Study Reveals Disparity Between HR Strategies and Employee Service

January 19, 2017

Study Reveals Disparity Between HR Strategies and Employee Service

When it comes to providing top of the line service for employees, HR leaders understand all too well the complexities involved. From developing key employment strategies and initiatives to managing benefit plans and technology investments, today’s HR executives are responsible for ensuring that all employees  have a positive and valuable experience when interacting with HR and HR processes. 


From years of adding on services and multiple systems to meet the pressing organizational needs at the time, many HR leaders lost sight of the future and how those systems would factor into their company’s employee service strategy. As a result, it is not uncommon for HR departments today to rely on as many as five HR systems to deliver services, contributing to a cumbersome work environment and further driving employee confusion. 

While HR leaders strive to give their staff the tools and training to provide high quality service to employees, their efforts do not always translate into the improvements they envisioned. In fact, a recent study indicates that HR priorities often do not equate to what employees experience when engaging with HR. According to the study, the following processes and system disconnects within many of today’s organizations appear to be keeping HR and employees from working better together:

  1. HR priorities versus the employee service experience. While 87 percent of respondents said improving the employee service experience is a strategic priority for their organization, less than 40 percent thought employees would consider their experience with HR as adequate. HR leaders should be focused on not only understanding the root cause of this disparity, but also taking steps to ensure that strategic initiatives will have the intended impact and not contribute to employee dissatisfaction. For example, strategic system implementations and technology investments may end up contributing to an overly complex and inefficient process and end up standing in the way of employees getting the best possible experience while interacting with HR.
  2. Inefficient HR processes. With 82 percent of respondents relying primarily on email and phone calls to respond to employee inquiries, and 93 percent reporting that their HR processes can span multiple systems and departments, HR leaders should ensure that strategic plans include a process or system to centralize HR activities and improve communication capabilities. HR leaders should take advantage of today’s leading technologies and provide employees options to interact with HR that suit the preferences and evolving needs of the workforce.
  3. No central place for employees to get information. Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents reported that their employees do not have a single place to request and access services further complicating the matter. Without a single place to go, employees must choose from varying channels to get help including making a phone call, sending an email, walking into the HR department, or searching a SharePoint site. The resulting administrative burden placed on HR personnel can have a ripple effect that leads to higher costs and dissatisfaction within your organization.

When addressing these challenges, HR leaders should ensure they do so with a long-term vision of how the overall HR infrastructure and set of processes will impact interactions down to at the lowest levels between HR and employees. There is a simpler way to manage processes by investing in key strategic technologies. The following tools can help HR leaders and their teams deliver an exceptional employee service experience:

  1. Automation is key. By automating workflows and routine inquiries, the administrative burden on HR is significantly reduced as well as the time spent using manual tools such as email and spreadsheets. More importantly, this frees HR professionals up to work on strategic initiatives such as engaging with employees when they need their help the most instead of spending time responding to the same requests over and over again.   
  2. Create a one-stop shop. Through a central portal, employees can easily access information regarding payroll, benefits, tuition reimbursement, etc. By bringing everything together in one place, HR organizations can simplify the process for employees to get information and empower them to find the answers they need in a user friendly way. By staying abreast of the latest technology offerings, HR leaders will understand that today’s cloud-based technologies offer the ability to centralize and simplify processes, without the negative side-affects that many have experienced in the past with large system implementations.
  3. Time to prioritize. By using a single platform that tracks and responds instantly to employee requests, monitors cases, automates manual processes, and tracks and manages cross-departmental activities, HR is able to deliver a consistently great employee service experience. These tools also allow HR to prioritize tasks and know when there’s a problem, giving them the ability to more proactively address issues.


Technology investments that make it easier for their teams to provide top of the line service for employees should be the primary focus for HR leaders. Not only will these key technologies give their teams the ability to be more efficient and productive in their work, but they will also give them the time be more creative and strategic. Leveraging automation, providing a central place for employees to get answers, and prioritizing services, HR can focus on valuable initiatives including training and mentoring. With modern HR systems in place, frustration with disconnected HR processes will quickly dissipate.







The Authors: 

Jen Stroud is ServiceNow's HR evangelist, helping customers simplify and improve their HR services. Previously, she was the executive director of Human Capital Services at TeleTech. In that role, Jen led an enterprise HR transformation initiative for its more than 45,000 employees, transitioning the company from a decentralized HR support model to a shared services operating model. You can reach her on Twitter @Stroud_Jen