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HR help desks for effective teams

Transform how teams operate by giving them the HR helpdesk tools they need to create great employee experiences.

A guide to HR help desks

Last updated May 24, 2023

Your HR department manages a lot — from payroll, policies, employee benefits, to employee experiences. There’s an easier way to manage it all where everyone wins: HR staff get the tools they need to do their jobs well and employees get the support they need, when they need it. Read on to learn why your HR department needs an HR help desk.

What is an HR help desk?

A human resource help desk is technology that HR teams use to efficiently manage and solve employee issues and requests. When employees have answers concerning benefits, payroll, medical or disability leave, or any other company policy, they can address it through the HR helpdesk platform, rather than struggling through an endless chain of back-and-forth of emails.

HR teams use their help desk to manage requests from multiple channels. They can integrate a self-service portal to streamline their workflows and automate responses for common questions about HR processes. Just as you want to give your customers the easiest and most accessible path to getting their questions answered, your internal operations should allow your employees the same privilege. Because your employees’ time should be as valuable to you as it is to them.

Additionally, an HR help desk will also give team members insights into the types of employee cases that reoccur. This enables them to find resolutions preemptively and create standardized processes to fix problems, eliminating repetitive problem solving that eats up everyone’s schedules.

Why does your business need an HR help desk?

As a business, your customers’ happiness takes precedence over nearly everything. After all, if your customers aren’t happy, they won’t be your customers for long. And without customers, your business ceases to exist.

But placing a high priority on your customers doesn’t mean you should neglect your workforce. Your employees aren’t machines, and they can’t be expected to work like one. If a high value employee feels that they might be more satisfied working elsewhere, there’s nothing stopping them from jumping to the competition.

According to Gallup, disengaged employees fall short in three key areas:

  • 37% higher absenteeism
  • 18% lower productivity
  • 15% lower profitability

Disengaged employees hurt the bottom line. But employee disengagement isn’t an unsolvable problem. Implementing a standardized system of handling employee requests helps you build a more satisfied workforce, in which your employees know that their issues are listened to and processed in a timely manner.

Human resource help desks make it easy for companies to manage high volumes of employee requests, streamline processes, and standardize service delivery and responses. The result is HR teams working more efficiently and effectively, all while providing a better employee experience.

What are the benefits of using an HR help desk?

Just as with any piece of software, you want to understand the full range of benefits you can get out of it. After you decide on the right HR help desk software, here are some of the key benefits you expect to see impacting your workforce.

Improved employee engagement

Loyal employees are engaged employees. But all it takes is one or two slip ups to chip away at that engagement.

Say you have a hardworking employee who put in a PTO request well in advance of their planned dates. They wait patiently for a few days to hear back with an approval, but hear nothing. They watch as flight prices start to tick upwards, and start to get nervous that their planned trip is slowly sneaking out of their budget. They email HR, only to find out that the original PTO request was accidentally looked over. The time request is eventually approved, but the frustration that grew during the time between the submission and the approval can’t be erased.

HR helpdesk software helps teams head off communication gaps by setting up a reliable system of handling basic employee requests. The end result is that you avoid embarrassing slip-ups that can have a drastically negative effect on employee morale and engagement. After all, the benefits you offer your employees are part of why they accepted the job in the first place. They shouldn’t have to struggle or worry to make sure they get them.

More efficient onboarding

When a new employee joins your team, the goal is to get them acclimated to the job as quickly as possible. It’s likely you already have a system for onboarding in place, but new employees are less likely than more established workers to bring shortcomings in the onboarding process to your attention. They’re trying to make the best impression, after all. It’s not a bad idea to do the same.

HR helpdesk software gives you the tools to speed along and standardize the recruitment and onboarding process. Being hyper-organized and efficient during this process gives new employees a strong first impression of your company, which helps them set their own standards higher than they might for an organization that has a sloppy or disorganized onboarding process.

Give hours back to your HR team

Your HR team is likely already fielding the same repetitive questions over and over again. HR helpdesk software comes with a searchable knowledge database that lets employees seek their own answers before turning to one of your HR reps. This saves time and reduces inbox clutter, which everyone from every department will appreciate.

Head off issues before they have time to get worse

Helpdesk software comes with analytics features that let your management team spot trends and gaps in employee service delivery, such as ticket response times and resolutions. Reporting and analytics give you data-driven insight into just how well your HR team is processing requests, so you can make adjustments wherever productivity appears to be falling short. Additionally, some platforms will include options for surveys and feedback, so you can measure employee satisfaction directly from the source.

What are some core features of an HR helpdesk?

Core features of an HR help desk include a ticketing system, knowledge management capabilities, and reporting and analytics.

Ticketing system

Ticketing systems make it easy for HR team members to manage and effectively respond to employee tickets. Help desk admins can set up the system to ensure the right tickets get sent to the right team. From there, HR staff get a single view of all unresolved tickets for them to handle.

What’s more, team members can create tasks and alerts for each request, tag and reassign certain tasks to others, and categorize requests by urgency or topic. Many HR departments use automation to respond to repetitive requests. Automation also helps ensure that critical workflows can still happen while maintaining service quality and SLAs.

