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Leveling up employee experience with EC Pro

Your Host:

Sean Dawson

Our Guest:

Erin Moore

Join Erin Moore and Sean Dawson as they explore how EC Pro transforms employee experience. Erin explains the capabilities of EC Pro and shares best practices for implementation. Learn how knowledge management, curated portals, analytics, and AI enhance self-service and deliver white-glove service. Discover how EC Pro streamlines HR cases, consolidates systems, and provides managers transparency. Tune in for tips on change management, KPIs, roadmaps and more to elevate employee satisfaction. Follow along to take your employee portal from confusion to connection with EC Pro!

Sean Dawson: Hello, and welcome to the Cask Distillery podcast, where we once again, unlock the full potential of ServiceNow with expert insights and practical strategies only here on the Cask Distillery podcast. I am your host, Sean Dawson. I'm a client architect here at Cask, and we're going to be talking about leveling up employee experience with EC Pro today.

And with me, I have Erin Moore, who is our director of employee workflows. She has been in the customer service world for over 19 years. Five years of that were her corporate life leading into HR service delivery at a Fortune 500 company. Erin was responsible for platform management and governance for HR ServiceNow at her prior employer, including the development of the platform as well as managing day-to-day operations.

One thing that I like in her biography and what I know about her is she's most proud about her success in driving the self-service adoption of the portal. So, it's not just about the technology: It's about the actual end user getting the benefit. 

She realized a score of 90% with the inception of that service portal. So now, she's transitioned into the world of consulting, and now she leads the HRSD platform team as the director of employee workflows. Thanks, Erin, so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. I know we're both busy, but I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us here and our listeners.

Erin Moore: Thank you for having me. 

Sean: So starting out, we're going to be talking about leveling up the employee experience with EC Pro. I always like to go back to the basics because I know there are some listeners or watchers—however, you're consuming our content here—that don't always know what a service portal is because they've been using the old traditional UI 16 or classic UI and don't really know what a service portal is.

Can we step back a second and have you tell our listeners and watchers? What is a service portal? 

Erin: Of course. So, a service portal is really exactly what it sounds like. It is a homepage where employees can go to first search for their answers, so they might be able to find something in the knowledge base, or if they need that personalized assistance, they have the ability to open up their own cases.

And then, the beauty of it is they have the ability to watch that case all the way through to its completion. So they know exactly who's working on it, when they're working on it, and who to follow up with if they have additional questions. 

Sean: Okay, and I did mention EC pro earlier. So for those of you listening, EC is Employee Center. So, Employee Center is the next evolution, but what is Employee Center and why did it come out? 

Erin: Yeah. So, Employee Center, there's a lot of people out there that are joking that it's the one portal to rule them all. So when ServiceNow first came about, it had all of these different service portals, and so, it's a lot to manage. 

It's a lot of overhead. It's a lot of technical things that you have to work through. So when ServiceNow really thought about this, they realized that there could be this way to bring all of their service portals under one house—so to speak—and that's the Employee Center.

So, that Employee Center has the ability to serve as almost an intranet. You can even go down that road of it fully becoming an intranet, but just at a base level, it can be that landing point for all employees to say, “I know I have a question. I know I need some assistance. I don't really know who I need to go to.”

And then, of course, it's got that traditional search bar, but even so, on top of that, across the top, it has all these different little places where you can click into. So if you need to reach out to HR, you can click on the HR tab and go straight into HR needs. If you know you need IT, or facilities, or anyone else, you can click on their respective areas and go into those appropriate spaces within that employee center portal.

Sean: Okay. So now thinking about like the next step, if somebody says, “Gosh, that sounds like it would work for me.” 

But what would maybe organizations need to consider when thinking about moving to EC Pro? What are the little pieces they need to be considering in that? 

Erin: Yeah. So I think any time you're working with ServiceNow, you constantly hear crawl, walk, run, right?

Everything is this methodology where you start slow and you build into things. And so, you really do need to talk to the other areas that are utilizing ServiceNow within your organization and determine, “Are we going to move into EC or EC Pro? One or the other because there is a little bit more of an advanced option there. Are we going to move into this together? Are we going to do it with just HR? Are we going to do it with just IT and then bring other people along later?” 

