Posted on Leave a comment

The Employee Experience Journey Matrix

As I am trying to conclude my work on the Employee Customer Experience Connection trend report, I felt an important yet lagging part of not just my work, but generally, was a comprehensive view of the employee journey. Not just the journey but what contributes to making it successful. The result of that is this work-in-progress, journey / matrix map below and a few notes to elaborate. Quick links from the table of contents.

The journey / matrix map

Click to enlarge

The three key elements

The tech

It goes without saying that technology plays a central role. I decided to break it down into front end and back end systems. The list is not exhaustive but I really tried to capture the highest level category of technology at least.

My next challenge with this map would be to fill out the different technology vendors and or systems/platforms/tools that exist out there. I would at least start with Microsoft for obvious reasons (disclosure), for use in the work I do.

The employee experience journey

Here I didn’t provide too much detail. Important was the different phases of the journey and then the stages (Candidate, Employee, Alumni). Also just a nod to the different types of experiences the employee will go through at each phase.

Not to be left out, I thought it was important to cover external staff.

The leadership

Here too I think it is a hugely important element that influences the employee journey – those that are responsible for and most impact on it.

The obvious groups which I did not break down are HR leaders and staff as well as senior executives in general.

I broke this section down into the two things that those most of those responsible for investing in the employee experience care about, what goes into it (the inputs) and what comes out of it (the outcomes).

Again I tried to keep it at high level but cover the major categories.

The connection

This is highlighted by the blue box at the bottom in the outcomes section. My trend report and main hypothesis is that if you manage the whole employee experience well, with the right levers and strategy, one of the outcomes is that there will be a positive impact on the customer experience. More specifically that it will tie to arguably one of the most important impacts for a company as a whole – satisfising and keeping customers.

Anything I missed or got wrong, please pop it into a comment below.

Posted on Leave a comment

SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

3 science-backed ways to train your brain to have a growth mindset

Posted on November 11. There’s a key link between helplessness and mastery, it’s worth figuring out. A growth mindset is the belief that a trait (like intelligence or resilience) is malleable and can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and the ability to receive and integrate thoughtful feedback. Like all …

Meditate in the Metaverse

Posted on November 11. Imagine meditating while floating around in a colorful kaleidoscopic abyss. With Tripp’s immersive wellness platform, you don’t have to go far. Strap on a VR headset to enter a world of psychedelic images, breathing exercises, guided meditations, games, and sounds designed to calm the mind. “We’re …

The biggest trends in graphic design for 2023, as predicted by the creative industry

Posted on November 8. The job of the graphic designer may have changed a lot lately, but the good news is that the discipline is still in demand more than ever indeed. As …

Research Roundup: How Technology Is Transforming Work

Posted on November 7. Digital technologies promise to bring new levels of productivity and efficiency in a wide variety of applications and organizations. But how are they transforming the experience of the employees who actually interact with them every day? In this research roundup, we share highlights from several …

6 Mind-Blowing Topics in the Philosophy of Mind

Posted on November 7. Before we can examine the mind-bending problems posed by the philosophy of mind specifically, it is important to clarify something about disciplinary …

The 25-minute meeting: half the time and double the impact

Posted on November 2. The goal Halve the time and double the impact of your meetings. Nano tool The world of work will always revolve around people working with people, and …

To Craft a Better Employee Experience, Collect the Right Data

Posted on November 2. When rethinking their employees’ experience at work, leaders need tools that allow them to efficiently and effectively learn what their diverse group of employees actually needs so that they can craft policies accordingly. For the past 10 years, in their respective work, the authors have been …

The New Role Of Marketing: Drive Business Growth By Reimagining Customer Engagement

Posted on November 2. We live in unprecedented times. This is a new normal. These times represent a great reset. The market is rife with uncertainty. The great resignation and quiet quitting are making it difficult to retain talent. All the above statements are true. Things seem to be moving faster, now. Technology is …

Customer Experience This Year’s Top Sought-After Business Skill

Posted on October 31. A major online learning provider has released its list of most-popular courses, with data analytics, cloud, and customer experience (CX) management. While the demand for analytics and cloud is predictable, it’s notable that there is a growing emphasis on CX, as organizations seek to achieve …

