HR Service Delivery: What You Should Know for Today’s Workplace

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HR service delivery is changing rapidly because of workforce shifts and technological advances. So how can HR leaders streamline HR processes to deliver services to employees in the most effective way? Let’s take a look.

Contents
What is HR service delivery?
HR service delivery models
Why should you modernize your HR service delivery?
HR service delivery best practices

What is HR service delivery?

HR is responsible for providing an array of information and services to an organization’s entire employee population, including onboarding, payroll processing, employee benefits, and many others. The practice of providing these services is HR service delivery, and it is an opportunity to instill your HR strategy into every step of the workforce life cycle. 

How effectively you implement HR services impacts your organization’s employee experience. Just as customers desire a positive experience when buying your product or service, employees yearn for the proficiency of well-executed HR service delivery.

HR service delivery models

HR service delivery is mainly deployed through either a “traditional” or “multi-tiered” model.

The traditional HR service delivery model revolves around a decentralized, generalist HR staff. They report to and meet the needs of each business unit directly at the local level. They provide customized, hands-on service for employees, managers, and executives.

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Although this approach is still the most common for smaller organizations with a consolidated workforce, it is becoming outdated for larger organizations. HR managers can be overburdened when they are responsible for providing all HR services and must spend time on relentless administrative tasks. This leads to frustration for employees when they aren’t able to get quick responses to their questions or problems and have limited visibility into their cases.

The multi-tiered HR service delivery model is based on the “three-legged stool” model developed by David Ulrich. This centralized option involves handling employee issues through three groups of HR professionals with unique skillsets.

  • Shared services – This centralized team is the first point of contact for employees and managers. The team is responsible for administrating the transactions for day-to-day requests and inquiries. Employees access this via phones and online portals. 
  • Centers of excellence – HR specialists handle more complex situations. They offer services to management for implementing programs and policies for areas such as compensation, benefits, training, performance counseling, and staffing.
  • HR business partners – These strategic HR professionals consult directly with business-unit managers on people issues that affect the business’s bottom line. This can include designing plans and programs for handling recruiting, succession planning, etc.

Three-Legged Stool Model

A numerical format explains the layers of this HR delivery service model more specifically:

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Tier 0 support falls under HR shared services. It provides employees and line managers with the efficiency of self-service technology. They can find their own information or solutions without having to contact HR directly.

Tier 1 support is handled in the HR shared services team. This is when employees can’t find what they’re looking for or don’t have a self-service option. They submit a request which is routed to an HR representative who can provide answers and methods. If the issue is too complex for Tier 1, it is escalated to the next tier. 

Tiers 2 support offers subject matter experts who have specialized knowledge and techniques to resolve more complex situations.

Tier 3 support is reserved for employee relations cases that call for direct interaction or intervention from a strategic HR professional.

There is an increasing shift to this multi-tiered approach for the modern workforce. It allows HR to take advantage of the innovations in technology that elevate HR operations and standardize delivery to improve efficiency and consistency.

Why should you modernize your HR service delivery?

The world is in an era of digital transformation. Companies need to stay relevant and focus on HR service delivery for the future. What’s more, modernization also yields considerable advantages for your organization, including:

Being more cost-effective – The efficiency of HR technology and shared services increases output. It also reduces costs with faster responses and resolutions. Time isn’t wasted on redundant systems and duplicated efforts, and more employee inquires can be handled with self-service technology. Standardizing processes and ensuring compliance company-wide reduces confusion and frustration and lowers the risk for legal liabilities.

A multi-tiered delivery model also matches specific skillsets and salaries with correlated work. For example, more entry-level HR staff handle administrative tasks. This leaves higher-level HR professionals who have more specialized training to cope with the more in-depth situations.

Becoming more strategic – Effective HR service delivery simplifies administrative tasks and meets employees’ needs better to give the business a competitive advantage. It allows the Human Resources department more time to focus on its strategic contribution that will support and facilitate whatever organizational change is on the horizon.

Improving employee productivity – Automating tasks like email and phone communication by routing requests to the appropriate HR staff streamlines workflow. This empowers frontline HR to provide services efficiently, so they can accomplish more tasks and answer more requests. The ability to monitor interactions also keeps cases on track with metrics. Furthermore, employees who seek HR services will also get what they need quickly with less downtime from their own work. 

