How are you transforming the way you manage Human Resources?
Putting the Client at the Heart of a service has been a philosophy around for many years, and yet I never understood how much it was relevant to any client relationship, before I came across Gandhi’s deep and insightful words on the topic: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”
This quote captures the air of excitement flowing within Atos, where we are making it a Global business priority to put the Client at the Heart of everything we do. With the passion and energy that this produces, it has been impossible for HR to ignore. As such, the UK HR Employee Relations team are eager to join this journey, however from a slightly different perspective.
For a HR strategy to succeed, it needs to be synonymous with business strategy, so we have asked ourselves “why only apply this customer service philosophy to our external clients?”, within Atos our people are our assets; our people drive the organisation; our people service our external clients, so it is vital we also put our employees, HR’s internal clients, at the heart of our service. From this point forward, when I refer to ‘client’ I am referring to HR’s internal clients, the employees.
The first step of this journey for the UK HR Employee Relations team was to find out what our clients want. This was done by carrying out industry research; reviewing journal and reports such as from the Institute of Employment Studies; asking some of our key business clients for anecdotal feedback, and appointing a project sponsor from the business who manages multiple employees and has frequently used the HR Employee Relations service. From this we were able to map out the rest of our journey, and decided upon 3 main steps to achieve our objective of putting the employee at the heart of the HR service:
- Customer Communication: We improved and developed on our two way communication with our clients - the employees. Not only are we reviewing all the top-down tooling and materials, such as ensuring accurate up-to-date policies are available easily, we also plan to hold regular on-site face to face round tables and leverage the Atos social network (a blueKiwi solution) to get feedback from employees and be more interactive. Our aim is to ensure our communication is user friendly, to remove the HR jargon and make it client focused whilst promoting the HR service and spending time with our clients. The value of implementing these initiatives is supported by the Institute of Employment Studies who found in their study “What Customers Want from HR”, that customers want clear guidance on services, easy contact with HR, and a quick response.
- Customer Experience: We adapted our usual way of managing HR in order to drive the behaviour of the Employee Relations team to that desired by the client. We have done this by introducing performance measures such as service level agreements and real time customer satisfaction surveys. The service level agreements ensure there is a transparent understanding with our customer of what we as a service are accountable for. The customer satisfaction surveys are a self-fulfilling cycle which will provide us with customer feedback for continuous service improvement. This falls in line with a management quote from the Institute of Employment Studies which stated “HR should engage more with finding out what its customers need and their experience of current HR services”.
- Customer Intimacy: We focused on making our Employee Relations HR team more aligned and aware of business strategy, drivers and challenges so that the team can proactively spot trends and provide relevant people solutions, such as implementing flu jabs delivered by OHAssist who provide us with Occupational Health services, in areas of the business which rely on the workforce to deliver a consistently manned service to our external clients. This has been achieved by overcoming the challenge of a faceless HR service which a shared service HR model can present by introducing the new Employee Relations Service Line Lead roles, which is a business facing role which works directly with the Service Line Management Teams to identify and analyse HR trends for the service line and to support the business in delivering the key people objectives. This is in line with our research which pointed out that Human Resources customers do want a HR function to move away from a purely transactional role to one with strategic business impact.
For me personally I am excited to embark on this journey, I want to be part of the engine which drives greater HR value to our clients through better communication, customer satisfaction and business awareness, as ultimately our service impacts our people who service the external client.
Are you transforming the way you manage HR to answer better your employees’ expectations? As an employee, what are you expecting from your HR department?