Consider the Employee Journey When Improving Workplace Experiences

Engaged employees make a big difference inside organizations because of the higher level of commitment and contribution they bring to their work. However, many organizations still struggle to manage employee experiences in a manner that results in engaged employees. In the XM Institute’s recent best practices report, Three Shifts for Employee Experience Success, I highlighted three ways companies should be adapting their mindsets and actions when it comes to delivering experiences that raise employee engagement. Those shifts are:

  1. From functional job execution to purpose-led empowerment. Rather than expecting uninspired compliance to narrow job descriptions, leaders must recognize empowered employees as a critical enabler of company strategy and success, and invest in strengthening the connection of employees to the mission of the company.
  2. From disinterested surveying to collaborative understanding and action. Companies must shift from periodically measuring and reporting on employee satisfaction or engagement to seeking out candid and actionable insights that enable conversations between managers and people across the moments that matter to them.
  3. From HR-driven programs to employee-engaging leaders. The individuals who lead people and teams must recognize the benefits of and be ready to fulfill their personal responsibilities to engage employees every day instead of relying on the periodic motions of HR programs.

All three of these shifts will help companies improve the effectiveness of their EX efforts. However, how an organization demonstrates or acts on those shifts can vary based on different stages of an employee’s journey. Here’s how the three shifts can positively impact experiences when put into action across four typical stages of an employee’s journey:

  • Interview and accept job. In this stage, both the company and the candidate are assessing fit. When companies take a more purpose-led approach, prospective employees will get a more holistic sense of how the role fits within the company’s mission and how their individual success will be supported, not just the job description they are being hired to fill. Companies will get smarter in the process because they will proactively seek feedback, close the loop with candidates, and inject key learnings to improve the recruiting and hiring experience.
  • Join and onboard. Once the company offers a job and the employee accepts, it’s time to set expectations and help the employee learn the ropes. Where traditional orientation programs concentrate on generic presentations of company information, adopting these shifts will result in a more personalized experience for the new employee. Because a new hire’s manager understands the experience starts with themself, the onboarding journey will include one-on-one time spent getting to know the employee and helping the employee get to know the company and its mission and culture, the team and their goals, and their new role as part of both. Periodic check-ins will ensure that while the new employee is learning the ropes, the company and manager are also learning about what’s working and jumping in when things are not quite on track.
  • Perform. Employees will spend most of their time in this stage over the course of their careers. In this stage, companies need to consistently deliver on the experience they have promised employees. When the shifts are embraced, employees understand how they can personally control their experiences at work, while managers invest in reinforcing positive performance so that the employee and the company succeed. In this stage, processes that enable listening, learning, and getting better – from lifecycle surveys or multi-rater assessments to individual engagement reports or performance conversations – are highly valuable to the company and employees alike.
  • Advance. In this stage, employees pursue and step into roles with greater responsibility, influence, and impact. Organizations that prioritize employee experience can be confident that those who advance not only are high in functional competence, but also live the company’s mission and values every day. Because they’ve experienced it themselves, newly promoted managers readily act on the key beliefs that help them engage employees every day.

Bottom line: When you embrace the three shifts across all stages of employees’ journeys both the company and employees will benefit.

How Do You Engage Employees? Adopt The Five I’s

One of the key goals of any Experience Management (XM) program needs to be employee engagement. This is not only a critical outcome for Employee Experience (EX) efforts, but it’s also a critical input to delivering great customer experience. Why? Because engaged employees are the trigger of a “virtuous cycle” of good customer experience and strong business results.

So how can companies tap into this value? By focusing on a set of activities that we call the Five I’s of Employee Engagement:

  • Inform. Provide employees the information they need to understand the organization’s vision and brand values. Ad hoc, inconsistent communications are not effective in engaging employees. Instead, organizations should develop a thorough communication plan and deliver key experience management (XM) messages through multiple channels on a regular basis. XM leaders we have interviewed stress the importance of persistent and consistent communications to ensure messages are heard, understood, and internalized by employees.
  • Inspire. Help employees understand the organization’s vision and values, and to recognize how their role contributes to them. Leaders play a key role in inspiring employees to embrace the company’s vision and values. Whether that’s meeting directly with employees to share organizational stories or demonstrating commitment by holding leaders and managers accountable for changing behaviors to support XM goals, successful organizations identify specific ways to tap into the positive influence of the senior executive team.
  • Instruct. Support employees with the training, coaching, and feedback they need to be successful. Employees first need to know what to do and then be enabled to do it with the necessary knowledge and skills. This happens through activities like formal training, on-the-job coaching, and peer reinforcement, to name a few. Organizations also need to make sure they are making it easy for employees to put what they are learning into action. If employees are constrained by things like out-of-date systems that require workarounds or frustrating policies they have to enforce with customers, then neither employees nor customers will have a positive experience.
  • Involve. Take action with employees when designing their jobs, improving work processes, and solving problems identified through customer or employee feedback. Raising engagement isn’t a one-sided effort. Successful organizations find ways to involve employees whether that’s through a formal voice of employee process, journey mapping, employee-driven process improvement or innovation processes, or other ways. Even if early efforts are informal and simple, take action to raise employee engagement from the ground up, not only top down.
  • Incent. Deploy the appropriate systems to measure, reward, and reinforce desired employee behaviors and motivate employees to give their best. Employees and teams that deliver excellent experiences – to customers, fellow employees, partners, or others – should be celebrated with meaningful gestures of appreciation along with formal awards and incentives. And if engagement is truly important, then organizations should establish and measure employee engagement levels as a management metric with defined goals, action plans, and progress tracking on a regular basis.

Putting the Five I’s into action isn’t solely on the shoulders of the Human Resources (HR) or EX team. Executing on the Five I’s involves stakeholders from across the organization, including:

  • Senior executives: The leaders of an organization need to be visible and accessible to employees as they reinforce the importance of XM as a company priority. Their daily actions including how they help overcome internal resistance and hold others in the organization accountable can be very valuable when bringing the Five I’s to life.
  • Middle managers: This group of people is an important leverage point as they help their teams understand and apply the organization’s vision and values into daily work. They can be particularly helpful in providing coaching and feedback to employees following training and fostering an environment that encourages feedback and recognizes people for doing the right things.
  • Marketing: This function is a key collaborator when it comes to supporting communication plans, promoting employee involvement opportunities, and incorporating employee recognition into internal messages.
  • Finance, IT: In their own way, each of these internal functions may be asked to support the Five I’s through policy, process, system, or tool changes. For Finance, it may be systems and budgeting for employee rewards and recognition programs. For IT, it could be updating internal social networks to allow for easier employee connection-building and collaboration. 
  • CX core team: As an important part of the XM machine inside an organization, the CX team does have a role when it comes to raising employee engagement. It can contribute starting points for organizational success stories, curate customer feedback to spur employee innovation or recognition initiatives, and help translate organizational values into a clear set of customer promises employees help to keep through their roles.
  • Human Resources: While they don’t take whole responsibility for employee engagement, the HR team is the de facto leader of strategic engagement initiatives from the start. Many functions native to HR are key enablers of the Five I’s, including training/development, performance management, employee feedback oversight, and compensation (to support rewards and incentives).

How to Provide Certainty Even During Times of Uncertainty

Last month, at the XM Institute, we held our second ever XMPN Virtual Meetup. We met with experience management (XM) professionals from around the world, with most reigning from the APJ region and Africa. 

The bulk of the conversation was centered around applying XM during this time of crisis. We anchored this part of the discussion around four experience design-based tips for leaders, one of those tips being “choose certainty over uncertainty.”

The importance of this tip was emphasized by an XM practitioner from New Zealand who pointed out that organizational leaders are struggling to communicate with certainty because of the uncertainties at the national and local governmental levels and the uncertainties among the leaders above them in the organization. In other words, uncertainty has a tendency to spread. 

This got us thinking – while these chains of uncertainty are common, they are certainly not necessary!

Why Choose Certainty over Uncertainty?

As many of us are learning the hard way right now, humans respond much better to certainty than uncertainty, even when the certainty might be bad news. Many airlines have come to embrace this principle, communicating things as simple as flight delays with detailed timelines and updates. Flight delays are almost always bad news, but knowing what, why, and when helps us (as consumers) manage and cope. 