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Providing better analytics and reporting – Today’s HR service delivery platforms can track and analyze data from every function to measure KPIs. Guided by metrics that offer an enhanced perspective on services and employee issues, you can make informed decisions for improving internal operations.

Personalizing and customizing employee service experience – Managers and employees want quick, one-stop shopping for answers to their questions, so they need relevant, targeted material. Providing employees with accurate, consistent information and transparency in the status of their cases builds their trust in the company for enhanced employee engagement.

Boosting your overall employee experience – HR service delivery impacts the entire employment lifecycle. Nowadays, employees expect to be treated like customers. Continuity and positive exchanges with HR that mirror the service and technology they are used to in their personal lives promote a better employee experience within your organization.

HR service delivery best practices

HR services are instrumental in shaping how employees view their employer’s brand. Dealing with HR should leave employees with a positive impression and confidence that their needs have been met. Abiding by the following best practices can help you offer top-notch HR service delivery: 

1. Apply the What-Who-How framework

When planning your HR service delivery, you must look at the big picture before delving into the specifics. A helpful approach is to decide on the following three targets:

What: What is the HR service we are offering, and what do we need to do it?

Who: Who (structure and roles) in HR will deliver the service? What competencies and skills will staff need, and will they need to be developed or brought in?

How: How will we deliver the service? What processes and technology will we need to accomplish this? 

Remember that your HR service delivery model must incorporate and support your overall HR strategy.

HR Service Delivery Best Practices

2. Implement the right technology 

Technology is at the center of today’s HR service delivery. HR should be equipped with a service delivery platform designed to manage workflow with integration across functions and quickly resolve cases. It must also be user-friendly and personalized. 

When employees are using an employee portal to search for policies or forms, they shouldn’t have to sort through information that isn’t relevant to them. Instead, it should direct them to what is appropriate for their role, location, and employment status.

Aim for cloud-based tech so that delivery is accessible and consistent. It should also meet employees’ expectations for the same expedient technology interactions they have on a daily basis outside the workplace.

With the right tools, HR service delivery is more efficient and also elevates the digital employee experience

3. Enable on-demand employee self-service

Employees tend to prefer the ease of accessing information themselves without having to speak to someone from the HR team for routine questions. After all, it’s now second nature for us to type our inquiries into a search engine and retrieve immediate answers.

Employees also want support to be available at their convenience. This can include when they’re away from work and beyond typical office hours. It is especially relevant for remote employees or those who travel. 

HR service delivery with self-service technology accommodates these situations. For example, you can build an online knowledge base where employees can find answers to their questions and request PTO, etc. For large organizations, the option of a chatbot could be beneficial. 

4. Have a scalable model in place

As your business changes over time, your HR service delivery model will need to adapt in order to remain consistent and reliable. You’ll need a clear idea of the organization’s long-term growth goals to develop the components of your model. In addition, it should be adaptable to meet different requirements when unplanned changes occur, so keep these questions in mind:  

  • Can this HR delivery system be scaled up quickly without a high cost? 
  • Can this HR delivery system be scaled down easily? 

A centralized, multi-tiered HR service delivery system that uses technology to automate and organize workflows has the resources to absorb additional usage. As a result, it is more scalable than decentralized systems. This will help you provide excellent HR service even as your organization grows.

5. Don’t lose the human touch

Even though technology makes your work and your employees’ lives easier, don’t forget the importance of a personal touch. Employees may expect access to HR information at their fingertips. However, they still want the option of engaging with an actual person. There is no substitute for human interactions, and open communication is one facet of a satisfying employee experience. 

Always provide employees with a way to contact an HR professional who can answer their questions and walk them through the intricate and sensitive issues they may have. When a case takes time to resolve, make sure employees have insight into the status of the steps you’re taking and know when they can expect an answer. Transparency in the process assures employees that their situation is being taken seriously and they are valued.

To recap

With the pressure on HR to be cost-effective, have strategic value, and meet employees’ demands, future-proofing your HR service delivery isn’t optional. If you want to work efficiently and make sure that your employees always have access to what they need from HR, you must transform how you serve them. You can make a meaningful impact on the workplace environment and your organization’s goals with innovative HR service delivery.

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