What Does it Mean to “Focus on the Employee?”
I spend a good amount of time at trade shows and networking events speaking with IT and service delivery professionals. When I talk with people about the challenges and ideas in service management, I hear about things like ITIL best practices, change management, and other day-to-day, internal facing topics. Of course, I understand why these topics are on IT professionals’ minds; their days revolve around getting these things right. But in today’s environment, there’s an opportunity for IT leaders to do so much more. If we can all take a step back from that day-to-day mindset to look at how to improve the employee experience for everything they might need in an organization, I think it’s clear that we can extend these concepts outside of our teams to remove other organizational hurdles for employees.
This is what it means when you hear thought leaders talk about “employee-focused” service management. Many of the elements are already there in IT. These best practices in the ITIL framework and processes like incident, problem, change, and release management are designed to create better working environments where employees get what they need from technology, with minimal disruption.
Now ask yourself this: Is the organization, as a whole, using a similar set of best practices to ensure that employees get what they need? After all, they’ll have requests from HR for benefits changes, facilities for building access, and legal for contract reviews. Where do they go to place these requests? We’ve worked long and hard to combat walk-up, support line, and email requests in IT because they’re inefficient. It’s time to do the same everywhere else.
Current State of Employee Services
According to HDI research, 56% of organizations use their ITSM tool outside of IT. That includes one or more of the following areas:
- Customer service
That means more than half of the organizations in HDI’s survey have begun to take steps toward a single service platform, creating a convenient and efficient experience for employees in multiple areas. That’s a great start!
However, we polled almost 200 audience members in a recent webinar, and only 19% had a fully shared services approach in employee service. A fully shared employee service approach is a lofty goal, so this is to be expected. We’re very early on in this process. Service is evolving quickly to include new technology in automations and machine learning. Service expectations are escalating as a result. It’s a lot to ask to bring an entire organization onto the same page, but it is possible.
Overcoming the Strategic Challenges
If it were easy to push a unified employee service strategy throughout the organization, that poll would show closer to 90% of audience members had done it. Even for IT leaders, it takes some meticulous planning just to create a service portal and encourage employees to use it. ITSM vendors dedicate implementation experts to make sure the service strategy rolls out effectively in IT – and we’ve all had years to improve this process.
This is where the opportunity for IT leaders comes in. They know how to build a service portal, a system of automations for ticket routing and priority, a service catalog to streamline requests, and an effective change management process. They know who to call from their ITSM vendors if they need help implementing these processes. They can guide other stakeholders in the organization through this process.
Of course, there are challenges. Human resources doesn’t want to call their tickets, “incidents.” That term could mean something very different in HR. Facilities might not use the term “service request.” More likely, they’d call it a work order. No service provider outside of IT will be accustomed to working out of a ticket queue, but all of these hurdles are opportunities for IT to teach, train, and help implement. There’s a long list of Samanage customers who created a single platform for employee services because their technology leaders seized this opportunity.
Immediate Benefits of Shared Employee Services
It won’t take long for organizational leaders to recognize the value of the project that IT has led. Employees will certainly see the benefits quickly. They’ll have one portal to submit a request for a new application, a squeaky chair repair, a 401(k) contribution update, and a new security badge.
Before, they had to figure out who to contact for these requests, then hope the communication (likely an email chain) reached the appropriate parties, and there was no visibility into the request once they submitted. Under the new shared employee service approach, they’ll drop their request into the same portal every time. They’ll receive an SLA for how long that service delivery will take, whether it’s a new laptop or a standing desk. They won’t have to worry about getting it to the right person, and they’ll always have a view of the request with an option to communicate with the service provider.
This simplifies everything for today’s employee, which is extremely valuable in a business world full of different tools and applications. The benefits are long term, too. This strategy is built to scale, providing a unified service experience as a company grows, creates new departments, or adds employees.
It’s no secret that the companies on the “best places to work” lists are some of the most financially successful in the world. It may sound cliche to say, “happy employees lead to happy customers,” but it’s true. The unified employee service management strategy is a great place to start building a culture for happy employees, and it’s time for IT to lead the way!