In fact, in times of crisis and uncertainty, human beings actively seek out certainty and stability. And this is the case for many employees and customers around the globe right now. 

How to Break the Chain of Uncertainty

While uncertainty spreads aggressively when left unchecked, here are 3 simple steps that leaders can take to break the chain:

  • Make the uncertain, certain. First, clearly lay out the issue and acknowledge the uncertainty facing everyone. Avoiding the issue can actually make things worse. For example, many remote employees are wondering if and when they might be asked to return to the office. And for many organizations, there is no definitive answer to this. As a leader whose employees are looking to you for guidance, be frank with them that you don’t know and neither does the organization. That fact, at least, serves as some form of certainty.
  • Clearly share what is certain. Next, transition to communicating what is certain, even if the news is not great. Building on the scenario above, while you may not know for sure if and when the team will return to the office, what you do know is that it is not for at least the next three weeks. Share those details and outline the relevant state or local guidance your company is relying on. Also share any known dependencies, such as if and when your team returns to the office, there will be new policies and procedures in place to protect people. 
  • Provide a path for more certainty. Finally, build on what is certain by sharing any known timelines for when updated decisions may be made. For example, you may let employees know that you will be providing updates every Wednesday with the latest information. You could also share the resources that you are using to drive the decisions, which will allow them to stay informed. This step requires some work upfront on your part but is well worth the effort. 

In summary, even when we are surrounded by uncertainty, it is almost always possible (and highly desirable) to provide some level of certainty.

Effective Communication: A Critical Skill to Propel XM Success

In a world where humans are inundated with messages 24/7 through a myriad of channels from a variety of sources, it’s a challenge to cut through the noise to reach employees with important information that helps them do their jobs better. Yet this is exactly the challenge experience management (XM) leaders must overcome if they want to successfully design and deliver great experiences to employees or customers.

In fact, effectively informing employees about XM is so important that Ecosystem Communications is one of our 20 XM skills organizations must master to embed XM as a discipline. When people understand why XM is important, how they play a part in its success, and the value and progress of XM efforts currently underway they are more likely to stay aligned and positively contribute to results. That’s why no XM initiative is complete without a well-designed communications plan. Organizations need to deliver ongoing messages that balance both practical and inspirational elements relevant for each target audience.

So how can XM teams navigate the noise to reach the people who bring experiences to life in their organizations? Here are five tips drawn from across our research that you can put to work to elevate understanding, encourage participation, and celebrate progress:

  1. Design role-specific messages. Not all employees are the same. Different groups of employees have distinct information needs. Therefore, ensure your communication plan considers how key messages need to be adapted for different audiences from senior executives to operational leaders to people managers to individual contributors. This adaptation should apply not only to the substance of the messages but also with the timing/frequency and delivery channel used to disseminate information across the organization. This includes translating “corporate speak” into clear and relatable terms all employees can understand and reinforcing how XM contributes to their own success at work.
  2. Communicate with empathy. Not only do employees have distinct information needs, but they will also react differently to what is shared compared to other groups of employees. There are many times where XM-related communications may ask employees to change what they need to do or to think about their work in a different way. Organizations need to anticipate employees’ emotional reactions and convey support across each message. This is even more critical in times of disruption and uncertainty, as in our current environment, so XM leaders should put a premium on designing communications with these four tips in mind: don’t be shy with bad news, choose certainty over uncertainty, share exact next steps, and stay empathetic.
  3. Use social tools to amplify messages. Effectively deployed employee social networks and similar tools can enhance communications by adding emphasis through executives’ or other key influencers’ personal participation in message threads or by enlisting employees at all levels in sharing updates or elevating topics. The interactivity of social communications has the ability to create “buzz” and tangible energy around a topic in a way that email or other one-way communication channels cannot.
  4. Capture feedback through a two-way dialogue. While communications plans typically focus on getting employees the information they need on a regular basis, they can also be used to bring information back to the XM teams and others. Employees are a valuable source of insights and ideas for their companies and their co-workers. Reserve some capacity throughout your communication plan for learning from employees and adapting how you frame and deliver your ongoing flow of XM communications. You can also encourage broader dialogue around key XM messages that yield employee ideas on how to improve processes or solve problems identified through customer or employee feedback.
  5. Share XM success stories. It is well-known that stories have staying power. XM success stories can bring to life what good experiences look like, what it takes to create them, and help employees connect to the XM strategy in very meaningful ways. There are lots of types of XM stories to tell. Three of my favorites are how-to stories (share the employee mindset and actions that resulted in the success), winning team stories (trace tangible wins by connecting the dots across all the teams that contributed), and everyday hero(ine) stories (instead of superhero moments, highlight employees who are demonstrating desired XM behaviors on a consistent basis, day in and day out).

