Why Recreating Your Employee Action Form in Your HR Case Management Tool Is the Wrong Approach

Why Recreating Your Employee Action Form in Your HR Case Management Tool Is the Wrong Approach

When you’re leveraging a Human Resource case management tool, the goal is to break down the various types of cases you have to a level where reporting starts to matter. Begin by asking if your electronic employee action form (EAF) is simple, streamlined and easy to maintain.

Most organizations simply take an antiquated form and plop it into an HR case management platform. Don’t be that HR department. The power of the tool is its ability to work out a set of cases that’s right for your organization — one that enables you to better manage Human Resources services and deliver them to your employees.

Employee Action Forms: The Good, the Bad and the Really Long

Here at Cask, we’ve been privileged to work with some truly amazing HR organizations and help them on their ServiceNow journeys. Most had an EAF of some kind, although many used a different term for it such as:

  • action request form (ARF)
  • personnel action form (PAF)
  • Human Resources non-employee action form
  • faculty and staff action form
  • employee action request
  • HR/payroll action form

You get the gist of it: Every organization has some kind of form that performs a wide variety of functions. However, many of these forms are left over from the days that a manager or employee would manually fill out a form and fax it to HR. Of course, a few years ago, most HR teams modernized their forms by turning them into fillable PDFs or Word documents. Many teams also seized the opportunity to add some more options and fields — but what they didn’t realize is that they were creating a “formenstein” monster that, when printed out, was over five pages long while only containing approximately 16 fields of information needed to work the case.

HR Case Management ≠ One Big Electronic EAF

When you begin to implement ServiceNow, you might want to recreate your EAF as a single form in HR Case Management. Resist that urge! The ServiceNow platform will work best for you if you divide your EAF into its constituent use cases. For example, you could take your EAF and break out some use cases like these:

  • employee bonus request
  • employee promotion request
  • employee department transfer request (note: Consider ServiceNow enterprise onboarding and transitions here)
  • request for performance improvement plan
  • F.M.L.A. request
  • leave of absence request

Remember: Use cases aren’t just for IT. They describe what information you need and what the workflow is.

A hint for those who are about to implement ServiceNow: The more you can define use cases before you do the implementation, the better it will go. You can read more about this in my blog post “Good, Fast or Cheap ServiceNow HR Case Implementation: Which Do You Choose?” You can also join my upcoming webinar to learn more about what you can do to ensure good, fast and cheap implementation.

For those of you with HRIS business analysts on staff, breaking out the use cases is a great job for them. If you lack this capability internally, your IT organization might have some IT business analysts who can facilitate the documenting of your unique set of use cases. In our experience, a mid-sized organization can have as many as 60 easily-defined use cases for distinct HR cases.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself why we recommend breaking down your EAF into separate use cases regardless of your use of a case management tool like ServiceNow or a legacy case management solution.  There are a wide variety of reasons for making the shift to use case based HR cases some of which we will discuss briefly here. One reason is based on a principal related to the cybersecurity work we do here at Cask; we’ve noticed that one of the challenges with big EAFs is that they often contain more personally identifiable information (PII) or personal health information (PHI) than necessary for the task at hand. This is especially a problem when forms are being sent by email, uploaded to SharePoint sites, or worse, sitting in a fax machine. That’s why it’s critical to limit the PII and PHI data you include in a use case — and doing so becomes easy when you break the “formenstein” monster down into individual cases.  The other reason is related to our management consulting work here at Cask, if you break your EAF down into use cases in the ServiceNow HR case management system, you gain an ability to capture data around each of those case types.  This enables data / evidence based decision making using analytical tools in place of the tried and true “S.W.A.G.” method of decision making. Regardless of tool or technology or approach, breaking your EAF into multiple use cases just makes sense.

When you look at these cases. you might see some that have an identical workflow in your organization. This isn’t a reason to create a single case to handle them both; it’s a reason for your HRIS team or IT team who are managing your ServiceNow instance to turn the second case around in 75 percent (or less) of the time. An experienced ServiceNow engineer should be able to quickly and easily duplicate the basic workflow and restructure the form — along with the supporting data tables — to capture the data that’s unique to that workflow.


The more you can deconstruct the use cases in your existing EAF into the distinct pieces of work being done by your HR generalists and specialists, the better off you’ll be for a wide variety of reasons:

  • You’ll provide better protection for your employees’ PII and PHI.
  • You’ll have easier to use self-service capabilities.
  • You’ll achieve better outcomes for your employees.
  • The cases will become mobile-enablement ready.
  • HR will need to make fewer follow-up calls around cases.
  • Cases will have more streamlined workflows.
  • Modification of workflows will become easier.
  • You’ll improve your ability to scale your services.

This is an opportunity to deliver the kind of next-gen HR experience your employees deserve — all while increasing your ability to manage it and decreasing costs. Take advantage!

Cask is here to help. We offer HR advisory services and provide technical experts who can help you take your HR services to that next step of maturity — and beyond.

At Cask, we know how to streamline business.

We understand that the world moves fast, but information moves faster. You need data in a hurry, and company-wide automation is the answer. If your business can’t keep pace, we can guide you through a strategic transformation to optimize your operational efficiency.

That’s why we are proud to partner with ServiceNow to provide the solutions to move from manual tasks and paper deliverables to digital applications for managing your business.