Monday, December 8, 2008

HR Customer Service Hotline ...Any buyers?

What’s the first-thing you do when computer breaks down? Ok, let’s assume you have no clue on what’s happened. You get onto the phone and dial the IT Helpdesk Number/Customer Service Number. Right? Off course, if you are a process-driven company, you would send mails, raise helpdesk tickets or even get a help-yourself sheet! However, the option that you would love to use would be to pick-up that phone and call for help! You don’t have the time now because your client’s on hold, RFP needs to be sent, reports are getting delayed, your mail to the finance team is stuck mid-way! All you want to do is – SCREAM! for help…

So what’s stopping HR folks from having a
“HR Customer Service Hotline”? Really!

Think about all the problems that can be solved:

- Help solve issues that go into unending mail-threads

- Stop the buck from passing from One HR person to another
- Transactional details become easy, such as, leave management, run learning and development programs, performance management queries, etc.
- This could even give a personal touch to employees’ queries
- Tons of other HR intricacies that can be resolved in matter of minutes

Are HR folks willing to try this out? Let’s see.

EMPOWERMENT: Such a system would require a well educated HR department which is Empowered to take decisions at all levels. They wouldn’t need to run to their managers, who in turn would run to their manager and the buck never stops! Remember the need to stop the buck and end the vicious circles. This system would help immensely.

TRAINING COSTS: The nag that HR is treated as a Cost Centre is a debate that’s been raging for a very long time (an idea for my next post!) Customer Service would mean training, which translates to more spending! It takes a sensible company to understand that – It’s in the long-haul that profits get measured. Try explaining that to finance!

OWNERSHIP: Who will take up the onus of running the show? HR Manager? Training and Development Manager? See, ownership is really an issue.

IMPLEMENTATION: The key the success of any program HR or otherwise depends a 100% on its Implementation. Seamless transition from existing systems to newer ones requires patience to weather teething-problems and hordes of cynics.

COLLABARATION: Such a HR system will require a buy-in from the senior management (starting with the CEO). The conviction in the company runs a lot deeper if they get their buy-in. You can again leave out finance!

DATA SECURITY: Since HR already deals with enough trouble with employees sharing confidential information through ‘non-official’ communication (water coolers, elevators, cafeterias, car pools, etc) It just got tougher to guard confidential data!

FOOL-PROOF SYSTEM: Involves money! Again! Getting top notch security for the system will come at a higher cost! Keep looking at the long term benefits.

The system needn’t be a 24/7 Hotline that people can use dial-in and rant! Honestly, it’s a unique way of letting employees know that HR isn’t just about people-skills. It’s a knowledge-oriented department aiming at helping run the organization smoothly. The HR seat at the table is taken seriously and not used as a department to run errands for the other business teams.

Any thoughts?

- The HR Store