Posted on Leave a comment

The Business Impact of Employee Experience on Customer Experience

I am working on a new trend report covering this topic in part and this is based on the work I do (disclosure) – more on the report here: Employee Customer Experience Connection. One of the primary assumptions I’m exploring for the report is that effectively driving a positive employee experience has interrelated benefits on the customer experience too. And as we all know, the customer is king so this seeming interrelationship would seem a slam dunk and of great interest.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of the interrelationship, but I am not finding a huge amount of concrete evidence of this based on research. Still I am convinced and persist in my efforts. This post is in part an exploration of this and I am also trying to get others’ views so please take part in the poll at the end 🙏

This Forrester report on the The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Viva was commissioned by Microsoft. These kinds of reports are pretty standard for many technology vendors to try and justify, as the title suggests, the economic impact of using the technology. I thought this would be an excellent start since Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform launched by Microsoft not too long ago – more on it here: Employee Experience and Engagement | Microsoft Viva.

I have pasted a relevant piece from out of the report below (the diagram and section after it in yellow). This piece covers the benefits that derive from improved business outcomes. It seems natural to have expected that of the many benefits covered in the report (see full list below), this one would contain something to do with impact on customer related outcomes, like revenue growth, increased satisfaction and loyalty, reduced churn or improved retention, etc. Not so much. Although you could assume some indirect impact, like getting to market faster means customers can buy the product sooner and therefore incremental revenue is realised sooner, it’s still not what I am after.

Most of the benefits, like the many others (which are notable), are very much focused on internal metrics. I discuss this at the end of the post.

All benefits covered in the report:

  • Faster Onboarding Process
  • Improved Productivity from Content and Expert Discovery
  • Improved Employee Retention
  • Time Savings for Operations Teams
  • Improved Business Outcomes – see detail below
  • Unquantified Benefits
  • Flexibility

Improved Business Outcomes

Evidence and data

Enriching employee experiences resulted in better business outcomes, including better product development, greater innovation, and increased revenues. The Viva suite influenced key performance indicators such as time-to-market, product market fit, and utilization rates by tying actions to outcomes. Each app additionally improved employee competency, engagement, and motivation. This benefit increased with extended deployment, higher adoption, and tighter integration with Viva Goals to focus people. Achieving these benefits required business process redesign, leadership development, and change management.

The head of program management in software shared that Viva Goals enabled the launch of a product in eight new regions in fewer than four months, which would have taken nearly two years otherwise. Not executing this launch would have left millions of dollars in deals on the table.

The IT executive for workplace IT experience in professional services said that Viva improved time-to-deliver by enabling employees to quickly surface exemplars and best practices. The IT executive also said that Viva Insights creates focus time, which “has been a game changer and gives people time to concentrate on delivering more value to the company.”

The COO in electronics said that Viva Learning helped drive employee retention through increased engagement and motivation. This avoided hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in annual lost revenue because product engineering attrition delayed new product launches.

The product owner in CPG said that Viva Topics helped with cross-team collaboration and learning. This directly increased shared knowledge and knocked down silos, which ultimately improved R&D potential.

Modelling and assumptions

For the composite organization, Forrester assumes that:
It realizes $6 million in incremental revenue annually due to faster time-to-market.
Thirty percent of faster time-to-market is directly attributable to Viva.
There is a 45% gross margin applied.

Risks

The following factors may impact other organizations’ realization of this benefit category:
The value of faster time-to-market for the organization.
The extent to which Viva is leveraged to drive innovation and development velocity.
The organization’s average gross margin.

Results

To account for these risks, Forrester adjusted this benefit downward by 20%, yielding a
three-year risk-adjusted total PV of $1.6 million

Why are employee and customer experience outcomes not better aligned?

Read some of the articles I have curated or written on about the interrelationship of these two fields, either on the landing page at the bottom, or at the beginning on the landing page itself, where I crunch some numbers about the potential value of the market combined. You will see that there is a lot being said about this.

What is a struggle is to find verifiable, quantified, research backed evidence. I’m not sure why but let me hazard a guess or 2:

  1. This is not a thing and it is not a trend, i.e. employee experience has no bearing on customer experience and outcomes related to the latter. I struggle to believe this but must accept it’s a possibility.
  2. We are not there yet and the scientists and researchers have not cottoned onto this yet so have not done work on it yet. This is more likely the case.

I’m not giving up. I believe in this. At this stage, short of the type of evidence mentioned above, I’d love to just get some validation. Please let me know what you think and answer the poll below. If nothing else, it will ensure me I’m not going mad and others agree 🤪 Also, if you have come across any evidence, please share it in a comment.

