One of my favourite books is Alan Pennington’s “The Customer Experience Book”. The reason is in the subtitle: “How to design, measure and improve customer experience in your business”. It’s a very practical guide to putting customer experience into action. I use ideas from it all the time.
One idea that I’ve found especially useful is assessing the maturity of an organisation in terms of its approach to customer experience. Alan talks about moving from being customer centric to being customer intelligent. In a customer-intelligent organisation “all staff know the experience they are required to deliver”. Moreover, there’s an understanding of “the precise points in the customer journey where value is either created or destroyed”. Above all, “a customer-intelligent company is making small adjustments every day to improve the experience”.
There is an obvious parallel with employee experience (EX) where many companies are looking to make a similar leap in maturity. I typically think about this in two dimensions: insights and activation.
Organisations who are just starting to build EX capability probably collect insights through an annual engagement survey. However, engagement survey results are likely to be looked at in isolation from other human capital data, even the results of other surveys. Key results from an engagement survey may be included in the company’s annual report and some engagement insights may be included in recruitment materials. These can help with building a consistent approach to how the organisation markets itself to potential recruits on LinkedIn and elsewhere.
More mature organisations supplement their engagement survey with agile pulse surveys. This means they can track sentiment on an ongoing basis. Connections are made between the findings of the engagement and pulse surveys, as well as automated joiner and exit surveys. This allows them to identify expectation gaps and misalignment. Insights are used to develop a broader employment brand, which is linked to organisational values and leadership behaviours.
A key tool is integrated people analytics that uses a broad range of connected data. These can include unstructured qualitative data, survey results, network data, human capital data, operational and business measures, and customer feedback such as NPS. Insights are used to personalise communications. The employment brand is translated into a differentiated employee value proposition (EVP) which is customised for key talent groups.
In mature, employee-intelligent organisations, data are translated from moment-in-time insights into employee journey maps and personas. They focus on a deep understanding of cohorts and critical talent and the employee life cycle. HR takes a design-thinking approach to employee experience. This means maximising the value of key episodes and moments, such as on-boarding, anniversaries, performance reviews, development discussions, and so on. They do this through prototyping and testing, from learning what’s working well and what’s not, and through rapid iteration. All people managers understand their role in delivering experiences that build trust in the future.
One problem with maturity curves like this is that they are seen as a sequential progression when it’s my experience that in practice things are typically messy and uneven. But by assessing where you fall in terms of your current EX capability you can identify where you need to focus and how to prioritise your efforts. To come back to Alan’s book again, he argues that it’s best to focus on lots of small changes rather than major programmes: “Your mantra for change is 100s and then 1000s of tiny changes”.
- Alan Pennington, The Customer Experience Book (Pearson, 2016)
- Willis Towers Watson, Under pressure to remain relevant, employers look to modernize the employee value proposition
Tags: #EmployeeExperience #PeopleAnalytics #DesignThinking
This article was first published on LinkedIn on March 8, 2018