In Times of Crisis, HRO Is Caring and Concerned: Part 2

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Some think caring emergency response may be compromised by HRO, but response capabilities can be better with HRO. Major vendors have multiple service centers and back-up capabilities at levels above what is economically feasible for most organizations. Also, customer care and concern abounds when HRO vendors maintain an internal culture that values and recognizes customer service.

Care and Concern

Experienced HR people make up much of the client-facing service representative staff at HRO vendors of every sort and HR people are wonderfully caring folks, whether they are on your payroll or a service provider.

  • Being There: As mentioned in Part 1, Mercer was prepared in case they took a direct hit from Superstorm Sandy in the Boston area. When needed, Mercer will put up available service personnel in nearby hotels. Even though some folks were personally impacted, 75% of the staff showed up on Monday and 90% showed up on Tuesday.
  • The Spirit of Service is Global: Jodi Hayes-Roth, North American Service Delivery and Operations Leader at NorthgateArinso (NGA), said their representatives feel very loyal and connected to their clients and make every effort to be present even though there are back-up centers available. The spirit of service is as strong in client service centers like Manila as it in the U.S. or Europe.

Practice What You Preach

To have staff remain dedicated to their clients, they need to be treated with the same care and concern. Both NGA and Xerox have client service centers in the Philippines where typhoons and monsoon flooding can impact business services and personal lives. A great business continuity plan (BCP) addresses both issues.

  • Outreach: When the NGA Manila office was impacted by flooding, there was outreach to contact and ensure every employee was safe and accounted for and the team raised funds to help co-workers in need.
  • Safe Shelter: Michael Sigmund, General Manager of Operations at Xerox, recounted what happened when a monsoon hit the Xerox Manila service center that supports many of Ford’s global employees. The building is built with hurricane-standard materials and a generator back-up system and there are sleeping quarters to provide safe shelter for staff and their families. While work can be shifted to the partner center in Michigan, Xerox invested in keeping local employees safe and the employees wanted to support their customers. Even though short staffed, they kept tier 1 services operating while some tier 2 work was transferred. In return the team was recognized at a Ford leadership meeting.

There are many more stories out there of people working anywhere they could find Wi-Fi, getting to work without transportation, and carefully monitoring transfers to protect service levels even in the midst of a declared multi-state disaster.

Recognition of people that demonstrate a high sense of ownership is important.  Aon Hewitt, Mercer, NGA, and Xerox all shared great examples from formal to informal and local to enterprise-wide recognition that they provide. 

Stay tuned next week for more on HRO business continuity planning.

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