Posted on Leave a comment

Infinite experience at the intersection of employee and customer

As I am writing a new trend report on the subject (Employee Customer Experience Connection), I’m always on the lookout for new indicators that the trend is catching on through the writing or research of others. I’ve found two such pieces just today which are definitely good indicators, especially of the “connection” part.

The first is an article on Computer weekly that references Forrester Research, Qualtrics and others. It also includes case studies and some useful onward links – articles including the onward links below:

The other article is from the MIT Technology Review: Customer and employee experience: The new normal.

It is based on a survey of 277 business leaders and decision-makers globally – around 79% of whom are C-level executives or at director level and includes a full report you can download.

I won’t share a PDF version of the report I have for fear of transgressing copyright, I’ll just share pertinent points below but first I’ll make an important distinction.

Infinite or total experience is the key

Something both the articles above and the report from MIT refer to is the total experience. The total experience is when you look at EX and CX in combination. It’s the first time I have noticed this reference since I started writing about this combination, or connection as I refer to it. From the linked articles in the landing page for the trend report I am writing; you will see it has been at least 18 months I have been pushing this combination/connection as a key element of the trend. So, it’s really good to see it being validated.

In terms of terminology, I prefer a reference to infinite rather than total because of the use of the graphic and the way this shows the interconnectivity of EX and CX. Regardless of the term used, it is this connection and how this is managed that is the interesting thing – experience optimisation as I have called it.

You can read the articles I linked to and below are some interesting facts from the MIT report. You will see there is not too much emphasis on this so still something to be worked on.

Highlights of the research on employee and customer experience connecting

1 The pandemic accelerated already existing trends toward digitization of customer experiences (CX) and employee experiences (EX), as well as the adoption of more tech centric business models. This shift is happening in both expected industries (digitally native organizations) and legacy enterprises (traditional finance and public services organizations).

2 CX and EX are just two facets of a more holistic “total experience” that enterprises must seek to deliver over the coming months and years. On top of service-oriented digital offerings that transcend transactional use cases, enterprises are also developing hybrid experiences that blend both digital and real-world elements.

3 Disintermediation—engaging, serving, and delivering directly to the end user—will be a critical component of success for enterprises as they build effective “total experience” ecosystems. Another key component will be establishing and sustaining digital trust among users.

An interesting stat from the survey responses

And I love this quote from a customer case study:

“We aren’t just focusing on digital transformation from an IT perspective. We’re thinking, ‘What is it that we need to work with our communities? With our residents and businesses? Who are the people who have interactions with us? And how do we enrich their experience?’”

Rehana Ramesh, Head of Digital Transformation, Brent Council

It resonates with me because it illustrates so well, like the 3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience that I captured, how public services can be a key driver of this connection.

Posted on Leave a comment

At the intersection of inner and outer worlds – the individual and company

The inner and outer worlds are indivisible and if you are to make a sucess of yourself as an individual, you need to think of both. When it comes to work, companies also have to think about these worlds, in relation to employees and customers. We have to think about how we, as individuals, bring our best to how we live and work every day. Leaders of companies need to think of how to enable this, so the most important stakeholder of a business is satisfied: the customer.

Click to enlarge

How to optimise a strategy for personal and company success

1. Start with yourself first and look inside

We are often tempted to focus on externals. Material things, how we look, how we attain wealth, etc. Thats because these may appear more tangible and easier to quantify and handle.

But it would all be for nothing if we are not happy and healthy, and this work starts first on the inside.

Start with your thoughts and take care of them. As Buddha once said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”

Thoughts give rise to emotions so you are best placed to start with thoughts, but emotions are also highly spontaneous and can be leveraged or managed for successful living.

All these thoughts and emotions go to creating an inner set of beliefs and values over time and help mould your purpose.

2. Monitor your lived experience

No man is an island, as John Donne famously penned in a poem and no plan survives first encounter with the enemy as German field marshal Moltke the Elder once said.

Unless you want to become a hermit or are debilitatingly introverted, you have to interact with people.

The way you come across is a reflection of how you see and value yourself.

Being acutely aware of your interactions and the impact your personality and identity have on others when you are interacting with them is fundamental for success.

The behaviours you display and elicit are a reflection of you and ultimately effects the experience others have with you. And this needs to be understood and evolved as you do, and change based on the feedback you get.

3. People power

Few companies and leaders understand the importance of their most important asset – people. A lot of lip service is given to employee well-being, but still not enough is done.