You really need to think about that. But the other thing that I think is the most critically important is you need to talk to your employee population.

You need to understand what their pain points are. You need to understand their user experience. Understand what good looks like to them. That's going to help set you up for that future success. If an employee, if most of your employees are saying, “I know when I have a question, I need to go to this organization,” then great.

But if employees are sitting there, scratching their heads going, “You know what? All I know is I have a question, and I don't know where it needs to go,” then that might make a really good point for having this consolidated employee center portal where everybody is in there together, and the system can help delineate where that question really needs to go based on what the system is hearing from that employee.

Sean: Essentially, what we're doing is we're making a quicker response for the end user. A, through questioning and through AI search, which we won't necessarily get into here, but something where they can search and look for stuff and get the answer quicker and possibly eliminate questions that would typically go to someone in the back-end process.

So that's really cool. It is really about serving your community, which would be your end users ideally. 

Erin: Yeah. And one of the things that I like to think about is there's a traditional view of white glove service and the traditional view is, really, “I have a problem. I need to call a human directly, and that human needs to escort me through the entire process and hold my hand every step of the way.”

And that definition is still fitting in some circumstances for sure. But for the basic needs of an employee, like, “How do I read my paycheck? How do I download a new piece of software to my PC? How do I put money on my lunch card in the cafeteria?” 

You know those really basic, simple things. This can really cut through all of that muck and mire that an employee often has to go through, and it gives them a new definition of white-glove service, which is, “I have the answer at my fingertips, and I don't need to wait on a human to pick that up and then come back to me with the response. I can get the answer in the next five minutes, and I can go on about my day.”

Sean: That's a good example. That white glove is perception. White glove could be something different to everybody. So, for organizations, you had mentioned intranet earlier when you were talking about the art of the possible, but how do you see organizations bringing their intranets into Employee Center right now?

Erin: Yeah. So it's definitely a newer topic for organizations. Most have been starting small. Again, following along with that crawl, walk, run methodology. But what we are starting to see is this shift where maybe when Employee Center was first launched, an organization brought just IT into Employee Center, or they brought just HR.

Now, they're looking at that consolidated view and bringing in more parts of the business. And then, as they do that, their Employee Center portal is really becoming that one-start shop instead of that one-stop shop. And with that, employees are going there to look for those normal pieces of information, right?

“What's going on in my organization today? Where's the corporate calendar of events?” So, you can certainly deep link to those in your intranet if you want to keep your intranet separate. But when we think about really the magic of EC or Employee Center, it really is about bringing all of that into one holistic view where the employee is getting everything that they need, whether it be their intranet, their HR assistants, their facilities assistants, whatnot. It's all under this one house, in this one umbrella. 

Sean: Yeah. Yeah. And I, I know that, typically, like you said, you can bring in deep links. You can make it the place where everybody goes. We have ways to connect—or ServiceNow has ways to connect to almost anything, and it’s very easy. ServiceNow is the connector of systems anyways. 

So what I want to talk about next is because a question I get a lot or we get a lot on the client architect side is typically, “What's the difference between Employee Center and Employee Center Pro? What's the difference? It looks like it does the same thing.”

So I thought I'd give you the opportunity to talk about that a bit because it leads to confusion a lot. 

Erin: Right, and I get it. The main difference to me is the analytics that you get out of it. For organizations that are new on their technology journey, or maybe they haven't gotten into advanced analytics yet, Employee Center is a great place to start, and there's no harm in starting there. I think hearkening back for a moment to what Sean, you were asking about the Intranet piece, this is where I really find the beauty of Employee Center is that now I have click views and I can see who's reading what knowledge articles.

Then, I can see who read what knowledge article and then had an additional follow up question. So, it starts to give me all of these incredible analytics just out of box with baseline Employee Center. But if you're an organization that's more advanced in your technology journey, or you have a people analytics team, not all organizations have that luxury quite yet, but it's starting to become a much larger part of an HR organization these days.

If you do have those deeper analytic resources within your organization, then EC Pro might really be the place where you want to go because it has this robust set of out-of-box reporting that is way deeper than any analytics we've seen previously from ServiceNow. 

Sean: Good. That's a good explanation. Thanks for clarifying that because I think it'll help users.

