FAS units team up to make HRSS requests easier

It is now easier than ever before to request services from FAS Human Resources Support Services (HRSS) thanks to the service portal developed in collaboration with Technology Resources (TRecs) and Information Technology Services (ITS) Campus Solutions. Development began in fall 2020, and the portal was launched on May 26, 2021, according to HRSS Director Angie Schoolar.

“HRSS continues to provide the same services as before the portal launch,” Schoolar said. “And with the portal, FAS staff can locate those services and track their requests more readily.”

Schoolar explained that when FAS staff members access the service portal, they are able to make a request by any of three simple routes:

  • Desktop icon automatically added to their computer.
  • Portal link for the FAS HRSS website home page, as well as the email signature line on all FAS HRSS communications to staff.
  • Email to HRSS@austin.utexas.edu or HRSS-ER@austin.utexas.edu to reach the portal automatically and prompt a response from HRSS staff.

Once they are in the portal, FAS employees have several service options. They can ask for a consultation with an Employee Relations (ER) Specialist, report an injury or illness, request help with time sheets or leave balances, and complete an exit interview survey, Schoolar said.

Within the portal, supervisors and departmental liaisons have additional options, Schoolar explained, such as creating a new position, posting an existing position, making a salary adjustment or reclassification, requesting an ER consultation and other services.

Schoolar added that those who are in the portal but uncertain what to request can select the “Ask a Question” option, which routes them to an HRSS team member for assistance.

“Not only does the portal offer greater transparency for staff who request services, it also enables HRSS to obtain metrics we can use for continuous improvement of our processes,” Schoolar said.

Before development of the portal began, HRSS worked closely with TRecs Program Coordinator Rich Janes and TRecs Information Technology Manager Sara Somabhatta to develop the service requirements for the portal, Somabhatta explained.

“We wanted to ensure employee confidentiality and maintain compliance requirements,” Somabhatta said. “We looked at other systems, but determined that the ServiceNow system already used by ITS would work.” 

ITS holds the ServiceNow contract. Brian Richards, senior service architect in ITS Campus Solutions, along with Mallory Walker, ITS lead information technology manager, plus the ServiceNow contractor, assisted TRecs with the project.

“Once Rich and Sara had established their goals for the new portal, they worked with Mallory and me to adapt ServiceNow’s workflow capabilities to the needs of the project,” Richards said.

Janes said he had to learn the ServiceNow framework and the processes ITS has used to manage projects within that system. In turn, Somabhatta said that she and Janes had to learn HRSS business processes as well.

“This was a great collaboration among all three groups within FAS,” Somabhatta said.

Richards noted that the HRSS portal project is an example of how university groups might work with ITS Campus Solutions to build custom solutions that are useful both to end users and the teams with which they work.

In a second phase, these HRSS, TRecs and ITS partners will work together again to add functionality for HRSS staff to perform their tasks more easily, Janes said.