Podcast: How to connect the employee and customer experience

Thu, Oct 28, '21 •

Podcast: How to connect the employee and customer experience

Long time no see! We’ve been impatient to be back with another episode, so here we go. Today we’re opening a discussion about employee and customer experience and the convergence of the two. We’re joined by the powerful duo of Ampa's Chief Markering and People Officer Ben Buckton and your very favorite Jason Anthoine, who doesn't even need an introduction at this point.

Both of them have a lot to say on the topic, so without any further delay, let’s dive in!

Watch or listen to the episode right here, or simply scroll down for the full transcript.

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Jonathan Davies: Hello, and welcome to a new episode of the Internal Communications podcast. It's been a little while since we were there, but that's what holiday periods will do to you. We have very, very great guests lined up who have all been very busy and on the well-deserved break.

So, that's what happens. Today I have a special treat and I know that this is like my key phrase and I always say this, but it's true. We've got two very, very high level guests in the form of Ben Buckton and our recurring guests - probably one of our biggest fan favorites - Jason Anthoine.

Now, what we will be talking about today is the convergence between the employee experience and the customer experience. How do companies make their brand live among the people that actually buy and consume the products, but also among people that work for the company. We're in the last quarter of the year, by the time that this episode comes out, which means that you're likely dealing with some strategic thoughts and figuring out how you're going to set up your Internal Communications for success going into 2022, which will hopefully be a much better year than 2020 and 2021.

I believe that Ben and Jason will greatly be able to inspire you when it comes to forming your strategy and maybe even your overall comms set up for next year. Now, without further ado, our guests are going to introduce themselves first. So Ben, let's start off with you. Introduce yourself to our audience. 

Ben Buckton: Thank you, Jonathan, and thank you for that introduction as well. I'm just hopeful that Jason and I can live up to the hype. My name's Ben Buckton and I'm chief of Marketing and People officer at Ampa Group. We're a group of legal and professional services brands based in the UK, covering life and business legal services all the way through to asset recovery town planning services as well.

Jonathan Davies: Fantastic. It's great to have you, Ben. Thank you so much for being here! Now, Jason, a lot of our audience already knows you because you've been here I think two or three times before.

Jason Anthoine: Maybe I can earn a badge or like a t-shirt or something... 

Jonathan Davies: At this point in time, I should start calling you our co-host! 

Jason Anthoine: I don't know if you want to go that far! So thank you so much, Jonathan. I'm so excited to be here with you as well. I'm Jason and I’m coming to you from Atlanta, Georgia in the US. I run a firm called Audacity. We help companies inform. involve, and inspire their employees. I've been doing Internal Comms, employee experience and culture change for 32 years now.

Our clients vary from what I like to say, the fortune 500 and the less fortunate 5,000. It doesn't matter what industry, it doesn't even matter what size the organization is. As soon as you hire employee number two, you have Internal Communications challenges, and my team and the three of us on this podcast here today are going to help you try and solve those things. So I'm really looking forward to it. 

Jonathan Davies: Fantastic. So let's kick things off right away! Jason, I saw an opportunity – you posted something on LinkedIn, you were talking about employee experience/s becoming more prevalent within C-suite titles these days.

But what about the convergence between the customer experience and the employee experience, and are there actually people that basically manage both? And then Ben replied “Hi, that's me. I actually do take care of that!” So, Jason, what, what prompted this question to begin? 

Who are Chief Experience Officers?

Jason Anthoine: Well, first of all, I'm so glad to know that anyone reads anything that I post on LinkedIn.

So at least there's two people who are on this podcast who read that. And the whole reason I posted that is I've been following the news and I get different emails, HR journals and people who've leaped in the new roles, and things like that. And I've noticed a trend, for people moving into what they're calling ‘Chief Experience Officer’ role and usually, those are primarily people who are responsible for the customer experience. And because this is all I do all day long, I immediately thought “ What about the employee experience?” It got me to wondering, are there people out there who have that title of Chief Experience Officer who are responsible for both the customer experience and the employee experience. I was just curious and posted that, and then Ben popped up and then Jonathan, you contributed to the conversation as well.

