How can the HR Service Center contribute to open communication throughout the organization?

"Employees want their voices to be heard; they want to engage. It’s up to the leadership team and HR to create an engaging culture."  That's according to Dr.Stephen Bruce, PHR in an article for HR Daily Advisor.

In  Gallup's 2016 Report, "The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes," one of the key measurements of employee engagement is  the response to the question, "At work, my opinion seems to count."

"Employees want to be heard. We want to be owners with a voice contributing to the strategy of the organizations we support. From top to bottom, each of us brings a unique set of experiences and organizational wisdom that is yearning to be tapped. Give us an opportunity to share what we know and debate the important issues. Involve us in planning, decision-making, innovation, and strategy."  That's according to the Fast Company article "The Most Logical Yet Underrated Employee Engagement Strategy" which interviewed Josh Bersin of Deloitte.

The message is clear: A key to employee engagement is giving employees an opportunity to be heard.  For this idea to fully permeate an organization, all functions should demonstrate a willingness to open up to the voice of the employee.

If you’re running an HR Services organization, where are your opportunities to capture the "Voice?"  You're communicating with employees all day long, so how can you leverage this unique position to elicit employee feedback?

The survey is one way.  But we're not talking about the case closure survey; the one you send to employees after you've closed out a ticket.  While that survey serves a valuable purpose, it's too transaction-centric to elicit the broader feedback that leads to engagement.

Anytime Feedback 2

There's another type of survey that an HR Shared Service Center can administer - it's the one that some clients call "Anytime Feedback."  And to make it effective, there are three components that should be involved:

  1. The Survey
  2. The automated "Listening" process to identify responses that warrant follow-up.
  3. The actual one-to-one follow-up with the employee.

The Survey

The Survey should be easily accessible to all employees, for example through a button or link on the HR Portal landing page.  The purpose of this article isn't to design the survey questions; there are plenty of examples available on the Internet.

The Listening Process

Too often, organizations concentrate their analysis of the responses on the aggregate.  While studying the big picture has value, it leads to focusing on the forest, and missing out on the unique trees.  Having the ability automatically identify specific survey responses that require closer analysis is the starting point for conducting an engaging dialog on the right topics with the right respondents.  For example, set up a rule to cull out all surveys in which the respondent rated “opportunity for advancement” with a score of 3 or less on a scale of 5.  These responses become the unique "trees" on which to focus your follow-up conversations.

The Follow-up Process

Once you've identified the conversations that you want to have, and with whom, the next step is to sit down with the employees, roll up your sleeves, and listen to them tell you why they answered the question the way they did.  It's difficult to take meaningful action on an abstract summary number, but it's a lot easier to act on specific, concrete and candid feedback - the kind that comes from a live conversation.

As more organizations place a greater importance on the voice of the employee, HR Service Centers, with their employee-facing technologies are in a unique position to contribute to the cause.  Use your survey capabilities to invite employees to provide direct feedback.   Configure business rules to automate the initial "listening" process by culling out defined responses, and conduct one-on-one follow-up conversations with those employees to hear out the root causes of their responses.