Norwich Union has cut down to calls to its HR department by 16% after implementing an intelligent web self-service to handle its employees’ more straightforward queries.

The online tool, created by developer Transversal, aims to provide staff with instant answers to HR enquiries around the clock, with the aim of saving HR time and freeing up resources to deal with more complex or sensitive issues.

The application launched by the insurer is called “AskHR”, which enables employees to type in a question or browse the most frequently asked questions in each category. It also ensures information is kept up to date by capturing answers to new staff questions and retaining this information within a database.

The initial 250 questions were expanded to over 900 in a matter of months, said the insurer. The most popular inquiries so far have been those relating to pay, sickness absence and benefits, terms and conditions.

Catherine Tausney, Head of HR advice services at the insurer, said: “It’s great to see how readily web-based technology is being embraced. Since launching in June 14,500 users have accessed the service with over 41,500 hits to the site.

Aviva, which owns Norwich Union, plans to roll out the service to its RAC breakdown recovery firm by the end of the year. A suite of new e-HR self service applications is planned, but details have not yet been announced.

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