I had a great conversation recently with the Director of Business Development from LBi Software to talk about their HR HelpDesk product. Quite frankly a very fascinating discussion – and it got me thinking about managing employee relations and service issues on a grand scale. The enterprise world; the 10,000+ employee world.
It also brought to mind something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately – small-shop HR vs. big-shop HR. As regular readers of this blog know I’ve worked for organizations ranging from 100 employees to global organizations with tens of thousands. The practice of human resources remained constant even though my tools-of-the-trade varied. I’ve had shiny bells-and-whistles and up to the minute technology at my disposal, but I’ve also handled the people issues with not much more than a pencil, a piece of scratch paper and a sympathetic ear.
But no matter the size of the organization it’s always a necessity to track issues, concerns, “cases” (lord – that sounds official, doesn’t it?) , and resolutions. Big data or small data – doesn’t matter. What are the trends? Are there potential looming issues that may arise based on what’s going on? THAT is what HR practitioners need to analyze. Think about. Ponder.
When I chatted with my new friend from LBi I told him a story that summed up (well, I thought so anyway) the need for organizations to bust down the silos of communication around HR/employee relations issues, trends and concerns.
When I worked as an in-house corporate recruiter we were in a world of total separation. And I’m not talking about just the organization -even within HR there were boundaries – and we in recruiting were not afforded access to employee data. Like at all. So, for example, if I had an applicant who indicated they were a previous employee I could not access their employee record in our HRIS. Nope – I had to call/email/IM/take-them-out-for-drinks someone in “HR PROPER” and ask them to provide me with employment dates, reasons for term, etc. Oh wait – they wouldn’t give me (their fellow HR DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE) reason for separation – I forgot.
But I digress.
So one day I got a frantic (I mean FRANTIC) call from a hiring manager who had just had 5 key staff members resign at once. Joined at the hip they walked into her office and each one handed in an immediate resignation letter. They then turned on their collective heels and walked out the door.
She was practically in tears. I was stunned.
“Why?” I asked. “Because of the issue they’ve been having with their paychecks being wrong.” she replied. “You know. I’ve been reporting it to HR. It’s been going on for almost 3 months.”
As I stuttered and stammered and tried to avoid throwing my department under the proverbial bus, she jumped in – “you didn’t know? I thought all of you would have access to that at corporate HR. I didn’t think I needed to call you personally because I thought surely Sally Employee Relations Manager would let you know this was a possibility…”
So yeah. I am quite enamored of the whole HR HelpDesk concept. There are other vendors (although really just a few) that have this sort of product. And I’ve got friends that work at a competitor. Cool stuff.
Bells and whistles. Shiny and sexy. I want it – but I don’t need it in my small shop.
But there are some that are HR helpless who could sure use it. To avoid the scenarios when the twinsies (or quintuplets) walk in and resign.