Recently, the US Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) published a Research Brief titled “The State of the Federal HR Workforce: Changes and Challenges”[1]. The brief walks through the transformation of the Federal HR Workforce from the National Performance Review (NPR) of 1993 to the present.

The paper referenced two key action items from the NPR:

  • The increased focus on customer service for Federal HR staff, and;
  • Reducing rules and regulations.

The NPR action items are amazingly similar to strategies contained in the current the President’s Management Agency (PMA) Cross-Agency Priority Goal, “Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century”[2], specifically:

  • Develop the capacity and skills of HR professionals to better serve customers, and;
  • Eliminate burdensome policies and procedures.

For over 25 years agencies have wanted to shift HR away from transactional activities towards strategic focus on mission execution and organizational outcomes, but has anything really changed? As you will see in the MSPB paper, there has been significant change to the composition of the Federal HR workforce, the systems that are used, and customer expectations. This is not the change that was contemplated by the NPR, nor is it the change contemplated by the PMA.

It’s not the operational model that needs changing, but rather an overhaul of the tools in the Federal HR toolkit. Modern employee experience tools like those offered by ServiceNow™ like HR Service Delivery (HRSD) and the Employee Service Center provide the capability to really flip the employee experience on it’s head. Whether it’s ‘just in time’ campaigns for open season, true self-service of content through knowledge articles, or visibility of cases and inquiries, the Employee Service Center is a game-changer for both the front- and back-office workforce. Both HR and their customers can draw from the same body of knowledge – at the same time – which will increase customer satisfaction. Using HRSD to automate cases and workflows will further reduce the time spent on transactional work.

The improvement will occur through the use of these modern platforms and software which finally open the door to finally and truly automate the transactional work. The automation improves the quality of data in the systems of record, and the combination of HRSD and Employee Service Center becomes the system of excellence.