this is something that is being considered once the Self Service roll out is completed.

Sarah Todd-Blaber, HR Systems Project Manager adds:

Implementing ESR Self Service within our Trust has been an enjoyable challenge, moving to an online platform has meant the Trust now has a robust paper lite process for employee changes which is more visible to all parties and far easier to audit and track.  The regional ESR team are always there to support me and to answer all my questions and investigate problems I haven’t been able to resolve myself.  The ongoing improvements to ESR are also a benefit as we use more of the system functionality.

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