So what I want to get into next is a little bit—So, typically, we don't get into feature sets, but there's some cool things coming out with regards to this, and one of those is something called Manager Hub. It's a really cool piece of software that I wanted to hit on a little bit because it's opening up what people, to your point was, were talking about analytics and what you see. Can you talk a little bit about Manager Hub and what it is within EC Pro or EC? 

Erin: Yeah so regardless of which path you've gone down of Employee Center or Employee Center Pro, you would have the ability to have Manager Hub, and Manager Hub is really just a subpage within your Employee Center portal where managers can go to look at any pieces of information that we decide to configure into Employee Center, but I think the biggest use cases really are you know, employee journey management, onboarding, and offboarding.

So, I've got five new hires starting over the course of the next month. Maybe they all have different start dates. Maybe they all have the same start dates, right? It could vary depending on how your organization operates, but I can see where each one of those employees is in their onboarding process.

If I'm having new employees come in, maybe I've got somebody retiring as well, right? So, I can see where they are in their offboarding process. Have they created their transition plan yet? Have they done all of the pieces that they need to do in order to exit the company and make sure they get all their retiree benefits?

And if they have, then that's fantastic. But even deeper than that, just the employee journey piece is really cool. But the other thing is, you can start to get integrations with Qualtrics, or your employee engagement surveys, and you can start to see what's going on within my team, and I can see those results, and I can start to make actionable steps to change my employee survey results, right?

So there's just so much that you can do from that space. You can see your anniversaries. You can see your birthdays. You can see everything that's going on. You can do your position data management within Manager Hub. So again, it creates that one-start shop just for the manager in and of themselves for all the things that they have on their plate.

Sean: Okay, so talking about, like feature sets—again, we try to stay away from this—but I think a lot of people wonder what happens if you're using Microsoft 365, or you're using Teams, and that seems to be the central place for where you want to meet the employees where they're gathering.

It's also a marketing thing. You want to meet your people where they're at, but it's the same thing for our employees and the people that work with us. How does Employee Center fit into the Microsoft 365 and the Teams environments? How does that? What does that look like? 

Erin: ServiceNow has certainly made a lot of advancement in the space of Microsoft Office product suite. So right now, they've really opened the door to having a full-blown Microsoft Teams integration. So, if you are an organization who you have adopted not only Microsoft and their suite of products, but also ServiceNow, Employee Center, you're using live chat, maybe you're using Virtual Agent. You've got your knowledge base. You've got all of your features in there. 

Now, you can actually pull your ServiceNow portal into Microsoft Teams, and your employees who are used to using the teams chat for everything that they do day in and day out, they can now utilize that Teams chat to do either their live chat or Virtual Agent chat within ServiceNow.

So, it's really just creating that hub where your employees—you know, it's the proverbial water cooler, right? Like now, instead of having the physical one, because of this virtual world that we're in, they've got this proverbial, or virtual, water cooler where they can gather, they can get their information, and it's all housed in the same application that they're already using day in and day out. Much more simplified and easy to get to. 

Sean: So let's talk about curated experience next based on roles and groups. So what I'm referring to there is I know that sometimes customers and clients look at it and go, “I don't want everybody to log into the same portal.” And I guess the basic use cas is, “Do they have to see the same thing?” 

For instance, if someone’s only going in for ITSM or IT service, you don't necessarily want them seeing something else. And what does that look like? And how do people do that within that curated experience? 

Erin: Yeah, so that's a great question. I think before I go too deep into it, I'm going to take us back to what we were talking about with Manager Hub a few minutes ago.

Because I think it's a really nice dovetail into what you're asking about. So with Manager Hub, we all know that ServiceNow has these knowledge blocks, right? Within their knowledge articles, and they're fantastic. Now, you can choose to create your policies with knowledge blocks, or you can create them with specific audiences in mind.

And so when I—the reason I bring that up in relation to Manager Hub is, with Manager Hub, you could have a repository of all of the information that a manager needs to have access to, and it would be accessible in Manager Hub and based on the user criteria that we've applied to those articles or to the respective knowledge blocks, those pieces of information will present themselves. 