XM efforts can easily falter when they share too little information, provide disjointed, hard-to-understand messages, or leave out compelling content like progress on key initiatives and success stories. That’s why investing in effective communications is critical to propel the success of your XM program.

Managing the Working-From-Home Employee Experience

Last week, my colleagues Steve Bennetts, Sally Winston, and I held a webinar (watch it here) focused on how organizations should manage their employees’ work-from-home experience. While we covered several meaty topics, we also tried to keep the discussion light and lively. In fact, we covered this topic while working from our own homes and at certain points during the webinar, you can clearly hear children playing and laughing in the background. This is indeed the world we are living in right now! 

Importantly, each of us represented different global regions, with Steve based in Sydney bringing perspectives from the Asia, Pacific region, Sally based in London with perspectives from the EMEA region and myself, based in the U.S. bringing a North American perspective. 

Here is a summary of our discussion:  

  • Organizations must understand the human experience cycle. We started the discussion by anchoring on a basic understanding of the human experience cycle. This is a foundational concept for experience management (XM) that explains the determinants and outcomes of human experiences. We focused heavily on expectations – a core component of the human experience cycle that influences how humans perceive experiences. Among the components of the cycle, we agreed that organizations have the greatest direct impact on the experiences they deliver to their employees and the expectations they set and manage. We also agreed that employee expectations of their employers are very likely to change in the future, based on the dramatic and emotionally-charged experiences they are going through right now. 
  • Now is the time to adjust Employee Experience (EX) Management programs. Next, we dove into the most tactical topic of the webinar, starting with an overview of our research that employees want to be asked for feedback during times of change and are actually more engaged when they are. This is precisely the time when organizations should ask their employees for feedback. However, we also vehemently agreed that conducting a business-as-usual survey is not appropriate and that organizations must be extremely sensitive to employees’ concerns and uncertainties (e.g., safety, job security). We closed this section by concluding that one of the hallmarks of a strong EX Management program is its agility and we pointed to resources that answer other common, tactical questions about EX management programs. 
  • Employee health and well-being must be top-of-mind. To be clear, organizations should always be concerned with employee health and well-being but it is especially important right now. Many employees are working remotely for the first time ever and have lost their social networks (at least physically). This has the potential to dramatically impact employee mental health and physical well-being. Steve Bennetts, who brings a strong background in clinical psychology and workplace safety, explained that “employees are having a normal reaction to abnormal events”. He suggested that organizations and its leaders attempt to “normalize” peoples’ reactions to this unprecedented situation. We closed this section by discussing practical tips for people leaders managing remote teams such as creating new, virtual touch bases (e.g. daily standups, virtual lunches, virtual happy hours) and getting to know employees in this new, virtual world. The latter point is important because employees may behave very differently in this novel environment. 
  • Strong people leadership is even more important right now. While there are tons of articles providing direct tips for remote workers, we acknowledged that far less has been published for people leaders. As our founder and CEO, Ryan Smith, pointed out in his recent article, “right now the work needs leadership, and it has to start with people managers”. We discussed several global examples of organizations that have actually created sub-task forces focused specifically on front-line people leaders and the ways in which they have trickled tips and tricks. Our discussion ventured into performance management and goal setting and how people leaders play a critical role in continuously aligning their newly-remote workers’ goals and expectations.  
  • Employees’ expectations of their employers are likely to change. Our discussion came full circle, back to the human experience cycle and the role of employee expectations. Here are 3 changes to employees’ expectations that we think are likely to persist:
    1. Employees will expect to bring their whole selves to work. Employees will expect that the blending of their personal and professional lives will not be counted against them in the future.
    2. Employees will expect more workplace flexibility. Not every employee will want to work from home but many will expect more flexible policies from their employers in the future.
    3. Employees will expect greater global alignment. While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a horrific global event, it is also globally unifying and employees will expect an increased level of global alignment in the future.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and we all learned something about how different global regions are handling this crisis. Our overarching conclusion from the session was that organizations that are focused on XM during this time, are the ones who will thrive when this crisis ends.

