ServiceNow BrandVoice: Reimagining Employee Experience At A Global Bank
In the depths of the pandemic, Standard Chartered created a new model for hybrid work.
In March 2020, companies worldwide faced a reckoning. With Covid-19 infections and death rates soaring, thousands of knowledge workers packed up their laptops and went home. IT leaders scrambled to provide these newly remote workers with virtual access to the applications and data they needed to stay productive.
March 2020 was also the month that Standard Chartered Bank chose to reinvent its digital employee experience. Standard Chartered is a British multinational institution with more than 1,200 branches and around 85,000 employees across 59 markets. In late March, the bank rolled out a new employee service delivery portal called myHR.
Built on ServiceNow’s Now Platform, myHR connects processes across multiple departments so that employees can get all the services they need from one portal. For example, if an employee wants to request flexible working, they only need to complete one form. A dynamic workflow then automates the process, getting HR approval for the request, notifying the property department that a desk is no longer needed, and alerting the IT team to arrange delivery of the necessary equipment to the employee.
On March 20, Standard Chartered launched myHR globally. Two years later, the portal is available to all employees. In January alone, the employee service delivery team saved nearly 9,000 hours by enabling employees to self-serve knowledge base articles. Employees seem pleased: the employee experience team now has a Net Promoter Score of +80, up from +50 before the myHR launch.
On the sidelines of ServiceNow’s recent Knowledge 2022 conference in Sydney, we chatted with Marina Mehli, director of digital solution and experience design at Standard Chartered. Mehli explained how myHR came to life and shared lessons about deploying new digital experiences at global scale. (This interview has been edited for clarity.)
Q: What was the state of HR service delivery at the bank before myHR?
A: We had plenty of processes all over the place. It worked, but from an efficiency perspective, service delivery teams were working completely manually. There wasn’t much time left for them to really deliver our purpose, which is to be a human bank that allows people to flourish. So the challenge was how to create space for our service delivery team to strengthen those human connections with the workforce.
Q: Sounds like your service agents were fielding a lot of phone calls and emails?
A: That’s right. Four years ago we had a central team that received all general inquiries and service requests for data management, payroll, benefits and so on. And there was no automated routing capability. The routing system was actually just emails going to different teams.
Q: Yikes. What did it take to automate all those manual steps?
We started by identifying process bottlenecks and finding steps that could be removed. The goal was to standardize processes in order to standardize the experiences we wanted to deliver. We were sure we had a great product to automate those processes, but we didn’t want to just do a lift and shift.
Q: You launched a pilot version of myHR in 2019. And then you rolled it out globally in March 2020, right in the depths of the pandemic. What was that like?
A: Well, we were due to go live in 56 countries and the entire operations team had recently started working from home. We were still arranging laptops for people and figuring out their network connectivity which wasn’t great in many cases. We had so many calls with our executives. They were like, “Are you sure about this?” It was a very difficult decision to make. But it wasn’t just the project team, we also had so many SMEs and the entire workforce pushing towards this goal. So we said, “You know what? Let’s go. Let’s see what happens.”
Q: What advice do you have for other global institutions looking to roll out automated HR service delivery?
A: Be adaptable and allow yourself to fail at small things so you can learn quickly and start scaling up. We decided to go live with our pilot for nearly 40,000 employees. It was quite a big pilot, but we learned so much from it and were better prepared for the global release. And we took some small risks as well. For example we launched a Virtual Agent channel when ServiceNow Virtual Agent was still very early stage from a product perspective.
Q: How do you measure the value of myHR?
A: We can save employees more than 100,000 hours per year that they can use to actually get their work done. That’s huge. And we can free up our service operations team to focus on solving complex issues and build those human connections with employees.
Employee expectations have definitely changed, and we need to design with that in mind.
Q: What are your main design principles for employee service delivery?
A: It’s all about what you want employees to feel. That’s what I keep reminding myself when I’m designing for a system or a service, and when I’m implementing a new feature or an entirely new technology. I want employees to feel delighted, respected and understood. For example, it’s not just about creating thousands of knowledge articles and putting them on the system for employees to search. You always have to ask, “Is this experience really meaningful? Are we empowering them to self-serve?”
Q: How have the needs of your employees changed over the course of the pandemic?
A: I keep challenging myself and my team about that, because employee needs are always evolving. If I take myself as a consumer, I want to have the same consumer experience at work that I do when I visit an Apple store or shop for clothes online. I expect the same or better experience when I need to find information on one of our internal systems. Employee expectations have definitely changed, and we need to design with that in mind.