The human resources (HR) department with its primary focus on people and relationships has traditionally been at the heart of an organization. In the digital world that we now inhabit, those face-to-face relationships that have been so integral to HR are changing. HR professionals need to find new ways to connect with staff. And they need to discover new ways for ensuring a people focus is still central to their operations, even in the technology dominant modern workplace. A HR portal may well be the answer. Read on to find out how an HR intranet portal can deliver in terms of two-way communications, relationship building and employee engagement. You see, with an intranet, your company’s HR professionals will be able to retain their people focus, digitally.
Advantages Of HR Portals
The benefits of HR intranet portals in terms of disseminating and sharing information quickly and easily are now widely accepted. In terms of HR departments the complete range of information can be accessed on the company portal including:
- policies and procedures
- job descriptions and recruitment processes
- benefits and entitlements including employee wellness initiatives
- staff appraisals and performance management
- annual leave procedures
- employee self-service options and online HR forms.
This self-service approach has the twin benefits of empowering staff with the ability to locate information and source data for themselves, while also freeing up HR staff from responding to day-to-day requests for information. The operational efficiencies involved can very easily and quickly translate into significant savings.
HR processes can be automated on the intranet allowing staff members to, for example, update their personnel records, book annual leave, submit expenses claims, complete pre-appraisal forms and so on. What’s more, the HR intranet will automatically route the online form to the correct member of staff for action thereby eliminating the possibility of information going astray or being misplaced. Streamlining HR processes, as well as being faster and paper-free, also frees up your employees to get on with other more important jobs. Staff members are no longer wasting time searching through inefficient manual filing systems or trying to locate information in overloaded email in-boxes. All the information they need is at their fingertips and is backed up by intuitive site navigation and powerful search functionality.
However, as well as the operational advantages and cost savings to be had, it’s perhaps the ‘softer’ additional benefits of the intranet portal, which are more important to HR professionals and are where the intranet can have a real impact on people relationships. Let’s look in turn at each of those we identified earlier.
Improved Two-Way Communication With Employees
Keeping the lines of communication open in the digital era is very important. With the increasing trend towards flexible working, many staff are regularly working remotely, in different locations or even different continents. In this scenario, maintaining effective two-way communication as well as promoting a strong sense of company culture is a real challenge for HR professionals.
The HR portal can help to connect HR with staff and vice versa. A HR blog or forum is an excellent way to communicate directly with individual staff members. Being able to discuss or comment on current issues is empowering for employees who will feel as though their opinions matter and that they are making a difference. This is especially important for remote workers who may well already feel disconnected from head office. What’s more, the active participation of a senior manager or the vice president responsible for HR will send a clear signal to staff that the board are listening and value them as employees. And feeding back to staff on what has happened as a result of their contributions is just as important. It has to be a genuine two-way dialog or staff will quickly become disinterested.
What’s more, the open all hours nature of the HR intranet means that employees can be connecting with HR, completing online tasks and resolving issues directly for themselves at a time and place that suits them. So, whether it’s during their early morning commute into work, from their hotel room while attending an overseas conference or working from home, the intranet portal will still be working for you even if your HR personnel are not available.
Using A HR Portal For Relationship Building
Organizations are basically made up of people and doing business is necessarily about people relationships. The HR department has a fundamental role to play in promoting relationships within the organization, and an intranet is a great way to do so.
The starting point when it comes to relationship building has to be the initial contact with HR usually involving a job application or vacancy. The HR portal should be your forward-facing platform for all recruitment processes. First impressions really do count and if you want to attract the best talent in the marketplace, then a single hub providing seamless access to all recruitment issues is a great step forward. From vacancies through to job descriptions and person specifications as well as interview scheduling and references, the HR portal offers a single access point and source of knowledge for all applicants. It also makes managing recruitment an easier task internally and can make a significant contribution to reduced recruitment budgets as all tasks and interactions are completed online without the costs associated with paper forms, printing and mail outs.
The next important step when it comes to relationship building is employee onboarding. The HR intranet has a significant contribution to make here as well. Get the onboarding process right and you’re off to the best possible start, setting that employee up for a long and fruitful career with you. As well as allowing for the seamless completion of all the steps required to get an employee up and running – from notifying IT to setting up payroll – a comprehensive online induction will ensure new recruits are well-versed in the company culture and their contribution to it. In fact, an intranet portal enables HR to communicate and promote a great company culture for all employees, including values and goals and how these relate to actual business targets as well as team and individual goals. The onboarding process can be completed using a variety of media such as videos, wikis, podcasts and online checklists and the employee can do so at a time and place that works for them even outside standard office hours. The upshot is that these new recruits will be up and running much more quickly than in the past and so can be productive members of the team from day one.