So that's just a little bit of a dovetail into these curated experiences. I like to think about things like annual enrollment. Obviously, it's something that happens every year for an organization, but maybe your manufacturing employees have a different set of benefits that they're eligible for versus in-office employees, and while we all know that that's true, maybe we don't want to just outright expose that to our employees and make it very obvious and clear what those differences are. 

So if we're going to go down that road, as we launch our annual enrollment campaign on our Employee Center portal, we can have those curated experiences that manufacturing employees are only getting the information around what benefits they're eligible for, and same with those in-office employees. And it just makes things so much easier for the employee to consume the information because they're not having to weed through things that don't matter to them. 

Sean: That totally makes sense, and thanks for clarifying that and adding into that.

And I, again, getting into the user experience, there's something new coming out. When we think of EC Pro is all the stuff around Gen AI. And Vancouver ServiceNow has announced some new things with Vancouver. And it's a little bit—there's getting specifics, but I feel like a lot of people in general—ooh, AI, and don't know exactly where it fits.

We've got a lot of people asking about gen AI, where's that at. And we've done a couple of podcasts where we've talked about it specifically with our Apps Engine with Michelle in another podcast. But what are you seeing with the gen AI search within EC Pro right now? 

Erin: Yeah, so the Gen AI search in EC Pro as it stands today is a really cool feature.

And again, I kinda go back to, you said everybody's talking about it and it's the buzz, right? Everybody's really excited about it. And I love that, but I do want to stress that everything with ServiceNow really is a crawl, walk, run methodology. So, first, I want to set the expectation that if you're doing a brand new implementation of HRSD, we really don't want to go down the gen AI road with your initial launch.

What we want to do is we want to let the machine start to learn from your employees and learn their behaviors before we turn that feature on because otherwise, it's going to be a bumpy road in the immediate. But, I'll move past that and talk about from an HR perspective, it's really building out this very cool world.

When I used to work in HR ops, I used to always jokingly say, “Well, if I had a nickel for every time I was asked X, I wouldn't be working here anymore.”

And I feel like Gen AI is really designed to solve that, right? Because it starts to really understand the personas of your employees, and it starts to understand employees who work in this location and do this type of job regularly ask, “X,” and it starts to—as the employees asking the question in the search box—it starts to really serve up what has been most meaningful to other employees when they've asked a similar question. 

It's one of those places where people start to feel maybe a little intimidated, or they feel that Amazon's been using it for years, Google's been using it for years, all of these other places have been using it. Now we're just starting to apply it at that employee level from a company perspective. And if you love it when it suggests different things for you to buy on Amazon, then it stands to reason you're going to enjoy it as well from this Google perspective or from the ServiceNow perspective. 

Sean: I want to step back a little bit because you had mentioned it in—a little bit earlier—in regards to KPI. And I know that organizations usually want to know, “Okay, so I have a user experience and I've got the Manager Hub. But what kind of data do you see organizing organizations wanting to see? And what kind of performance analytics are you seeing people care about?”

Wanting to share that from the user standpoint, the people that are watching this like, what KPIs are out there? What are others doing? What's best practice?

Erin: Yeah, and so I think best practice really is understand what your employees are expecting.

Employees are expecting a quick answer for things, right? They want their problems solved quickly. If they're calling HR, it's usually not for to check on the weather, right? It's because something's going on, and it could be with their health, it could be with their money. These are personal topics that are not easy for people to reach out about.

And so first off, you have to come in with that full understanding that it is about this human experience. But on top of that, when you think about the KPI piece of it, how fast is it taking you to resolve cases? What was the expectation of how fast it would take for you to resolve cases? What level of empathy are you expecting from your HR team as they deal and engage with your employees?

But I think where I'd also like to talk about a little bit here is, when organizations start, it would be nice to have a good understanding of what are the top five questions that you get on a daily basis. Again, going back to that, “If I had a nickel for every time I was asked…” 

Those are the things that you want to solve for first with your implementation.

Then once you've done that, and you start to build out campaigns around these annualized events, that's where your data and your performance analytics is going to go into hyperspeed and hyper work mode, right? It's so cool. What all you can do. And I—Sean, you mentioned I started on my ServiceNowjourney actually back in 2017, which was very early days of the HR side of the platform, but even then we had these analytics at our fingertips, and they were so useful. 

