Any discussion about employee Self-service Portals is bound to focus on maximizing Tier Zero Resolution and creating a “consumer-grade” employee experience (EE).

Both are important, but is one more important than the other?

Let’s look at them individually to decide…

What is Tier Zero Resolution?

It’s defined as an employee’s request being resolved in the Self Service Portal, without the help of a live agent (at the “Tier One” level).  For example, if John has a question about a company leave policy, he launches the Self Service portal, and searches the knowledge base.

The search results show John a policy.  He reads it, and his question is answered.  John doesn’t need to call HR for the information.  If this process is repeated across the employee population dozens of times each week, or hundreds of times a month, or thousands of time each year, a call center staffed with 100 people may eventually only need 50 people.  Or 30 people.  Or 25.

That dramatic reduction in staffing equates to a dramatic reduction in costs.  In many HR Transformation initiatives, those call center resources are re-deployed to more strategic HR initiatives.  Perhaps a focused hiring Initiative for a certain kind of sales force, to sell a new product.  The revenue, profit and share-of-market gained from this strategic initiative might well-exceed the costs saved by the reduction of agents in the call center.

Tier Zero Resolution has value.  And if leveraged into a strategic HR initiative, that value can be exponential.

Now what about the employee experience?  How can something soft and fuzzy like an employee experience compete with measurable hard savings and strategic advantages through Tier Zero Resolution?

Qualifier:  There are a lot of factors that impact the employee experience, ranging from free food in the cafeteria, to modern work spaces and collaboration tools.   But in this article, we’re focusing on the part of the employee experience delivered through the Self-service Portal.

The Employee Experience

A better employee experience includes greater Tier zero resoluion.Employees have been spoiled through their lives as consumers.  Consumer web sites have set the standard for how all web sites should perform – including those at work. It may not be free food, but a well-designed, easy-to-use employee Self-service Portal can still leave a strong impression.  It can seduce employees to come back for more.

And the more the employee goes back to the Portal, the more they’ll use the knowledge base.  And this leads to more TZR.  So, when you focus on the employee experience, you’ll get the benefit of Tier Zero Resolution as a by-product.  But the benefits don’t end there.

A strong employee experience can enrich your Employer Brand

According to Dr. John Sullivan, “Employer Branding integrated effort to spread the word in an authentic way about the characteristics of the firm that make it a desirable place to work.”

Tier-zero resolution supports employer brandFactors that make a firm a desirable place to work include the “ease of working” at the firm, and the quality of the tools available to the employee.  If an employee has to invest a lot of time and effort to get a simple answer on company policy, that’s not “ease of working.”  Conversely, if an employee can get an answer on company policy as easily as she can find an answer on Google, they feel “ease of working.”

If you design your employee portal to match the ease, appearance and efficacy of a consumer portal, you’re offering high-quality tools, and you’re improving the employee experience. And this feeds the Employer Brand.

The value of a strong Employer Brand can be exponential.  Glassdoor lists important benefits of a strong Employer Brand, including lower cost per hire, less time to fill positions, fewer open positions and higher-quality candidates.  Strategic benefits include higher employee engagement and talent pool development.

So, a Self-service Portal that delivers a high-quality employee experience is going to deliver so much more.  Along with the employee experience comes more frequent portal use.  This leads to more frequent use of the knowledge base.  And that leads to more Tier Zero Resolution.  (So, go for the EE – you’ll get the TZR with it!)  And you’ll also see the benefits of a better Employer Brand!

Tier Zero Resolution, or Employee Experience?  I’d go with the Experience, hands-down.

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