A Tech Boost for HR, Customer Service

by Sonal Desai    Oct 06, 2008

The human resources department across enterprises is slowly waking up to the need of technology to diagnose behaviour, retain talent and evaluate processes. Even outsourced HR companies are taking the help of technology to streamline employee behaviour and chalk out modalities for increased productivity.

Like all other departments, technology is enabling the HRD be a part of decision making and business. “The transaction work has been taken away from HR. It has been replaced by technology. This gives HR the time to tie-up with business and decision making. The process is improved because all the data is visible at one go,” said Aquil Busrai, president NHRD, and also HR head for IBM.

As enterprises are increasingly developing a customer centric culture, many HR firms or departments within the enterprise are using technology to diagnose individual, team and organizations with respect to behaviour, processes, cultural dimensions and productivity.

Inspireone, a Delhi based HR solutions provider of employee training and people development, that embraced basic technology a while ago, is planning to use Microsoft Word for enhanced training on performance enhancement and performance management.

For surveys, it circulates questionnaires over the Intranet of its client companies. The data is collated and analysed by using business intelligence. “The analysis throws up responses and patterns that helped us develop content and techniques for workshops,” said Deepak Mohla, managing director, Inspireone.

He however said that the workshops are currently instruction led. Plans are afoot to set p video conferencing facilities for coaching. “We are also planning to use Microsoft Outlook and performance manager for a programme on performance enhancement. We have even trained the HR department at Microsoft on this functionality.”

One of the bigger companies that has benefited from such programme is the GMR group. “The focus was on time/reasons for delay and therefore, loss of productivity. Fortunately, the chairman also felt the need for such a programme. We named it, “You have too much time. We conducted a full day work shop also involving the senior management at GMR,” said Mohla.

GMR gave the tasks and goals it wanted its team to achieve, and InspireOne on its part introduced a module asking employees how many of the goals they were able to fulfill. The focus was essentially on performance management, and reviews played a critical aspect in the whole exercise.

In another independent customer relationship building exercise, DHL wanted to create a persona who would be an ideal person to face customer. The anonymous face was named the personal Spark. InspireOne used the Intranet for the job. It invited employees to vote for the Spark. The activity was also used for brand promotion. Today DHL not only has a successful Spark, but its customer relationship exercise has improved many folds.

InspireOne now wants to use technology for customer feedback. Said Mohla, “In the services industry, the feedback comes in the form of customer complaints. These are essentially pain points that need to be addressed. Many companies are now taking online surveys and offering online email ids to stakeholders to register grievances.

But will technology replace the human aspect in HR? Even as technology may bring in a lot of benefits by cutting costs, speeding up process, getting increasing access to data, it is however, not a substitute for values, and people, said Rajeev Dubey, president (HR, after-market & corporate services) & member of the group management board. “Technology can provide and environment to empower people. It cannot create trust.”