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Deliver the HR Service experience your employees deserve - Part 6

The sixth blog post in this series covers the important topics of defining your services, building your Service Catalog and request types, and how to leverage User Stories to ensure that your HR Service Management solution has the right functionality built-in to deliver the outcomes you need.

Understanding your services and the value they create for employees

Your services create value for employees and managers by facilitating the outcomes they want to achieve. Therefore, it’s critical that you understand these services, the types of request that people make and the processes that support them.

One of the most common mistakes made when designing a Service Catalog is to only include service delivery teams in the discussion. Their focus is on creating efficiencies and reducing costs by automating request fulfilment processes, so you will end up with a portal that employees can use to ‘place their orders’. However, you will have missed the opportunity to communicate the business outcomes the service supports, and the value that HR is adding. This may be good enough, depending on your circumstances, but if you want to communicate HR value, you’ll need to go further. Workshops are an effective way of exploring this and getting the discussion going about your services and how people interact with them.

Run workshops to define your services

You will need to involve people who understand the department’s systems and processes, along with people responsible for administering and configuring HR systems, as well as representative from different HR teams, such as recruitment and selection, employee benefits, payroll and so on. In the early planning phase, you may not need to involve employees and managers, but remember to seek their input and feedback once you have tackled the next phase.

Build your Service Catalog and Service Request Types

Armed with the output from your service design workshop, assemble the team and use a whiteboard, post-it notes or a mind-map, to visualize your services and their supporting processes “as is”. The team will provide feedback about blockers or issues and once this is understood, outline the ‘to be’ state of your processes.

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Tip – Designing services and mapping processes within a HR Service Management tool allows you to configure as you go, while showing others how easy it is to do it themselves!

Regardless of the approach or the tools you use, remember that the main goal is to create an actionable HR Service Catalog that can be published to employees, explaining in simple terms:

  • What the service is
  • How do I get it?
  • How do I use the service?
  • Where do I go to for help?
  • Are there other complementary components that I might find useful?
  • What does it cost?
  • Are there options to reduce the cost?
  • Could I pay more for an enhanced service?
  • When can I expect delivery?

Service and process design is not a one-time event. Things change quickly, so you’ll need to invest time and resources to keep it current. Even if you’ve had guidance from employees and managers in the design phase, you won’t get it 100% right first time. When your Service Catalog goes into testing and subsequently when it is published, you will discover that it doesn’t meet everyone’s needs. This is often blamed on poor analysis of requirements, but the reality is that people can’t be expected to know exactly what they want until they have had exposure to, and experience of, the first published version. This may be something to consider when determining your release strategy, which we cover in the next blog post.

Create User Stories to outline specific requirements

User story mapping is a visual exercise that helps teams understand the needs of their customers and prioritize the work that needs to be done. Employing User Stories allows you to communicate requirements from the perspective of user value and build a common understanding of the outcomes that need to be achieved.


User Stories take the following format:


As a [user], I want to [perform an action] so I can [get this benefit].


By visually mapping out User Stories, you can tell the story of the customer journey and ensure that your HR Service Management tool has the right functionality built-in to deliver the desired outcomes. Therefore, it is vital that you clearly identify the needs of specific users and accurately frame their problems. Simple examples of manager User Stories are provided below:

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As a Manager, I want to…

So I can…

Know how my recruitment is progressing and how long it is likely to take

Keep candidates informed and be able to plan and manage my service

Have a full understanding of the recruitment process and my role in it

Fulfil my role and perform my duties in a timely manner

Have a HR representative assigned to deal with my recruitment

Know who to contact if I have a problem

Be promptly informed if further information is needed, or there are issues with my recruitment

Deal with any issues quickly and not delay the recruitment

Know who to escalate problems to

Quickly resolve any issues I have

Provide documents and information one time only

Avoid wasting time repeating processes unnecessarily

View and track my HR service requests online

Make new requests, view progress with existing requests and avoid time wasted sending emails

Know that the requests I pass to HR are being dealt with, without having to chase for updates

Perform my responsibilities as a manager, knowing that my recruitment is covered

At the end of a user story mapping exercise, your team will need to prioritize the stories and schedule them into releases or sprints. At this stage, you will be eager to get going with the deployment of your new HR Service Management tool, but first you will need to determine a release strategy that fits your organization and readiness to change, which will discuss in the next blog post.

If you’d rather not wait, download the Smart Guide now to help your organization - Deliver the HR Service Experience your employees deserve.

Deliver the HR Service Experience your Employees Deserve


Patrick Bolger

Written by Patrick Bolger

Chief Evangelist and renowned industry expert, Patrick Bolger, is a key voice and guiding influencer in the Service Management industry. He is an active contributor to strategic industry groups and partnerships and is a compelling and popular speaker at events worldwide.