Exciting News From The XM Institute

The time has finally come for me to tell people to stop purchasing Temkin Group research reports. Are we eliminating them? No. Are they irrelevant? No. We’ve just decided to give them away for free on the Qualtrics XM Institute site.

That’s right, you can now get access to almost our entire research library for free. One of the reasons we joined Qualtrics was to be able to help more people and organizations. This move shows you the commitment that Qualtrics is making to help the world understand and deliver on the promise of Experience Management (XM).

One of the things you’ll notice on the XM Institute page is a filter to select reports based on Six XM Competencies. Yes, we’ve created a new model. It’s based on the following six competencies:

  • Lead. Architect, align, and sustain successful XM efforts. Driving XM transformation requires a strong program and active support from senior leadership.
  • Realize. Track and ensure that XM efforts achieve business objectives. For XM efforts to have lasting, positive impact, they must align with the overall priorities of the organization.
  • Activate. Create the appropriate skills, support, and motivation. People generally gravitate towards the status quo. To help overcome that inertia, the organization must ensure that employees have all the appropriate XM-related training and support needed.
  • Enlighten. Provide actionable insights across an organization. At the center of XM is the constant flow of data being transformed into useful information and shared with those most capable of taking the appropriate action.
  • Respond. Prioritize and drive improvements based on insights. An organization must act on what it learns by making constant improvements as insights are uncovered.
  • Disrupt. Identify and create experiences that differentiate the organization. Truly successful XM efforts go beyond simply reacting to problems to proactively developing innovative experiences that give the organization a competitive advantage.

That’s just a quick summary. We will be publishing much, much more on this model in the future. It will be the primary lens for all of our content, which is why and we’ve created categories on this blog for the Six XM Competencies.

Enjoy all of the free content on the Qualtrics XM Institute site!

Complexity Is An Experience Killer

I just spent two days in Miami with a great group of executives who are part of the SAP CX Client Advisory Board. One of their presentations described the company’s technology transformation, and included a stream of activity around “decomplexing.” I loved seeing that!

Complexity ends up oozing its way into all types of experiences. Complex products, prices, or processes lead to ill-prepared employees and confused customers. A complex set of benefits leads to ill-prepared HR representatives and confused employees. A complex brand positioning leads to erratic messages and a confused marketplace.

The problem even goes beyond confusion, as complexity causes people to make mistakes — or even to think they made mistakes when they hadn’t. It generates large numbers of unproductive interactions, as people try and sort through the complexity to figure out what they want to, or need to do.

People often try and mask complexity. And while that may be effective in some situations, it ends up failing almost all the time. Why? Because complexity oozes its way into everything. It’s extremely hard to contain. A complex pricing structure can be masked with a configurator, but customers end up being confused about why they have to buy something, the price associated with the purchase, or the information on their first bill.

Organizations have a natural tendency to create complexity. They add rules and processes on top of of other rules and processes. That’s why decomplexing is a great thing to work on. It requires an explicit focus and an ongoing discipline. Making things simple is often much harder than continuing to make them complex.

Decomplexing is worth the effort.

The bottom line: Simplification is a wonderful enabler of great experiences.

The Inextricable Link Between CX & EX

CXEX_LinkedIn.pngIf you’ve followed our research, then you know that we’ve always viewed employee engagement as a fundamental component of customer experience.  One of our Six Laws of Customer Experience is that “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” It just makes sense. How can you possibly expect to consistently deliver great customer experience with apathetic or disengaged employees?!?!

Although the connection between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) may seem obvious to many people, it’s important that we periodically test the linkage. So we took a look at the data from our survey that drove the report, State of CX Management, 2018.

