I’ve come across several discussions re: HR’s unwillingness to provide timely responses to routine requests. We may be better at using technology to put information at our employee’s finger tips, but that doesn’t give us an excuse for not treating them like…well, people. Do we want to condition our employees to use on-line/self-service/HRIS resources more directly? Of course. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold their hands from time to time. To some extent this falls under the heading of “you can’t win for trying” – we’re expected to leverage technology on one hand, but then asked to maintain the customer-centric focus on the other. We’re not the only ones dealing with that dilemma, though. Just ask your average call center manager. One thing they’ll tell you for sure: higher user satisfaction scores come from 1) a timely response by a live individual, b) a knowledgeable person on the other end with information at their finger tips, and 3) closed cases - sending the caller off with answers. Don’t be afraid to tell the employee “hey, you can get that stuff online at_____, but let me get it for you while you’ve got me.” They are either going to respectfully decline and get the info themselves or they are going to patiently wait while you get it. Either way, they leave satisfied. I know, Customer Service 101……or is it?
To me HR is all about one thing – optimizing the performance of people in organizations that are highly reliant upon human capital for their success. All this talk over the years about “getting a seat at the table” becoming a “strategic partner of the business” is great…it’s helped move the needle for sure. But I would argue that getting to the table is the easy part…staying there is the real test. Forget all this lofty strategic thinking for a second; get back to focusing on the fundamentals of serving your customers – the operative core to any business dynamic. HR’s clients are many, but above all else they are the employees. Does it matter what the “Average Joe” is saying about HR? If Joe is my client, damn right it matters…even if he has a completely warped sense of who we are and how things work. HR Fishbowl is dedicated to surfacing and socializing what others are saying about HR primarily to heighten our awareness. Most of it probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously. All of it, though, should cause us to pause. There will definitely be a negative slant to the matters we bring to a simmer…we don’t need another blog devoted to patting ourselves on the back. So buckle up, strap on the chin-strap, and get ready to take your lumps…but do it with the understanding that knowing our clients better – just knowing how they may be thinking about us – only helps us to serve our purpose with distinction.