What if HR could break free from time-consuming manual activities such as answering benefit inquiries or coordinating employee onboarding tasks. What could HR achieve?

Every organization says employees are their greatest asset. Every organization wants high impact HR teams to focus on high value added activities such as talent management, training, organizational design and fostering a winning business culture.

Yet, up to 30% of HR time[1] is spent in routine, administrative tasks such as handling emails for mundane requests. What could be accomplished if the HR team had 30% more time? What impact would this have on the business?

Service management is a way to reclaim low value, administrative time by automating repetitive and complex manual work and improving business process.

Service management doesn’t replace your current human capital system (HCM) system (such as Successfactors, Oracle or Workday) – it integrates with it and complements it, giving you visibility and control of the work done via email today.

The end result – vastly better end user experiences.

Why is HR service delivery so difficult?

Unstructured manual work

HR teams take pride in providing high touch, high value services. High touch means they rely on personal communications to respond to questions and complex HR activities. Often this high touch approach leads to time spent helping employees find routine information or complete mundane transactions.

A manual approach causes requests to come in through multiple channels (email, phone calls, in person conversations). Reconciling and managing requests, when they come in this manner, is a headache and management by spreadsheet begins to run amok.

Low visibility and accountability

Because so much work is done manually, HR leaders don’t know what their people are doing. Prioritizing work, distributing work, and resourcing work is difficult. There’s no system to monitor or manage requests and no way to know what is important to employees and no way to really know how an HR team is performing from a service delivery stand point.

Employees can’t see the status of their requests, perceive requests to be lost and then send more emails and phone calls, adding to the mix. This generates frustration and leads to additional interactions with HR and a feeling that service levels are inadequate.

High employee expectations

Amazon, online restaurant reservation systems and the myriad of self serve options available to us today, have lead to an expectation of on demand services in the work place.

Why can’t I have an Amazon experience, at work?

What is HR service management?

Most HR organizations have systems for managing employee data and pay related activities. Some have systems for performance management. Most do not have automated systems to handle the employee inquiries and to fulfill these requests.

Service management changes the way HR engage with employees. Not only does it replace email, but it responds to requests, advances requests, automates repeatable manual processes and manages cross-functional activities, such as employee onboarding.

Service management systems follow up with people and let you know if there’s a problem. It can answer the questions, “what are people doing” and “how well are we doing it”?

Service management systems DO NOT replace your current HCM system. Service management systems are integrated with your existing tools, giving you visibility and control of the work you do mostly by email today. Think of it as one-part traffic cop, one part administrative assistant, and one part project manager.

For a more expansive discussion, download this paper: A Practical Guide to Simplifying HR Service Delivery.

Where to start?

It can be a little overwhelming to think about where to start in a self service initiative, especially considering all the different types of interactions an HR Department has with employees. The obvious question is: where to start?


  • High volume and high touch interactions. These are always good candidates for self service and automation.
  • Repetitive types of tasks that can be eliminated through workflow and automation.

Common processes for automation include:

  • Employee information changes
  • Requests to hire
  • Changes to payroll
  • Policy inquiries
  • Tuition reimbursements


  • A request to hire process is often entirely paper and email based, with the end product recorded in a spreadsheet. Back and forth interactions over email to gain approvals, sending forms, getting signed forms back are lengthy, get caught in email in boxes, and are confounded by vacation or sick days.
  • By enabling this type of process in a self service format and automating work flows – the amount of processing can be reduced from days to hours.

[1] A Practical Guide to Simplifying HR Service Delivery How Service Management Can Unlock the Potential of Your HR Organization, ServiceNow