Free eBook: 25 Tips For Becoming A More Purposeful Leader

Free eBook: 25 Tips For Becoming A More Purposeful LeaderAs part of our CX Day celebration, which this year is focussed on Elevating Purpose, we’re giving away this free eBook: 25 Tips For Becoming A More Purposeful Leader.

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One of Temkn Group’s Four CX Core Competencies is Purposeful Leadership. To master this competency, a company must be able to affirmatively answer the question, “Do your leaders operate with a clear, well-articulated set of values?” Purposeful leaders create an engaged workforce and help their organizations deliver positive customer experiences.

This eBook contains these 25 easily adoptable tips from across the Five P’s of Purposeful Leadership. Here are the tips:

Also check out our recent video on Purposeful Leadership and the Elevate Purpose page.

The bottom line: Purposeful leadership really matters!

Report: Infusing Culture Throughout The New Employee Journey

We just published a Temkin Group report, Infusing Culture Throughout The New Employee Journey.

Here’s the executive summary:

A company’s culture reflects the attitudes and behaviors of its employees and influences almost every aspect of the employee journey and experience. However, despite its importance, many companies fail to orient new employees to their culture during onboarding. Rather than helping new hires form long-term connections with the organization and its values, companies often use this time to teach new hires about the organization’s processes. Companies instead should use their culture as a focal point during recruiting, hiring, and onboarding and then continue to emphasize it as employees acclimate to their roles. This report:

  • Explores how companies can align new employees with their culture.
  • Describes how companies can infuse culture throughout the four stages of the new hire journey: Establish Cultural Fit, Set Behavioral Expectations, Reinforce Positive Performance, and Prioritize Sustaining Culture.
  • Shares examples of best practices from a number of companies, including Adobe, Crowe Horwath, LexisNexis, Oxford Properties, Touchpoint Support Services, and Safelite Autoglass.
  • Provides a checklist companies can use to execute their culture-focused onboarding program effectively.

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Here are the best practices described in the report:

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The Human Side of Employee Engagement

As you probably know, Temkin Group spends a lot of time researching and writing about employee engagement. It’s one of our Four CX Core Competencies and a critical component of a customer-centric culture.

While our research typically focuses on the work environment that drives employee engagement, that’s only one part of the picture. To fully understand employee engagement, it’s important to look deeper at the people who are our employees. Why? Because employee engagement is driven by two things: Human Attitudes & Work Environment.

What do I mean by “Human Attitudes?” Your employees are people who have a set of feelings and beliefs that they bring with them to work. These underlying attributes may have absolutely nothing to do with their work. Here’s some data that looks at the level of employee engagement based on two sets of attitudes, the degree to which people feel happy, and the degree to which they feel loved and appreciated. (Note: we used the Temkin Employee Engagement Index to assess the level of engagement).

As you can see, people who are typically happy and those who feel loved and appreciated are significantly more engaged employees than other people. While their work may contribute to these feelings, it’s more likely that they feel this way because of their underlying perspectives and as a result of what’s going on in the rest of their lives.

The first implication of this insight is that you need to do a better job of recruiting and screening for people who are more likely to be engaged. This data shows that more positive people tend to be more engaged employees. So look for those people when you are hiring.

Another implication is that organizations need to deal with the underlying attitudes of their employees. In addition to applying traditional employee engagement strategies, you need to help employees develop more positive attitudes. There’s a lot of good resources to tap into from the Positive Psychology movement.

I’m joining other members of our team at the bi-annual World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal in July where we explore this focus on employee engagement in more detail. After the previous congress, we published this table connecting positive psychology to customer experience (including employee engagement):The bottom line: Employee engagement requires human engagement.

 

 

 

Report: Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity, 2017

1706_StateOfEE2017_COVER2We just published a Temkin Group report, Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity, 2017. Here’s the executive summary of this annual review of employee engagement activities, competencies, and maturity levels for large companies:

Engaged employees are critical assets to their organization. It’s not surprising, therefore, that customer experience leaders have more engaged employees than their peers. To understand how companies are engaging their employees, we surveyed 169 large companies and compared their responses with similar studies we’ve conducted in previous years. We also asked survey respondents to complete Temkin Group’s Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity (EECM) Assessment. Highlights from our analysis of their responses include:

  • Front-line employees are viewed as the most highly engaged.
  • More than 70% of companies measure employee engagement at least annually, yet only 45% of executives consider taking action on the results a high priority.
  • Sixty-four percent of respondents believe that their social media tools have had a positive impact on their employee engagement activities, an increase from last year.
  • The top obstacle to employee engagement activities continues to be the lack of an employee engagement strategy.
  • While only 23% of companies are in the top two stages of employee engagement maturity, this is still an increase from last year.
  • When we compared companies with above average employee engagement maturity to those with lower maturity, we found that employee engagement leaders have better customer experience, enjoy better financial results, are more likely to take action on employee feedback, and face fewer obstacles than their counterparts with less engaged workforces.
  • You can use the results of the EECM Assessment to benchmark your own employee engagement activities.