I just think it's an excellent idea because, in my world, I think brand equals experience squared. So it's the combination of the customer experience and the employee experience. The two of those things are what really defines these brands. It's delightful that at least Ben has that role and I think I can shed some light on why it's important for one person to be thinking about both types of experience.

The convergence between employee experience and customer experience

Jonathan Davies: Ben, is that then also the case how your job title came to be in the company that you're in now? Is that literally because the company that you worked for said, “Listen, we know that our brand is something that's alive and it's carried by our people and it's carried by fans or consumers, or companies within the market”. What was their decision there? 

Ben Buckton: I wish it was as simple and clean cut as that, but as everything is going to have squiggles along the way to get to the outcome. So I should probably say my background.

I'm a marketer through and through. That's where I was trained in through that marketing role. I have led Internal Communications, and I have not led Internal Communications. I think Jason would agree with Internal Comms and people engagements always fall somewhere between people in marketing or in oddities around businesses sometimes depending on where they think the importance lies at that moment in time.

And sometimes it just doesn't get the prominence and importance it needs. The reason for doing that gap is because people don't connect the experience between the two. We saw it as an organization. I joined the firm two years ago as we kicked off the strategic review and one of the things that we were looking at was how to drive the business forward.

How do we drive into growth? How do we improve the client experience to support that growth? Everything that we were coming to was “Yes, this is great. This is all doable.” but actually if we don't have the right culture, we don't have the right framework to build from. It all just falls apart and Peter Drucker’s “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is absolutely true.

You can have the best plan in the world, but if people don't believe in it and if they aren't committed to it, don't see that vision or themselves as part of that vision, you're never going to achieve it. That's the reality. That's why Internal Comms and people engagement is so important, but you need the other two pieces of the puzzle, which is the HR side, and the client. You need the business growth to pay the bills and the invoices.

I view it as very much like an infinity symbol with the people here and the client there. The two are just absolutely intertwined. And for us, we started to look at what we need to build, evolve and grow as a culture that works for five working generations across the UK, all types of demographics in all of our markets. 

In my background and my training as a marketer, that's just consumer marketing. That's just understanding segmentation. That's understanding how you build products and propositions that work for people, like we build products and propositions that work for our clients and in the market that I'm in now. I'm new to legal and professional services. I spent 14 years in financial services. That was five, six years in digital data and tech. But coming into professional services, the thing that really opened my eyes was that I'm not working in a business where I help build great products and take them to market. I'm working in a business where we build great people and that's what we take to market.

We sell people, we're not human traffickers, but we sell people, resell their time and we sell their expertise. Coming back to the infinity sign, and being the connection of the two, if you create the right culture, if you create that environment inside the organization, that culture is your brand. That is every part of your organization. It is when someone that works for you picks up the phone. They represent you and they represent your ground in how they pick it up, how they talk to their client, whether they care about that client, whether they believe that caring for their client is their accountability or whether they're empowered to make decisions that will solve that client's issue.

That is all a representation of your brand. I've spent many years as a marketer, putting the lipstick on the proverbial pig of, “Here's a great external campaign around how amazing they are and blah, blah, blah” and then rubber hits the road and you look at some of your client reviews.

So for us, we needed to bring those two things together and it made absolute sense for us. Ultimately it was to get the people experience from how people come to your organization, how they come to the door, even if they don't come through it, they should have an amazing experience.

They come through the door, it should be an amazing experience all the way through to the point at which they decide to leave and potentially come back one day. But let's send them off with our goodwill because they might be customers in the future. And then equally, if we take care of them, they'll take care of our customers.

All of those buzzwords that the Richard Bransons of this world have said before, “You're looking after your people and they'll look after your customers”, I didn't believe that in the pandemic, but in reality, if we do that for our people, then they'll do that for our clients.

Jonathan Davies: Jason, does that match with your vision on the converging experience type of role? 

Jason Anthoine: 100%, and I love being the way he described that sort of this infinity cycle with those two things in the loops on either side of that. It is so true because marketing and external spend all of their time making promises in the marketplace, that then everyone in the workplace has to deliver. We've all experienced when that promise sounds fantastic, but the experience doesn't quite match that. That's just one little Dean in the trust account that everybody has in their head about why they liked certain brands and certain companies, and certain products.