With the advent of technologies like AI, automation and robots, there is also a danger that people are overlooked for these sexier alternatives.

But that is changing. Many are now realising the importance of the employee experience and the impact this has on the bottom line and ultimately, the company’s success.

Employee experience is the culmination of efforts a company takes to ensure the well-being of employees while optimising their capabilities around a company’s strategy and execution.

The outcomes, if managed well, are higher levels of productivity and therefore business performance and a positive company culture which has material impacts on the same.

In essence: The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees.

4. Customer Success

Customer success is when your customer reaches their desired outcomes while using your product or service.

Assuming this happens, you will have satisfied customers and satisfied customers tend to want to stick around and continue using your company’s products and services.

Now there will be many more factors at play than just the people generally responsible for ensuring the customer is successful with your product or service. Things like systems, processes, methodologies and technologies.

But it is when the people efforts (all people and all efforts, not just of those with customer success in their titles), all come together and connect to make exceptional customer experiences, that you have magic.

This connection, the middle bit of the diagram above, is something I am writing a trend report about and you can find out more about it by clicking on the link below.

Posted on Leave a comment

Employee Experience platform offering grows with new Microsoft Viva modules

I’m writing this post because I am working on a new trend report covering the subject: Employee Customer Experience Connection. So I have an interest in new developments in related fields and I also want to use these posts as a way to collate all these new developments so I can add them to the trend report as I go. I also am working with and advising customers in this space through my role at Microsoft (disclosure).

Viva Goals

So the first new concrete addition to the Microsoft Viva platform is Viva Goals, which was announced publicly a few weeks back. But this has been in the pipeline ever since and as a result of the Ally acquisition last year.

At left is the video heralding the announcement and it has a demo to show what it’s all about.

In a nutshell, Viva Goals incorporates OKR functionality into the platform. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.

This is an extremely important addition that makes concrete sense for a company that wants to manage business outcomes more holistically. OKR’s is a way to set and track company goals and trickle them down into smaller outcomes (key results) and throughout the organisation to those responsible for achieving them.

I have been using Ally in its existing form only as a way to test the functionality. I’m really impressed with how simple it is made and they also provide good, templated solutions to help create your own.

I think when it comes to good use of an OKR tool, the devil is in the details and it is how you word the OKR’s and how you tangibly create goals that are achievable and realistic that matters. This is as much art as science but the good thing is you can track effectiveness and get better over time.

Glint

It’s no secret that Glint, a similar Microsoft acquisition through LinkedIn, and Viva play nice together and there is much value to be gained in its eventual and complete integration.

In this video from a year ago you see how Glint can integrate especially well with Viva Insights.

Glint is more than just a survey tool but essentially it is used to manage qualitative feedback from employees. Marrying the outcomes from this to more quantitative measures like you would get from Viva Insights makes the combination super powerful.

It is going to be excellent to see how this area of the employee experience evolves as it is a key addition to the Viva platform.

What’s next

Obviously, I cannot say all that I know, suffice it to say that key business scenarios are going to play a leading role.

Imagine aligning Insights to specific functions like sales as I have already described here based on recent work I did and am still doing: Microsoft 365 customer questions – Sales Productivity.

The scenarios described in the post above are pretty clear I hope but you should understand they are cobbled together solutions at the moment. Far better will be when they are integrated fully into the Viva suite.

I’ll say no more than that for now, indeed I can’t. But watch this space 👀

Posted on Leave a comment

The employee customer experience connection – 6 reasons to focus

With a world that is so binary I’m not surprised there isn’t more attention on this topic. People are either in the one camp, or the other, mostly. There are some, and I consider myself one, that straddle both sides. Here is why I think this is going to become increasingly important and a key differentiator for businesses if focused on properly.

First a little elaboration on my interest and role. I am watching a trend that eventually will become a report on the subject – more on that and other writing here: Employee Customer Experience Connection.

As for my role, I work as a customer success professional in the employee experience industry. Okay, the industry has only just recently identified itself thus and only in part, but effectively that is what its about.

At Microsoft where I work (disclosure), a massive part of its business, the Microsoft 365 part, is about employee or personal productivity. Formally, it’s a “productivity cloud that delivers innovative and intelligent experiences, rich organizational insights, and a trusted platform to help people and organizations get more done”.

The employee experience part that I am now heavily involved in has just recently been emphasised through a product called Microsoft Viva.

