Definition

HR help desk

Contributor(s): Valerie Silverthorne

HR help desk refers to a central source of information employees can consult about human resource questions. Twenty years ago, an HR help desk could have literally been a desk staffed by the HR department -- modeled after an IT help desk -- but today the term is increasingly used to mean HR service delivery software products that offer virtual assistance to employees and free busy HR staff for other responsibilities. HR help desk software products allow companies to set up intranets or web-accessible portals, track incoming employee requests and offer self-service options for key company forms and information. In today's business world, human resource staffing is tight but employees increasingly demand instant answers; HR help desk software can bridge this gap.

HR help desk activities

An HR help desk can be an employee's first stop for everything from policies and training to forms and the submission of questions. Software offerings today allow for case management of queries so both employees and HR staff have clear visibility into the process. Employees can be immediately directed to the information they are seeking, or can track where a submitted question might be in the queue. HR can use the data provided on questions to easily see what information should be supplemented or where more communication might be required.

HR help desk benefits

At a time when employees increasingly want instant answers and online interactions similar to those they have on a mobile phone, HR help desk software can fill both of those requirements. An HR help desk, sometimes known as HR service delivery software, is an essential tool in the move to manager and employee self-service. It also lets HR professionals focus their attention on more mission-critical tasks like recruitment, employee engagement and retention.

Features and functions

To take the burden off HR staff, HR help desk software must offer employees a quick way to get information from a variety of platforms and devices. All interactions with employees must be recorded and tracked to ensure tickets are handled efficiently, and that data should be shareable across the organization as necessary. Employees will want an interactive portal with plenty of guidance as well as easy access to key company policies, data, forms and more. Increasingly, help desk software products also offer tie-ins to social media and other non-typical forms of communication like texting.

Software vendors

A number of companies offer HR help desk systems as stand-alone products or as part of a larger suite of services, including, DeskPro, Dovetail Software, Oracle, Salesforce Desk, ServiceNow, SupportWorks and Zendesk. All are available as software as a service offerings, and some can be configured to run on-premises.

This was last updated in August 2018

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