Focusing on voice, calibration, and perspective can help drive a better employee experience when outsourcing.
How do you give your employees superstar treatment with limited resources? Outsourcing HR services is one way for the business to focus on core activities and reduce costs. However, HRO is not consistently delivering the level of service employees expect.
So, when large corporations build HR service models to handle thousands of transactions each day, how do we engage the resources necessary to efficiently handle those transactions while still meeting the employees’ individual needs and expectations? What can be done to ensure the service model is easy for employees to use, makes them feel like individuals, and still deliver on the business demands to reduce costs?
For large buyers to obtain all the HR services they need, they must source from many different suppliers. As suppliers are added to the portfolio, the service delivery model becomes more complex, and the employee typically bears the largest burden in this model. That’s because companies typically fail to consider the end-to-end employee experience, and third-party service providers do not normally align their operations to one another. In doing so, they force employees to navigate a disjointed system.
Third-party services are commonly managed in “siloed” groups based on transactional process mapping that does not enable the kind of end-to-end solution desired by the employee. It’s the Achille’s heel of HRO. Process mapping done by service providers based on the requirements of individual contracts rather than the full scope of services (and range of third-party providers) falls short of what an employee will actually experience.
So, what can we, as buyers, do to ensure our service delivery models meet the needs and expectations of our employees? It all comes down to three things: voice, calibration, and perspective.
- Voice. First and foremost, you need a method to capture the voice of the employee, one that provides the level of detail necessary to take action and resolve individual employee dissatisfaction, as well as address the root cause of issues. Verbatim feedback is priceless, as is the ability to call an employee back who was dissatisfied. It enables better understanding of the employee’s issue, encourages him or her to give the system another chance to resolve that issue, and ultimately turns a dissatisfied employee into a satisfied one.
At a minimum, you will surprise the employee with the call-back and will most likely increase his satisfaction level simply by making the effort to call. It’s a terrific opportunity to add a dose of individualized attention to an otherwise impersonal service delivery model.
- Calibration. Another essential component to an “employee-centered” service delivery model is calibration between the buyers and suppliers. It’s critical that all parties in the service model truly understand the expectations of the buyer and the capabilities of each supplier. Calibration is about ironing out the operational details by reviewing a situation together and aligning on the root cause and course of action. Lack of calibration around expectations and capabilities is guaranteed to create problems despite the best intentions of everyone involved.
- Perspective. Measuring the performance of HRO services is, and will continue to be, a challenge. Ultimately, SLAs exist to ensure the right level of service is delivered and that it meets the expectations of employees. The trick is to create SLAs that drive the right behaviors from the perspective of an employee. A great first step is for buyers and suppliers to listen regularly to employee calls together to ensure they jointly understand the issues behind employee dissatisfaction. Operational metrics on a dashboard do not always provide an accurate picture of employee satisfaction. Listening to employees and digging into the details will provide the rich information you and your vendor partners need to make meaningful improvements.
Let’s get real. Your HR service model is not the most important thing on employees’ minds as they go about the day. But, as a little verbatim feedback from a dissatisfied employee makes painfully clear, it’s vitally important when they need it. Our role is to build an HR service delivery program that can handle thousands of transactions each day while still providing user-friendly service that meets individual employee needs, when and how they want it. By bringing the principles of voice, calibration, and perspective to your service model, you can free up employees to do what they do best—their jobs.
Chris Johnson is senior manager of HR operations of Best Buy, Inc.