But my point is, the majority of my work has been (in the last decade or more) with people in companies concerned with helping their employees get more done for the success of the organisation. This ultimately comes through being successful with customers.

Why the employee customer experience connection matters

  1. Co-dependency. You can spend all the time in the world creating the best employee experience but if you don’t know if or how it impacts on the customer experience and outcomes, you are missing the bottom line. Customers are where the rubber hits the road and revenue and profits are earned – without this being optimised, you wont have employees for long. The rub is, it’s through employees you achieve this 🤔
  2. Data insights gold. There are tons of insights to be had on either side of the equation but if you don’t map it at the intersection, and there should be no reason why you cant, it’s wasted. At this intersection, you find the holy grail. If employee experience is the input side, the customer experience is the output side and how to optimise this, the ideal.
  3. Culture matters. What you do inside is reflected outside and the way you treat people is a linear relationship with the way employees treat customers. Company culture creation is at the forefront of that. Culture efforts are normally focused internally because it is within your control to a greater degree. Company culture impacts on and influences the culture that customer feel and lives too, so best you get it right.
  4. Proximity matters. A great example of this is the retail industry which I recently wrote about: 3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience. Retail stores that give an employee a good experience have low turnover, and, in addition, they have a much better experience. And the firms that focus on this show higher profitability and growth. It doesn’t mean this proximity cannot be achieved in the digital realm, it’s just that in this context and for this industry, the physical experience has greater impact.
  5. Employees as customers and vice versa. You have to keep in mind that outside of your company, your employees and customers operate in both realms and get to experience good or bad encounters as a result of them. If an employee has a great experience as a customer with another company and comes back to yours to realise it’s terrible in comparison, they may not stay around for too long.
  6. Common purpose. Customers and employees alike have aspirations they strive to achieve, aligned with a sense of purpose. This cannot really be separated or compartmentalised. So you need to think about the vision of your company and what you are setting out to achieve and how you are bringing value to the world in the context of both groups alike.
Posted on 1 Comment

3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience

As the featured image suggests, this is a thought rocket, some sensemaking on the fly – essentially some quick thoughts on a recent development, announcement, etc.

This post is related to a trend I am watching: Employee Customer Experience Connection. My thinking is captured in the title, in essence. It came to me on discovering the video from Samsung after which I have also added some additional thoughts:

This is really inspiring and makes total sense. It’s well within the realm of the possible so I don’t think this is just marketing fluff.

I dug a little deeper and found this article: Here’s how retailers can improve employee and customer experiences.

So clearly the hero’s of this video are Scandit technology and the Galaxy XCover Pro. But Microsoft Teams on which I work a lot (disclosure) also cracks a nod in the article.

That makes total sense and Microsoft is doing a lot of work with retailers on this – check this video out showing how the venerable institution that is Marks & Spencer in the UK, is using Teams to support their frontline workers.

Here’s why retailers are leading

  1. Frontline workers often kept things afloat and profitable during the pandemic and are the face of employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). It’s where the rubber hits the road. Frontline workers in retail (unlike in manufacturing) are interacting with customers all the time – there really does have to be a meeting of these two experience connections as I have posited in the trend that I am watching – see infographic below which I created for this. The Samsung video really illustrates this superbly for this industry specifically.
  2. In 2022, labour shortages in general but acutely for this industry will force organisations to take a closer look at the intersection of their experience data. They will need to optimise these experiences to wring out every possible efficiency in an highly pressured and competitive environment – those that do so will win. The way to do it is through insight as to how the company is delivering through and for these two critical stakeholder groups – employee and customer.
  3. Employees want what customers already have – consumer grade experiences. And nowhere is it more evident than in retail and especially when online shopping has also exploded. So consumers have become expert at using digital to enhance their shopping experience. Employees had better be up to the same level and need/want to be – often customers in store will confront employees with the fruits of their expertise and knowledge. Internal employee tools are often not up to scratch but that is changing – see the M&S experience and how vendors like Microsoft are beefing up their support to the retail industry.

I’ve also written about the retail industry in a special section of my latest trend report – you can find out more about that and get the report by hitting the button:

Posted on 1 Comment

The employee customer experience connection – fundamentals

Here is an infographic with some supporting source material and an industry overview for context if you want it. Here too is where my interest and expertise in this space lie. This post is intended to dig a little deeper on the subject. Check out the diagram which captures a little more detail than I’ve gone into before and then the notes to elaborate – because its time to level up 💯

Continue reading The employee customer experience connection – fundamentals