We’re About to Implement ServiceNow HR. What Training Do My HR and HRIS Staff Actually Need – and When Do They Need It?

Are you planning to implement ServiceNow‘s Human Resources Service Delivery, Case and Knowledge Management tool? And are you asking yourself, “Where do I start?”

If so, then you’re not alone. At Cask, we find that many customers have this question — and the honest answer is, “It depends.” That said, here’s a little guidance around which of your staff members should get trained, when and why.

Pre-Implementation Training for Limited Staff
When preparing to implement a new program, there’s a natural tendency to want to get your people trained early. But be careful. You want to balance when your team’s getting trained with when they’ll have the opportunity to put their newly-acquired knowledge to use to help lock it in. If you train them too early, you risk losing the value of the training, because for a period following the training, they won’t have the tool to work with.
For a good implementation, you’ll need a few weeks to work through the Initiate, Examine and Plan; and Design stages of ServiceNow’s Adaptive Implementation Framework (SAIF) before reaching the Create stage, where the system is configured and your HRIS staff really get down to work with your implementation partner. (We’ll cover that topic in the next section.) For now, we’ll focus on staff who are assisting with the planning and design of the case management system.

For HR staff who are helping with the pre-implementation work and attending working sessions to help set the requirements or stories for your implementation, we highly recommend that they start with the FREE ServiceNow Fundamentals course. We also recommend that they watch the CURRENT ServiceNow product demonstrations on YouTube. Be careful to watch the most current videos, as partner videos or videos of earlier versions might not accurately reflect the product’s current capabilities. Work with your partner to curate a list of videos for your team so they come to working sessions equipped with up-to-date, accurate and relevant information.
You should also make sure to train your team in the area of knowledge management. To get the benefits of “shift-left” or “employee self-service,” you need an outstanding knowledge base to help people help themselves. That means having good knowledge management processes and, most importantly, great knowledge articles.
One of our clients has seen amazing results in this area, with 68 percent of all cases being created through employee self-service by the second week of implementation — all because the roughly 24,000 employees in the organization are reviewing over 145 knowledge articles per day to learn how to start the case process through self-service.

To get your people excited about learning, consider reaching into your IT organization and asking their knowledge management process owner for help. If that’s not an option, you can reach out to your implementation partner for help or tap into some of the great resources on the Internet around knowledge management. The gold standard is an initiative called KCS ®, which offers some great resources. Keep in mind, however, that their focus is the process of knowledge management and setting up an infrastructure to help manage knowledge; not creating HR specific articles. You can learn more here. Much of the “how to” around knowledge management can be found here at The KCS Academy website.

To create meaningful content, work with your implementer and your own staff. Just remember that the goal here is to facilitate better interaction between your employees and HR, while lowering the cost of HR service delivery — not to simply provide a collection of knowledge articles that no one reads.
HRIS Staff Training

When it comes to training your HRIS staff, there are two potential paths we suggest. The one that’s right for you will depend on your agency’s size and capabilities.

First comes the big decision: Who’s going to support and maintain case and knowledge management for HR?
If you are going to use your IT department team that already manages ServiceNow’s IT-related functions, your job as an HR leader is close to done. Simply run your HRIS team through the free course and videos so they can engage in good conversations with IT and move forward.

We would like to strongly recommend that you train your HRIS people to administer the ServiceNow Human Resources related scoped applications and shift that task onto them and away from IT; as most of our clients have done.

Just as important as how, is when you train your HRIS staff. You need to do it right before the Create stage of SAIF starts so they can participate properly and actually learn from the implementation process. Avoid sending them for HRIS training much earlier than that, as you’ll risk losing valuable skills because your staff won’t have the opportunity to use them. If you only train one person, we suggest starting with the free ServiceNow fundamentals course. Then, put that person through the ServiceNow two-day HR-specific Admin class. (Note: It’s helpful if your employee has some JavaScript skills. There are organizations like CodeAcademy that offer free JavaScript courses.)

If the HR-specific course isn’t available or if you can train two or more people, put the more technical person down the following — slightly different — path. As always, start with the free ServiceNow fundamentals course. Next, enroll the person in the three-day ServiceNow Fundamentals class that matches to the ServiceNow System Admin Certification. Finally, have the individual take the two-day System Administration Advanced course. Again, some JavaScript skills are recommended.

Your HRIS team will need to know how to help manage and control this tool. On-the- job-training isn’t recommended, but the good news is that you don’t have to spend a massive amount on training. If you have an IT team who are already using the tool, a partnership with the ServiceNow Platform owner and administrators can help your HRIS team get up to speed by means of mentoring and support — without you having to make a big training spend.

HR Staff Training
Once you’ve entered the Create stage of SAIF, it’s time to think about training your HR staff. The more transformative your implementation is, the steeper the hill you’ll have to climb.

Here are the most important things to consider in scaling your training:

• More case types means more need for training
• Less training means lower data quality, which means less useful and actionable metrics and reporting
• Better knowledge articles means less of a need for training
• Larger or more global organization means more need for training
• More complex workflows means need for more training

Here at Cask, when we talk about training for HR staff, we’re not talking about days in a classroom. If you have a basic implementation and a small number of case forms, you can achieve great results with a simple lunch-and- learn session to familiarize your generalists and specialists with the basics. In larger or more complex environments, you might benefit from a 90-minute class with a short lab to provide your people with a hands-on experience and the ability to ask questions.

Again, the timing of the training of your HR staff is important. We suggest starting the pilot with the team who is helping test the system. They need to understand it in order to test it; plus, this is also a good opportunity to try out your training approach. For the rest of the team, you’re best advised to provide a training that starts no more than two weeks before you go live and continues in some form for at least a week post going live. If you’re a large organization, it’s possible that not all of your employees will be able to attend the training in time. Just ensure there’s a recorded session with a live Q& A or SME support available.

Conclusion
Training your own team to help design and support your implementation at the right time will improve your implementation project and give you a better — not to mention cheaper to maintain — HR Case Management solution. The investment is minimal, the risk is low, and the payoff is huge.

We cannot emphasize enough that if you built a business case for implementation around having the ability to make better decisions, then training your broader HR staff is critical to realizing your ROI. There’s a well-known saying in IT that springs to mind: Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO). A small investment in training your HR team to help them improve the quality of the data in their cases will yield significant returns in terms of improving your ability to make sound, data-driven decisions.

When you choose a partner like Cask that not only understands both HR and ServiceNow, but also knows how to help you derive the value you want and deserve from the system, everyone wins.

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