Workforce Insights: Mystery Employees Can Help You Learn How Your HR System is Working

hr mystery orientation workforce Apr 27, 2023

Do you feel like your HR systems are working effectively? Are you complying with all of the laws but not sure what employees are actually getting from the system? Do you feel like it needs some serious focus, but you don’t know how to truly evaluate it? Consider the mystery employee.

Don’t know what this is? Think mystery shopper or undercover employee. They come in under cover to evaluate something in your business and in this case it can be your HR system. You can use them to evaluate a variety of things including your hiring process, orientation program, DEI system, benefits packages, employee relations, safety programs, supervisory training and much more. 

Let’s take orientation for example, a mystery employee could come in undercover as a newly hired staff member. They can evaluate their experience before the first day, during orientation, and after they begin a specific position. They can tell you if they felt welcomed, if they were overwhelmed by the sheer information they received – and what might help reduce overwhelm. They can go in with a legal eye to assure compliance with all applicable laws.

If you are thinking about hiring a mystery employee to help you organization, here are a few things to consider:

  • Objectives and Scope: Clearly define the objectives of the evaluation and the specific aspects of the HR system you want the mystery employee to assess. Determine whether you want a broad evaluation or if there are specific areas of focus, such as recruitment, onboarding, performance management, or employee relations.
  • Expertise and Qualifications: Ensure that the mystery employee has relevant expertise and qualifications to assess the HR system effectively. Look for individuals who have a background in HR, organizational behavior, or related fields. They should possess strong observational and analytical skills, as well as the ability to provide actionable recommendations.
  • Anonymity and Confidentiality: Decide whether you want the mystery employee's identity to remain completely anonymous or if you prefer to disclose their presence to specific individuals within the organization. Ensure that confidentiality agreements are in place to protect the identity of the mystery employee and the information they gather during the evaluation process.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: Familiarize yourself with local labor laws and regulations to ensure that the evaluation process adheres to legal requirements. Consider ethical considerations, such as the privacy rights of employees, and establish guidelines to ensure the evaluation is conducted with integrity and respect.
  • Cost and Resources: Assess the budget available for hiring a mystery employee and determine if it aligns with the objectives and scope of the evaluation. Consider the time and resources required for the evaluation, including recruitment, training, and compensation for the mystery employee.
  • Communication and Reporting: Establish clear guidelines for communication and reporting between the mystery employee and the company. Determine the format, frequency, and recipients of the evaluation reports. Ensure that the reports provide actionable insights and recommendations for improving the HR system.
  • Post-Evaluation Actions: Consider how the findings and recommendations from the mystery employee will be utilized. Determine the level of commitment from management to act upon the feedback received and make necessary improvements to the HR system. Assign responsibility for implementing the recommended changes and establishing timelines for their execution.

If you are looking to improve your HR systems, a mystery employee could be a great unbiased outside option.

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