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Tools help employees make personal information accurate

Beginning today, three new employee self-service (ESS) tools will allow campus employees to manage more of their personal information online.

By logging on to, eligible faculty and staff can review, update and enter the following information: emergency contacts; information on ethnic origin and military service; and educational background, including schools attended, degrees awarded, fields of study and completion dates.

To ensure confidentiality, an up-to-date MIT personal certificate is required to use ESS. To obtain a certificate, go to

There are several reasons why having accurate information on these topics is important for MIT and its employees. Emergency contact information tends to change for people, and although most employees provided an emergency contact when they were hired, most haven't updated it since.

MIT is required by federal law to collect data on the ethnic origin and the military/veteran status of employees and to report it periodically in an aggregated, nonindividualized way. To ensure the accuracy of this data, the law encourages but does not require that employees themselves provide the information.

Also, the Institute is committed to reducing the historical underutilization of women and minorities at MIT, and the data will assist in analyzing the results of those efforts. MIT employees on active military duty have certain rights that must be protected, and identifying such employees is the first step in protecting those rights.

Accurate information on the educational background of faculty and staff is useful to areas such as the Office of Sponsored Programs (for research proposals), Resource Development (corporate relations), and the institutional research portion of the Provost's Office (external surveys).

Since current emergency contact information is probably inaccurate for most faculty and staff, that field will be blank when they go to the web site to review and update their entries; however, the ethnic/military/veteran data and educational information that was in Human Resources' previous system will be displayed. In-formation provided by employees will become part of the new SAP Human Resources database, which is now MIT's system of record for personnel data.

Though many employees already have used the self-service function to update their telephone directory information, the HR-Payroll Project will offer demonstrations of ESS on Thursday, Oct. 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room E19-758, and on Tuesday, Oct. 14 from 1 to 2 p.m. in Room W20-306. In addition, the Business Liaison Team can assist community members who need help. Contact the team at 252-1177 or

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 1, 2003.

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