Does HRO have True Grit?

HRO buyers usually address cost and service capabilities first followed by process best practices, compliance and reporting, and partnership compatibility to achieve change and deliver results. Further down are needs that we may take for granted. It is at this level that we see whether or not a HRO service provider has True Grit.

The first aspect of true grit is when a vendor invests in improvements in its performance in areas that go beyond just meeting service levels. For example, Aon Hewitt will use the N.I.C.E. call management quality system for all its service centers. This will improve and create a common service center experience for all clients from pre-merger Aon Consulting and Hewitt Associates and it will help create unity across the combined teams. When there is a drive for internal vendor values, it will show through to external customers.

The second aspect of true grit is robust planning for business continuity that goes beyond a plan on the shelf. Natural disasters occur all around the world and clients need assurance that the HRO service provider will be able to maintain operations if something happens at one or more of its locations.  Aon Hewitt’s business continuity strategies include shifting work to unaffected locations and having colleagues work from home. It also has redundancy between geographically dispersed centers. If one center becomes unavailable due to a disaster or crisis, it can shift call volume to an unaffected location to continue to provide service to clients.

In Japan, Aon and Aon Hewitt have several offices in Tokyo and it has provided contingent space away from Tokyo, where colleagues who wish to leave the area are able to go and work. In another example, IBM has service center operations in many locations worldwide, including Manila which is subject to major storms including typhoons. Its site specific business continuity plan includes prearranged busing for critical staff and back-up generators for power – with gasoline trucks standing by to keep operations fueled. A key step that can have major impact if missed!

The final level of true grit is the capability to help clients in times of crisis. Aon Hewitt has a Global Emergency Operations Center (GEOC) that it activated during the recent crisis in Japan. In one case, a call center shifted to the crisis response model for a client, which enabled employees to contact the call center to leave and retrieve messages for other employees. In addition, family members of employees can leave and get messages from one another. Communicating is often challenging during a crisis as cell service and phone lines are impacted, and this service provides another communication channel to employees and their families at a critical period in time.

A benefit of HRO should be robust service delivery beyond what a client can affordably provide on its own. Does your HRO service partner have the True Grit you need?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

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Explore posts in the same categories: Business Continuity Planning, Customer Service, hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO providers, hro research, HRO Service Provider, nelsonhall

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