Implementing best practice in HR service management

Catherine Shannon, Senior HR Manager, Belfast Trust explains how shared learning has resulted in an improved HR service for staff at her trust.
The HR team in the Belfast Trust provides a full range of services to an integrated health and social care multi-disciplinary workforce of 22,000. Further to the implementation of a new HR IT solution with an integrated automated manager and employee self-service (MSS/ESS) system for HR transactions, HR were encountering a high volume of user generated activity – almost 50,000 calls over a three-month period. This had reached a critical mass with 25+% of them being abandoned, leading to complaints from staff who were finding it difficult to speak with HR on a range of issues and have problems resolved in a timely manner.
Findings from the HR User Survey also highlighted the frustrations of managers in trying to contact HR in an efficient way. Whilst the HR suite of transactions had been transformed through the use of MSS and ESS, the support model within HR was outdated. We decided to embark on a change journey to transform HR and free up HR specialists to provide a more strategic and value added role to the organisation.
Using the quality improvement methodology of PDSA, we ensured a systematic approach to implementing this change could be adopted. Our aim was to:
·         Triage and resolve issues at source thereby reducing complaints and abandoned calls and enhancing the user experience
·         Use technology to support a tiered approach to engagement with HR
·         Provide an evidence base for the development of the new approach by undertaking data collation and analysis which including surveying managers and HR staff
·         Learn from best practice by benchmarking with other organisations.
As part of our benchmarking exercise we visited colleagues in Bradford University who shared their learning and experience from the implementation of ‘HR Service Now’, an all-encompassing service management platform.
Using this example of best practice, we developed a multi-tiered approach. We implemented a single point of contact for all HR calls (replacing more than 100 extension numbers!) to ensure effective triage and call handling. We trained a dedicated team, upskilled by HR specialists in frequently asked questions, resulting in only complex HR issues being transferred and escalated to senior HR specialists.
Within the first six weeks of go-live, we have received more than 12,000 telephone calls with 60% of queries being resolved at the first point of contact without the requirement for specialist support and abandoned calls reduced to 15%. On average the team are responding to 40 hours+ of calls weekly – this means 40 hours additional specialist HR support is available to our staff as a direct result of the new Information Service and the tiered triage approach.
This is not a complicated IT solution or approach to providing HR support or advice, however these changes have significantly added value to the wider HR department and Trust. HR is an accessible service for all employees and advice and information provided remains consistent and easy to understand.
We are continually developing the service and are launching an intuitive automated HR one stop shop, as well as the introduction of vlogs, blogs, and news articles and online chat functionality.

To find out more, please contact Catherine at: 

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