The only way to get that right is to make sure that the workplace side of that loop is onboard, engaged as passionately and as excited as your customers want to be. And some of them already are about your brand, so that both of those experiences are true and honest and, and reflect exactly what it is you're trying to accomplish in the marketplace driven by the workplace.

Jonathan Davies: I find this really interesting. I think my first question that I definitely want to ask is: let's say that you have a setup and I'm Ben. I think that you alluded to this very accurately, you said that the business that you work in, essentially people are our products. But would this also be applicable for companies, where that isn't the case who actually do sell physical products? Will that also help enhance them in that way to really create that convergence between the employee and the customer experience?

Ben Buckton: Absolutely. I think it's more heightened for us as an organization, given what we do and what we sell. If you're not an organization that relies on people, I'd love to know what you're doing and who you are. Because you still got people in your customer service departments, you still got people that are in your sales teams.

You still have people that are representing your organization, whether that is on a stage or whether that is on a phone or whether that is on social media. Wherever there are people, there has to be that convergence of the experience exactly as Jason was talking about. You've got to really think about those two things at the same level and give them the same level of prominence and importance. At least in the current world, when people really care about where they're buying from as well. We see more and more people as clients. Well, how do you treat your people? What do you believe in from an equality, diversity, and inclusion perspective? Whether that's about environmental issues, whether that's about investment in the community, whether they want to know what you believe in and how you treat people.

There's a real eye-opener when it comes to those things. And what are the things that we either get asked about or talk about quite frequently? Are things like, “What did you do to your people during the pandemic?” Because some businesses didn't do great things. And actually that's a great representation of that brand in that culture to understand who they are and clients care about that. No matter what industry you're in. 

Jonathan Davies: I mean, even before the pandemic. We can name examples like Wayfair company in the United States. Their employees stayed in stapes and mass walkouts because of what was going on in that case, that's a clear example of the promise of the brand not matching the expectation of its consumers, but in this case it's employees. 

So that's a really interesting point. Now you also touched upon that you need that side of the market aspect too. It's to understand all the and segmentation, clear, concise messaging, that type of stuff. You also need the HR side of things.

Now, Jason, you had some very strong views when we had a conversation before about the position that HR is in now, where I believe that you said that HR essentially owns the transactional part of the employee experience with not necessarily the culture part. So if we want to make that convergence between the employee experience and the customer experience, does somebody need to step in and take ownership of that more cultural side of the role? Is that going to be Internal Comms? Do we need to create a new title for that? How do you see that evolving?

Brand equals experience

Jason Anthoine: When you go back to that equation “brand equals experience”, where if we think about the customer experience, typically that is owned by Marketing and Sales. Sales owns the transactional part of that experience and Marketing owns the relational part of that experience. And together, they really define that customer experience. Not exclusively those two, but primarily those two. And then when you look inside of the organization, you think about employee experience that traditionally HR has been responsible for the transactional side - hiring, firing, promoting training, developing, all of the things that HR does on the transactional side. By default many organizations have become the owners of culture and the drivers of culture and employee experience. In some instances, they're not as good at that. They are excellent at transactions, but they're not quite as good at the relational side. 

For example, I've experienced this. You might be working in a company for five years or 10 years, and then you get a direct mail piece at home about your benefits or something. And it says, “Dear employee…”, And I'm like, “Hey man, I've been working here like 10 years, don't you even know my first name yet!?” It's little things like that because they're so focused on the transactions - and they have to be - that sometimes that relational piece gets lost in that perfection of the transactions.

Where Internal Comms, HR, Marketing, Sales and IT are brought into play

To me, that's an opportunity for Internal Comms to step up to own the relational piece of that, so HR owns the transactions and Internal Comms owns the relational side of that in the same way that Marketing and Sales on the customer experience. Some organizations do that whether by intention and on an org chart with remits, for their functions, whether that's official or not, that is happening in a lot of organizations.

It really takes that strong partnership between Internal Comms and HR, and also to a certain degree IT because, they own all the systems inside the org to be able to drive that employee experience in such a way that it is the combination of the transactions and the relational things.

