How the IT service desk can help agencies advance workforce modernization
- By Brandon Shopp
- Jun 17, 2021
Human capital is one of the government’s most important assets, and there’s never been a greater need for talented and engaged individuals -- in leadership positions, technology roles and on the front line.
Yet rigid hiring processes, lengthy time to hire and competition from the private sector limit the government’s ability to respond to today’s pressing issues. Agencies also wrestle with the changing nature of work, which was accelerated by the pandemic and a remote workforce. The Government Accountability Office acknowledged the problem, adding strategic human capital management to its list of high-risk government programs that are regressing and in need of transformation.
This March, the congressionally chartered National Academy of Public Administration issued a roadmap with recommendations for building the workforce of the 21st century. It stresses human capital management must evolve into a “customer-focused, value-added, data-driven, and forward-looking” practice based on modernized technology affording “secure and efficient access to human capital data.”
One way to achieve this transformation -- without costs getting out of control -- is to automate and digitize core HR practices through integration with IT service desk remote monitoring and support.
Let’s look at what this means, how the integration comes together and how it can help governments address modern workforce challenges.
Bringing capital management into the IT service desk
Not to be confused with the help desk, which provides tactical IT troubleshooting and support, the IT service desk is a fully integrated asset and service management platform whose use cases go beyond IT.
It’s not hard to make the case that HR is a significant provider of employee services. From the moment a new hire interacts with recruitment and throughout onboarding, benefits and learning and development, the touchpoints with HR are countless. Service needs come fast and furious, placing demands on already stretched resources.
Consolidating siloed IT and HR resources and workflows into a single shared space provides the framework agencies desperately need to prioritize and fulfill employee needs quickly and efficiently.
What happens when HR and the service desk integrate?
Consider the recruitment and onboarding process, an area that has long challenged agencies.
In its End-to-End Hiring Roadmap, the Office of Personnel Management pledged to adhere to principles such as a “user-friendly application process … timely and informed responses to questions … and an effective orientation process.”
The service desk is ideal for addressing these needs.
Consider everything involved in onboarding personnel. Requisitions for office space, laptops, phones, email accounts and ID cards must be processed. Health insurance benefits, training and so on must be coordinated. All this must be done in a short amount of time.
Yet because onboarding straddles multiple siloed functions (including HR, IT and facilities management), requests can meander slowly from department to department, creating inefficiencies. Worse, details can fall through the cracks.
With a service desk approach, all parties are intricately linked in a step-by-step automated workflow. Tasks happen in parallel. Notifications ensure relevant parties are engaged efficiently for approvals. New employees enjoy a positive onboarding experience where everything they need to do their job is actioned and in place on day one.
More than this, the service desk sets the right tone and dynamic between HR and employees for the rest of their tenure.
Solidifying the desk’s presence for long-term success
The service desk can drive value and alleviate pain points across multiple employee services.
Today, consumers are used to getting answers in a few clicks. With the service desk, the same is true at work. If employees have questions about their benefits, the service desk can connect them to the answers and solutions they need -- all in one place. Artificial intelligence-powered chatbots can answer common questions, and smart suggestions can direct users to the right information in the employee service portal.
The more information integrated into the service desk, the more benefits employees and agencies reap. If an employee needs a laptop upgrade, IT can quickly see what equipment is currently being used, determine who can approve the upgrade and process the user request.
This visibility is key to ensuring the highest level of service to internal constituents. Though the service desk co-joins and automates previously disparate tasks, it also elevates visibility into these parallel streams. For instance, when employees receive a pay raise, the adjustment impacts HR, the payroll team and their manager, all of whom must be in lockstep. This is easily achieved in the service desk. Each stakeholder can track progress through an automated workflow, view task ownership and monitor service against service-level agreements. Automatic reminders also ensure the workflow progresses seamlessly and employees get their raises in a timely fashion.
The service desk also supports remote personnel. With a single place for live chat and a knowledge base to resolve issues, teleworkers can get back to being productive faster. If IT troubleshooting support is needed, the service desk provides one-stop access to all the information a technician needs to intervene quickly, including the employee’s laptop configuration, Active Directory ID and even a home IP address.
Bringing the together
Leveraging a tool like the service desk -- beyond IT -- can bring unity and collaboration to employee services, ensuring they’re delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. It also frees HR and others from time-consuming tasks, empowering them to focus on critical projects and drive transformation.
Service desks are also affordable and accessible to agencies of all levels of IT maturity -- especially if custom coding isn’t required -- making them a trusted resource for lean government organizations as they advance their workforce modernization agenda.
Brandon Shopp is VP of product strategy with SolarWinds.