Dovetail Customer Tony Murray Shares his Business Case for HR Case Management


According CedarCrestone’s HR Systems Survey, 49 percent of organizations are currently using HR Service Delivery software and 77 percent plan to implement an HR Help Desk solution in the next three years.


However, even as it becomes more main stream, some HR leaders are still struggling to get HR Case Management software moved from the “nice-to-have” to the “must-have” column of the budget.

To help address this, we asked Dovetail customer Tony Murray, HR Director at Diamond B Construction in Alexandria, Louisiana, to share his experience implementing an HR Case Management solution and explain why it’s a “must-have” for his organization.


In this interview, Murray discusses how he identified the need for an HR Case Management solution, how it has solved productivity problems, and how it has helped show his executive team why HR deserves a seat at the strategic table. Check it out:

Emily Lewis: What challenges were you experiencing that prompted you to implement an HR Case Management solution?


Tony Murray: We were experiencing several issues, but had three main issues we needed to address. First, our HR process was more reactive then proactive. We were to able to identify repetitive issues unless they were constantly repetitive, such as a question on the 401k or other benefits. We realized that better communication or communicating more often may cut down on some of the HR calls.


We also realized we had a lack of inter-departmental communication, which ended up causing double work for the HR department.Many times, an email would go to all three of the people in my department.


For example, let’s say a request for information from the safety department. Two people may end up working on it and sending the answer. This also highlighted our lack of coordination. Safety might get a call on a worker’s comp question, where an employee says they hurt their knee on the job, only to find out later that the employee’s wife had called HR about a short-term disability question revealing the employee hurt his knee playing with his kids.


Another challenge we were facing was a lack of documentation of issues for training, support and legal. We did not have a defined email trail, which caused email bloat. When an incident is first reported, and eventually closed, it could be three days or four weeks which results in lots of email traffic, not always using the same subject lines. In another email, maybe someone doesn’t refer to the employee by name, which won’t come up in a search 9 months later, or misspells the name.


Additionally, as an HR Director, I really only want to answer the question of “Do I send the medical form for a worker’s comp FMLA letter?” one time. It makes it difficult for my team to answer questions and provide solutions on their own when the answers are all in my head. An HR Case Management solution allows them to start looking up old cases, or I can refer them to solutions that we are starting to build in the system.


EL: How did implementing HR Case Management impact your HR team?


TM: It has increased accountability and communication, causing tension and stress levels to significantly decline.  As much as my team loves their “dear leader”, they would probably tell you my email response time is shoddy at best. It’s not because I don’t think their issues are important, it’s that they were getting buried in my 200-300 daily emails that I was receiving. Whether I ignore them on purpose or not – they still feel ignored, so it raised morale in just five days – even with having to learn a new system.


EL: How can effectively using an HR Case Management solution help HR get a seat at the strategic table?


Like any tool, it is just that. If you keep doing what you have always done, you will get the same results.


We are using the tool to start tracking additional metrics. We then take the HR metrics and line them up with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that matter to the executive team. Everything I communicate to our executive team, I relate to their terminology – man hours, production, KPIs, cost per x… an HRIS only gives me so many of those metrics.


Dovetail is now giving me new types of data, such as how many complaints about “x” after launching the new policy of “y”. I can now take turnover numbers from my HRIS and overlay them with data from Dovetail, such as complaints or issues with employees under a certain manager. The strategic possibilities are endless.


This also helps to answer questions about my department, like “should we grow, expand, or shrink?” We can use the case loads and trends to help justify my staff size, or God forbid, help me see when it might need to shrink.


EL: What factors did you consider when choosing a solution provider?


Definitely configurability. Because like all of your customers, I am unique, and will use your tool in my own way (right or wrong), and I need to be able to do things like add those weird case types, etc.


I was also concerned with how the system would handle attachments. This is key because I was saving voicemail and recorded phone calls (which is legal in Louisiana) in my Outlook inbox. I have the largest inbox in the company, which also makes it the slowest! We also have a lot of documents, forms with requests, etc. – so attachments were very important.In addition, we wanted to be able to capture email traffic either with forwards or attachments.


Security was an important concern since we want to use this system for HR, which will include sensitive investigations. But we also allow our counterparts in the Safety Department to access our system for certain cases. I needed a way to ensure they would not be able to view confidential issues. We were also looking to expand our Administrative Assistants’, who do 15 percent HR work, roles so they can log questions etc. Again, I don’t want them to be able to see certain details.


An intuitive user-interface was also important. If it was clunky, which some of your competitors’ UIs were, we weren’t interested. We need performance. I am ok with the cloud, as long as it is fast.


EM: What advice would you offer HR organizations looking to implement an HR Case Management or Help Desk solution to ensure their success?


TM: Window shopping.Demo, demo, demo!  If you don’t like webinars, go to the HR Tech conference and go see it in person. Ask to see the administrator/setup side.


If you’re having trouble justifying the need to yourself or your team, look through one week of your email traffic and start counting the separate “cases” and “trails”. Now imagine what you will gain if your #2 in your department has ready-access to these items when you’re unavailable and has enough information to make an informed decision in your absence. To me, that is priceless.


Find a high performing IT Director in your area, and see how they use their IT ticketing system. They were the pioneers of case management.  It is where I got my start, and when I came to HR it was so hard to not have such a system for HR.


An HR Case Management system is the only way to bring accountability, and self-sufficiency to your staff.

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