Ben Buckton: Just to add to that, and I think that the next relationship for me is the one with the marketing piece because it's how you build that employer brand to make sure that you're enhancing and bringing the right people into the organization as well. So it isn't just about building the brand from a client point of view, it is building it from a talent attraction perspective as well and making sure that you are living all of those things that you've just talked about through all of your channels. I absolutely agree with you where you were saying, “Here’s responsibility of HR and Internal Comms to work together, but it's not the responsibility in my view of HR and Internal Comms to own the culture that negates leadership”. 

I think in some organizations, there's an application of responsibility and a delegation of culture. I say, “Hey Jonathan, that's an Internal Comms thing. They'll sort out that it's just words on a wall or an email, or whatever.” And it's those organizations that don't believe that, where the leaders take accountability for it, take responsibility for making the right types of change and driving the right types of actions working in partnership. As you say, with the HR function within Internal Comms and engagement function makes the right types of change, whether that be the big symbolic stuff or whether that’s just that systemic day-to-day evolution of marginal gains.

Jason Anthoine: That's an excellent point too, about those larger initiatives versus the day-to-day type of things. I mean, it is not uncommon for an organization to go, “People are our most important asset”, but then every single day, the expense reporting system is a pain to use.

“I've got to go to Teams to do this, and then sometimes I use Zoom. Slack is okay on one day, but then some days it's not.” Those day-to-day types of things don't really match your stated purpose. Our employees are our number one asset, and because of them you would figure out how to streamline all of that to make that just as seamless as I know you have done on the customer side of your organization.

Ben Buckton: Absolutely. And also you lose the authenticity of what you're saying you are when you turn around and say, “All of your expenses need to be checked. You need to register, log in and log out.” Or “We're going to record times and check hours, and we're going to put all of this governance and structure in place because we don't trust you.” I've even seen horror stories now about businesses that are trying to monitor people that are working from home. That instantly is “We don't trust you, so therefore you shouldn't trust us.” What kind of relationship does that build between an individual and an organization?

If you haven't got trust, you haven't got any faith in that organization. There's no authenticity in the relationship between either. Why am I going to give them my all? Why am I going to do anything other than what they're telling me they expect from me, which is working within my set hours and delivering to the bare minimum expectation?

Jonathan Davies: And to be honest organizations that implement those types of policies in most of the cases where I've heard of that, it also signals a very clear problem of not knowing how to set strategies, goals and creating true alignment so that people could go out and execute the things that they need to do.

That's why they need to monitor in the first place, because “We need to make sure that you're working because we can't actually tell that you're delivering the things that we're asking you to deliver”, which is a much bigger problem up top within the organization that it is below with employees that are just trying to get the paycheck, but also do work that they like.

Ben Buckton: That governance structure, those rules, those processes, they put them in to manage the 5% (probably less than 5%) of people to do something wrong by accident or do something wrong nefariously. So it's like, "Let's assume everybody's bad." Actually, this is a case of leadership and dealing with that 5%, probably more like 3% and managing that. It's the application of leadership or application of taking accountability for what you're supposed to be able to do and supposed to be doing for your people by saying, "Let's just treat everybody as if they're going to do."

Jason Anthoine: Yeah, it's a hallmark. That's a great point, Ben. It ends up to me being a hallmark of a culture that is really good at managing, but not at leading. 

Jonathan Davies: I think that we recently did quite a bunch of research again at Happeo, which is what I love doing. I can't remember the source, so I will probably add this into the blog post when we put this podcast live. But this source delineated free types of culture, the pathological type, which is where everybody gets blamed and you're really looking for one person who did something specifically wrong. This is the type of organization I worked for one once in the past. That's the type of thing where good employees don't mind.

Then you've got the bureaucratic type of organizations. And the interesting part about this piece is that they said that bureaucracies can work and it can be very profitable and honestly, it can be really okay.

But the problem is that the rules and the structure are holy and not the mission and the vision of the company. And then you've got the generative cultural organizations, and this is where all the employees are working towards the mission of the company. Kind of doing it as they feel. Fits, but with good guidance and strategy, clear goal setting from the toppest century.

Now I'm really interested in figuring out Ben, how you kind of viewed the HR part of your role, right? Because Jason. Clearly outlined that HR very much has the perception of the transactional side of things. We're also clearly saying they need to work with Internal Comms to really also take ownership of the cultural part of the employee experience.

