How good are your HR team?
I was having a re-read of Ulrich this weekend (yes, I know, I really ought to get out more). My organisation has been focusing a great deal on our customer experience lately, but so far we’ve been thinking about our external customers. It got me thinking though, hence the book coming out of the bookshelf. What about the HR customer experience? Most companies find ways of finding out what their employees are thinking or feeling about their work, whether that is employee surveys, focus groups, IIP etc. I don’t think I have seen a survey yet however which expressly asks: ‘what do you think of your HR team?’ If you are reading this and have asked the question get in touch! I’d love to know what you found out.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience programmes talk about customer advocacy; simply, how your customers feel about you. At the risk of sounding like an X Factor contestant, it’s a journey, with the desired state that customers would recommend you to others. It’s your reputation with the people who matter.
If you work in HR you have two main customer groups: line managers and employees. Obviously they have different needs from a HR Service team. There are some similarities though: speed of response, accuracy, being able to answer questions, the provision of advice, an ability to explain policies, law or HR process in a straight-forward and easy to understand way. Meeting the needs of these two diverse groups isn’t easy, not including having to get over the fact that many people misunderstand completely what HR is really all about. (Clue: we are not the people to come to when you have something nasty to do and don’t fancy doing it yourself.)
Do you ask your customers what they think of HR?
Asking employees what they think of HR isn’t easy. We tend to get the blame when there are redundancy programmes, discipline, or any of the other challenging stuff we sometimes find ourselves involved in. I’ve heard people say this is one reason for not asking employees what they think of HR, or at least finding a way of excluding some people from such a survey. I don’t agree. I think it is essential to ask people who have experienced discipline, attendance management and the like what they think of HR. No matter how they feel about the fact of the process, how professionally the process was dealt with is something you want to know if you are going to strive for customer advocacy. You also need to find out what you are doing wrong; which of your HR processes drive your customers round the bend. What takes too long, what does not add value.
So what do you do? Firstly, you need a mechanism for measuring your customer experience, and then a way of dealing with the feedback. A quick on-line survey, Yammer or Facebook polls are easy to set up. Send a text or an email. You can make it long or short, or even just ask one question. What do you think of your HR team on a scale of 1-10? If it’s less than 5, they may well be saying negative things about you to other colleagues. What about ‘would you recommend your HR team to a colleague?’ If not, why not?
What do you want your internal customers to say about you?