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This is a guest blog from Liliya Apostolova.

We’ve all read the HR articles, seen the memes, and attended the conference talks. We get it: the workforce is changing. Today’s labour force, with its millennials and their self-directed, flexible approach to work, is different than yesterday’s and is changing the way we work. The US-based Families and Work Institute’s National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW) validates the changing social and psychological contracts employees have with their employers. The changes are compounded by the rise of the service economy – the prolific ‘UBER-isation’ of goods and services, with instant gratification, simplification and the meeting of expectations becoming the norm.

Whether these changes are overstated or not, what is pertinent is a change in the nature of the demands of employees to HR and their expectations of their employers. It is no longer a transactional relationship between employee and employer – it’s a symbiotic relationship, with both parties expected to express their needs and expectations, be listened to, and receive a response that keeps them happy … well, mostly.

But relationships are complicated, and working relationships often even particularly so. One way to approach working relationships is by treating employees at work the way they would like to be treated as customers of any business. There’s been some research around how organisations with the most engaged employees see 4 percent more sales growth and shareholder returns than average, 90 percent less staff turnover, and double the customer loyalty. Because ultimately happy employees mean happy and more loyal customers.

HR Help Desks can help you achieve a great employee experience while also helping your HR team become more efficient.


Let’s talk about HR operations. Gartner research suggests that HR spends 80% of their time on administrative duties which prevent them from focusing their time on what truly matters – engaging and motivating their talent to perform to the best of their abilities.

But there’s an easy solution. In fact, in their annual 2016-2017 HR Systems survey,  Sierra Cedar reported that top performing organisations are 29% more likely to implement an HR Help Desk than the non-Top Performing organizations. They also state that HR Service Delivery tools such as a help desk solution are essential to increasing HR productivity and serving more employees with the same HR headcount – up to 60% more employees with Mobile, self-service portal and Help Desk technology.

What should you look for in a Help Desk solution?

A help desk solution includes two main components on the employee facing side:

  1. A place for employees to submit queries automatically which are received by HR centrally and routed to the appropriate HR This could be an email alias like hr@company.com or it could be an actual  web form they fill out or it might be a chat widget to start a chat in real time with HR.
  2. A self-service portal to find answers to the most common questions, policies and HR information. This portal usually contains the web form, points out the HR email and the chat in case the employee can’t find the answer

On the HR-facing side, the HR Help Desk includes:

  1. An interface where all requests come in which you could sort and create custom views, perhaps by type of query like vacation requests, professional development questions, benefits, leave, etc.
  2. Productivity tools like ability to create canned responses to common questions, helpful hints what answers you might want to provide and ability to push an answer to the self-service portal so next time employees can find it themselves
  3. Reporting: This is where you could get insights into how productive your HR staff is, what is the most popular content in your dashboard.

3 Key things to look for in a help-desk tool?

  • Ease of use: Is it intuitive for both your HR staff (remember they are employees, too) and your workforce. Is it mobile optimised? After all, the employee experience at work is key to happy employees and seeing HR as a proactive, easy to reach/quick to respond department goes a long way.
  • Insights: You can’t really improve service delivery without knowing where your process breaks down or how your employees perceive the service you provide

A good tool would give you valuable information that you wouldn’t get using just email to power your HR support, nor would get this if just using an HRIS alone. Things you should be able to report on:

  1. How are we perceived, as an HR organization, vs. other teams internally?
  2. How satisfied are employees with our solutions?
  3. Are we staying on top of the flow of tasks? Or are we getting inundated beyond capacity?
  4. How quick are we to respond?
  5. What are the trends in terms of flow?
  6. What seems to be the topics that people keep having to ask about and is there a way we can cut those down some way?
  7. Who is doing really well in the HR team in terms of addressing issues?
  8. What content on our help center is most popular and least popular?
  • Integrated Knowledge and Self-Service Portal: Employees would prefer to find their own answers vs have to contact your HR team. Your HR team would prefer to focus on strategic issues and not have to answer repetitive queries all day long. Look for a solution that allows you to expose knowledge easily in a self-service portal, usually mobile optimised with ability to contact you directly straight from this portal.

About the Author

Liliya Apostolova is a Senior Marketing Product Leader at Zendesk.