Then you also take ownership of that part of marketing. So how does that work with you? Do you have Internal Communicators within your team? What’s that?

Ben Buckton: First of all, let me just say, I'm not a big fan of the term HR and I rebranded my team, obviously the entry marketing style to the people team, and that's taken some time to watch through, but human resources, I'm fine with the human bit.

I'm less fine with the resources bit when people aren't laptops, they're not desks, they're not, they're not things. And I think it just instantly makes them Queensland. And I'm not. At all. So we'll try to avoid it personally. But there we go. How does it work in practice?

So I have Internal Comms and engagement in my team that reports directly to me that doesn't sit in the marketing side. It doesn't sit on the people's side of things. And in fact, what I'm trying to do more than ever is trying to get my teams more and more. Finding those opportunities and those projects to work together on it.

So that kind of Venn diagram of where things cross, which are things like the branding work looking at social channels, looking at how we use our people. We've got thousands of people across the UK who are the best, most powerful and impactful marketing tool I could ever hope to have. So why wouldn't I start there in terms of how I use them to build campaigns and build programs and build external profiles, what I do want, so I'm cleaning.

HR or people technician, I don't, I'm not trained in HR. Do you have two decades of experience being a customer of HR departments and I've got 15 years leadership experience. So, so, and I've got my mock. Background and in which helped me understand people as consumers and understanding how you build and develop and understand insight and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, which is all massively applicable.

But at the same time, I've got an amazing team of people that know the technical stuff. So, they can do the technical work and they can challenge me on strategy. They can challenge me on the cleanse. They can make sure and sense checks and we're doing things legally, which is really important.

But we're doing things that really take on alignment to our culture and our values and how we're trying to drive the group forward. And so, so. It's a great relationship in the sense of, there's always that healthy tension between kind of marketing client people. But that's, that's in my view as a positive, it's like the healthy relationship between marketing and sales.

As you mentioned earlier, Jason, that healthy relationship between Internal Comms and HR in terms of how do you, how do you make sure you get the best from each other to really drive the right outcomes within the organization? My role, going back to. If it is to drive that in the organization to drive it outside the organization, the answer.

Jonathan Davies: Absolutely now the 100%. And now Jason, I'm really curious to hear from you. Do you think that this is the sort of ideal setup going forward? That this is actually what companies need to look at? They need to have one person who's responsible for both the employee experience side of things and the customer experience side of things, it needs to not be as separated, maybe as businesses would traditionally make them. Do you see this as a way? 

Jason Anthoine: I see it as potentially a way forward, doing that type of work at that level in an organization is complicated in addition to being complex. But what I would like to see is some more thought around if. Truly structure it that way then how can you at least have the spirit of it?

That type of mentality is happening. Particularly when you think about the role between human resources slash people slash talent management or whatever you might call it in your organization and Internal Comms. I don't want it to sound like we're picking on our friends in HR.

They are truly talented professionals and they're always my strongest partner and always have been. They are focused on transactions, but in the same way. So as Internal Comms, I mean just the name of that function tells you, they're the ones who are responsible for communicating. So it's website, it's internet, it's emails, it's town halls, all that is also transactional.

And so neither function can get away from those transactions because that's truly the heart of how they deliver the things that they are responsible for. But I think. Both of those functions. And it too, for that matter can step back and think a little more broadly about what, in addition to all these transactions, what kind of relationships are we building so that we're driving a really good experience so that it is matching what, marketing and sales have figured out how to do concurrently.

Marketing isn't just about relationships. They both do transactions, but they've also gotten really good at the relational side of it. We in HR can't get away from transactions either. What can we do to be better at the relational side? 

Ben Buckton: I think part of that for me, is around how, how we evolve Internal Comms from being just a mouthpiece as well. That one way we'll just tell you what's that we will tell you, say, how do you really truly generate as we joined, see with our clients to white, meaningful relationships, as you say that marketing, I do an incredibly good job at and I think Internal Comms and people, especially obviously I'm gonna say my organization.

