Following on from Five Ways an Intranet Can Benefit Your Board, I want to look at how we can work closer with individual departments.
A good relationship with Human Resources holds the key for many successful intranets. At its best it sees a shared focus to improve the way employees are able to work, increase engagement and training opportunities, all leading to greater retention. At its worst it sees a distrust of both governance around the intranet and employees; a fear it leads to time wasting and inappropriate usage.
If your relationship is somewhere between ambivalence and distrust, here’s five ways you can change HR’s perception so they are asking “Can we do this on the intranet?” when an initiative arises.
Even if your relationship is good, there will still be initiatives here for you to try.
1. Cut down on administration
When discussing your intranet with HR, reassure them you are not looking to remove the people contact essential to HR or the strategic elements away from human intervention; rather you are looking to cut down unnecessary administration, driving users towards self-service leaving HR free to focus on proactive and critical activities.
A few examples where self service can be used are:
- New starter processes
- Salary Q&As
- Pension applications
- Performance reviews
Lets take putting the performance review processes onto your intranet, it can save the time lost in collating paperwork and sending back and too between HR and the reviewing manager.
Many HR departments identify that consolidating Performance Review data can take between a month and two months, not including the time taken to send incomplete forms back with guidance. Customers eliminate this administrative drain by bringing these reviews onto their intranet.
Romec saved £2 million per year
A considerable element of Romec’s success when saving over £2 million per year was to drive the most time consuming and widely used processes on to their intranet. They used Workflow and Forms to manage their review process, with all 4,500 employees conducting their preparation on their intranet. While the performance review itself is face-to-face, quarterly follow ups and any training needs are processed on their intranet.
For many companies, there is a two month drain on HR admin processing performance reviews, by automating it this disappears. Forms can’t be submitted without all relevant information, reminders are automatic and reporting is a simple.
2. Support a people centric approach
We are not looking for the intranet to replace HR systems, many have a critical role to play. However the intranet can provide a user friendly approach for employees to submit and maintain the data you need. Having one place to complete all your tasks is far easier than having to remember which disparate system to use and which password to access it.
It’s critical to remember, as much as we’d like every employee to update us whenever their situation changes, they tend to mainly do so when there is a benefit to them, e.g. notifying change of address because payslips get sent out.
Tools on your intranet such as the People Directory are used daily and people tend to be more vigilant about keeping their details up to date as they expect everyone else’s details to be current. Many customers export the People Directory records on a weekly basis to CSV and upload this to their HR Systems.
A dynamic organogram also encourages employees to keep their details up to date, aware that failing to keep their management and report lines up to date will quickly become apparent.
Business Environment takes a people centric approach
As featured in the NNG Enterprise 2.0 report, Business Environment promoted a ‘Give Up Smoking’ campaign on their HR homepage. Adding people driven activities is a great way to engage employees with the HR department’s section of your intranet.
3. Increase the visibility of employee advocacy
Whilst the strategic side of HR may or may not open opportunities for your intranet, the staple activities of HR are easily and successfully transferred.
Rather than merely report the results of your employees surveys, share the actions planned from them with all employees on your intranet, ask them in forums how things could be better.
How do CrossCountry’s Employee Advocacy Team shape their intranet?
As we see the rise of Employee Advocacy professionals in businesses, the ease of implementing it via your intranet has become paramount, take a tour of CrossCountry’s intranet to see how it is enabling them to excel in meeting their Employee Advocacy objectives.
4. Manage and monitor employee development
A key for any company’s retention plans is developing the talent you have through employee training.
We discussed Performance Reviews in Point 1, these reviews will also uncover training needs.
Having a self serve solution to allow managers to sign their employees up to training courses ensures follow up actions are actually followed, whether for one off sessions or as part of a development program.
Using the Interact Training Manager staff are alerted and given details of the course, the date, time and directions to the venue.
The skills employees develop can be updated on their profile, so they are included in results of a search for people with the skills they are now trained in.
Use this opportunity to uncover the hidden skills in your company, you may want to start by looking at what tasks are outsourced to third parties. Start to bring these into your skills matrix and discover if you already have expertise in house, engaging employees by broadening their opportunities whilst saving your business expenditure.
How does Dollar Finance encourage discretionary training?
Dollar Finance have been widely recognised for their excellent staff training department, they share their approach to making training accessible and valuable for every employee in this live tour of their intranet.
5. Increase employee retention
Losing employees and recruiting new ones costs money, both in agency fees and lost productivity as people take their time to get up to speed. One of the biggest causes of employee turnover is lack of engagement. You may not be able to do much about your wage structure or the fact someone doesn’t like their manager, but you can make them feel like they are part of something far greater than just a job by following the advice above.
How many times on first days are new employees paraded around an office, introduced to a mass of people they don’t have a hope of remembering the name of? Have you ever spent your first day wading through policies and procedures which again you’ll never retain?
This doesn’t have to be the case, we can start to on-board new starters before their first day by providing intranet access. You might also decide to create a new starters team to help them find their feet and the information they need, some companies even change a new starter’s homepage to make it easier for them to get up to speed.
Whilst there can be a host of reasons for an employee leaving, a common indicator someone is unsettled is constant sick leave. With tools such as Absence Manager, a manager or HR can instantly see an employee’s Bradford Factor calculated, helping again to quickly understand any trends or challenges.
How Do Epilepsy Action approach on-boarding?
Epilepsy Action take this a step further, they see new starters as the best time for the business to learn. Whilst a new starter completes their induction via the intranet, they get a questionnaire of anything they feel is missing or maybe had in their old company which wasn’t available. In this sense people contribute from day 1, it’s a tactic businesses like British Airways have been using for a few years but it’s time for industry to catch up.
6. Improve knowledge management
Consider the cumulative salaries you pay in your business, as potential ideas and knowledge worth £ / $.
Compare this to the amount spent by your business on external consultants, on occasion external advice is required but very often internal knowledge and expertise could be utilised better.
Knowledge sharing is a critical part of any business and we are seeing in a number of cases that this responsibility falls under HR. Using an effective balance of:
- Ideation and
- Question tools
This can be an effective way to encourage employees to contribute and build on the knowledge sharing in your company.
The great part of this method is the content is relatively timeless, even after someone has left your company, you can still take advantage of their knowledge and ideas, it can be searched for by anyone. If the content becomes dated, encouraging a culture of users raising this with admins will pick out dated content.
Couple this with recognition for those who contribute to help collective knowledge, not just with rewards but mentions in CEO blogs, newlsetters etc, input being recorded and again being used as part of annual reviews, and all this will give people more of a reason to take the time to share and care about helping your business.
With the introduction of Presence in Interact 7, we’re seeing multi-national companies maturing to take advantage of international networking within their employee base, if someone’s presence is green and you need an immediate answer to a problem, this person is likely to be able to help you. The translation tool even takes the barrier of language away.
International HIV / AIDS Alliance Crossed Geographical and Language Barriers to share information
2013 Interaction Award winners International HIV / AIDS Alliance use many collaborative tools for volunteers and employees to share ideas across continents and time zones. Coupled with the translation tool, they have seen international initiatives driven by foundations who may not share the same language, but share a need to solve a problem. Using social tools like blogging and forums on their intranet, has made this not just easy, but highly effective.
I’ve covered a lot of ground in this blog. If you would like more information regarding the handling of on-boarding, development and review, I recommend watching Release the Value of Social Enterprise Tools.
If you would like to see how effective, easy intranet software can enable your business everything discussed above, take a trial of Interact 7.
There will be a series of these blogs through 2014, as ever if there’s something you’d like to see us cover in more depth