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The Dream of a Search-Based Employee Portal

Content Strategy

HR content that works for the people

HR content. Just the idea of it can make your head nod with drowsiness. But the LDS Content team sees dazzling opportunity where others see dead weight.

Imagine this: You’re a knowledge worker at Acme Corporation, manufacturer of cutting edge gizmos. As the technology lead for a high-visibility and aggressive new product soon to be released, you’re under a great deal of stress. Once you meet your deadline, you’d like to take some time off, maybe even a sabbatical, but your memory’s a bit fuzzy about Acme’s policies on time off and leaves, because – well, who pays attention to any of that until you need it?

No worries. You just open up a new browser window, which brings you to the home page of AcME!, the company’s HR portal. There you see … internal news stories? No. Company announcements? Nope. Featured links to lower-level pages or sections? Not a one. Instead, there’s a vast field of white and, at its center, a simple question – “What are you looking for today?” – perched atop a search input field.

You type: Sabbatical. You click Search. Before you can even think of reaching for the phone to call the HR Help Desk, you see the following:

You will be eligible for a sabbatical in 8 months and 3 days.

Below that, you read the following explanation:

After five years of service with Acme Corporation, you are eligible for 4 weeks of time off with pay. Your sabbatical time away is intended to provide you with a break from the intensity of your work and allow you to recharge and pursue areas of interest to you: family, education, travel, hobbies, or other pursuits.

Learn more:

Acme Sabbatical Policy

To the right of this information, you see a handful of questions (with associated answers) commonly asked about Sabbaticals, including, “Do my benefits continue during a sabbatical?” and “How do I request a sabbatical?” There are links to blog posts and other testimonials from Acme employees who are on or just returning from sabbaticals, and you realize that you personally know one of the returnees and make a mental note to reach out. Finally, there’s a “Chat Now” option that launches a live chat session with a knowledgeable HR representative.

What more could you ask for, really? You received, instantly, the most relevant and critical information about the Search term you entered, along with the most pertinent and helpful resources.

So, yes, we all agree that this experience is not just way cool but a monumental improvement over the typical corporate HR portal. Now, we need to ask: how can such an experience of HR content – typically an area not known for providing engaging and relevant information – be enabled?

The answer, of course, is both simple and complex. The simplicity lies in the fact that such experiences are available to all of us on any half-decent ecommerce site – Amazon, Etsy, Gap, you name it. These elegant solutions are achieved through a combination of structured content and metadata, along with smart personalization, recommendations, and a host of other capabilities.

The complexity lurks within the enterprise context of HR content, where “legacy” content – the thousands of pages and tens of thousands of documents that accumulate over the life span of an HR portal – await and, often, overwhelm the courageous soul who dares to confront it.

Along with the matter of volume, there is a vast multitude of political, operational, and budgetary considerations that can pose seemingly insurmountable roadblocks to any vision of structured, data-driven HR content.

And yet, at LDS, we believe that highly structured, intelligently personalized content is a fundamental element of our omnichannel future. We also believe that “some is better than none.”

So we scan for opportunities to advance our solutions – a meticulously tagged learning resource library for one client, an adaptive set of management best practices for another – and provide the appropriate knowledge, guidance, and support to ensure success on the ground. So that, one day soon, it will seem only natural to pick up your nearest digital device and find, at the HR access point, the simple question:

“What are you looking for today?”

In the meantime, you can look for upcoming LDS Content blogs that detail the approaches and practices that help our clients deliver to their employees the most nimble, lightweight, and meaningful HR content imaginable.

Contact us if you’d like to hear more about the omni-channel future.

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