Hunter New England Health is an area health service and part of the New South Wales Department of Health. It delivers healthcare services to around 840,000 residents across 130,000 square kilometres in regional New South Wales, Australia. The organisation’s HR Centre—a contact centre for staffing and human resources issues—had very limited data on case histories, outcomes achieved and problem hotspots, due to manual record keeping. Working with Microsoft Certified Partner eSavvy, Hunter New England Health implemented a case management system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Using this system to record all staff interactions with the HR Centre, it has delivered greater transparency and more detailed data for reporting. It enabled HR staff to share workloads, see broader trends and identify problem hotspots. Overall, the system is an important step towards the health service’s goal of providing a ‘just culture’ in which decisions are evidence based.Situation
Hunter New England Health is one of eight area health services managed by the New South Wales Department of Health. It delivers healthcare services to approximately 840,000 residents of the Hunter, New England and Lower Mid North Coast regions – an area of 130,000 square kilometres. It has approximately 14,500 staff including 1,500 medical officers, and an annual budget of A$1.3 billion.
In 2005, Hunter New England Health formed the HR Centre, a single point of contact providing staff with advice and support on human resources issues. Its ultimate goal was to identify and help implement initiatives to improve organisational performance, through the effective use of technology and telecommunications.
“The role of the HR Centre was to be the first-line of response for general staffing issues, especially those that might escalate into problems of greater complexity and concern,” says Tim Hopson, HR Operations Manager, Hunter New England Health. “Our call centre software was an old platform that gave us very limited ability to classify calls into different areas. It had no interface with other HR systems so when someone called, we wouldn’t know who they were, where they were or how long they had been working with us.”
To record important data about callers, staff used a variety of systems including Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets, Microsoft Office Word documents and handwritten notes. This unsystematic approach made it difficult to manage human resources issues consistently.
“In effect, we had almost no data on case histories, types, classifications, outcomes achieved and hotspots across the service,” says Hopson. “That meant we had limited ability to generate meaningful strategic reporting.”
The inability to track issues and trace the response, left the opportunity for individual’s to ‘shop around’ for advice, sometimes receiving different answers depending on who they called and the information they provided.
In addition, the health service could not aggregate trends or common themes over time or across multiple enquiries.
“If a particular individual was more ‘challenging to manage’, or a unit that had a dysfunctional culture, it would be very difficult to spot,” says Hopson. “One person may deal with an issue, but it would be done in isolation with no opportunity for cross reference or correlation.”
In addition, HR had limited visibility into staff workloads and could not easily manage staffing levels or individual performance.Solution
In November 2009, Hunter New England Health contacted Microsoft with a view to creating a case management system for the HR Centre. Microsoft recommended eSavvy, a customer relationship management specialist and Microsoft Certified Partner.
eSavvy worked with Hopson to design a solution and build a business case for it. Hunter New England Health approved the project in late December 2009 and work started in January 2010.
The case management and related human resources information system was based on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 platform, with a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database back end.
The system was designed to be a repository for Hunter New England Health’s human resources and workforce information including case histories, policy development and project management.
“We built in a series of workflows and checklists around case management situations so the HR staff would always know what the next step was,” says Marcus Elias, Solution Architect, eSavvy. “We also introduced a comprehensive three-tier case categorisation system that matched Hunter New England Health’s internal taxonomy, so they could generate more detailed and credible reports.”
eSavvy also integrated the CRM system with the Hunter New England Health payroll system, which ensured that HR staff could view staff members’ payroll information such as cost centre, grade and work location in real time when dealing with an employee issue.
The new system was launched in April 2010 and staff immediately took to it.
“In the first four weeks there were 532 cases uploaded into CRM,” says Hopson. “If there had been any concerns or pushback, people would have stuck with using pen and paper. I ran reports to see who was doing what, and it was clear that the activity was evenly spread across all 26 users within HR.”Benefits
Having a record of all HR interactions with staff has helped Hunter New England Health clarify human resources issues. It has enabled the organisation to understand broad trends and make connections between individual cases, ensuring a more holistic approach to human resources management.
“Getting this right will mean better morale and employee engagement, reduced staff turnover and less time spent managing reactive people issues,” says Hopson. “This new system is giving us the facts and data we need to be more strategic and proactive in what we do.”Accountability and transparency
The customer relationship management system’s workflows and categories ensure HR staff follow the correct procedures. It also provides a reliable way to ensure tasks are allocated and managed in a more timely manner.
“We’ve put in business rules so that every case has follow-up activities,” said Hopson. “With certain categories of issues, we know we need to consult with a particular department or person. Tasks are allocated to relevant staff members and the ball starts rolling as soon as the initial information has been captured in CRM”.
“Now if someone phones up and says, ‘I called last week about this problem’, we can pull it up on screen and see what activities have been put in place as a result. We can tell them what our next steps will be and who is managing each of those steps. It’s a great tool in managing employee expectations and providing real service”
Improved staff productivity
Having moved away from individual, manual record keeping, HR staff can share information and work more freely.
“We’re handling cases more quickly and thoroughly,” says Hopson. “We can always see how many cases and activities are outstanding and what tasks we need to complete. We can see which staff members are doing what, how heavy their workloads are and what kinds of cases they’re working on. This helps us to identify where people could grow their expertise or share their work with others.”
Better reporting and results
The system’s powerful reporting capabilities combined with more accurate and helpful categories, quickly helped HR deliver more credible and accurate reports.
“It’s already telling us where the work is coming from and what types of cases are coming through,” says Hopson. “After a full year when we have around 7,000 cases in the system, that will give us some really good historical data to do trending. And of course, for a government department, that kind of reporting is essential.”
“It’s created a platform supporting greater accountability and consistency, for an underpinning paradigm shift from paper and policy to people and performance.”
Following the success of the new CRM system, Hunter New England Health is examining a range of other applications for the tool.
“Next up we’ll be using the same system as a case management tool for workers’ compensation claims,” says Hopson.
“eSavvy is currently building an application around that. When it’s finished we’ll double the number of people using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
“After that, we might look into another application for our employee assistance program or learning and development. We’ve already invested in the core technology so it really makes sense.”Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:
www.microsoft.com/dynamics For More Information
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics products and services in Australia, call 1800 197 960.
To access information using the web, go to: www.microsoft.com/australia/dynamics/
For more information about eSavvy products and services, call 1300 799 723 or visit the website at: www.esavvy.com.au
For more information about Hunter New England Health, visit the website at: www.hnehealth.nsw.gov.au This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.