What’s the business opportunity in sustainability?

What’s the business opportunity in sustainability?

Few people (except perhaps Donald Trump) would deny that reducing our impact on the environment is important.

But it is often difficult for businesses to act with a united voice and purpose around sustainability. Many organisations will say that they’re doing the right thing, but if their employees see a different picture from within it can create a crisis of authenticity.

So if there’s a growing need for businesses to be engage authentically with sustainability, how can this be achieved?

In this episode of ExperienceCast, David Goldsworth, Head of Innovation and Strategy at Virgin, argues that the first thing to do as a business is to look at whether you are sustainable. According to Goldsworth, it is important to begin by looking at your own carbon footprint before beginning to build a customer proposition. One way to do this authentically is to involve colleagues from across the business in exploring the issue, and importantly before you have the answer.

The next step is to identify a business opportunity in sustainability for your organisation. Focusing on opportunity creates a positive message that is much easier to sell internally, and so for sustainability this is as much about what you start doing as what you stop doing. Just as importantly, a positive sell within a business can really help to motivate employees. This can be particularly effective if it involves some vulnerability along the lines of, ‘this is a complex issue, we might not get it right straight away, but we want everyone to be involved in shaping our approach’.

Then it’s a case of engaging employees across the business in an open debate on the issue. To make this work, Goldsworth believes that you must: 

  • Provide a context and framework for the debate
  • Provide a clear timeline and end point
  • Provide rules of engagement and guidelines to enable positive participation
  • Provide multiple ways for people to engage in the conversation in order to obtain a full landscape of views and opinions from across the business.

By enabling everyone to participate in shaping the narrative around sustainability, you create an authentic narrative that people connect with and believe is genuine.

For lots of businesses, there are opportunities to satisfy a consumer need around sustainability.

And who wouldn’t want to work for a business that does that?

A huge thank you to our guest panelist David Goldsworth for generously sharing his experience for this podcast.

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Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

What’s wrong with asking for more effort?

What’s wrong with asking for more effort?

Does more effort = more output?

Businesses are constantly striving to make things easier for customers, and to reduce the effort required for customers to make purchasing decisions.

So why shouldn’t we also strive to reduce effort for our employees and make it easier for them to generate high quality output for the business?

Too often, increased effort is seen as a requirement for increased output, but this doesn’t have to be the case. It may be that we have to put in increased effort in short bursts for particular projects, but when increased effort becomes normalised it can create an expectation of over-work. The longer-term impact on the organisation can only be negative.

Making work easier can reduce the effort required to generate high quality output. Employees will be more positive, more able to service customers effectively, and more likely to stay with the organisation.

It’s clearly helpful for an organisation to be able to access discretionary effort. But we should only ask our employees to give discretionary effort for short periods of time if we want to avoid burn-out, and achieve sustainable performance and customer experience.

What’s your view on discretionary effort? Add your thoughts below, we’d love to hear them…

 

A huge thank you to our guest panelist Leigh Page for generously sharing his experience for this podcast.

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Does your employer care about your mental health?

Does your employer care about your mental health?

They should. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it can unlock untapped reserves of value for your business.

If you can get employees into a ‘good headspace’, the ROI is huge. The discretionary effort that you will unlock – the will to go the extra mile – is potentially enormous. Employees will want to come to work, stay at work, and engage with their work, because they buy in to what the business stands for.

In our recent podcast about engagement, guest panelist Stewart Bromley noted that if a company is striving to provide excellent customer experience, but failing to treat its employees well, this is not congruent. The conflict between the external and internal experience of the brand can contribute to stress, as employees become cynical about the disconnect between the perception of the business and the reality of working in it.

So improving the collective mental health of an organisation requires involving everyone in the conversation about wellbeing. Employee experience holds the potential to make the experience of work better for everyone in a business.

And the good news is that it’s likely to have a positive impact on your bottom line too.

 

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The QoE 12th March, Quo Vadis, London

The QoE 12th March, Quo Vadis, London

Topic: Should customer and employee experience outcomes
be aligned?
 

