In this post, we look at how to setup a internal Staff Portal using EHQ, the types of content and consultations you might conduct via a staff hub as well as some tips and tricks on how to communicate effectively with your staff cohort.
Conducting internal staff consultation is an often missed piece of the engagement puzzle and this post is designed to get you thinking about the potential community intelligence sitting right under your nose.
What is Staff Consultation?
Staff consultation is quite simply the process of including your staff in conversations, meetings and other feedback mechanisms about issues or policies that might directly affect them.
It is about asking your staff to inform decision making processes the same way you commit yourself to involving your public in the decisions that affect their lives.
In Australia and other parts of the world, there is an often cited lack of employee consultation, which can cause serious cultural issues within an organisation and lead to employee disengagement.
This is why staff consultation should be included as yet another important consideration of any organisations broader engagement goals.
What types of things are good for staff engagement?
Staff consultation is a powerful tool for keeping your staff engaged and helping to build an inclusive workplace. There are a whole range of different conversations and activities that are suitable for staff consultation.
Below are just a few to give you some ideas in order to get started.
If you’re working in a team who is trying to develop an internal policy document, consulting with your staff is a great way to ensure that the views of your colleagues, who the policy will affect, are heard.
By including your staff in internal policy development processes your staff will be more invested in the policy outcomes and also more likely to have an awareness of the final policy.
Feedback and Evaluation surveys
Collecting feedback from your staff about training programs, team performance as well as evaluating projects is an essential part of consulting with your staff.
This information will help you to understand where your team succeeded and where improvements could be made for future projects.
Asking for staff for suggestions and giving them an ongoing opportunity to get involved in the organisation of your business is a great way to keep them engaged.
It could be as simple as asking them to help you identify improvements in process, suggest ideas for staff get-togethers or to help you gather input into your projects.
Suggestion boxes for staff consultation work especially well if you are working to co-design a solution to something with your staff. In this instance, you will be using ideation tools to encourage your staff to help you find solutions to your proposed challenges.
Another great place to use staff consultation is in the beginning stages of creating and consulting with you external community.
Your staff are in a special position to help you not only develop and inform the design of your consultation, but they can also help you as staff community members and can provide you with honest feedback not in their professional capacity but in their capacity as a member of the community.
Leveraging off your staff to increase participation in your consultations and capture feedback is a great way to drive and kick-off your projects.
How do I setup a Staff Consultation Hub using EHQ?
Step 1: Setup your Staff Portal
The first thing to do in-order to setup a staff portal in EHQ is to setup a new project page called “staff portal” or something similar.
When you setup this page, the project description will include information about your portal and explain to your staff how and why your business does staff engagement.
You should also detail any other information in your project description that will help give instructions to your users.
A basic staff portal should also be built around a range of tools and widgets.
This includes the news feed tool which is used to aggregate your current consultations, a Q&A tool so your staff can ask questions and also a survey tool which can be used as a form to allow staff to request to run a consultation of their own.
Important widgets that should be added include, document library to house your engagement policy documents, instructions and facts sheets.
You should also include a key dates widget to outline any upcoming events or training dates, a FAQ widget to answer common questions and also a Who’s Listening widget to help identify your key engagement team members and how to contact them.
You might also choose other tools and widgets depending on your needs.
Step 2: Create a Staff List in the PRM
Because your staff portal needs to be a protected page, to ensure that it is restricted only to your staff and your public cannot see your internal consultations, you will first need to create a staff group to assign your new staff portal to.
To do this you will need to use the PRM and create a group of your staff. You can read about how to do create groups using filters here.
The easiest way to create a group of your staff is to simply use the email address filter.
In the PRM, click on the more drop-down menu and select the email contains option and input the email handle for your organisation. This is @organisation-name.gov or something similar.
You can then save this filter as a new group called “staff” and use it to assign to your new staff portal project page.
The good thing about creating a group of participants in this way, is that the group will automatically include anyone who fulfils the filter parameters.
This means you do not have to have all of your staff uploaded into the system in order to make the group, and when new staff register with their staff email address they will automatically be added to the staff group and be able to access the staff portal page.
Creating a group of staff like this allows you to encourage your staff to self-select and opt into your internal consultations. This is instead of uploading them into the system on their behalf using the upload tool (which requires you to have a full staff email list) or using a Single Sign On integrations.
The best way to get your staff involved is to run an internal campaign that encourages them to sign up and take part.
Step 3:Assign the group to your staff portal
After establishing your staff group, the next thing to do will be to assign the group to your staff portal project.
To do this simply click on the visibility section of your project and select the staff portal group that you have created.
This will assign the group to your project and ensure that it is protected from your external community.
Step 4: Create your consultations and link them in the Newsfeed
Once your staff portal is setup and your group is assigned, it’s time to link your internal consultation projects to your portal.
To do this, simply create a new project for each internal consultation that you wish to run.
Setup these projects as you would any new project. See our collection on setting up new projects here.
Ensure that you also assign the visibility of each new internal staff consultation project to the same “staff group” as per your portal page.
This will ensure each individual staff consultation project is also protected only to your staff group.
Publish each of your new projects and take note of the permalink you assigned to them.
Next you will need to link to these projects via the News Feed tool on your Staff Portal project.
Add a news article for each of the internal staff projects you would like to add to your staff portal page.
Fill in the information for each of your consultations, including the title and description as well as a short excerpt about your consultation.
The most important part here is to ensure you place the permalink of the project page you created into the title link field.
This ensures when your staff click on the news feed item, they will be taken to the relevant project page.
The New Feed tool on your staff portal page is your main mechanism for linking to your internal staff consultations.
Step 5: Setup a survey to allow teams to request consultations
Another suggested component of setting up a staff portal is to setup a consultation request form.
This survey can act as a way for your staff to request to run an online consultation of their own from your central team.
To support this process, the form you create with the survey tool might ask key questions about the consultation including, when it will run, what its purpose is, which tools will be used, who the key stakeholders are and any other information you require before approving a consultation request from your team.
Use a range of different question types to setup your request form and you can even include a file upload question type to accept engagement plans from your teams.
Step 6: Promote and link you staff portal
Once you have finished setting up your portal and adding your first internal consultation projects to it, you can then place a link to your staff portal in the footer of your site.
To do this, simply go to the site > navigation section and add your staff portal project to the footer of your site.
You can now promote your consultations by telling your staff to visit your site and click on the footer link to access the staff portal.
How do I do anonymous Staff Consultation?
Finally, we often get asked how to run anonymous staff consultations, since the method outlined above requires each staff member to have their own login and and ID will be attributed to their feedback.
The easiest way to do this is to setup a number of generic user accounts that might be identified by work unit or team.
For example, you might make 10 generic accounts and make the username the team name and set a generic password like password1234.
You would then create a group of these generic accounts using the participant tag feature and create a group called anonymous staff.
Instead of assigning the staff group to your new consultation, instead assign your new group called anonymous staff. (You can assign both is you choose)
You can now send details of the project page including the login and password for each team so that your staff can take part anonymously in your consultation.
Each contribution will be made against the login that you have provided and no individual staff member will be identified.
Rather, each contribution will be attributed to a team login.
Click below to watch a full webinar on how to setup this process.