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Here’s an excerpt from one of the 17 graphics that shows the maturity levels of employee engagement efforts in large companies and their effectiveness across five employee engagement competencies:

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CX Competency: Employee Engagement (Video)

Temkin Group has found that the only path to sustainable customer experience differentiation is to build a customer-centric culture. How? By mastering Four Customer Experience Core Competencies.

This video provides an overview of one of those competencies, Employee Engagement, where the goal is to align employees with the goals of the organization.

Here Are Five I’s of Employee Engagement:

Focus On Employee Engagement, Not Employee Experience

We are finally seeing a movement by the general business world to seriously focus on the role and value of employees, which is why “Embracing Employee Engagement” is one of our 2017 CX Trends. Temkin Group has viewed employee engagement as a critical foundation for customer experience since our inception. It’s one of our Four CX Core Competencies.

While the trend is great, there’s still a long way to go. I’d love to see many more human resources organizations recognize that employee engagement is one of their strategic objectives (see my post, HR Execs: Wake Up To Employee Engagement!).

As this area has gained attention, there’s been a troubling misunderstanding creeping up in the dialogue. People are confuscating Employee Engagement with Employee Experience. They are not the same.

It’s important to understand the distinction, because only one of them is the foundation to success. So let’s look at each of them:

  • Employee Experience deals with how employees enjoy their job or environment. It deals with making things fun and enjoyable. People often say things like “let’s treat the employees’ experience like we do the customers’ experience.” They think of ways to make the work place more exciting and fun, by adding things outside of work like pizza parties and gift swaps. Employee experience can be measured by questions like “how much fun do you have at work.
    • My take: This is a very nice thing to do for your employees, but it is insufficient to drive success.
  • Employee Engagement deals with how committed employees are to the mission of their organization. It deals with human beings’ intrinsic needs for a sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. People who want to affect change in this area must focus on the design of the work environment using what we call the Five I’s: Inspire, Inform, Involve, Instruct, and Incent. Employee engagement can be measured by the three questions in the Temkin Employee Engagement Index.
    • My take: This is a requirement to drive long-term success.

If you want to build a high performing organization that consistently delivers great customer experience, then you need to focus on employee engagement. If you happen to improve employee experience along the way, then that’s an added bonus.

The bottom line: Focus on employee engagement, not employee experience.

P.S. Based on some great comments to this post, I want to clarify something. Improving employee experience is not a bad thing. But a company should not be focusing its energy on improving employees experience just for the sake of that improvement. The ultimate goal should be in creating an engaged workforce, not just ensuring that employees enjoy their work experience. See my post: Are You Creating Engaged or Entitled Employees?

Report: 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK

We just published a Temkin Group report, 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK. This is the same customer experience benchmark that we’ve been publishing for U.S. firms over the past seven years.

The UK Temkin Experience Ratings is a cross-industry, open-standard benchmark of customer experience. To generate these scores, we asked 5,000 UK consumers to rate their recent interactions with 157 companies across 16 industries and then evaluated their experiences across three dimensions: success, effort, and emotion.

Here are some highlights from the research:

  • Co-op, M&S Food, and Lidl earned highest overall ratings, while Audi, BMW, and Flybe earned the lowest.
  • When we compared company ratings with their industry averages, we found that Saga, Premier Inn, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen most outperformed their peers, while Audi and Bank of Scotland fell well below their competitors.
  • Take a look at a listing of all 157 companies.

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Here are the top and bottom companies and the industry averages in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK:

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Report: Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2017

We just published a Temkin Group report, Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2017. This is the sixth year that we’ve published the benchmark of U.S. employees. The research is based on an online survey on Q3 2016. (Take a look at our Employee Engagement Resource Page).

For the sixth year in a row, Temkin Group used the Temkin Employee Engagement Index to analyze the engagement levels of more than 5,000 U.S. employees. We found that:

  • Sixty-three percent of U.S. employees are “highly” or “moderately” engaged – the highest level we’ve seen in the six years we’ve conducted this study.
  • Companies that outperform their competitors in both financial results and customer experience have more engaged workers.
  • Compared to disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are almost five times more likely to recommend the company’s products and services, they are over four times more likely to do something that is good, yet unexpected, for the company, they are three times more likely to stay late at work if something need to be done, and they are over five times more likely to recommend an improvement at the company.
  • Companies with 501 to 1,000 employees have the highest percentage of engaged employees, while companies with 10,000 or more employees have the lowest.
  • On an individual level, our research shows that the most highly engaged employees tend to be those who regularly interact with customers, who are highly educated, who earn a high income, and who are executives.
  • Forty-nine percent of construction employees are highly engaged, the highest level of any industry. At the other end of the spectrum, only 20% of employees in public administration are highly engaged.
  • Given the significant value of engaged employees, we recommend that companies improve engagement levels by mastering our Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.

