5 Ways Your Employee Self Service Portal can Improve Employee Engagement

I attended a shared service conference this past week, and wrote down a jarring statistic:

360 Billion Dollars of productivity are lost each year, due to disengaged employees.  In contrast, only 11 Billion Dollars are lost employee turnover.  Assuming these numbers are accurate, which problem would you solve first?

Employee Engagement is one of those terms that’s on the cusp of overuse.   But its true meaning is derived from research of the Gallup organization, and published in their 2016 report, “The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes” – the 9th edition of their Q12® Meta-Analysis.


The Q12 are a series of measures that are combined to establish the level of employee engagement within an organization.  For each measure, the employee is asked to respond on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree).


For those unfamiliar with the Q12, they are:


Q00. Overall Satisfaction) On a 5-point scale, where “5” is extremely satisfied and “1” is extremely dissatisfied, how satisfied are you with (your company) as a place to work?


Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.


Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.


Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.


Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.


Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.


Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.


Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.


Q08. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.


Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.


Q10. I have a best friend at work.


Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.


Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.


Now that we know what measures contribute to employee engagement, the question becomes which of these measures can be supported by the configuration and design of the employee self-service portal?


The following five come to mind:


Q00. Overall satisfaction.

According to Gallup, this is an attitudinal outcome or direct reflective measure of how people feel about their organization.  A well-designed HR Portal can serve as the face of the organization to the employee, and in this way, becomes a significant touch-point.  Add authentic content to communicate a positive mission and the good the organization is doing, and the employee’s outlook on their organization can’t help but be positively impacted.


Q02. Materials and equipment.


Getting people what they need to do their work is important in maximizing efficiency, in demonstrating to employees that their work is valued and in showing that the company is supporting them in what they are asked to do.”


The key phrase is “maximizing efficiency.”  When an HR-relate task feels cumbersome to an employee, or slows them down, they feel it.  For example, if an employee must jump through hoops to apply for tuition reimbursement, you’re sending a subtle unintentional message that their actual work is less valued.  Incorporate smooth, digital processes in the portal, and employees will feel the value.


Q05. Someone at work cares about me.


“For each person, feeling cared about may mean something different. The best managers listen to individuals and respond to their unique needs. In addition, they find the connection between the needs of the individual and the needs of the organization. “


This is all about recognizing and responding to the individuality of the employee.   The Portal should personalize the experience for every employee, and the best way to do this is by dynamically presenting content within the Portal, according the data in the employee’s record.  In the digital world, our personal differences are defined through data, so take advantage of these personalization capabilities as you design your portal.  Allow people to feel recognized for the individuality, every time they log in.


Q07. Opinions count.


“Asking for the employee’s input and considering that input can often lead to better decision-making. This is because employees are often closer to many factors that affect the overall system than the manager is, whether that is the customer or the products they are producing every day. In addition, when employees feel they are involved in decisions, they take greater ownership for the outcomes.”


Use surveys prominently throughout the portal to solicit employee opinions on a variety of topics.  And be sure to have a process to follow-up with those employees who respond in the negative, to understand the root cause, so you can fix it.  For an employee, having the opportunity to express your opinion is only the tip of the inclusion iceberg; having someone ask you why you feel that way goes far deeper  in its effectiveness.


Q08 – The mission of the company makes me feel my job is important. 

A well-written mission statement can inspire employees to feel they are part of a greater good.  If your organization has such a mission statement, post in on the home page of the Portal, where it can serve as a constant source of inspiration.

If your mission statement wasn’t written to inspire, that’s ok – draft content for the various employee segments, connecting the dots between their particular work, and the improvements in the lives of your customers.  Then display the appropriate content to each of the respective employee segments for whom you’ve written it.

This example reminds me of the story of when President John F. Kennedy was touring the NASA facility in Houston in the early 60’s.  He came across a janitor sweeping a hallway, and asked him, “Sir, what is it that you’re doing here?”

Without skipping a beat, the janitor responded, “Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

It’s that kind of inspiration and self-worth that can be communicated through well-written content in the Employee Portal.  By applying this and the other four, your employee portal can indeed have a positive impact on Employee Engagement.