What is HR Case Management?

What is HR Case Management, and what makes it different from other case management solutions, like the ones used by IT and customer service help desk teams?

HR isn’t IT or customer service. Your needs are different. And your case management tools should support those differences. But first, let’s answer another question…

Why would HR need a case management tool?

HR receives lots of requests from employees, managers and other “customers.” The requests typically arrive through email or phone, if not face-to-face. Best practice is to keep a record of each request.

The requests that arrive through email are usually organized within a series of email folders. Telephone and face-to-face requests may be tracked in a shared spreadsheet.

But sooner or later, you outgrow those tools, and require a more industrial-strength solution that supports the operational nuances of HR – an HR case management solution.

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How is HR case management different?

Human Resources work includes several dynamics that should be enabled by HR case management. Those dynamics include:

  • The need to protect sensitive information
  • Frequent collaboration to resolve complex issues
  • Many diverse business processes with different levels of complexity
  • Documentation proliferation
  • Subject to multiple external points of compliance

An HR Case Management solution should have the functionality to address all these dynamics. Let’s walk through them, one by one.

HR Case Management must protect cases that contain sensitive information.

When an employee complains that they’ve been improperly treated by a manager, the case containing this private and sensitive information should only be visible to a limited group of HRs “agents,” such as members of the Employee Relations Team.

An HR Case Management solution should give you the flexibility to automatically control visibility of certain types of cases, or specific content within a case, so that sensitive information is kept private.

HR Case Management makes it easy to collaborate to resolve a case.

Cases are not always clear black-and-white issues. Sometimes, you need the input of multiple players to resolve an issue. Or as an HR service rep once said, “It takes a village to close a case.”

For example, a request to “correct” a paycheck deduction may require expertise from both benefits and payroll. The ability to easily create a linked “child case,” and use skill-based routing to automatically transfer that case to the right subject matter expert, makes it easy for a non-specialist to assign the request to the right person, to expedite resolution.

Similarly, it should be easy for an HR rep to delegate a case to an employee when more information is needed to resolve the request. Or, delegate the case to the employee’s manager or HRBP for an approval. These easy collaboration capabilities are key for the way HR works.

HR Case Management supports different SLA’s for different processes.

An HR case management solution is often put in place when an organization centralizes HR services. This centralization means that employees and managers can no longer knock on the door of their favorite HR person. Instead, they’re instructed to call a nameless, faceless 800 number.

In exchange for what may be perceived as a downgrade in service, the employees and managers are promised a standard level of service, or Service Level Agreement, more commonly called an “SLA.” The SLA references service quality, and time to resolve a case. But here’s the thing:

A change of address takes less time to process than a global transfer. Hence, those transactions should be assigned different (SLA’s). And many very complex processes involve multiple steps, each of which may require several days to complete. Therefore, it’s also useful for the case management solution to support multiple SLA’s for a single process.

As service centers matures, they take on more processes, and (SLA’s) become more important. Therefore, HR Case Management systems should be able to support a broad range of SLA’s, to align with varying complexities of business processes managed by HR.

HR Case Management should support document management

HR collects, creates and manages lots of documentation, all within the lifecycle of case. Therefore, HR case management should include the capability to easily collect, generate, approve and electronically sign the right documents as part of the case processing.

Document storage is another key component. An HR case management system makes it easy to automatically store the documents, when you close a case. And equally easy to retrieve the documents you need, without investing much time or effort.

Finally, document compliance is a pretty big deal too. The HR case management system must give you the means to be sure that you have all the right documents on hand for each employee, including the validity of each document.

HR Case Management should be easily configurable to meet changing requirements.

HR is subject to the labor regulations of the locales in which it conducts business. And laws and regulations do change, which means that you’ll need to modify your practices to comply with the changes.

So, the more geographic regions in which your organization operates, the more procedural changes you’ll face. Therefore, it’s critical that your HR case management solution is easy and quick to reconfigure, to comply with regulatory changes as they occur.

What’s next?

Hopefully, we’ve answered "What is HR Case Management?" But there’s more to learn. HR Case Management is one component of what Gartner refers to as an "Integrated HR Service Management Solution."

In addition to HR Case Management, the "full solution" includes an HR knowledge base, multiple access channels including a self-service portal, business process automation, employee document management and reporting and analytics. That's a lot to learn. But don't sweat it - we'll cover each topic, in up-coming blog posts.

This image is courtesy of Scott Madden

This image is courtesy of Scott Madden