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Here’s what we found when we examined year-over-year results for the Temkin Employee Engagement Index:

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Here are previous employee engagement benchmark studies: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.

An Ugly Uber Lesson In Organizational Culture

1702_ubercultureIn a recent Fast Company article, This Is What Caused Uber’s Broken Company Culture, Uber was described as having a…

“Hobbesian environment” where “workers are pitted against one another and where a blind eye is turned to infractions from top performers.”

While I haven’t investigated Uber’s actual culture, it’s worth examining what could have caused this type of an environment in one of the fastest growing Internet companies. To be fully transparent, I’m an Uber customer who is thrilled with how the company has transformed the taxi experience.

My take: Culture is frequently neglected. Why? Because it often doesn’t seem to show up until there’s a problem. That’s what happened at Wells Fargo, and it is also what appears to have occurred at Uber. Very few leaders set out to create a dysfunctional culture, but they exist in many places.

Every organization has a culture, whether its leaders explicitly attend to it or not. It represents how employees think, believe, and act:

  • Think: Employees are intellectually bought-in and understand the company’s vision and why it is important to the company. What is the company communicating?
  • Believe: Employees see that leaders are truly committed to what is important to the company. What are leaders demonstrating with their behaviors?
  • Act. Employees adjust their behaviors to align with what is important to the company. What do employees do when no one is looking?

In young companies, organizational culture closely mirrors the attitudes of its leaders. If they care about fast growth at all costs or winning through combat, then that’s the context that frames how employees think, believe, and act. If the company is successful, then the culture tends to be strong, as it is implicitly reinforced by that success.

What does strong culture look like? Picture a cult. Behavior isn’t judged on a normal good/bad scale, but on how well people conform to the tone set by its leaders. Inappropriate behavior such as the sexual harassment alleged at Uber can go unchecked, unless it overtly bumps up against a cultural norm. If alleged allegations of wrong doing are not important to the leaders, then they will not be taken seriously or even acknowledged.

To all of the leaders reading this post, especially those who are running young, fast-growing companies, please stop ignoring organizational culture. You’re responsible for much more than financial results. You’re creating an organization that can hopefully endure and add value to society. So focus on your organizational culture and create a company that you can be proud of for generations.

Wondering how to do it? Read my post: Put Culture Change On Your 2017 CX Agenda. Here’s How. 

The bottom line: Organizational culture really, really matters!

My 5 Super Bowl Observations (Good For CX and Leadership)

1702_brucesuperbowlgear2I was very fortunate (as a die-hard Patriots fan) to have attended Super Bowl LI in Houston. It was the most amazing game that I’ve ever seen.

I’m still a bit numb.

After spending most of the game feeling very melancholy and wondering why I had bothered to make the trip to Houston, the Patriots did the near-impossible. They came back to win after being behind by 25 points. At one point in the game, the Falcons had a 99.6% chance of winning!

Here’s my video from right after we won…

Now that it’s been a few days, I can reflect back on the Patriots victory. Here are some of my thoughts that I also think apply to customer experience and leadership:

  1. Every player counts. Throughout the Super Bowl, playoffs, and the regular season, different Patriots players made key plays. There are 53 people on an NFL roster and more than 60 people play for the team during a year (with injuries and roster shifts). While many people focus on Tom Brady, the Patriots won because of the performance of all 60+ players. This insight drives how the Patriot’s allot their cap-limited player salaries.
  2. Do your job. Throughout the season, the Patriots repeated a mantra: Do Your Job! While it’s always easy to focus on what other people might be doing, or the hype around big games, each player will best influence the outcome if they are physically and mentally prepared. In this environment, players are motivated to prepare and they have trust in their teammates.
  3. Focus on the next play. When the Patriots were down 28 to 3, it looked bleak. The players could have put their heads down and pouted about the previous plays, but they didn’t. They went back on the field and did their best on the next play. And then the next play, and the next, and the next. The team’s success was not based on a single play (although Edelman’s catch was amazing). Instead, it came from a large number of next plays.
  4. Leadership drives culture. Getting 60+ well-paid athletes to share a common vision, and operate in a consistent manner does not happen by accident. And it’s not practical to micro manage every player’s minute-by-minute activities. This type of alignment only comes from a strong culture, which has been modeled and nurtured by Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff.
  5. Live events are special. I’m sure that every Patriots fan watching or listening to the Super Bowl went crazy when we won the game, but there’s something magical about being there in person. The energy that’s created during a live event cant be replicated on TV or radio. It was a truly emotional experience that I shared with 10’s of 1,000’s of my closest Patriots friends. I was also at Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, and felt the same massive energy when we beat the Seahawks.

