Not Just Any Portal in a Storm

CHRISTUS Health used the ServiceNow HR solution to support employees just hours after Hurricane Harvey

Natural disasters randomly destroy and create havoc whenever and wherever, without a concern for human life and activity. When huge and devastating events occur, there’s frustratingly little mortals can do but hunker down and hope for the best.

However, it’s during the aftermath when the best of humankind appears—when people come to the aid of their family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. In these times, most everyone focuses on what’s important: saving lives and property, and helping victims get back on their feet again.

In the late summer of 2017, when Hurricane Harvey slammed into Corpus Christi, Houston and Beaumont, Texas and the surrounding areas, some lost their lives, many suffered physical injuries, and thousands experienced billions of dollars in damages to their property and personal possessions. 

Hurricane Harvey damage estimates exceed $180 billion

Other Hurricane Harvey Stats

  • Harvey made landfall three separate times in six days
  • At least 82 people died
  • At its peak on September 1, 2017, one‑third of Houston was under water
  • Flooding forced 39,000 people out of their homes and into shelters
  • 203,000 homes were damaged; 12,700 were totally destroyed
  • 738,000 people registered for assistance with FEMA

Hurricane Harvey relief assistance

Clearly, relief assistance was desperately needed. CHRISTUS Health answered the call. CHRISTUS Health is a healthcare organization with 45,000 employees spread across eight U.S. regions as well as Latin America. It has hospitals throughout Texas and Louisiana, so the organization’s leaders knew many employees as well as their patients and patients’ families were going to need assistance.

Creating a relief fund


Within 24 hours, CHRISTUS was able to set up its ServiceNow® HR Service Delivery portal with electronic forms that allowed employees across their organization to donate money to a relief fund and even to donate their PTO (paid time off) hours to fellow staff members affected by the storm.  Forms were also developed for employees to request assistance from these programs.

ServiceNow Customer Christus Health Logo

Because mobile access is built right into the HR portal, employees in hard‑hit areas could simply reach for their phones and apply for assistance from these programs. This capability was central to the success of the CHRISTUS relief effort because many of those in the areas affected by the hurricane did not have access to a computer.

Using the portal to send messages

“We have also been able to use the portal as a way to regularly update and send messages to associates throughout the company,”said Debbie Arnold, vice president of human resource operations at CHRISTUS Health.

Providing an exceptional employee experience

“This is an extraordinary example of how CHRISTUS, using ServiceNow, was able to provide an exceptional employee experience and support their staff through this tough time. We’re proud that ServiceNow technology was used to help those affected by the hurricane, even if it was only in one small way,” said Mike Vilimek, ServiceNow director of product marketing, human resources products.

CHRISTUS Health has been a ServiceNow customer since 2013 and since implementation has centralized HR processes, reduced administrative tasks, and significantly improved the employee service experience.

With ServiceNow HR Service Delivery, CHRISTUS Health transitioned from manually handling routine HR inquiries—in person, via email, and over the phone—to a self‑service portal and an automated HR service delivery process. By increasing HR productivity and delivering more strategic value to their business partners, CHRISTUS has seen an ROI of $9 million over a three‑year period according to a third‑party case study.


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