Knowledge base

An internal knowledge base or a knowledge management system allows you to capture institutional HR knowledge at scale and ensure a single source of truth for HR team members and employees alike. Knowledge base software helps minimize the time employees spend searching for information and are a great way to deflect potential tickets. Knowledge bases empower HR to help their employees the way they want to be helped, which is often via self-serve channels.

Reporting and analytics

HR help desks give HR leaders the reporting and analytics capabilities they need to adequately monitor and continuously optimize their internal support operations.

All interactions can be measured, such as:

  • Article views - which articles in your internal knowledge base are getting the most traffic
  • Requests - what types of employee requests are coming in the most and to which HR teams
  • Response time - how quickly HR staff are responding to requests
  • And more - your team has the ability to track the KPIs you care about most

Having visibility into these trends and gaps allows you to make more informed capacity-planning decisions and ultimately improve support operations for HR staff and employees.

What are some use cases for HR help desks?

Here are some examples of how companies have used their human resource help desks to streamline workflow and improve employee satisfaction in the workplace:

  • An employee started at their job as a recent graduate before they had children. Now an expectant parent, the employee needs to know about policies regarding benefits and time off. But family planning can be a delicate subject at work, and the employee is hesitant to bring their questions to HR. Instead, they use the knowledge base to search for the information. While an HR rep would have gladly answered these inquiries, it provided the employee with a comfortable level of privacy.
  • Several recent hires are starting their new jobs at the same time, but they’re all going to work remotely, and some in different time zones. Rather than having HR reach out individually to each new hire and handle all the incoming and outgoing emails and paperwork, they use their HR helpdesk software to create a self-service portal through which the new hires can upload their information and keep track of their onboarding process. There’s less waiting time in collecting all the relevant paperwork, and the new hires are able to begin their training sooner than they would if they’d used the traditional back-and-forth email chain.
  • An HR manager at a company uses the helpdesk software to run a survey of all employees. Satisfaction rates are high in every department except one. Curious to learn more, the manager does a deeper look into the tickets that have been issued within that department, and finds that one of the managers within the department has been routinely making unreasonable requests, and has even made some blatantly improper statements in the workplace. If the behavior were allowed to continue, it might spell major trouble for the company. But the HR manager is able to address the problem without bringing up any specific names, and satisfaction within the team is reinstated, as evidenced by another survey several months later.

Why did HR helpdesk software evolve into an employee experience platform?

Working for a company is more than just showing up and doing the job. Employees have lives, families, hobbies, and personal goals. Ensuring that they have the structure and support to take care of their lives inside the office and outside of work is part of making the employee experience a healthy one. Because when employees feel listened to, they tend to stick around.

Providing that healthy experience is easier when your HR department has the tools they need to do their jobs well. Implementing a streamlined end-to-end structure for ensuring a healthy employee experience is easy with a solid HR help desk software platform. From hiring and onboarding, to learning and development, to exit interviews and off boarding, you can equip your entire team with the HR-related information they need to navigate their organizations.

Zendesk for your HR teams

Thousands of companies choose Zendesk for their HR help desk solution because it’s easy to implement, intuitive, and delivers a seamless experience for both HR teams and employees alike.

Make it easy to tap your team’s expertise

Give your workforce fast access to HR knowledge and support via an internal knowledge base, intuitive employee ticketing system, messaging, and more.

Give your HR team the tools they need to provide efficient employee support

Use automation to manage requests and reduce repetitive tasks. Plus, integrate with popular HR management systems to give your team a full view of employee data when resolving requests

Track and optimize HR services with HR help desk software

Measure key employee interactions with comprehensive out-of-the-box and custom reports, so you can make smarter decisions for your team and workforce.

The power of engaged employees

Zendesk’s multi-channel request management and self-service portal give HR teams the power to streamline operations for happy, engaged employees. Because companies with the highest employee engagement see 4% more sales growth and shareholder returns than average, 90% less staff turnover, and double the customer loyalty.

Self-service serves everyone

Engaged employees are empowered employees. That’s why a self-service portal is the first step to a better HR help desk. Zendesk’s help center lets employees find the information they need about health insurance, benefits, and other policies whenever they like, on any device.

Be everywhere at once

Connect to employees where they are without extra work. Zendesk’s software can embed web, mobile, and chat widgets on internal sites and portals. As the employee types, the widget displays links to relevant help center articles to further reduce repetitive questions.

Shorter, sweeter processes

Zendesk’s answer suggestion app analyzes ticket content to add relevant help center articles right next to the ticket. HR teams can also view employee data like holiday and benefit allocations by integrating with popular HR management systems such as Workday or other HR apps from the Zendesk app marketplace for a better ticketing system.

Back decisions with data

Visualize your work to discover team bottlenecks and process improvements. Zendesk’s powerful analytics track the volume of HR requests, and how quickly issues are resolved across locations and channels. Plus, you can measure employee satisfaction related to HR support with automated employee sentiment surveys.

A flexible employee experience solution that fits your needs

Couple top-tier apps from Zendesk’s marketplace with our HR help desk solution and seamlessly integrate with the tools your company uses today -- all without engineering resources.

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Give HR helpdesk a try

Whether you’re a fast-growing company or an established enterprise, Zendesk’s HR help desk can meaningfully improve how your team operates and delivers services to your workforce. Sign up for a demo today.

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