The bottom line: All I can say is… Go Pats!

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017

1701_lessonsincxexcellence_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2016 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has 62 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we named five organizations the winners of Temkin Group’s 2016 Customer Experience Excellence Award – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Century Support Services, Crowe Horwath, Oxford Properties, and VCA. This report highlights specific examples of how these companies’ customer experience (CX) efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses, describes winners’ best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. it includes all of the winners’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the winners: Read More …

Put Culture Change On Your 2017 CX Agenda. Here’s How.

If you’re thinking about improving your organization’s customer experience next year (and why wouldn’t you be?!?), then I hope you are also thinking about some changes in your organization’s culture. As I’ve said many, many times, your customer experience is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. It’s your culture that will sustain any improvements that you make in customer experience.

As I’m sure you know, culture change isn’t easy. People are naturally averse to change. As John Kenneth Galbraith so aptly stated, “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

1612_employeereactiontochange

Any chance of a successful, purposeful change in your culture needs to focus on the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of individual employees. That’s the foundation of a concept that Temkin Group introduced called Employee-Engaging Transformation (EET). EET is based on five practices: Vision Translation, Persistent Leadership, Middle Management Activation, Grassroots Mobilization, and Captivating Communications.
1610culture_blueprintforculturalchange
EET is different than typical top-down, autocratic attempts at culture change. Those efforts either just don’t work, or they create unintended negative elements in the culture.

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Here’s an assessment that you can use to gauge your effectiveness at applying EET.

1612_eetassessment

For more information, check out all of our rich content on culture change, starting with these two reports:

The bottom line: Culture change is a necessary ingredient of CX transformation.

Only 26% of U.S. Employees are Highly Engaged. How Engaged are Your Employees?

In our latest Employee Engagement Benchmark, we found that only 26% of U.S. employees are highly engaged.

1609ee_fewemployeesarehighlyengagedHow do we measure employee engagement?

Several years ago, we examined the attitudes that drive engagement levels of employees. Our goal was to identify a small group of key drivers and create a simple measurement for employee engagement. That led to the creation of the Temkin Employee Engagement Index (TEEI).

1609ee_teeiThe TEEI is based on the degree to which employees agree with these three statements:

  1. I understand the overall mission of my company
  2. My company asks for my feedback and acts upon my input
  3. My company provides me with the training and the tools that I need to be successful

Our research shows that engaged employees are an enormous asset. Compared with disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are more than four times as likely to recommend the company’s products and services and do something good for the company that is not expected of them, 2.5 times as likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends, and seven times as likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job at their company.

If you’re looking for a simple, actionable metric around employee engagement, feel free to use the TEEI. We also have other great content on our Employee Engagement Resources Page.

The bottom line: Are you focusing enough on employee engagement?

Amazon Makes Smart Move to Positive Employee Feedback

Last year the New York Times published an article describing Amazon as having a “bruising workplace,” a performance-based environment that often brings employees to tears. It seems that Amazon is changing its ways a bit. It recently announced that it was adjusting the way it evaluates employees. A spokesperson for Amazon described the change as follows:

We’re launching a new annual review process next year that is radically simplified and focuses on our employees’ strengths, not the absence of weaknesses. We will continue to iterate and build on the program based on what we learn from our employees.

My take: Great move. There’s a growing body of research showing that people perform better when they receive positive feedback. 1611_positivitymattersIn my post Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience, I mention an approach called “appreciative inquiry,” which is a technique for motivating employees that focuses on their strengths.

To highlight the impact of this phenomena, I analyzed our data on more than 5,000 U.S. employees. As you can see below, when bosses give more positive feedback, employees are more likely to recommend the company’s products and services, to do something good for the company that is unexpected, and make improvement recommendations.

1611_employeerespondtopositivefeedback

The bottom line: Positivity is a strong human motivator.

The Rise of Mobile CX (Infographic)

I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that mobile customer experience is on the rise, but this infographic provides some more insights on what that shift looks like. It pulls from a variety of Temkin Group research, including: Data Snapshot: Channel Preferences Benchmark, 2016, Five C’s of Mobile VoC Disruption, Data Snapshot: Media Use Benchmark, 2016, and The State of CX Metrics, 2015.

You can download this infographic in different forms below, including in poster form.
the-rise-of-mobile-cx

You can download (and print) this infographic in different forms:

The bottom line: Make sure you have plans to be mobile first.