Don’t Use Your IT Help Desk for HR

Don't Use Your IT Help Desk for HR

When seeking a new case management system for HR, many HR organizations opt for the easy decision of using the company’s existing IT Help Desk solution. Why not? It has similarities to an HR specific system. It has been used successfully by IT for years. It’s feature rich, lower cost, and possibly even no cost to expand the system into the HR department.

Then comes the painful reality of critical differences between IT focused systems and HR-centric systems. And as many people know, once a system is in place it will be very difficult to replace later. You will probably have to live with your selection for years to come.

So to help you justify the selection of a new HR case management system, here are some of the key features HR demands that are often not available in IT help desk solutions:

  • Cases tagged as confidential. HR systems can literally hide cases to all but authorized eyes. Confidential cases are only viewable and editable by the assigned HR owner or the owner’s manager.
  • HR Help Desk provides access to selected “non-employees”, i.e. terminated workers (COBRA info access), retirees (401k access), spouses of workers on disability leave, 1099’s, new recruits, etc.
  • The best HR case management solutions maintain written dialogs with employees inside the case record and outside of email for confidentiality reasons. Email is not HIPAA or Safe Harbor compliant.
  • Ability to keep freeform notes on employees in their Help Desk master record, available to all HR agents, alerting them to special requirements (i.e., disabilities) or personnel issues with the employee.
  • Quick-link access to employee social media accounts (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Information from the employee’s public social media accounts can provide a broader picture of the employee’s character. Generally this feature is enabled or disabled depending on company HR policies and local regulations.
  • Comprehensive knowledge bases for employee and HR self-service.
  • Providing the employee with options on how to contact them upon case resolution, showing respect for the employee’s privacy. In confidential cases such as harassment, employees may prefer a face to face interaction with HR rather than an emailed resolution. The best HR systems provide the employee with several notification options.
  • Ability to expand the HR Help Desk to provide additional HR services such as basic recruiting, onboarding, FMLA tracking, links to benefit enrollment systems, payroll, and other HR systems.
  • Securing the server — There is little confidential information stored in an IT help desk system — certainly no HIPAA, PHI, or PII type of data. So “to cloud or not to cloud, that is the question”.
    • LBi’s government-regulated clients (notably financial services, telecommunications and healthcare clients among others) are highly sensitive to data protection and demand the highest level of system security possible — which usually means a dedicated server single tenant implementation, along with additional security services, contrary to common SaaS shared environment implementations.
  • HR Help Desk reporting is different. For instance HR can run an SLA achievement report and analyze the results compared to an employee morale survey to find correlations between SLA adherence and general employee satisfaction. LBi HR Help Desk provides both reports and an easy means for aggregating the results into a summary analysis.
  • Locating an employee record. IT systems typically provide employee search by name or ID #. LBi clients love the special “sounds like” employee name search feature. Just type in your best-guess spelling and HR Help Desk will provide all close matches.
  • Tasks required to resolve IT cases are generally preset standard procedures. In the HR world, new or unusual issues often require customized task lists created by the case owner or the owner’s manager. LBi HR Help Desk provides the ability to create custom workflow tasks on the fly. Cases cannot be closed until all tasks are marked as completed.
  • HR Help Desk provides a direct communications link between HR and the workforce. Basic features such as the global message utility permit HR to broadcast company news, alerts, and general messages (displayed on the employee portal home page) to the entire organization or specific messages to specific groups. This is not a typical IT case management service.

There are more core differences between IT and HR case management systems, but the above list should make our point; don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. You may be able to jam it in place, but it will be very difficult to remove later. If you want to dig deeper into why an HR-dedicated Help Desk system is crucial to HR service excellence, download our recent white paper, “Case Management: The Backbone of Excellence in HR Service Delivery.”

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