USDA augments HR help desk with desktop training software

The Agriculture Department by May 1 plans to make its human resources information and many personnel functions available online to employees nationwide.

About 40,000 managers and other HR workers will be able to find answers to their human resources questions, file forms and take care of other personnel business online using OnDemand Personal Navigator from Global Knowledge Inc. of King of Prussia, Pa., without calling the department's HR help desk in Washington.

'What we needed was a way to train our HR users,' said Hans Heidenreich, project director of the Internet Combined Administrative Management Systems at USDA. 'We were getting a lot of new HR processors, and training of HR was becoming a real headache.'

For even basic tasks, some managers had to call the HR help desk at Agriculture's headquarters. Workers such as soil conservationists, loan officers and other managers, often must look at an employee's training history or conduct performance reviews, for example, Heidenreich said.

The six-person Washington help desk sometimes received more calls than it could manage, Heidenreich said. The department needed something that could lighten the load on the help desk and that would work with its PeopleSoft HR management system, he said.

'With OnDemand Personal Navigator, our employees can receive instant help directly within PeopleSoft, which results in a lot fewer help desk calls. We're anticipating big cost savings and an increase in data integrity,' he said in a statement.

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