So I think about we had this one annual event and every year, the parameters of that annual event changed, but it was very impactful and meaningful for employees to take the steps as a part of that event to ensure that everything was going to be good for them.

But because the parameters of the program changed every year, employees were often confused. And me being a new HR leader and having worked in the world of customer service for so many years, employees came in and they started asking questions as the event was wrapping up. And I went to my boss and I was like, “Oh my gosh, everybody is calling us and they're asking about this.”

And she was like, “Okay, now slow down. How many employees asked you about it?” 

Oh darn, I actually have all of that at my fingertips in service now. So I ran a report and out of a population of 10,000 employees, we'd had 800 queries about it. It was kind of a high volume, especially given that I only had a four person team. A little bit intense.

So then we take that to the person who runs this program and we say, “Hey. These are the questions we got,” and we were then able to work with corporate communications to build out a better communication avenue for our employee population for the next year's annual event. And then at the end of that event, we were able to measure it, and we had about 200 inquiries that year. A huge decrease in volume. 

Third year I'm running this program; this time we've taken an even deeper look at those analytics that we had from ServiceNow from the prior year. And when the program ended at the end of year three, we had less than 20 inquiries. 

So, incredible win. If I could have done a backflip, I absolutely would have. But to me, that's the power of the data. That is saying, this data is not a once and done. This implementation is not a once and done. 

Every time you launch an event, every time you launch a new initiative, you need to be evaluating your data. You need to be refining your process, and then reevaluating once you've refined that process. And you keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it until it becomes second nature to you as an organization.

And then, you're going to find that you really are delighting your employees. 

Sean: That gives me chills because that's the reason I do what I do and have been doing what I do. And we've never gone into this podcast like my background personally, but that is the stuff that excites me, and I hope it excites our listeners too—to realize that you’re able to see true value, true objectives—however you want to call it—but it's exciting to actually see something go from a, here's where it's at, and we improved it, and we made people's lives better. 

I just love that. That's good. Thanks for sharing that. That was great. 

So, I have another kind of a open-ended question. Is there anything else that we missed in here that you'd like to share with our watchers and listeners before we finish? 

Erin: Oh, golly, that's a huge open ended question. What I would say is, at Cask, we've spent a long time creating what we call the HR Maturity Model. And if you haven't had a chance to look at it in the past, it is out on our website. You can look at that.

And it's a really great tool for organizations to look at and use to figure out where they need to go in advance because. Like you said, Sean, this stuff gives me chills too. I feel like a big old nerd and I'm okay with it. Our HR Maturity Model really looks at the employee experience, which we've talked about today.

It looks at the use of data, which we have definitely talked about today. And the third piece we've talked about it, but maybe not so much is the operational excellence that you have within your organization. And so, you know, all of these things lead together to hopefully move your employees and your service environment from a place of confusion to a place where your employees are feeling connected and seen and heard by your organization. 

That's really where the magic starts to happen, and when employees don't have trust in the information that they're getting, whether it be from a knowledge article or from an employee within your organization—directly from their mouth, that trust is broken. And it takes a lot to rebuild that trust. And so creating this experience where employees get a consistent answer—regardless of where they are, regardless of where they sit within your organization—they start to have that trust with this portal and thereby HR and hopefully IT and every other organization that's within this portal with you and they start to really trust you with the bigger moments that matter and they know that you're going to be there to help them solve. 

“I just had this catastrophic life event and now I need to take a leave of absence.” They trust that their organization is going to be there for them and they trust that they're going to come back to the organization stronger than they were before and ready to help you service your customers to the best of their ability. 

Sean: Great. Thanks for expanding on that. And I know it was an open ended question and it's a big ask, but great answer and great response.

So Erin, I want to wrap up here and I want to thank you so much for joining us and taking time again. I know how our schedules are together. You and I both, it's hard to get time together. So thank you so much. And so for those listeners, thank you again for joining us on this journey. And I also, as I usually do want to ask for a favor, can you like rate, subscribe, tell us how we're doing, give us any suggestions, however you're consuming this podcast and want to thank you for joining us.

And we really appreciate it. Thank you so much and have a great day. Bye-bye.

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