When we are in a typical workplace and need help, we can usually walk around the corner and ask someone for assistance. With increased numbers of employees working from home, “walking around the corner” just isn’t possible anymore. But employees still need help and organizations still want to offer assistance. One way that organizations can achieve this is by setting up a “help desk.” We’re familiar with the concept of a customer “help desk.” It’s a combination of technology and human support to help customers with questions and issues. The same principle applies for an employee help desk. The goal is to use technology and human support in an efficient and effective way to take care of employee needs. There are three notable benefits to using a help desk for employee support:
Most organizations have customer service philosophies. Examples include “Put yourself in your customers’ shoes” and “Put your customers’ needs first.” A customer service philosophy is defined as a group of shared principles that guide every customer interaction. Often, they are linked to the organizational mission, vision, and values. Customer service philosophies include references to honesty, respect, empathy, and making customers a priority. In thinking about external customer service philosophies, it raises a question. Shouldn’t organizations also have an employee (aka internal customer) service philosophy?
Willard Marriott, founder of Marriott International, is famously quoted as saying “Take good care of your employees, and they’ll take good care of your customers, and the customers will come back.” It makes a lot of business sense. But it raises the question, what does “take good care of your employees” mean?
A recent article in Human Resource Executive Magazine posed the question “Is a hybrid workforce the wave of the future?”. A hybrid workforce is being defined as one where there’s a significant number of both onsite employees and remote employees. It might not be a balanced 50/50 but more of a situation where the percentages justify the need to consider each workforce group’s needs separately.
One of the activities that’s great for building skills and experience is leading a project team. As a project leader, you can gain exposure to different situations, learn new things, and start to build positive working relationships with a different group of coworkers.
As more organizations think about reopening, increasing production, and bringing employees back to the workplace, they’re beginning to debrief on what’s taken place over the past few months and how they can be more prepared for incidents in the future. If your organization hasn’t done this yet, consider asking just a couple of questions: What went well? It’s important to ask this question first because sometimes we’re so focused on what went badly that we forget to take time to recognize the things that went well. Even if the organization was completely unprepared, chances are there were some things that went well. Be sure to discuss and celebrate them. What would you do differently next time? Please note: I’m not saying anything went “wrong.” It could simply be that if faced with a similar situation, the organization would have made a different decision. Or that the organization would have made the same decision but executed it differently.
As more states relax sheltering-in-place restrictions and permit organizations to reopen their doors to the public, HR departments will be busy coordinating those efforts. The list of things to do can seem daunting. Over the years, I learned that one of the best ways to tackle a big task like this one is to organize activities into smaller sections, so the effort is more manageable. So, in thinking about everything that needs to be done when bringing employees back to the office, here’s a list divided into three sections: before, during, and after.