In our May 28th Federal HR Workforce blog post about Federal HR workforce transformation, we said the operational model wasn’t the problem. The focus should be adding new tools to the HR toolkit. So, what should we do with these new tools? The MSPB research report provides our roadmap via eight barriers to transforming the HR workforce.

The eighth listed barrier is Lack of Trust and Cooperation between HR and Supervisors which begins, “The relationship between supervisors and HR staff is critical.” A key tenant of a healthy relationship is trust. No matter how inspirational, leaders alone are not able to create trust. It’s just not something that can be forced down from the top. Trust is built (or destroyed) at the mission execution level between managers (or employees) and their HR Specialist or HR Assistant. A healthy level of trust results in better cooperation. Better cooperation makes it easier to deliver updated employee programs and services. Updated programs and services will dramatically improve the employee experience.

How would this play out? Let’s say an agency leader wants to reward her team with time off for hitting certain performance or production goals (e.g. 2,000 cases processed in a quarter). Since she’s not sure what is allowed, she would visit the Employee Service Center and search the Knowledge Base for “Time Off Awards”. Armed with current agency policy, she realizes that her request exceeds what is normally allowed by policy so she reaches out to her servicing HR Specialist with the request.

The HR Specialist engages the agency’s HR community through the HR Employee Forum and asks about her customer’s request. An HR Manager in another service center sees the question and responds with, “I am on a workgroup evaluating the policy. This is a great real-world example of what we are trying to do. I will connect you with the HR Director who is leading our workgroup.” The HR Director would then engage the CHCO, USM, or whoever is the final approving authority to expedite the approval and implementation of the new policy.

In this simple use case, through the use of the Employee Service Center, especially the Knowledge Base and Employee Community and Forums, the request is researched, engaged, escalated, and returned to the manager for action. The manager can then request the pertinent case(s) via an HR Catalog Item to request the Time Off Awards.

The capabilities of the ServiceNow Platform, HR Service Delivery, and the Employee Service Center will significantly reduce or eliminate barriers and achieve the desired outcomes. The improved quality of HR services and the balance of consultation and compliance are exactly what was contemplated by the National Performance Review and required by the President’s Management Agenda.