stress woman

While the rest of us are already looking forward to April’s long holiday weekend, HR departments across the UK are bracing themselves for one of the busiest times of the year.

According to research commissioned by knowledge solutions vendor Transversal and conducted by Vanson Bourne, April joins December as one of the most demanding months in terms of the sheer volume of requests to the HR department from employees. This is particularly true for financial services, IT and telecoms firms, with the top reasons cited for this seasonal fluctuation including bonuses being paid (52%), performance reviews (46%) and salary increases (48%).

“We already knew from our research that HR departments waste approximately a third of their day answering routine calls and emails, so this must be particularly amplified in April when HR is under increased pressure,” said Mark White, Business Development Director at Transversal.  “Such peaks mean that HR service levels tend to fall over this period and can be a significant cause of employee dissatisfaction.”

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel provided that HR departments take the opportunity to analyse why employees are calling or emailing and react accordingly to give employees better self-service options in the future; for example:

  • Try to classify your calls and emails during April – what percentage of these are repetitive?
  • Aim to qualify the costs to the business of dealing with such repetitive queries – is it significant enough to cause concern?
  • Measure the effect on your employee service levels – are they falling below an acceptable level?

White continued, “We want to make sure HR departments are setting themselves up for success and taking the pressure off the department’s staff is a big part of this. We know from experience that the reason employees call or email unnecessarily is because of unwieldy HR portals that make it difficult to find a straight answer to a simple question. The good news is that it’s a problem that can definitely be solved to the benefit of HR and the employee!”