Employee Experience – through the lens of CX?

/ 30 April 2020

I am a keen observer of Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) surveys, their annual surveys describe how customers perceive their experiences. Having recently returned from a five year stint in Australia it is saddening to see this month that the quality of customer experiences in Australian Banking Sectors remains flat (ref Forrester). CX didn’t move from 2018? In the wake of the Royal Banking Commission it is not surprising that customer disappointment and loss of confidence has eroded any perception of improvement in the experiences that banks have delivered. But flatlining CX ratings are not unique to Australia. Forrester’s CX Index shows that ratings have been flatlining for some time across AsiaPac particularly in regions like Singapore. 

Whilst Forrester survey data indicates that Customer Experience (CX) has been a higher priority for business decision makers than Employee Experience (EX) improvement. At 3radical over the last 5 years we have seen an increasing trend in firms across Asia Pac turning their focus inward to the employee experience (EX) – a focus on employees helping to boost the CX they ultimately deliver downstream from this investment. Adopting a CX mindset can be a challenge for HR Professionals, but we see that this mindset is now emerging.  For example, in Australia we have seen Volkswagen unite CX and EX efforts under the same leadership team (ref CMS Wire). 

At 3radical we see many parallels between approaches to customer experience and employee experience. In last months article, Sam Baker shared some fantastic insights into how we have been helping firms to address employee engagement challenges. I’d like to develop these themes further and discuss how we are seeing firms boost their EX maturity by adopting CX principles.

Looking at EX through the lens of CX

At 3radical when we design employee experiences we aim for a solution that reminds employees of their consumer experiences. A digital experience that is seamless, consistent and tailored to provide the right content to empower the employee. An end result approximating experiences that they are used to experiencing in the ‘5-9’ rather than ‘9-5’ part of their day.

This often involves a solution approach that aims to turn work into ‘play’ by adding rewards such as badges, prizes and progress visualisations to activities and gamifying aspects to make them enjoyable in and of themselves – achieved through facilitating friendly competition and implemented via a compelling UX (user experience). 

This innovative approach has led to our solutions being recognised with a number of industry awards in recent years.  However, with Millennials and gen-z beginning to pervade the workforce, replacing static, dry content with fun, interactive experiences is no longer simply ‘a nice to have’.

By creating the right engagement framework and baking principles of CX design into your employee experience initiatives it opens the door to a path to greater EX maturity and the business outcomes that this delivers.

For this we need to consider the importance of CX design principles that listen to employees and provide insight, insight that can then be brought to bear to inform employee persona creation and subsequent journey mapping and authentic-EX design. Let’s not forget, we’re going to want to underpin this with a measurement framework to provide the insights to influence stakeholders and secure lasting momentum with your initiatives.

Measurement & Listening

From a CX-perspective, Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC) programs need no introduction – understanding the wants, needs and desires of your customers is a given. So what about employees? What about the Voice-of-the-Employee program? Surely, the same type of program, and the same technologies, can apply to employees? Yet for a large part organisations continue to run formal, large-scale employee surveys on annual basis (timely insight?), that are often perceived as a compliance exercise pitched at too high a level to drive any meaningful action that will affect the employee journey and daily activities.

The status quo is changing: Increasingly our clients have sought to interweave surveys, polls and just-in-time (JIT) interactions that elicit feedback from internal audiences. This month we have extended this capability further with the release of a new Engagement Mechanic into the Voco platform:  The Feedback Wheel to meet an increasing demand for ‘Pulse-checking’ or gathering real-time feedback in moments that matter to an employee. 

The Feedback Wheel provides a different way for employees to explore and willingly share emotional sentiment, interest levels and provide valuable feedback. With a design inspired by Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion, the mechanic allows business users to encourage feedback and the nuances of emotional response. This is achieved through an interactive mechanic that contextually responds as a user engages with segments of the wheel. A streamlined experience delivered through a single screen with insight captured through the swipe of a thumb or single mouse click the experience is ideal for quick pulse-checking and real-time feedback encouraging a deeper level of insight.

The tactile interactive nature of the Feedback Wheel when used within an experience that is inherently rewarding, provides a value exchange resulting in levels of engagement and completion rates far higher than traditional survey methods.

Actionable Insight – Test, refine and continuous improvement

Creating the environment in which employees share their insights, feedback and data is not merely a noble pastime. Taking recognisable action on the insights gained from employees reinforces the value of employee listening, but a CX-mindset encourages us to go further and be data-driven or even data-smart by acting on the insights that we glean.

What does this look like in practice?

  • ‘Bruce’ is one activity away from completing a learning module, but has not logged in for 2 days in a row– could we prompt and nudge him through timely messaging to complete the last stage by reminding him of the rewards for completing all parts of the challenge?
  • Recognising that ‘Bill’ has higher engagement rates with video content in comparison to infographics and text-based content – could we orchestrate further content that reflect his content preferences?
  • ‘Jill’ has been sharing her progress and status updates from our latest initiative to social channels – can we encourage this ‘advocate-like’ behaviour by extending her journey with more opportunities to share content in this vein?
  • ‘Cheryl’ has responded four times in a pulse-check survey indicating that she is anxious about an upcoming change initiative – could we provide her with links to supportive and remedial content to direct her to an FAQ document; remind her of the support services that are in place; or prompt her to book a session with her line manager with each successive survey feedback?

In the last couple of years there has been an increasing focus on tailoring EX to individual employee needs rather than adopting a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. With a systematic listening program in place at your disposal your employee journey mapping can become more insight-led, based on human perspectives and even emotion rather than based on traditional employee data such as employment tenure and org charts.

Reflecting on our successes across AsiaPac in recent years, there have been a number of common themes all routed in good CX-design and approach:

  • They have started with small, focused initiatives and proved the concept through continuous measurement, testing and learning (see our DBS Virtual Conference case study);
  • They have refined their employee experience solutions based on employee feedback (see our National Australia Bank case study
  • They have invested in a long-term commitment of continuous EX improvement

Importantly, they have underpinned their solutions with a platform that provides them with ‘digital dexterity’ – easy to use technology allowing them to evolve their solutions against the backdrop of change whether that is responding to banking commissions and legislative changes or the current impacts to our workforce with the recent pandemic.

To learn more the 3radical Voco platform click here, or request a demo

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