I think we do a good job. Obviously. I'm going to say that amazing people. That for me is definitely where we need to see that, that shift of how we truly shift to Internal Comms and engagement. We want them to talk back to us. We want them to help us improve. We want to know what they're thinking, what they're feeling, what works, what doesn't work.

Within the organization, what, within the experience, no matter what lab, lab level they are in the company, but also at what point they are in their journey. So very much as we draw huge client experience plans in terms of how you go and build your funnels and move people through their client journeys.

And so they come, they buy more where they bring their friends, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We need to do the same for people and mapping those experiences. And that what we do is map those experiences. Look at those trouble points, wherever the points in which people can drop out, where you couldn't get frustrated, where people can have really, they're the outstanding moments as it were those moments that matter again exactly as we would do for a client.

How do you jump off those points and make sure that you're delivering and driving the right types of experience? Every single one of them. Are we perfect? Absolutely not. We're on a journey and if we were perfect today, we're not going to be perfect in 12 months time. And that's because the expectations of the people through the organization exactly as it is with clients is changing on a daily basis and it gets changed and influenced.

So if we were talking about this pre pandemic, I would say the rise of social media and over communications and mobile technology pandemic has obviously just, shifted that to feet in the air of, of the other kinds of changes in expectations of people having work-life balance or flexibility of mobility from a work point of view, etc, etc. 

So if you have a cold. He's never done these, it's the garden analogy, if you're not monitoring it, if you're not getting it Sunday night, if you're not tending to it, then that garden's going to die or it's going to get overrun. And instantly it's not looking pretty and it's not working for you.

So, as with anything, a culture it means that gardener, who that gardener is, as we've been talking about it, it's Internal Comms, it's HR. For me, I do believe it is the marketing aspect as well, or working in harmony together. In a perfect utopian world, obviously 

Jason Anthoine: That's always the goal.

Jonathan Davies: That's the interesting part, right? So if your brand is essentially the icon of what your culture is with as a company, then it immediately becomes very obvious. You need to invest both on the, you need to you in a water, the plants let's say that those plants are, are the people that work within the company to create a product that lives up to the expectations.

Consumers as well. So now to the people that are listening in and are wondering, okay, this is fantastic. And I'm inspired by this insight, but now I'm wondering what, what can I do about this? How do I implement something like this within my company? We've had a brief discussion about this before. I think that one conclusion that all three of us unanimously came to immediately was please.

Let's not just slap another C-level title on something. And also that's probably not possible for most people listening. Hey, let's just create a new role. And then, then it sold. But the people that are still tuning into this episode very clearly want to solve the issue of the customer experience being too far removed from the employee experience.

So how do we start implementing this within organizations where maybe people aren't their products or maybe it's B2C, or maybe it is B2B? It doesn't matter. How do we start implementing that? What would be the first steps? 

Ben Buckton: Probably hire Jason and say, "Come in and help." Just to jump on your point around not just creating another C-level role to add around the table, I've got a very strong kind of, I have a very strong physical reaction to titles, like chief customer officers, and chief experience officers and chief digital officers and chief, this, that, and the other.

It doesn't matter what it's called. What is it there to do? Just be really clear about it. I had a conversation when taking this role or let's call it something different and oh my God. Absolutely not. Let's just say exactly what it is. It is people and it's marketing and it is the beauty and the intersection of both of those things together.

In terms of what you can do in an organization rather than creating a role like this. I appreciate it is quite a unique one. And there's only pizza hut in the UK sky, which is a big media corporation in the UK that I think had a similar role to this. I think it's around, how do you truly start to drive internal collaboration, break down some of those walls and those fiefdoms between departments I've worked in plenty of big global corporate businesses where.

HR Internal Comms, marketing, client service teams, IT teams, they just don't work well together. They're off doing their own thing, creating their own platforms and all impacting every single step of the way the people experience. But just doing it in a really terrible way. So you've got, if you imagine the people's experience you've got, rather than it being intertwined, it's layers upon layers upon layers.

So, just from a, just from a day-to-day feeling from a, from a person on the ground, I could be getting an email one minute from it telling me to do one thing. One from HR, telling me the next minute to do something else. Another from the client service team telling me I've got something else to do training telling me I've got to do.

