How You Can Simplify and Accelerate HR Service Delivery

How HR Can Respond to Employee Service Needs Most Effectively

Business woman using laptop in office to change her benefits in the self service HR system.
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Human Resources leaders are a significant source of support and comfort to employees in both their personal and professional lives. HR is a service business, and that service includes helping employees advance their careers and resolving issues between employees and their supervisors.

HR also supports them through some of the most important and momentous events in their lives, including marriage, childbirth, and battling a serious illness.

But too often, routine administrative services, such as answering the same questions over and over again or completing simple transactions, consume the bulk of HR’s time.

Reduce Administrative Workload

The key to reducing that administrative workload is training employees to become more self-sufficient and automating more mundane tasks.  That’s where applying a service management approach can help. Service management simplifies the delivery of routine administrative services, freeing time to focus on high-value activities.

The typical HR organization likely has systems for managing employee data and pay-related activities. However, it probably does not have an automated system for handling employee inquiries and fulfilling requests.

Consider what happens when an employee receives a summons to jury duty: chances are the company still relies on physical paperwork or a string of emails to deal with the employee’s request for the time away from work.

Because employee interactions are commonly tracked using emails and spreadsheets, employee requests are often missed or overlooked. Mistakes then happen, creating further frustration and additional work for HR.

With email, there‘s no easy way to see if a request is stalled or to pinpoint and eliminate process bottlenecks.

Similarly, it’s hard to analyze and respond to employee needs—for instance, identifying frequently requested information and making sure this is available online.

Manual administrative processes frustrate employees and are a huge drain on HR teams. One recent survey finds that HR employees spend an average of 12 hours a week handling routine employee calls and emails.

Service Management Approach to Meeting Employee Needs

The service management approach eliminates those tedious, time-consuming processes. It doesn’t just replace email—it transforms how HR engages with employees.

Think of service management as the perfect combination of administrative assistant and project manager. It responds instantly to employee requests, progresses cases, automates repeatable manual processes, and even manages complex cross-departmental activities such as employee onboarding and off-boarding.

Service management never forgets or makes mistakes, always follows up with people so things get done, and lets you know if there’s a problem it can’t solve. It also shows you where your employees spend their time – so you can optimize resource deployment and maximize productivity.

Service management doesn’t replace your current Human Capital Management system—it integrates with it and complements it, giving you visibility and control of the work you probably do mostly via email today.

It also provides that same level of visibility to employees. They can see the status of their inquiries, rather than feeling that their requests disappeared into a black hole soon after they submitted them.

Providing employees with the ability to supervise the progress of their requests significantly reduces the number of frustrated follow-up emails, phone calls and in-person visits to HR, further cutting HR’s administrative workload.

Advantages of a Service Management Approach

Service management starts with the roll-out of a web-based HR portal where employees can find HR information and request HR services. Ideally, employees can access this portal on their work PCs, home computers, laptops and their smartphones and tablets.

This lets them take control of their basic HR needs—such as benefits enrollment or status change updates.

Employees simply choose the actual services they need from a service catalog or search for information in the portal’s knowledge base.

When an employee submits a request through the portal, the service management system automatically creates a case and shepherds it through the complete fulfillment process. This includes assigning the case to the right HR expert, automatically routing the case from person to person as each fulfillment step is completed, and maintaining a full case history. 

You can also extend this service to other departments. For example, service management systems can automatically set up IT accounts or request office space for new hires as part of the onboarding process.

The service management system drives the end-to-end HR service delivery processes and knows how these processes are performing. For instance, it can automatically tell you when a case is stalled so you can take action.

It also generates a wide range of KPIs and other process metrics—such as how well your team responds to employee inquiries. It can even analyze the types of knowledge-base queries making it easy to identify and fill in any content gaps.

Conclusion

HR professionals choose to pursue a career in HR because they want to help people, not spend their days filing papers, updating spreadsheets and responding to emails. Too often, mundane requests and piles of paperwork interrupt that work, which frustrates them and the employees they’re trying to help.

HR is a service provider and can look to the example of its fellow service provider, the IT department. IT has taken the lead in many enterprise efforts to apply a service management discipline to automating the submission and fulfillment of IT help desk requests.

Automating these tasks enables IT to focus on more strategic work that can help the company meet its broader business goals, and better demonstrate IT’s value.

A service management approach is the key to HR raising its profile to business leaders by delivering higher-quality services and increased employee satisfaction while simultaneously reducing its own workload. HR can devote its time and expertise to more strategic activities that move its business forward.