Expert Questions to Evaluate Your Shared Services Model

  • April 05, 2021
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As business leaders’ expectations of shared services multiply and the world of work changes, both your shared services strategy and structure need to respond in synergy to those new demands. Workplaces now face a host of pressures as we find ourselves launched into the workplace of the future, including more widespread hybrid and remote-first models, rising demands for self-service, and the need to enable a more holistic employee experience.

In this blog we try to understand these trends in the context of your shared services strategy and explore the critical questions that best-in-class organizations are tackling to face this maturing digital landscape. Accompanying these trends will be concrete examples, suggestions and a printable set of questions you can ask yourself to help you advance your shared services strategy and structure.

1. Are You Providing an Enterprise-Grade Employee Experience and Enabling Your Employees to Self-Solve?

Digital transformation, and the need for shared services to support that transformation, has accelerated greatly because of the COVID era. Amid this need to transform, we saw many Employee Experience (EX) initiatives to support the remote or hybrid worker and business as it changes. For the world of hybrid work, having legacy, siloed processes would be disadvantageous.

Like shared services principles, a true focus on EX goes beyond just HR. It’s about having a safe workplace, coordinating facilities, incorporating legal, and all other aspects of the business.

EX is the pursuit of making tedious and complex experiences and processes simpler and automated. For Shared Services, you can achieve this by enabling self-service with an intuitive and efficient Employee Service Center (ESC). Allowing your employees to solve for themselves for less complex issues, for example, tier-zero or tier-one concerns like benefits or expense policies resolves your employees’ issues faster and more effectively than the “send it up the chain” method.

Focus on Knowledge Management

The brass ring (and often overlooked element) of an ESC and ESM strategy is Knowledge. While seemingly simple, the ability for an employee to ask a question (via email, bot, etc.) and get returned a relevant, efficient and resolvable article that allows them to self-serve is (and can be) revolutionary.

By focusing on Knowledge management and Knowledge-centered support strategies, you will get the right information into the hands of those who are actually trying to remediate their issue or inquiry.

With an effective ESC, you improve the employee experience by providing a one-stop-shop for all relevant business units, easily communicate important information with targeted campaigns and content automation, and reduce caseloads and requests by making information more tangible and easier to find. Understanding the principles of EX, and imbuing them into your Shares Services execution, will dramatically improve your organization’s success.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do you currently have an Employee Service Center? If not, what are the tier-one or tier-one concerns you currently either send up the chain or solve by your shared service providers – could those issues be automated with an effective ESC, embedded with a deep and continuously growing Knowledge base?

2. Are You Running Shared Services Like a Business?

Just as your business solves for external customers, your internal shared services providers should focus on supporting your internal customers by being proactive, versus reactive. Consider the people serviced by your shared services center and give them the same level of excellence and true experience you provide your external customers.

With ServiceNow, your ESC is backed by Knowledge – both broad and deep. As explained in the Employee Experience section above, your employees can self-solve through search, for a google-like experience they’re accustomed to, or chat with a Virtual Agent to solve their issues through AI – all supported by robust Knowledge. For more complex issues, your employee may be transferred to a live agent. This model automates the outdated “send it up the chain” methodology so your Shared Services providers can spend more time on complex requests.

Similar to how your Customer Service Center tracks interactions to provide best-in-class experiences for your customers and drives business value through customer loyalty, your Shared Services also needs to prove its ongoing value to your business.

Track the KPIs that show your success – from internal customer satisfaction, time to resolution, knowledge article views, or percent of change in cases and requests (which should be significantly less with more employees self-solving). Communicating these metrics with your stakeholders ensures they’re aware of the value your shared services brings to your organization so the business can run seamlessly and employees can focus on value-adding tasks, versus spending time-solving for personal inquiries and issues.

Operational Excellence & Aligning Support Models

As your team’s confidence grows in their support model, look for opportunities to expand the scope of your services to solve for more areas of the business or gain efficiencies. With AI and machine learning, you can triage inbound requests and evaluate your data to see where you have opportunities to improve, drive more self-service, or update your existing workflows to free up time for your providers to take on more services. Shared services are all about continuous improvement; take time to evaluate areas of the ServiceNow platform where you’re not realizing the full value yet.

Aligning support models and considering what success means positions your Shares Services as a leading-edge department, helping your company drive digital transformation across the business. To appropriately respond to the complexity of growth and demand for Shared Services, evaluate your Shared Services strategy to see where you can drive even more efficiency, listening from the ground-up to find where your service agents can improve and get more support. This is even more important in times of change because new needs can upwell fast and surge volumes like we saw during the COVID-19 breakout, can put even the best strategies under pressure.

To this end, here are a few questions to consider. Are you tracking internal customer satisfaction? What are their current pain points? Have you surveyed your shared services employees to establish and define holes in your current strategy and structure? If so, how can you reorganize your current framework to better serve your internal customers and employees working the frontlines of your shared services center?

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