We started by splitting the 194 respondents from companies that have 1,000 or more employees into three groups based on how they rated the customer experience that their organizations currently delivers compared with their competitors:

  • 51 companies that deliver considerably above average CX (“CX Leaders“)
  • 61 companies that deliver slightly above average CX (“CX Moderates“)
  • 82 companies that deliver average or below average CX (“CX Laggards“)

We compared their responses to Temkin Group’s 20-question CX Competency & Maturity Assessment. As you can see in the chart below:

  • The percentage of CX Leaders who earned “good” or “very good” employee engagement ratings is more than 5-times larger than the percentage of CX Laggards.
  • Most organizations have a long way to go on EX; less than 40% of CX Leaders are good at it–and they’re the best!
  • CX Leaders significantly outperformed CX Laggards across all five employee engagement behaviors in our assessment. Here are the gaps in the percentages of companies that either “always” or “almost always” demonstrate these behaviors:
    • My company celebrates and rewards the employees who exemplify its core values (32 %-point gap)
    • My company actively solicits and acts upon employee feedback (35 %-point gap)
    • Managers are evaluated based on the engagement level of their employees (38 %-point gap)
    • The human resources organization is actively involved in strategic initiatives (36 %-point gap)
    • My company provides employees with industry-leading training (31 %-point gap)

1812_CXandEX_v2

The bottom line: EX is a fundamental enabler of CX.

CX Myth #6: Compensation Drives Good CX Behaviors

CX Myths: Debunking Misleading Beliefs About Customer Experience

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.


CX Myth #6: Compensation Drives Good CX Behaviors

What’s Wrong: Many organizations try to drive behavior change by tying employees’ compensation to customer experience metrics. While some level of compensation tied to CX can be helpful, it is often overdone. When you overly compensate on a single metric, it can often lead to unintended and detrimental consequences. Symptoms of these counterproductive behaviors include pestering customers for scores; focusing on activities that may improve scores, but aren’t good for the business; and actively debating the accuracy of the metrics. Rather than engaging in these activities, we want employees focusing on ways to improve customer experience.

What’s Right: Don’t use compensation to drive behavior change; instead, use it to reward good behaviors. With that in mind, you need to find other mechanisms to drive change, such as appealing to employee’s four intrinsic needs; their sense of meaning, control, progress, and competence. As I’ve previously written, keep in mind these three underlying principles about compensation:

  1. If there is significant compensation tied to any metric (including customer feedback), then people will look for ways to manipulate the measurement.
  2. If people don’t understand a metric, then tying compensation to it will have little impact on their behavior and any downside in compensation may create negative behaviors.
  3. If people don’t understand how they personally can affect a metric, then tying compensation to it will have little impact on their behavior and any downside in compensation may create negative behaviors.

What You Should Do:

  • Treat CX as a team sport. Your customers’ experience is almost never the result of a single person, even if that person is the only one interacting with the customer. So focus on team-level metrics and compensation that encourages key groups of employees to work together towards a shared objective.
  • Use an organization-wide CX metric. Developing a core CX metric for the entire organization that is tied to some compensation (not too large), is a great way to show commitment to improving CX, and it will encourage a regular dialogue about your overall CX performance.
  • Bias rewards towards the upside. Consider starting with a compensation plan that is biased towards upside. In other words, you may want to introduce the plan where there is little negative impact on compensation if the group doesn’t hit a goal, but there is positive impact of they exceed it. This can help eliminate some of the negative perceptions early in a program.
  • Celebrate good CX behaviors. Compensation is not the only reward system in an organization. If you want employees to behave in a certain way, then provide them with positive role models. Find ways to highlight employees who are demonstrating the behaviors that you would like others to emulate. This can include monthly or quarterly awards, shout outs at company meetings, or highlights across your internal communications.
  • Make it unacceptable to game the scores. When an employee asks a customer to “give me a 10 on a survey or I’ll get fired,” can you really count on the accuracy of that customer’s rating? This may be an extreme example of “gaming feedback,” but many versions of this behavior occur all the time. To keep gaming feedback in check, it’s important to be explicit with employees about what the company considers to be unacceptable behaviors.  I’ve identified five rules that you should strictly enforce with employees, which includes not talking with customers about survey questions, scores, or consequences.

The bottom line: Use compensation to reinforce, not force, good CX behaviors.

