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Frictionless HR – “Why can’t we…?”

March 5, 2021

Much of the progress we see in the world is because people have asked questions that begin, “Why can’t we…?”

For instance, someone recently told me about a conversation they’d had with a robotics engineer. We have domestic appliances that vacuum the floors, she said, and others that clean the dishes – but why can’t they go the last mile? Why can’t they dust the tables and shelves too? Why can’t they put the clean crockery away?

These may not be life-changing issues, but the principle behind them – the “Why can’t we…?” question – is what makes good things happen.

Natural and approachable

The same thing is true in the world of business, and in this, the first in a short series of articles, we’re going to look at HR in particular. For instance, why can’t people have the same kind of interaction with their employers that they experience outside work? Shouldn’t good customer service principles apply here, too?

Well, yes, they should – and indeed, they can. For example, here at Capgemini, working with ServiceNow, we’ve developed what we call Digital Employee Operations Powered by ServiceNow®. It gives people a single, simple, and frictionless route to the information they need, and how they interact with it is up to them. They can use the device they want. They can self-serve, or seek direct help from an HR team member. They can get the HR information they need, securely, and how and when they want it.

Making the whole process natural and approachable – that’s the key. If it feels awkward, and the outcomes aren’t as expected, people will abandon it. What’s more, we can’t assume that everyone’s needs and expectations are the same. The service needs to be personalized.

That’s why sentiment analysis is increasingly being used, enabling companies to tailor and enhance their responses. It’s also why we’re seeing an increasing need for voice technology, so busy people can interact swiftly and securely with self-serve systems using natural language processing.

Removing barriers

So far, so good. But there are further “Why can’t we…?” questions. One of the most important of them is this: why can’t we remove barriers not just within HR, but between HR and other, related business functions? Because let’s face it: when employees get in touch with HR about issues, it’s highly likely that the ramifications of their queries will extend beyond the remit of the department.

For instance, they might want to check the team calendar and then book time off, or they may have a question on taxes that prompts them to a further query about their pension contributions. In these cases, input is going to be needed not just from HR, but from various finance and admin department functions, and maybe also from external service providers. To keep everything simple, and natural, and approachable, all of this needs to be available from the same point of access – through a single pane of glass.

What’s more, that single pane of glass can vary, depending on the person’s preferences and whereabouts. The “Why can’t we…?” question here is one of interoperability. Some people default to laptops, and others to mobile devices, and some switch between the two. HR services need to be able to cater to all these needs seamlessly. For example, if someone is taking an online learning & development course, the system needs to be able to remember the stage they’ve reached on their tablet, so they can pick up from that point later, on their phone. If that’s what they do at home with a Netflix box set, why can’t they do it at work?

Similarly, people shouldn’t need to switch apps to get the answers they need. In fact, they shouldn’t even need to know that different apps might be involved. Let’s say someone needs help with an employment-related password. Ownership of that process might rest with HR, or it might be with the IT department. It’s the system that ought to know the right answer here, not the employee.

Introducing the Frictionless Enterprise

What is implicit in the answers to all these “Why can’t we…?” questions is the need to remove the roadblocks in business processes, and also to bring more intelligence into the systems that drive them. As we saw just now, the route needs to be single, simple, and frictionless.

That’s why we’ve introduced a concept we call the Frictionless Enterprise. It’s an approach that seamlessly connects processes and people, intelligently, and as and when needed. It dynamically adapts to the circumstances of individual organizations, and addresses each and every point of potential operational friction – whether that’s between the organization’s departments, between functions, or apps, or data sources, or devices, or something else altogether.

The result: something that works the way employees instinctively expect it to work.

In the next article in this short series, we’ll be looking at what organizations need to do in order to make these changes happen.

Read other blogs in this series :

To find out how Capgemini’s Digital Employee Operations Powered by ServiceNow enhances your employee experience through implementing next-generation, digital HR operations, contact:

Learn more about how we implement ways to detect, prevent, and overcome frictions in our clients’ business operations, helping our clients to move towards realizing – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise.

We’re going to be at Knowledge 2021 – ServiceNow’s Flagship Digital Experience from May 11 – 28. Register now to connect with our experts!

Gretchen Alarcon is passionate about building products to transform HR and the employee experience with digital workflows. Recognized as a top HR tech thought leader, Gretchen brings a unique view of the challenges many organizations face as they reimagine the future of work.

Felicia Jones is an expert in the field of HR outsourcing and HR transformation, specializing in delivering HR solutions that leverage global outsourcing platforms, leading edge technology, and process standardization. She leads multi-site teams and projects to enable our clients to implement processes and systems that improve efficiency, reduce costs, and align HR as a strategic value-added business partner.