In addition, online staff directories that also include a short biography, current work projects and areas of expertise is a small but significant step towards enabling good working relationships. Being able to put a face to a name and knowing something about your colleagues fosters those personal relationships that the business depends on. What’s more, employees will be able to source expert help and internal knowledge directly for themselves. Whether it’s to identify internal expertise on digital marketing, or possible members of a cross-departmental working group to enhance the customer experience, staff members can use the online directory to set up this up for themselves without the need for HR help and support.
The HR intranet’s collaborative workspaces and project areas allow for creative vertical and horizontal joint working throughout the organization, and not just on HR issues. The possibility of doing away with the information silos in your business for good is, therefore, very much within reach. Brainstorming ideas, soliciting feedback, working on joint projects, sharing information and ideas builds good relationships and means that the organization will respond to issues and solve problems faster. These collaborative areas can be set up quickly and easily on the company intranet, replacing the conference call, long on-site meetings and complicated email threads that we have now.
Some companies, seeing the benefits to be had from building relationships in the workplace, have even gone wholeheartedly down the route of introducing a social intranet. In addition to the standard intranet features of document management and sharing systems, news feeds, company calendars and so on, increasingly companies are adding more social features. These include messaging between staff, individual or team activity walls as well as follow-me functionality.
Increase Employee Engagement With Your HR Portal
There’s a wealth of evidence that suggests engaged employees are more productive employees. And engaged employees are also less likely to take time off work due to sickness or absenteeism. Furthermore, companies that have highly engaged workforces tend to have lower levels of staff turnover. These are all key performance indicators for HR departments, and so it’s important HR takes the lead on promoting employee engagement.
The improved communications, increased opportunities for collaborative working, and more efficient dissemination of information we have already identified are all clear drivers of employee engagement. There are, however, other ways the HR portal can contribute to increased employee engagement. Quizzes, surveys and opinion polls are a fun way to gather feedback from staff on important issues while giving employees a voice within the organization.
Finding ways to celebrate the success of staff on the intranet portal will impact on employee engagement. Building a sense of pride within the workforce and a culture of team recognition can be achieved through, for example:
- posting customer testimonials on the intranet
- identifying employee or team of the month on news feeds
- promoting a company-wide, formal employee recognition program
- celebrating the achievements of staff outside work in, say, completing a marathon.
And when it comes to measuring how well you are performing in relation to employee engagement, then the HR intranet will be a valuable source of evidence. Monthly tracking of key performance data such as rates of sickness and absenteeism as well as staff turnover will help you to identify at the earliest opportunity any underlying trends or issues. Given the close correlation between these key performance indicators and employee engagement, close monitoring of these metrics provides an early warning signal for problems and issues management needs to address.
In a similar way, the qualitative data to be gleaned from exit interviews can inform the organization’s state of health when it comes to employee engagement. Employees leave for a variety of reasons and not all of them will be related to employee engagement. But if they are to do with the organization and company values, then you need to know. Conducting online exit interviews through the HR intranet rather than a face-to-face interview with a manager or HR professional allows departing employees to give honest and frank feedback, which is likely to be more valuable to the company going forward.
HR Intranet Portals: More Efficient People Focus
So, the modern face of HR has indeed changed for good. The challenge for HR professionals today is how to maintain their traditional people-building role in the technology-dependent modern office.
The HR intranet portal may well be the answer. In addition, with the HR intranet staff members are able to access all the great features we’ve identified in this post via a single platform. There’s no need for staff to switch between different apps and screens with multiple passwords and logins. Just one login gives you access to all things HR. And guess what? The benefits we’ve identified are also available to every team and individual employee in your organization in a comprehensive and fully integrated, company-wide intranet portal. Super easy to set up and manage on an ongoing basis, a company wide-intranet offers great flexibility as well as streamlined and seamless operations. And with unlimited data storage and numbers of users, it’s also a cost-effective choice.
Are you considering introducing a HR intranet portal in your office? Or perhaps you are interested in exploring the efficiencies on offer across your business as a whole? If so then contact the team at MyHub for a no-obligation demo or give the 14-day free trial a go. See for yourself how easy it is to set up an intranet and make a difference to your business.