Cambridge, UK, 17 November 2009: Aviva, the UK’s biggest insurer, is using Transversal’s Ask HR self-service solution as a central part of its change management communication strategy. Ask HR provides instant, consistent answers to HR queries covering areas such as holiday entitlement, maternity/paternity leave policies, redundancy and sickness absence for Aviva’s 23,500 UK staff around the clock.

In the last twelve months the company has undergone major change in the UK. It has rebranded from Norwich Union to Aviva and restructured its insurance division, moving from general purpose offices to 12 centres of excellence across the country. By using Ask HR’s ability to load questions and make them live on a specified date, Aviva was able to plan potential questions in advance of the restructure to provide an effective way of communicating with affected staff. Analysis of Ask HR showed that 7,000 questions on the restructure were answered in a single day along with minimal phone calls, demonstrating that the majority of staff were satisfied with the answers they received.

Available via the Aviva intranet, the Ask HR tool itself is simple to use from an end user perspective. Aviva employees type in a question or browse the most frequently asked questions in each of 23 categories, and with the help of the natural language search engine, suitable answers are brought up instantly from the web-based knowledgebase. If there is no relevant information in the knowledgebase, the system provides the opportunity to email the query to HR. Through Transversal’s dynamic, self-organising knowledgebase these new answers are then added to the knowledgebase with new content automatically prioritising itself to make it immediately available to all employees.

“Ask HR has helped us to radically improve the service HR provides to employees within Aviva,” said Catherine Tausney, Head of HR Advice Services, Aviva. “It has been incredibly well-received across the organisation, with self-service providing a vital, two way communication channel for staff to quickly find the employment information they want. As it has grown in size and scope, it is not just helping day to day operations but is underpinning the communication of major change across Aviva.”

Aviva’s HR department originally implemented Ask HR as it was being swamped by information requests from its 23,500 staff UK, receiving up to 22,000 telephone queries per month. This was taking up a considerable HR resource, with much time being spent answering general employee queries, leading to staff dissatisfaction at slow response times.

Since installing Ask HR in 2007, 69 per cent of all HR enquiries are now handled through the system, reducing telephone calls and allowing HR staff to focus on more complex queries. So far in 2009 over 202,000 questions have been viewed with over 90 per cent of those asking questions satisfied with the answer they receive. Due to the success of Ask HR, 18 staff that previously worked on the HR helpline have been redeployed, creating efficiency savings.

“HR departments are under increasing pressure as they aim to deliver the highest level of service to the business, cost-effectively,” said Davin Yap, CEO, Transversal. “Replacing expensive paper manuals and supplementing staff-intensive helplines with self-service technology not only improves and speeds the service received but can also focus resources where best needed. As Aviva’s experience with Ask HR demonstrates, self-service can underpin HR success.”

Since its launch, Aviva has extended its use of Ask HR to cover more subject areas and questions, along with regular updates to existing content. Aviva is also investigating the use of Ask HR across other countries within the global group. Using the expertise gained in the UK, other territories, particularly those without a large HR function, will be able to benefit from self-service and the consistent, accurate answers it brings.

Published on: 10:55AM on 17th November 2009