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    Self-Audit Opportunity – Online HR Services Study Funded by SHRM Foundation


    The Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, with funding from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, is conducting an important study of online HR services—sometimes referred to as “Virtual HR.” The study seeks to learn more about the conditions that lead to positive employee perceptions of HR services via technology. A number of organizations have already joined the study and Chapter members are invited to participate.

    Participation in the study provides organizations with an opportunity to do a “virtual HR self-audit.” To be eligible for participation, an organization must have at least some HR content and/or services available to employees online, typically via intranet or Internet connections.

    For each participating organization, the Smith School surveys 15-30 newcomer employees (3-6 months tenure) and their supervisors (optional). Organizations then receive self-audit data showing the results for their organization. Separately, they also receive comparative information related to a group of participating organizations.

    The survey is online, although other arrangements can be made for special circumstances. “The entire survey process, including reminders, is handled by the Smith School so it is very easy for organizations to participate,” says Kay Bartol, a professor in the Smith School and the principal investigator for the study. Normally, there is no cost for participation unless there is some unusual expense involved.

    All data will be confidential and will not be reported in a way that identifies your organization or the others involved in this study.

    A previous study funded by the SHRM Foundation and conducted by the Smith School surveyed multiple individuals in more than 150 organizations. The results generally supported the benefits of increased self-service via information technology. There was considerable variation, however, which pointed to the need for this follow-up study aimed at identifying the conditions that support positive reactions from employees. This phase of the study focuses on newcomers to the organization, an important segment and one that typically uses the online services immediately.

    If you are interested in having your organization participate, please contact Dr. Kay Bartol, for more information at or (301-405-2249).