How To Restructure HR and IT With Value-level Agreements (VLAs)


With the changes in the workplace increasing the importance of HR and IT partnering, there is an opportunity to transform the way organizational change management initiatives are viewed and measured. Amongst these is the introduction of Value Level Agreements (VLAs). By adopting this framework, HR and IT can add value to the customer, employee, and business experience, 

One of the exciting changes we’ve seen in the last 12 months is a powerful new collaboration between HR and IT — specifically around measuring employee experience to achieve business value. For example, many organizations are refining their return-to-work policies. Companies doing this successfully have brought their chief information officer (CIO), the chief human resource officer (CHRO), and business leaders together to create a new HR-IT measurement framework to ensure that the return-to-work technologies and policies result in a desired business experience (BX), drive a great employee experience (EX), and improve the customer’s experience (CX). This new measurement framework is the value level agreement (VLA). 

When defined with HR, IT, and the business in mind, the VLA makes it possible for the CHRO to attract and retain top talent, the CIO sees high adoption from technology deployments, and the company’s customers see real value in the products and services that they receive. High EX results in highly engaged and productive employees. A strong BX reduces costs, improves internal efficiencies and drives new revenue. An optimized CX delivers value through customer loyalty, repeat business, positive word-of-mouth advertising, and market penetration.

What Is the Difference Between VLA, SLA and XLA?

The VLA ties all these experiences together and surpasses earlier measurement frameworks such as service level agreements (SLAs) and experience level agreements (XLAs). Note how they differ and complement one another:

  • SLAs measure objective, quantitative facts about individual transactions related to a technology service, such as mean time to recovery or average service desk handle time. SLAs are necessary when looking at IT service delivery details, but they rarely measure the employees’ experience using those technology services. And, by definition, SLAs don’t connect to a company’s business initiatives.

    See More: What Is a Service Level Agreement (SLA)? Definition, Metrics, Processes, and Best Practices
  • XLAs look at EX across a technology or business service, factoring in cumulative experience moments over longer periods. These metrics reveal the more complex matters of satisfaction, engagement, and sentiment. They focus primarily on the employee and their experience with technology and business services. But XLAs don’t necessarily connect the improved employee experience to a business goal.
  • VLAs link XLAs and select SLAs to specific, measurable business outcomes. The VLA integrates and transcends the three levels of experience (EX, BX, and CX) to measure how well an organization delivers on its ultimate goal: driving value through, in and for the business. 

Defining Success with VLA

Given the interconnected nature of EX, CX, and BX and how they play into the creation of overall business value, the next logical question is: How can HR work with IT to define their success metrics in a VLA? 

  1. Understand that both the CHRO and CIO are now looking at employee experience: HR conducts surveys among existing employees and interviews potential new and departing employees. Through XLAs, IT measures the experience employees have with various technology services and processes. Both types of data contribute to an understanding of employee experience. The CHRO and CIO must share this data to view EX holistically.
  2. Highlight how bringing more value to employees can permeate the rest of the business: Partner with the IT team, selecting one of its digital transformation initiatives (BX) also to drive employees (EX) to deliver better customer service (CX). For instance, IT may have a project to consolidate multiple unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platforms into just one, like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. IT may only be looking at the goal of reducing licensing costs. But you can get even greater value by expanding this goal to enhance your employees’ ability to collaborate effectively regardless of work location. You can expand your value goals further by focusing on frontline workers’ communication and collaboration effectiveness. Thus, the company’s customer experience will also improve. Aligning with this expanded success metric will have a much bigger impact on the business.

    See More: 5 Experts on HR Technologies Transforming the Employee Experience
  3. Define the metrics that matter: In partnership with what IT is looking to achieve, define the metrics you will use to measure value to the business. In the previous example, IT teams traditionally defined success as an on-time and on-budget migration of all end-users to one UCC platform. But when taking EX, CX, and BX into account, VLAs can be established to measure success in terms of business outcomes, such as measuring experience parity among on-site and remote workers; tracking recruitment and retention rates; or comparing customer satisfaction surveys from before and after the UCC platform migration, to name a few.

A VLA is just one tool that CIOs and CHROs can use to optimize joint initiatives across an organization. As IT and HR leaders continue to learn and gain a greater appreciation for the interrelationships among BX, CX, and EX, they will become better equipped to support one another to drive overall business value in today’s digital workplace. 

How do you think combining the best of HR and IT with Value-Level Agreements (VLAs) can drive employee and customer experience? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window . 

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