For transforming its approach to employee customer service through the HR Service Center, the Advisory Board is shining a spotlight on Christiana Care’s Human Resources Department as a best practice to model.
The global research, consulting and technology firm includes several successful features of Christiana Care’s HR Service Center in its presentations to hospitals and other businesses. The Advisory Board also recently profiled the Service Center in its HR study titled “The Highly Productive HR Department: Restructuring HR to Lead an Evolving Health System.”
“Human Resources at Christiana Care is always searching for new ways to improve service to our customers — in this case, our own employees,” says Audrey Van Luven, senior vice president of Human Resources. “We could not have achieved this best practice recognition without the dedicated commitment of the entire team.”
In 2006 HR restructured how it handles employee requests for information on a host of complicated issues, ranging from general policy and benefits, to FMLA and the Crisis Leave Bank, to online performance and the internal transfer process.
“HR developed an integrated service delivery model that focuses on delivering the best outcomes and support possible for our employees with a passion for quality and continuous improvement,” says Dora Beckham, manager of HR operations.
This approach to customer service includes HR Online, which allows staff and managers to process their own transactions, and the HR Service Center, which answers calls and processes all the Web transactions. The model also incorporates individual Centers of Excellence, which include Employee Relations, Compensation, Recruiting Services and Employee Health and Benefits that receive escalated calls from the Service Center.
HR developed its Service Center initially from an employee Benefits Hotline to a Benefits Service Center and now to a full-fledged, high-volume service center. The Service Center handles more than 41,000 calls a year and nearly 700 walks-ins at its Reads Way location alone.
The Service Center grew from staff pitching in to answer employee calls on the hotline to five full-time staff members dedicated to answering employee questions and four full-time staff processing more than 35,000 transactions a year. HR Online receives more than a million employee visits a year.
“Our goals were to ensure Service Center staff could promptly answer employee questions and demonstrate exemplary customer service,” says Beckham.
It has done all of that and more. Since the launch of the HR Service Center in 2006, employee satisfaction scores are routinely 97 percent or higher.
The Advisory Board singles out Christiana Care for tackling routine requests at the appropriate staff level and perfecting internal handoffs to ensure staff members collaborate on the more difficult questions. Service Center staff receive training and have materials on hand so they now achieve an 87 percent resolution on the first call.
Frontline staff use an electronic ticketing process to elevate calls to the specialists who promise followup within 48 hours.
“When we made the strategic decision to put our employees first, all the rest fell into place,” says Beckham.