Employees Want To Make A Positive Impact

What motivates employees? This may seem like a difficult question to answer, but it’s not hard at all. There’s one overwhelming answer: Making a positive difference.

In our latest consumer benchmark study, we asked more than 5,000 full-time U.S. employees to select which of eight job characteristics they felt was the most important. Here’s what we found:

  • Making a positive impact: 42%
  • Earning a lot of money: 14%
  • Advancing your career: 13%
  • Building stronger skills: 12%
  • Using your judgment: 8%
  • Being seen as a top performer: 6%
  • Making friends at work: 3%
  • Impressing your family and friends: 2%

Making a positive impact is also the most important job characteristic across all age groups. As you can see below, it becomes increasingly more important as employees get older. For the youngest employees, being seen as a top performer comes in a close second place, but nothing is even close with older employees.

1811_JobImportanceByAge_v1

We also asked employees about the elements of their job that they enjoy. The chart below shows that once again, making a positive impact comes out on top across age groups and increases with age. For younger employees, building stronger skills is a very close second. As employees get older, using your judgement becomes an increasingly enjoyable element of their job.

1811_JobEnjoymentByAge_v1

The bottom line: Help employees feel like they’re making a positive impact.

CX Myth #4: Net Promoter Score Is The Best/Worst Metric

CX Myths: Debunking Misleading Beliefs About Customer Experience

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.


CX Myth #4: Net Promoter Score Is The Best/Worst Metric

What’s Wrong: People often argue that Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the greatest metric, while other people argue that it’s a terrible metric. Both of those points of view are off the mark.

What’s Right: We rarely see a company succeed or fail based on the specific metric that it choses. That doesn’t mean that you can chose a ridiculous metric, but most reasonable metrics provide the same potential for success (and failure). In many cases, NPS is a reasonable choice, as our data shows that it often correlates to customer loyalty. The way you use a metric is often far more important than the metric that you chose.

What You Should Do:

  • Pick a simple metric. It’s important that you choose a metric that employees will understand, so they are motivated to help improve it. The metric can be based on customer attitudes (like NPS), behaviors (like repeat purchases), or even results (like first call resolution). Just pick a simple metric that aligns with your business goals.
  • Follow our five steps. To drive improvements using the metric, follow Temkin Group’s five steps. to a strong CX metrics program: 1) Determine a core CX metric, 2) set achievable goals, 3) identify key drivers, 4) establish key driver metrics, and 5) make the suite of metrics actionable.
  • Focus on all four action loops. People often discuss an action loop with CX metrics, but we’ve identified four customer insight-driven action loopsImmediate responsecorrective actioncontinuous improvement, and strategic change. Any CX metrics program should put in places processes to close all four loops.
  • Don’t compensate too much. When companies establish CX metrics, they often establish compensation based on them. While this can be a valuable approach to raise awareness and alignment, it can also be a problem if the level of compensation is too large (can encourage bad behaviors), it focuses on individual results (CX is a team sport), or the goals are too precise (some metrics are inherently jittery).
  • Have very clear sampling strategy. The approach for sampling often has a very significant impact on results. If you have multiple segments of customers and they each have a different profile (as many do), then your overall scores can change wildly based on the mix of those customers that are included in your calculations.

The bottom line: Obsess about your metrics program, not your metric.

CX Myth #2: You Need A 360-Degree View of Customers

CX Myths: Debunking Misleading Beliefs About Customer Experience

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.


CX Myth #2: You Need A 360-Degree View of Customers

What’s Wrong: If companies had an unlimited set of resources to plow into their customer insights efforts and an equally unlimited number of people prepared to take action on those insights, then shooting for a 360-degree view of your customers would be viable. But this is not the case for most organizations. So striving to understand everything about every customer (360-degree view) pushes organizations to over-invest in data and squeezes out the critical focus on taking action on the insights.

What’s Right: Organizations need to focus their insights efforts in areas where they are prepared to take action. Rather than aiming for a 360-degree view of all customers, organizations would be better served with a more targeted approach, focusing their insights investments on understanding key customer groups during specific parts of their journeys.

