Approximately eight months before the pandemic disrupted life as we knew it, the human resources department at Lowe’s launched three new tech platforms simultaneously. Team members knew they would be gathering more data with one of their new tools, so they opted to concurrently implement ServiceNow, which allowed them to store and analyze that data.
Then, as was the case with many departments in many organizations, the pandemic threw a wrench in their plans.
Kristee Huffman, senior director of global HR services, and Doug Tanner, senior manager of HR systems, shared their company’s journey at Knowledge 2023 in the session “HR made simple at Lowe’s – Frictionless, effective, and efficient HR services.”
“It seemed like every other day, something was changing,” Tanner said of the early part of the pandemic. He referenced the various challenges of that year, including emergency paid leave, temporary time off and compliance regulations. “We didn’t have one-week sprints or two-week sprints. We had 24-hour, 48- and 72-hour sprints.”
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Optimizing the HR Service Delivery Experience
In the past couple years, however, Lowe’s has turned its attention toward optimizing HR processes and operations. The company collected massive amounts of data on what information their employees frequently sought and how systems were used. Using ServiceNow’s platform to collect and analyze this data allowed the HR department to make changes that drove efficiency.
“From a workflow perspective, we made an even better process,” Huffman said.
One of the areas the Lowe’s HR department evaluated was its service delivery model. The data showed Huffman, Tanner and the team that a lot of their calls were coming from people who didn’t work for the company. With the old system, these callers were put in a linear queue with internal employees, leading to cases where nonemployees were sometimes served before team members.
Lowe’s has since taken steps to flip the model. Whereas its funnel was upside down before, features such as a self-service HR portal, chatbots and virtual agents are now helping to optimize its service delivery. This allows service specialists and centers of excellence to focus on value rather than volume.
The team has seen improvement in its process with these changes. Of the 4,503 ServiceNow cases opened per day, on average, the team is seeing a daily closure rate of 77.5 percent. It’s also seeing first-level resolution of 81.2 percent, showing that the funnel reversal is working.
Making Ongoing Improvements to the Employee Experience
Looking to the future, Lowe’s is working to condense its “knowledge novels” into “knowledge nuggets.”
“Nobody wants to read a big article when they have a question. They just want their question answered,” Huffman said. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the data and insights we’re getting since we’ve implemented the new portal. So it’s pivoting to making sure we’re taking out the right nuggets of information.”
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“We’re using the data they’re typing in the search bar and the information they’re looking for to fine-tune that,” she adds.
With the help of ServiceNow, the Lowe’s team hopes to look further into the use of artificial intelligence and expand its mobile delivery.
“We’re on the bleeding edge with our texting capabilities,” Tanner said. “You don’t see many HR organizations that leverage texting, but it’s about convenience. Many of our associates are busy on the floor helping customers, and when they text a question in, they don’t expect a response immediately.”
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