To join us, please just reserve your place.

At its simplest, customer experience (CX) has been good at improving products and services, and generally enhancing how customers are treated by companies. In return, companies who provide good CX have seen increases in sales, loyalty and reputation.

So employee experience (EX) should therefore be good at improving the working environment and support services, and generally enhancing how employees are treated. In return, companies will see improved productivity at a lower cost, increased employee retention and reputational gain.

But is this really the case?

Looking at CX and EX in this way would suggest companies see them as such, and will act accordingly.

Other companies are taking the view that the two are interconnected: happy employees = happy customers. But while this may well be true in the service world, especially with voice on chat interactions, does this work as we move away from direct contact with customers?

There is no doubt that companies who are good at both CX and EX can be extremely successful if they can maintain standards in both. Unfortunately for some, the digital agenda has reduced direct interaction and undermined employees’ faith in their future. This produces a negative impact on employee experience, and in turn effects customers who are used to interacting with happy motivated employees.

Morning session: comparing the outcomes of CX and EX

  • Can we define the objective and outcomes of CX and EX?
  • What are the benefits of aligning the outcomes of CX and EX, and what are the risks?
  • If we truly want to improve CX and EX, how can we design the outcomes to be mutually reinforcing?
  • What are the secrets of those companies who get this right, and what are the rewards?

Lunch: quickfire questions from the table

Afternoon session: actions and outcomes

  • Deciding on the best approach to CX and EX outcomes for your business
  • Developing actions about where to align outcomes, and where to diverge

Engaging a generationally diverse workforce

Engaging a generationally diverse workforce

Our guest panelist:

  • Pat Osborne, Transformation Manager at LV= Insurance

It’s just as tempting to segment our employees as it is our customers. But in today’s connected workforce, this is not only inappropriate – it is ineffective.

Why? Because whether we are a customer or an employee, we increasingly want our experience to be personalised.

The more we segment, the more we lose focus on the specific needs of individual people. And as soon as this happens, we run the risk of these individuals becoming disconnected.

One way to achieving this at scale is to engage meaningfully with line managers, and give them the power to personalise employee experience. Line managers should instinctively know what individual employees need and expect – if they don’t, they’re not listening effectively. We also need to be conscious of other key influencers who are not part of the formal management structure, especially in a connected or social community-driven environment.

If we are to engage a generationally diverse workforce, we need to truly listen to individual needs, respect difference, and allow employees to do things in different ways. The benefits to the organisation are likely to be increased loyalty and trust, and access to invaluable information about how to improve the business as employees become more confident in sharing their knowledge internally.

Thank you to Pat Osborne for sharing his insights on this week’s ExperienceCast, and also to all those people who shared their questions and comments during the session. We very much appreciate your input.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Engaging and learning from our employees

Engaging and learning from our employees

Our guest panelists:

  • Andy Incles, Head of Store Resourcing and Scheduling, Marks and Spencers
  • Jonathan Cann, Global HEad of CRM, Namecheap

You’ve probably heard of unconscious bias by now. So how might it be affecting your ability to listen to your customers, and your employees?

We now have more data than ever. But the problem is that we can always find the data we need to justify our own views.

If you are hearing lots of things that you agree with, there’s a real danger that you’re in an echo chamber. The challenge – and the solution – is to find ways to change what you’re hearing, and how you’re listening to it.

Talk to some people outside your normal sphere of influence. Look at a different dataset. Actively read the negative comments in your survey. Then, and most importantly, take time to listen to what these genuine opinions are telling you.  

Among the questions we discuss in this episode are:

  • How do we choose who (and what) to listen to? And not just hear what we want to hear?
  • How can we get a balanced view of employee experience when you have a large and diverse workforce?
  • How might you use technology to bring you views from outside your echo chamber?

Don’t forget: you can get your questions answered by our ExperienceCast panel. Just send us your question, and we’ll feature it in one of our forthcoming episodes.

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