Kathryn-DooksHR decision makers are spending more than a third (36%) of their day on average handling routine calls and emails from employees, according to research commissioned by self-service knowledgebase vendor Transversal and conducted by Vanson Bourne. Listing staffing (70%), benefits (57%) and employee relationships (54%) as the top three information requests, these unnecessary communications are draining up to 12 working weeks of HR resources every year. In response, the majority of HR respondents (57%) say they find it difficult to deal with these requests while handling other tasks, and that this restricts their departments’ ability to be more strategic (51%).

The research, which questioned UK-based HR decision makers in organisations with more than 500 employees, demonstrates a big disconnect between the available information resources and how employees are interacting with them.

Despite HR departments (76%) believing that the internal employee portal is the primary place employees go to access HR information and documents, almost half (47%) of the routine calls and emails coming in to HR desks could have been answered using information already stored on this platform. In fact, results showed that on average employees are only accessing these portals once every four weeks.

“In a very real sense, employees are customers of the HR department and in today’s increasingly connected world they now expect the same level of customer service in work as they would get from any other brand interaction. If a company fails to offer this service first time round, employees will quickly turn elsewhere for answers, potentially taking up valuable time and resources,” said Mark White, Business Development Director at Transversal. “Answering employee questions will always be an important part of the HR function, however if HR departments can get their intranet right, they allow themselves more time to concentrate on strategic development rather than basic, every day administration.”

A stilted uptake of intranet resources could stem from both employee and HR frustrations around the service, with HR professionals admitting to only reviewing the material on the platform once every five months on average, and 17% only doing this once a year or less. Only two in five (40%) respondents state they’re happy with the service/information provided by their portal, with 20% of those who are dissatisfied citing out-of-date content as one of the main reasons. Other complaints include the system being difficult to use (38%), and slow and inaccurate to search (20%).