Telephone helpline a victim of its own success
When Aviva re-branded from Norwich Union in June 2009 its HR department found that there was a need to communicate this change to a large number of employees. It faced large volumes of questions from staff, many of which were similar in nature and within a short space of time. The human resources department has always been an important part of any firm. However in recent years it has moved beyond the basic ‘hiring’ and ‘firing’ function to become an integral conduit to communicating company strategy. This is never more important than at times of mergers, acquisitions and general restructure.
The HR department at Aviva has the philosophy that employees should have a direct link to HR, and they can choose to go straight to the department as well as through their line manager depending on their preference.
“When we introduced our employee services HR helpline it was taken up enthusiastically by staff with over 22,000 calls per month,” said Catherine Tausney, head of HR advice services, Aviva. “However we became a victim of our own success – it was difficult to predict demand, meaning that despite expanding our team we could not always provide the service the business required. With the rebrand in mind, we needed a way of reducing call volume to allow us to focus on more complex enquiries.”
In order to take the strain away from the HR department, Aviva implemented Transversal’s self-service tool 'Ask HR'. Aviva made Ask HR available via the intranet, and allowed the employees to find their own answers to questions about the restructure rather than relying on HR to give them the information.
This vastly reduced the strain on the HR department. Having implemented this self-service software on the intranet, the HR department noticed a major drop in the amount of employee queries it was receiving. In 2009 over 202,000 questions have been viewed with 69% of all HR enquiries now handled through the system. Of those employees that have asked questions, 90% have been satisfied with the answer they received.
Asking HR questions in everyday language
The Ask HR solution is easy to implement and cost effective software that can transform the way an HR department communicates with their employees. It allows Aviva employees to type in a question in the intranet search bar, in everyday language, or browse the most frequently asked questions in each of 23 categories.
Suitable answers can now be brought up instantly from the web-based knowledgebase. If the relevant information is not in the knowledgebase then the employee is given the opportunity to email the query to HR. The new answer provided by HR is then automatically added to the knowledgebase ensuring that the information is available for similar questions in the future.
Moving the company forward
Using Ask HR, not only allows the company to put an emphasis on employee self-service but also informs HR what issues matter most to their employees. Ask HR enables the Aviva HR department to access the analytics of what it is being asked. HR can then takes these insights, analyse what issue their employees are most concerned about and address the relevant needs of the employees. Aviva soon found that Ask HR was an invaluable tool when creating new HR initiatives.
“Ask HR has helped us to radically improve the service HR provides to employees within Aviva,” concluded Catherine Tausney. “It has been incredibly well-received across the organisation, with self-service providing a vital, two way communication channel for staff to quickly find the employment information they want. As it has grown in size and scope it is not just helping day-to-day but is underpinning the communication of major change across Aviva.”
About Davin Yap
Davin co-founded Transversal with Dr David MacKay, and has subsequently led the business through its early development stages. He is responsible for technology and future product development.