What You Should Do:

  • Separate the notions of Detect and Diagnose, which are two parts of the Six D’s of a Voice of the Customer Program. You can track the high-level feedback from a large number of customers (“Detect”) and then use those insights to identify areas where you should dig deeper to drive action (“Diagnose”).
  • Identify the actions that your organization is prepared or willing to take based on customer insights. This includes items across all four action loops: immediate response, corrective action, continuous improvement, and strategic change.
  • Define the target customers that you need to understand in order to support actions. This should include the type of customers and the specific stages of their journey that you’re most interested in understanding.
  • Make it as easy as possible for people across your organization to use the insights. Tailor the information to the specific ways that people in your organization make decisions. Minimize the requirement for non-analyst users to interpret and manipulate the data to uncover actionable insights.
  • Whenever you’re presenting customer insights, try not spend more than 20% of the time discussing data. Use the majority of the time talking about what the data means,  implications, opportunities for improvement, and next steps.
  • Help stakeholders across your organization understand new and more impactful ways that they can use customer insights to drive action. They may not immediately understand how to best use insights, so you may need to help them evolve through seven stages to a data-centric mindset.

The bottom line: Focus on developing the most actionable insights.

Propelling Experience Design (Infographic)

In the report Propelling Experience Design Across An Organization, we examine how companies can best use a very important skill, experience design. This infographic provides an overview.

Here are links to download different versions of the infographic:

Here are some of the reports with data included in the infographic:

Report: Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity, 2018

Purchase report: Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity, 2018We just published a Temkin Group report, Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity, 2018. Here’s the executive summary of this annual review of employee engagement activities, competencies, and maturity levels for large companies:

To understand how companies are engaging their employees, we surveyed 178 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. The EECM Assessment places companies in one of five stages of maturity and evaluates their performance across five employee engagement competencies: Inspire, Inform, Instruct, Incent, and Involve. Highlights from our analysis of their responses include:

  • Team leaders of non-customer-facing groups are the least supportive of customer-centric activities.
  • Nearly 70% of companies measure employee engagement at least annually, yet only 40% of executives consider acting on the results to be a high priority.
  • The top obstacle to employee engagement activities continues to be the lack of an employee engagement strategy.
  • While only 19% of companies are in the top two stages of employee engagement maturity, 49% are in the bottom two.
  • 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, have more coordinated employee engagement efforts, have more widespread support across employee groups, are more likely to act 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.

Download report for $195+
Buy employee engagement competency and maturity report

Here’s an excerpt from two of the 19 graphics that shows the maturity levels of employee engagement efforts in large companies and their effectiveness across five employee engagement competencies:

Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity ModelEmployee Engagement Competency & Maturity Levels of Large Organizations

Download report for $195+download employee engagement competency report


Report Outline:

  • Employee Engagement Efforts Are Underway
  • Assessing Employee Engagement Competencies and Maturity
  • Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  • Propel Your Employee Engagement Efforts

 

Figures in the Report:

  1. Importance of Employee Engagement and Customer-Centric Culture
  2. Support For Customer-Centric Activities
  3. Employee Engagement Measurement
  4. Overview of Employee Engagement Activities
  5. Employee Engagement Obstacles, 2016 to 2018
  6. Employee Engagement Competencies and Maturity Levels
  7. Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity Assessment
  8. Results From Employee Engagement Competency Assessment
  9. Results From Employee Engagement Competency AssessmentBetween 2016 and 2018
  10. Highest Performing Employee Engagement (EE) Competency Elements
  11. Lowest Performing Employee Engagement (EE) Competency Elements
  12. Customer Experience and Financial Results: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  13. Organizational Culture: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  14. Executive Priorities: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  15. Overview of Employee Engagement Activities: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  16. Employee Engagement Measurement: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  17. Support For Customer-Centric Activities: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  18. Employee Engagement Obstacles: Employee Engagement Leaders Versus Laggards
  19. Percentiles of Results From Temkin Group Employee Engagement Competency Assessment

Download report for $195+
Buy employee engagement competency and maturity report

Mastering Customer Experience Metrics (Infographic)

As an organization’s customer experience efforts mature, CX metrics become a critical guidepost for all of its activities. You can see different ways to download this infographic below.

Mastering Customer Experience (CX) Metrics Infographic

Here are links to download different versions of the infographic:

Here are links to the research referenced in the infographic: