Having an effective HR web portal in place can take a significant load off the entire Human Resources organization. The challenge is not only properly designing and implementing this type of solution, but then driving up usage levels by the employee base. What is becoming a too frequent occurrence is that some companies do not exercise the proper due diligence in the initial design phase of the web portal, which can result in a tool that is lacking in functionality, difficult to use, and frustrating to the employees utilizing it.
While Tier 0 solutions are often implemented with a well-populated knowledge base containing a variety of policies, forms, and other documents, the ability of the employee to actually retrieve that information can be complicated when the initial design does not include a well-conceived plan to index the information and map it to relevant topics. This results in the necessity to carry out an eventual major revision to the employee portal to resolve those inherent design issues that could have been avoided with proper planning at the start of the original design project.
During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, a global manufacturing company with approximately 50,000 employees shared their experiences in developing and implementing a new and more powerful HR web portal. Prior to the development of the new portal in 2014, some of the issues the company dealt with their existing portal included the following:
- Employees had to be inside the company firewall to access the portal
- Some work locations lacked the internet connectivity to access the portal
- Some locations did not have a kiosk for employee use
- Portal administrators could not target information displayed for employees
- Information was all in English
As part of an overall HR initiative in working towards a more effective and efficient delivery model,one of the three key tenets of this major project was to increase focus on helping employees and managers help themselves, which is obviously a natural fit for a functionally-rich web portal. Addressing the weaknesses of the existing portal and adding significant levels of additional content and functionality, this company transitioned over 49,000 employees into the HR Shared Service Model in less than 3 years. Looking at the timeline of the rollout, from April 2014 to April 2015 the first North America divisions transitioned, followed in 2015-16 when the Latin American and EMEA countries were migrated, along with the Asia-Pacific region.
Some of the successes experienced with the new employee portal include:
- Available globally to all employees from anywhere with internet access (mobile enabled) and with content targeted to individual employees
- Ability to change the language for the navigation
- Some key information translated into most commonly spoken languages
- For each life or work event, they combined the procedures, the links to the system they need to take action in, and additional resources or vendors that may be helpful
Some of the lessons learned from this employee portal initiative include to keep it simple, do a usability study with end users to ensure that the portal is organized in a way that will makes sense to the employee as they look for information, and ensure that key words are linked to each knowledge article to make it easy to search for. While this company is happy with the progress it has made with its employee portal, some of the areas they will next focus on are to conduct a “Tree Test” to ensure the information architecture is still valid as new content is added, build out additional HR content for other geographic regions in native languages, and evaluate how to link work and life events with their HR case management tool.
iPollingTM Results Review
A recent Peeriosity poll created using the iPollingTM technology provides some insight regarding the use of Tier 0 technology in an HRSS environment. Looking at the results, while 75% of the companies have implemented a Tier 0 employee support solution, just 8% indicated that they have robust content and functionality. 42% of the survey companies have adequate content and functionality, while 25% say it is limited in those areas.
The second polling question then addressed the extent to which the Tier 0 employee support solution has been adopted by the employee base at the companies participating in the research. Interestingly, none of the companies said that they had consistently strong usage levels across the company. For most (40%), usage varied primarily by geography, while at 30% it varied by employee classification. For the remaining 30%, overall usage across the company needed improvement.
A few of the poll comments generated by Peeriosity members on this topic are as follows:
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Our intranet is rich with content, but information is buried so many layers deep, employees give up searching and contact Human Resources. We have been trying to steer them to the Knowledge Base in HEAT which I.T. and H.R. use for service management. We publish all 1,000+ H.R. articles so anyone can access them and it is much easier to search, but most employees don’t know this resource is available.
Media & Entertainment Member: Our employee portal is mainly limited to I/T solutions and password resets.
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: We have very robust content and functionality. We had to redo our portal and are increasing content daily.
While employee self-service technology has now been around for many years, at most companies it is still a work-in-progress, with much to be done to improve in this area. The challenge of generating and maintaining consistently strong employee usage remains, even when companies get the technology piece of the puzzle right. The good news is that it is possible, as demonstrated by a number of companies across the globe, when the appropriate focus and resources are applied.
What is the status at your company with respect to the implementation and utilization of an employee portal? Is your current solution meeting your needs or is it time to take another look at this critical technology?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion. Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content. Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.
“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.
Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com  to join the discussion and connect with Peers. Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted. To learn more about Peeriosity, click here