Storytelling about Neocase with Brian Uhelski
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 124. This week we have storytelling about Neocase with Brian Uhelski. During this episode, Brian and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Neocase.
Brian is an expert in all things cloud and SaaS technology. His passion for helping organizations empower their employees by connecting their people and automating global business services serving HR and Finance really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 26 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to The Use Case Podcast. Today we have Brian on from Neocase, and we’re going to be talking all about Neocase. So let’s just jump right into it. Brian, if you’d do us a favor, the audience a favor, and introduce both yourself and introduce Neocase.
Sure, William. Thank you. I appreciate you having me on. My name is Brian Uhelski. I am the vice president of sales and partner alliances for North America for Neocase. For those who don’t know Neocase, we are a software company. We make really empowering solutions for some of the world’s largest and most innovative organizations, driving their HR and helping HR, empowering HR and their employees to have a better experience.
People love classifications, right? The rating sites are all filled with these arbitrary line between this and that and the other. When practitioners think of Neocase, y’all have tons of customers worldwide, how do they think of Neocase?
Oddly, no. No.
Well, yes, of course.
When they think of Neocase, the bucket we really fit into is easily classified, HR service delivery. It’s an HR automation, HR service delivery. Those things are so becoming inextricably woven at this point. You really can’t have HR services anymore without having a large degree of automation, because there’s just such a high volume and we’re a right-now society.
Years ago, some of the folks would have put you kind of in a case management bucket. That’s one of the things, obviously. That’s one of the things that y’all do and help people with. What do you displace? What do you find yourself when Neocase comes in, what either processes or other kind of technology that they’ve either bought or built themselves, what do you find yourself replacing?
Sure. So typically, HR is constantly being asked to innovate and do more with less. The reason for that largely is, is that it hasn’t been until the last, I’d say the last 10 years that senior management and everybody in general have finally, they’ve come to grips that HR is not necessarily a profit center, but it certainly can be a strategic differentiator. What I mean by that is, is that you see everybody talk about in the abstract how our greatest resources are people.
Well, the link between the organization and its people is HR. So HR has a just incredibly complex and sophisticated mission that they have to keep everybody happy, and they have to be the source for all the information. They have to kind of connect the heart and soul with everybody and make sure that the company culture and all of the things that are tangentially connected, HR is responsible for driving that. So it’s not a profit center, but it really drives profit. It drives all the things that are required for people to really be … for that to happen.
I say that because it may help to put some context on what we tend to displace, which was really at the crux of your question. What we do is really help HR to achieve that mission. I like to think of it as empowering software. We empower HR. We empower the employees in how we do that. It’s about enabling them to get access to information, to provide answers to questions, and to enable productivity. You get the access. You get productivity and really help define and streamline all of those key moments where you as an employee are reliant upon HR to really help you and guide you through.
They’re kind of like the insurance policy of the … That’s a bad example. But it’s like the thing you need to have. But you’re only happy when you need it, but you generally don’t want to have to worry about it.
Just know it’s there, right? As an employee, you want to know that if I have a sudden leave of absence that I have to take or I have this big defining moment and it’s going to dramatically change my life, how do I, in light of all those things that are happening outside of my organization, get quickly to the information and the tools and resources that I need so at the end of the day, I’m able to rely on my job and my benefits and my income and the people that support me and continue to make things happen there? So how do we do that? Oh, sorry.
No, no, no, no, no. No, that’s exactly what I was going to ask. So go ahead.
So how do we do that? If you think about it, it kind of breaks down in a couple of different areas. I’ll start with, you said case management, right?
Case management is one piece of a larger bucket that I would really put into the category of employee relationship management. so it’s managing that relationship between HR and the organization and their employees. How do we do that? Well, we want to make sure that they have access and can communicate, regardless of where they are, when it is, or how they tend to want to communicate with us, whether it’s through their iPad or picking up the phone or sending a text or getting with a chat bot or something else.
So it really has to be location and device agnostic because no longer … The days of the employer dictating how things are going to be done and creating this very narrow window that everybody has to filter through, well, that just creates a lot of backlog and really doesn’t align well to everybody. So for those organizations who have realized that we need to meet people where they are and give them information and access how they live and what works for them, we need to be able to do that regardless of language, regardless of location, regardless of how they want to connect, so long as they connect and get the information they want.
We do that with portals and phone, email, chat bot, live chat. All that is incorporated into case management. But there’s also another component of that, which is knowledge management. What we found is that if you give people the choice between interacting in any way with somebody else to answer a question or just giving them access to where the information is and looking it up themselves and self-solving, eight out of 10 times, they’ll just go there and solve the problem themselves if you make that easy.
So being able to provide a good knowledge base right there, eight out of 10 times will enable an employee to figure out that, “Oh, wow. Okay. I needed the information. I got the information. They made it easy. I was able to solve my problem, answer my question, get on my way back to what I wanted to do.” So it’s all about those things. In the case where you couldn’t do that, well, then there’s case management. All case management is, if you think about it, it’s like customer service, but inside. It’s really just making sure that we can give everybody visibility. When I say visibility, I mean what is the status of my case?
Who’s been working on it? What’s happened since we talked? Where are the notes? If somebody internally at HR needs to have somebody from maybe go from a generalist to benefits or to payroll or two or three or four things, generally these are complex. More than one person is going to have input. So rather than having that process of always having to rework the whole conversation and provide everybody with the history, you’ve got that comprehensively and consolidated into one port so everybody understands and has visibility. That’s important because it makes the employee feel like they matter.
You know what I love about this is you’ve taken some things that are from 100 years ago with intranets and extranets and even the employee self-service portal things, which were all meant in some ways to help people find stuff. You’re in Indiana and you want to know your vision benefits. Prior to any of this great technology, you would have called HR. The HR would have then answered the phone and said, “Okay, let me send that to you, or let me direct you to wherever that is,” which bogged down HR.
It was very hard for them to ever be strategic or do strategic work when they’re basically answering the phone or email all day long trying to help people. With what y’all have done where you’ve advanced this is it’s like employees can 4:00 in the morning, they want that vision plan and they’re in Indiana or whatever. They can go find that themselves. It doesn’t drag. I mean there’s many benefits to it. It doesn’t drag on HR and pull their time down. Also, it’s freeing for the employee because they can get to stuff without having to go through HR.
Yeah, you’re exactly right. More importantly, it makes sense to kind of call attention to the fact that what we don’t do is replace core HRIS systems. We’re not there to replace the Workdays and the SuccessFactors and the Oracles of the world. What we do is we really kind of, we become two sides of the same coin, if you will. Because what we found is, and the whole reason that we’ve evolved the way we have is because core HR systems are set up very much like HR organizations. They tend to be a little bit more siloed. They do give some visibility. But in terms of being able to provide that ongoing visibility across those organizations and the history and a lot of the communications elements that we’re talking about here, they’re just not designed for that. They’re not architected for that.
So case management is the natural component that adds onto there that pulls information and updates. That’s a big piece of what we do. Now, that’s not the only piece though, because we also realize that every organization is evolving at a different speed and a different pace. They have unique needs that they want to be able to address on their own. So we have a business process automation engine that’s built in part of our platform. Everybody wants to automate, but your ability to do so tends to be reliant upon the skills that you have, your size of your IT team and where that’s going to all fall in the pecking order.
I’ll go back to what I started with, which is empowerment. What we thought was needed to happen, because we were started by HR practitioners, was that when they wanted to evolve their systems and processes it either meant going out and buying another tool and strapping it on and figuring out a way to integrate it and that creates security and all kinds of other problems. Or they would need IT to build that or IT’s involvement to maintain it. Well, that puts them in a queue, which means they can’t move at the speed that they want to.
So we felt that it’s really important to provide HR with a platform that not only met the complex needs of organizations with 100, 200,000 people, but it also could be maintained by HR and evolved by HR. So we have a no-code process-building tool that enables HR to really build some extremely sophisticated workflows that will automate a lot of these processes as they evolve.
That’s so helpful.
They don’t have to know all those things. Just drag and drop. They can do the things that they need to do. Let me ask you a couple buying questions because I know I think people kind of understand what problems you solve and where you fit. I believe y’all are global.
Yeah, right. So multilingual, you can help people, conglomerates. You can help people all over the world. The questions that you love to hear in the buying process, so some of them, I want to get the ones you have disdain for, but let’s deal with the positive side first. When you get a tell from a prospect, maybe you just know that they have the pain. There’s certain questions that they ask. There’s certain things that they tell you when you’re going through your process with them. What are those things?
Well, certainly where do I sign up is probably at or near the top of that list. But after that, I would say when I’m hearing things like, ” We, as an organization, struggle to keep up with the demand from our employee base and to answer questions. We’ve always got a large backlog.” That, to me, tells me that there’s a lot of inefficiency there. When the cost of HR is continuing to be excessive or they don’t get a high CSAT score or NPS, that’s generally indicative of an organization that it’s not that they don’t want to do better. It’s just that they’re not enabled to do better.
Oftentimes, that’s really a result of, I’ll go back to the it. There’s kind of this little detente between IT and HR in a lot of ways, because while HR has a very big HRIS, their systems are very big and complex. They tend to not necessarily be responsible for managing the technical aspects of that, and they have to rely quite heavily on IT. Therefore, IT has as a greater say in what HR does than probably a lot of HR teams would like to have that happen. They want to be in charge of their own destiny.
That’s a really big indicator that they’re not able to move as quickly as they want and be as nimble as they want. When you see onboarding processes that take excessively long or it’s not a great experience, that’s really an indication of an organization that hasn’t necessarily been able to grow and evolve at the speed that its employees are and at the pace that the people they’re trying to attract would generally be looking for.
It’s interesting because you’ve hit on two things that I want to make sure the audience understands. One is HR and recruiting, their time is just being sucked away from them. You look at your week on a Sunday night, and you’re going to be fighting some fires. That’s just normal for HR. But if you’ve got just email after email or call after call or whatever it is, and your time is just being sucked away by things that could easily be solved by people just having access, knowledge and access into the things that they need and be able to basically serve themselves and help themselves. That’s one thing.
The other is, again, if you’re an HR leader, you don’t have enough time to be strategic and really grow the business, really understand the business, really align yourself with the initiatives of the business. There’s a reason for that. It’s not just time management. It’s that you can look down and see that, “Okay.” Most of my time, I mean when I talk to HR about this particular problem in time management, I’m like, “Deconstruct her schedule. Where are you spending your time? Where are you spending your time?” If you’re not spending at least 40% of your time on strategic initiatives, then find out why.
Is it people? What is dragging you away from being strategic? Y’all are helping them get their time back which, again, helps them. But also, as you mentioned, which was the second part, it creates a better experience. They have a better experience. HR has a more fulfilled experience because they can do the things that they know they need to do. But it also has a better experience for employees as well.
Yeah. That has to start literally at almost, we’ll call it day zero. There’s that whole process of attracting talent acquisition to talent management, to employee management. Or just having the process of once you have somebody sign an offer letter, there’s then that whole second part that kicks into gear that immediately kind of gives them that first impression. Just like with people, that first impression experience really makes the difference.
So where we can really move the ball forward for a lot of organizations is helping them to automate. Or in many cases, they may have some automation built in, but it’s the result of having daisy-chained a number of different point solutions together-
… which just creates a number of points of potential failure. So we can shrink that application footprint a little bit, give better visibility, go from offer acceptance, all of the new hire paperwork that may differ between, say, UK, France, US, Spain, Germany. All of these different things have nuances that have to be captured and addressed and localized. When that doesn’t come across to the employee-
… as being very native and familiar, it immediately creates this sense of distance.
Now, it’s an us/them versus an us.
Right. I’m sure easily fixable and personalized, again, if you have the right technology.
You’ve got to be able to then have the right technology so that you can do that. But it’s really one of the things that I think is a part of y’all’s future, if not your present, is really talking more about the employee experience and positioning Neocase in the sense of this is what we do. tactically, these are the things, the features and functionality, et cetera. But what we really do is we make their experience from candidate all the way once they’re finalized, from that all the way across.
They’re going to have questions. They’re going to need answers. They’re going to need information, documentation, et cetera. We make all that experience easy globally.
Two final questions. One is buying questions, getting back to when you’re dealing with prospects. You’ve listened. You’ve heard all the different stories. What questions should they ask you?
When people are looking for solutions, it really comes down to can you help me manage my entire employee life cycle and all of the needs and automate the employee life cycle end to end? So that’s not just the case and knowledge management, but it’s also aligned to all the documentation management that goes with that. Automate those things and make them easy, digitizing and automating those things from day one onboarding to all the compliance documentation, but also as an employee.
Policy updates, goal, setting, performance reviews, rewards, recognition, and even the exit process, off-boarding, all those things matter, and how you do it makes a difference. The two parts that make the biggest impact and, quite frankly, can mean the biggest points of a failure is bringing a new employee on and off-boarding an employee, whether that’s voluntary or involuntary. Because how many times have we heard about nefarious folks that come back and spitefully mess up a system because they weren’t off-boarded correctly? They just don’t have access. So being able to-
Or they ruin your employer brand on Glassdoor because they had a bad experience, which can-
… just like the onboarding experience, can be orchestrated.
An off-boarding experience can be completely orchestrated so that they have as good of an experience as to be expected. okay. So final question, when folks do a demo with you and maybe they’ve never looked at anything like this. They’ve never even thought of themselves of needing something like this. What do they fall in love with?
That’s a great question. I think what really takes people aback a little bit is that it doesn’t have to be super complex. We do very complex things. But when we pull away the hood and show how those things are architected, I think that’s where they’re kind of, “Oh, wow. We can do that.” They don’t realize until we just open the hood and say, “This is how we built this process.” Or we’ll actually go in and show a copy of a customer who’s got 100,000 employees who are running 100+ different automated processes across six business lines, something that somebody in HR built and manages and maintains.
In their organization, they have five IT people that they have to rely on just for that today. Just the expense that we’ve saved and the time and, quite frankly, the aggravation that we can save them in empowering them to do that, it’s uplifting. It’s like, “Oh, wow. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.” This doesn’t have to be part of some gargantuan, huge platform that claims to be all things to all people. This can be simply an HR-for-HR tool that is broad enough and deep enough and still manageable. By the way, it doesn’t have to completely break the budget in the process.
I love it. I love it. Listen, Brian, thank you so much for coming on The Use Case Podcast. This has been wonderful. I just appreciate your time.
Oh yeah. This has been a pleasure. Absolutely. It’s been a complete pleasure.
And thanks for everyone listening to The Use Case Podcast. Until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.