HR Case Management: The Journey to Employee Acceptance
Implementing HR case management is paramount for centralizing and standardizing HR support. It provides the opportunity to streamline the HR processes. It also assigns work to its rightful place, scales the HR organization, enhances reporting, and provides the technological foundation for HR transformation. This ultimately leads to a more structured, efficient HR organization, thus immensely improving the employee experience.
Unfortunately, employees often do not see it that way when initially introduced to HR case management. They are used to walking up or sending an email to their local HR representative and may feel they are losing this individual personal touch. Also, others may just dislike change. This can and should be expected.
And while, to a great extent, the adoption of this new model just requires time, having been through two global HR case management implementations, I do believe there are some actions we can take to facilitate it and make it smoother.
Design Around Employee Experience
According to isolved’s research, employee experience is a top priority for 92 percent of HR leaders. So enhancing employee experience is already at the forefront of our minds. And while all the benefits of HR case management described above may take some time to emerge, there are some value-adds that we can bring about even as we design and configure our HR case management system.
Think about some of your employees’ main challenges when reaching out for HR support. Try to address them. For example, the HR-related information on the company intranet may be very outdated and difficult to navigate. So adding an employee knowledge portal to the HR case management solution can be an effective way of attracting employees to the new work model.
The automatic workflows can provide many other value-adds to employees and managers. From eliminating the need for offline approvals to automatic reminders for required actions or checklists, the options are numerous. And may be a bit overwhelming. So try to assess which ones will have the most significant impact and start with them.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
As with any other change management activity, communication through implementing an HR case management solution is imperative. Highlight the benefits to the employee experience, but to achieve maximum effect, keep the communication focused. Tailor different messages to different groups in the organization, outlining the specific impact the new technology will have on improving their work lives.
While focusing on all the positives, do not forget to be realistic and address the main areas of potential resistance. These usually revolve around two main themes.
The first one is related to response times. For some employees who have so far had easy and direct access to their local HR representative, utilizing HR case management may appear slow. But my experience shows that if we present clear timelines and set the right expectations, most of our internal clients accept the new turnaround times relatively quickly.
The other types of concerns usually revolve around the quality of the HR service and the expertise of the HR specialists who will provide it in the new operating model. So make sure you build up the reputation of your HR service center team during the implementation process.
And don’t forget to continue communicating even after the initial rollout so you can reinforce your messages and keep the momentum going.
Break Old Habits
The tactics described so far are directed at pulling employees to the new HR case management solution. But we also need to push them a bit towards using it.
And to create new habits, we first need to break the old ones. For example, one of the most persistent habits we have as employees is to send and receive emails. Most of us practically live in our inboxes. So the easiest thing to do is shoot an email to the HR specialist we are used to contacting.
In both HR case management implementations that I was part of, we recognized that this habit would delay our system adoption. So we disabled the functionality to open an HR case via email from the start.
This ensured that the employees would have to go through the HR portal. There, they were more likely to try to find the information themselves. Even if they were not successful, they would then be able to select the specific type of HR case related to their query. And that would facilitate triaging and getting their request resolved faster and more efficiently.
Make Using HR Case Management Unavoidable
A big part of our resistance to change is the fear of the unknown. So one of the most efficient ways to facilitate fast adoption is to create a compelling need for people to use the new tool. Think of a process that the vast majority of the employees will want to participate in and move it to your case management tool.
We did this with our PTO sell-back program recently, making our HR case management system the only channel through which employees could send their requests. It had an amazing impact on our adoption rates which continued to remain high even after the program was over.
Get Everyone On Board
Many HR representatives find it easier to continue with their old way of work. They want to respond to queries directly rather than guiding employees to use case management.
If not addressed quickly, this can significantly delay the new model acceptance. In addition, it can create confusion which will be detrimental to employee experience.
So work with your HR function continuously. Provide them with the tools and resources to gently redirect employees and ensure that they are fluent with the system’s benefits.
Provide Excellent Service
All of the actions described here will help you overcome any resistance to change and guide your employees to your HR case management tool. But there is one more big step you need to take if you want them to turn HR case management into the go-to source for all HR support.
You need to ensure that the service employees receive is outstanding. You can have the greatest technology with all the bells and whistles. But in the end, the positive employee experience will depend on whether the query gets resolved. And for that, you need a well-trained and knowledgeable HR service center team.
Investing enough time and resources in their initial training is imperative. But it’s not enough. Make sure they are the first to know about any policy changes or new HR programs. Provide them with all the resources they need. When you do this, HR case management will be all that you promised your employees it would be.