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Employee Empowerment! Trust us, it pays off

Trust pictureFinally, Self Service Feedback! For my previous employer, 10 years ago, we started moving various Finance and HR services into employee “self services”. This transition produced significant productivity gains and placed my previous employer in a best-in-class category for operational excellence. For example, the reimbursement of employee travel expenses was made into a self-service function where employees initiated a travel expense form on-line which was routed automatically to the bank for payment.

No one really had to “touch” this document anymore. In those days this was revolutionary.

According to new Book of Numbers™ research (January 2013) from The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT) “World-class HR organizations operate at 27 percent lower cost per employee than typical companies and also utilize 24 percent fewer staff, while still achieving higher effectiveness”. Hackett also reported: “To achieve greater levels of operational excellence, world-class HR organizations focus in four key areas. They make dramatically greater use of self-service for payroll, training, and total rewards administration and staffing services.”

Today more and more employee services are based on self-service and trust. Consider the fact that you run your own debit card through the cashier machine to pay for your lunch at the company canteen while no cashier is in attendance.

My question is: isn’t it about time for self-service employee feedback? If we trust our employees with the company’s money, why don’t we trust them to get their own feedback? Let’s think about this for a second. We ask for employee feedback in order to assess their talents so that we can recognize, reward, train and place them in the right role.

Isn’t that what employees want too? More insights into their talents to drive their development and future path in the company? Aren’t they capable of getting that themselves?

Why then, do companies spend thousands of dollars on top down one-off 360° feedback systems or assessment centers? These systems dictate to employees how and when they get their feedback, what questions to ask, and from whom. Some of these systems don’t even reveal to the employee who gave the feedback leaving him with no context in which to “digest” the feedback and learn from it, which has been proven to eliminate any gain. Worse, in assessment centers, you’re confronted with an actor who creates a phony context. Seriously.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask for feedback everyday from those colleagues, clients, managers, and teams that work with you? Using every day language, and a feedback cycle driven by yourself, with results compiled and reported to yourself for YOU to decide how you’re going to improve yourself, share your talents, and prepare for your next job rotation? And what if feedback was so easy to give, that your colleagues could give it to you “on the run” using their smart phone?

We believe this would create a social feedback network around you that would help you grow and make a better impact within your company and with the people on your team. We believe that shortage of time, app technology and demand from professionals will drive self-service feedback into a reality that companies will benefit from. And since it’s employee driven, companies will see more employee engagement, driving happiness and the return on human capital. What’s your experience with self-service feedback?

Sandra Corbeau, Investor and co-responsible for business development at Katch, the feedback & reputation app. Mail me at Sandra@katch-app.com and follow us on @HelloKatch.

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