Doris Day

On the day parts of the country ground to a halt courtesy of Storm Doris, I took a risk and commuted down to the big smoke. The journey took a little longer than usual but afforded me some delightful conversation with my fellow commuters.

A little wind swept, I joined Wedge and Brian at their Digital Transformation crowd sourcing day. The high level topics were as follows:

  • Levels of digital maturity
  • Engaging your allies
  • Workflow Process Design

There was some great discussions captured throughout the day and i’m looking forward to collaborating with the group on the output.

I then spent the evening with my colleague Dina Vekaria attending our first Culturevist event. Led by Matthew Partovi we discussed the topic “Shifting our team from HR/People/Comms Operations to Employee Experience”. It was clear that almost every conversation i’ve had internally and externally has centered around the employee experience this week. And I seem to be attracting people who are working on the same things as me, which is great because I love sharing ideas and experience.

On reflection this week i’ve made some pretty awesome contacts, caught up with some old connections and immersed myself in some thought provoking articles.

I highly recommend both these articles:

From disrupted to disruptor: Reinventing your business by transforming the core  By Peter Dahlström, Liz Ericson, Somesh Khanna, and Jürgen Meffert

De-mystifying Digital Transformation By Christine Overby

And if like me culture and brand get you out of bed in the morning and you’re interested in spending time with like minded people, who are “turning our brands into movements, by developing our company cultures and energising our customer communities” consider checking out Culturevist’s website and sign yourself up.

 

 

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Customer Journey Mapping

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of joining Brilliant Noise  at their customer journey mapping event a full summary can be found here. The event was billed to explore how effective customer journey mapping will:

  • Improve customer experience by identifying creative ideas and improvements to systems or processes.
  • Deliver against your business objectives through targeted, measurable change projects.
  • Constantly improve customers’ journeys with a sustainable improvement programme.
  • Identify the KPIs to evaluate improvements, quality and business outcomes.

Iain Nokes Chief Customer Journey Officer at The Economist led that charge, he’s been working with Brilliant Noise to map The Economist’s customer journey with some great success.

customer_touchpoint

Above is a segment of that map showing just a snippet of the touch points and how they are interconnected. What Ian was sharing made perfect sense but as an internal communicator I couldn’t help wondering if I was in the wrong room and whilst an interesting learning opportunity, was it the best use of my time. Then we got into the weeds and Ian shared his key learnings and my brain kicked into overdrive.

key_learnings

The word hypothesis was mentioned multiple times and it seems to be a word of choice when i’ve been talking to my team this week about where we are going to focus our attention over the coming year. This is important when we look at where we might start, where can we have the biggest impact and what will support our overall strategy and business goals. We need to be able to measure our impact and sometimes starting small has more chance of being a success. Or even just identify activity we can stop doing to create space to do more of the things that do get the cut through we’re hoping for.

Visualisation is critical it makes your strategy come to life, Ian mentioned their map is up on the wall in their office and visual content helps drive the message home. We are currently looking at the channels we use and how we can create great content to share on these channels. But as I listened to his journey I was starting to formulate a version of our employee experience in map form in my own head.

For the second part of the afternoon we broke out into 3 groups and naturally I gravitated to the topic around How the customer journey mapping can support collaboration and culture change. The topic quickly picked up pace and we started to talk about the pain points, in particular when our employees don’t experience the customer journey this can leave them with little empathy for how the customer experiences the brand. And even more challenging is when our employees know and agree that the customer experience needs to change but “the fear” kicks in. Does this mean I will need to do my job differently? will I even have a job? We all shared experiences of back end and front end tensions regarding systems and processes.

So what? My conclusion is that we actually have to look at our own employee journey. Our challenges are very similar and we can take a similar approach to address them. The topic was about the customer experience but if you can’t communicate what that is effectively internally to your employees you have no chance of being able to deliver. Do you make customer experience part of all employees goals for example? However you approach it like all employee communications you need great content delivered through relevant channels.

My takeaways:

  • A new contact who has way more expertise than me on creating great content that I hope to do some knowledge swapping with she’s in the market to learn more about communities.
  • I’m going to map out some of the activity we are reviewing to see what the employee experience looks like with the hope that we can identify quick wins to improve and be more effective in communicating internally.

Definitely a worthwhile afternoon and I’m looking forward to putting some of the ideas into action over the coming weeks.

 

 

 

Choice, variety and back to basics…

This week we’ve had the pleasure of having a student on work experience join our team, she’s 16 and has just finished her GCSE’s. We had a coffee and a chat and I asked her what three apps she couldn’t live without, she listed Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Tumblr as her top three, this was in direct contrast to my cousin (age 14) who listed Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter a few weeks earlier when I asked her the same question. Snapchat is clearly the favourite of the moment. But where one listed facebook messenger as her most used app, for the other it was a no no with her friends and she favoured Instagram. Interestingly they both agreed Twitter was boring.

Our world is filled with no end of choice and variety, we have a never ending diversity of needs, interests and expectations. However when this plays out in the workplace it makes us unproductive and siloed.

When I first took on the role of Community Manager at Pearson my first challenge was to merge 136 intranets into our new Enterprise Social Network (ESN) fondly named Neo (powered by Jive). Our objective was to break down silos, create one source of truth and have one platform where we were all equal. Five years later Neo is going strong but i’m starting to see more collaboration tools enter the mix, teams and departments are starting to think about using other tools.

Now I’m hardly the digital Luddite, in fact I’m normally an early adopter but I just can’t help having this niggling feeling – introducing more tools is only going to exasperate the challenge and silo information and teams further. How much productivity do we lose just trying to figure all these new tools out? The resources needed to implement, engage and launch new platforms is immense, I should know i’ve been doing it for one platform for the last five years. What seems to be forgotten when we’re all excited about all the shiny whistles and bells the vendor is promising success relies on – PEOPLE. You can throw new technology, more apps, customised systems at a problem; but if you don’t tackle the behavioural change your tools will fail.

There will always be thousands of apps and tools being marketed at us to “simplify” our personal and work lives. How we respond and adapt to these changes will become our most useful skill at work and at home. However at work our goal is to add value to our business, before considering if we need another tool or another way of doing things, we should invest a little more time talking to our people and fully explore the tools we already have. Are we using them to their full advantage?

I’ve personally spent the last two months speaking to colleagues, learning about use cases, hosting focus groups and surveying our community. It has been enlightening i’ve realised 2015 is the year we strip Neo back to basics and revisit engaging our community with all that it has to offer, especially since we’re upgrading to the cloud this summer!

We have quite the task list and as I work my through our Neo Improvement Project I will happily share the experience here…