The COVID-19 pandemic prompted HR teams to accelerate HR digitalisation significantly, with more than 67% of organisations now working on a standardised digital HR Core. But beyond the core, non-digital HR processes have been very difficult to deliver during the pandemic. This has been made more challenging by the shift to hybrid working for desk-based workers, who are now able to work from anywhere and at any time.
As a result of these shifts, organisations are increasingly looking to digitise all their people processes. This will create unprecedented levels of service enquiries from employees and require organisations to simplify, automate and improve the efficiency of how employee requests are handled.
In this article, Sven Elbert, Senior Analyst at Fosway Group, looks at how leading organisations embed HR services into the digital workplace and how this improves the employee experience and employee engagement.
HR digitalisation during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic caused tectonic shifts in businesses and to where, when and how people work. Desk-based work transformed to become entirely digital during lockdowns. And as things are starting to transition to a new normal, a majority of organisations have stabilised their approach to flexible and hybrid work. With 65% of HR leaders thinking that flexible working is driving higher productivity, it is no surprise that about one third of European organisations are still planning to expand their adoption of flexible and hybrid work over the year to come.
The pandemic required all HR products and services to be digitised to exist in the digital workplace. This affected hundreds of services, including:
- Clocking in and out,
- Shift swapping,
- The delivery of payslips,
- Contract management with electronic signatures,
- Maternity/ paternity leave,
- Salary reviews,
- Performance and feedback
- And offboarding.
HR teams are still working on the backlog of services to be digitised and as a result many organisations have introduced digital HR Service Delivery solutions to standardise their services and handle requests. Modern HR Service Delivery solutions are embedded in Cloud HR suites or are available as specialist solutions that sit across the HR ecosystem. They are typically comprised of the following components:
- An HR Helpdesk that covers case, response and service level agreement (SLA) management, as well as survey management to provide a professional and consistent digital service.
- An intelligent HR Service Portal that contains an HR Service Catalogue, a Knowledge Base and HR Policies to reduce employee enquiries and to provide up-to-date information on all HR services, globally.
- A digital Employee Document Management module, providing safe and secure digital storage, access and management.
- And an Employee Workflow Management solution allowing HR operations to self-configure key employee workflows.
Historically, these HR Service Delivery solutions have been used by people operations teams in HR Shared Service Centres. But since the pandemic Fosway Group has seen demand increase quickly in the mid-market and SME space.
The mid-market: the importance of HR Service Delivery growing exponentially
As organisations start to introduce these solutions, they soon recognise the importance of being able to deflect cases to cope with volumes. The aim is to solve or address an employee’s service request even before it reaches an HR service agent.
But since employees often do not have the time to study the content in HR service portals, in FAQs or knowledge base articles, these pages are not great for case deflection. While they help a little, their main purpose is to provide service agents with efficient and detailed responses to standard enquiries.
To improve case deflection, many service delivery solutions have invested heavily in becoming more embedded into the employee’s flow-of-work. Employees will often have work tools such as Outlook, Slack or MS Teams open during the day to interact with their colleagues, which is why they are ideal for embedding an HR Service Delivery chatbot that picks up employees’ questions when and where they occur.
The importance of HR Service Delivery and Natural language processing (NLP)
Assume an employee reads an MS Teams message from their manager asking the team to book their personal time off to ensure they are all within their carry-over allowance before the year ends. Here, the employee will want to check their balance, potentially confer with family or friends and then book a few days. With an HR Service chatbot the service catalogue, the FAQs and the knowledge article as well as the data from the core HR system, can be exposed in the flow of work. This provides employees with a much faster and simpler experience than having to login to the HR system, navigate to the screen with the paid time off (PTO) balance and then click through to book the days they require.
The first generation of these chatbots failed to make this a great experience. But natural language processing is enabling rapid advances. If it’s easy to check the weather report and to order toilet paper via a personal digital assistant, why shouldn’t it be possible to check your PTO balance and book holidays just by saying it out loud. Well, it is possible. Today!
All the tools to simplify HR teams’ processes, such as surveys, social and collaboration, and digital signatures? Feel free to check out our HR Service Delivery module, or to contact us for more information.
Fosway Group is the Europe’s #1 HR Industry Analyst. It is focused on HR, Talent and Learning. Founded in 1996, they are known for their unique European research, and their independence. And just like the Roman road they draw our name from, companies will find that they are unusually direct. So, whether companies are looking for independent research, specific advice or even a critical friend to cut through the market hype, they can tell any organization what they need to know to succeed.