And it's the world. Like information overload. What am I supposed to do? Where's my priorities? And why am I doing all of this? And it's, and it's kind of getting away from that. I can do loads. I can do lots of calms, as we say in for you to just fire loads of info at you. And it can come from all over the place.

But if all of those teams aren't joined up as to why they're doing what they're doing, what that means and how that links through to what the business is trying to achieve from a growth point of view. Then it just falls down, causes chaos, and Pete keeps really disengaged and stops reading and engaging with stuff.

Jonathan Davies: Jason, we're going to end this on because this entire podcast started because of use and scenario. We're going to end it with you as well. Jason, this is a problem that you must have faced for 32 years. Very often where the, the two experiences 

Jason Anthoine: Is that what you're going to ask me? 

Jonathan Davies: No, absolutely not.

You're more like an iPhone, maybe an iPhone 10, but still no, I'm joking. So Jason that the people that are listening realize that they have a problem. They want to bring that employee experience closer to the customer experience. What are the first steps? How can I start immediately? 

Some meaningful change, sir. 

Jason Anthoine: I can guarantee you if you're doing any kind of survey at your organization, whether it's an annual or biannual engagement survey, or you're doing pulse surveys, it's been my experience that whenever you're asking your employees anything, and there's like, can you tell us anything else you want to know?

In those open-ended content comment areas is where all the gold is. And you can sort through those things and begin to figure out where there are some employee experiences that are a little bit, maybe old-fashioned or not as clean and efficient as they need to be. And there might be a thousand of those and you might think, oh, we got to get a thousand of these things done.

Pick one, pick one where you think you can have a big impact initially. For example the recruiting process. Everybody's experience going to a career side, putting in your information. Also upload your email, your resume. Oh, did you get an email, then you get a lot of automated responses and it, the whole thing doesn't feel personal.

It doesn't feel like you care about Jason. It feels like you're just looking to hire the next person. So that's an opportunity to take the time to focus. All right. Let's map out what that experience should feel like. And then start chipping away. And then once you get that fixed, move to the next thing, and then over time, you've improved 20, 30, 50 things and a year and a half or so.

And that begins to really redefine that employee experience in a way that allows you to build partnerships, allows you to focus on a few things that give you some real immediate wins without constantly feeling overwhelmed that there's too much to do. And as a result, we're not gonna do it. 

Jonathan Davies: So even if you're listening in and you're thinking, "Well, the first things I'm going to implement might be very transactional." Guess what your employee experience is made up of a whole bunch of transactions. It's the whole right. It's more than the sum of its parts. I think that's a great tip. 

Ben Buckton: I was just going to have, sorry, I know we're going to finish there and probably you need to cut this for hours. I'm like, but I was just literally going.

Amen. When you were saying that, Jason, because, and it goes back to first principles from a marketing point of view as well. Do your research, get your insight. Do you call right? Get that corn, get that data, but drill down into the qualitative straight away. What are people actually saying? What words are they using?

What are they telling you is going on? And use that to build from don't just stop at their lovely employee number that goes, oh yeah. We're getting a number of these that came back to get underneath that. 

Jason Anthoine: That point about data, I think, is an important one. Because if you go down the hall and S marketing and you think about your customers, they can tell you they're female, between 30 and 35, they drive a Volvo, they have 2.3 kids. And their favorite color is blue. If you go down to human resources and there's an ask for that same information about any of your employees, it might be two years before you get a list and it won't be right.

We already have that data. We know that. What can we do to start using that data to improve that experience for our employees in the same way that marketing has done for them? I don't know, 20 years now. 

Jonathan Davies: And we're going to end on this note because it's not about just having that data and using it to craft better messages. It's about using it to craft better experiences. And it's very. And Tufts, right, gentlemen, thank you so much for being a part of this podcast. This was extremely insightful. I really enjoyed this conversation, then it was a pleasure, a pleasure having you here for the first time. 

Again, it was a pleasure having you here. 

Jason Anthoine: Jonathan, good to meet you here. 

Jonathan Davies: Alright, fantastic! Well, then that's going to be it! Hope you have a wonderful, oh, wonderful weekend.

Author:

Elena Nikolova

Date:

Thu, Oct 28, '21

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