Employee Experience in ITSM

In this episode Pasi & Sami talk about Employee Experience in ITSM and how HappySignals got started.

In this episode Pasi & Sami talk about Employee Experience in ITSM and how HappySignals got started. Why is there a watermelon on the table? What are the main two points to start with? Watch the show or listen the podcast.


Pasi Nikkanen: Welcome to Happy Today podcast. This is a podcast for those who want to improve service experience of internal services. If you use ServiceNow or other service management system, then this is for you.

So welcome to episode one of Happy Today podcast. So today we are going to talk about employee experience ITSM and what it is. But first, maybe a bit of an introduction.

So, my name is Pasi Nikkanen. I'm the chief product officer at HappySignals and joining me today also is Sami Kallio. Hi.

Sami Kallio: Hi. Sami here. Nice to be here and start this trial of podcasts. I hope you enjoy. I think we have a lot of things to tell you guys and talk about. Haven't had time to do this before so excited to try this new media for us.

Pasi Nikkanen: Yeah, exactly. I think the topic in this episode is to talk about why do we do what we do? What is our passion? And what do we really mean about employee experience in the context of service management.

So maybe, Sami, since you're the founder of the company maybe you can tell a little bit of the history. How this thing got started.

Sami Kallio: Yeah. It was like ... Four years ago. A bit more. That we were doing service design for certain company, how they should serve their customers, really, in IT. Service management in a new way. We haven't deal cut any limitation of what we were able to do or what we were asked to do. We interviewed about 100 people to find out what they love and what they hate in this industry or service management and IT support and what other terms they have used for it. The point in doing that was when we were doing it all the time I was thinking, "This is not just problems in this company."

What the employees were talking about were kinda industrial thinking kind of ... They didn't trust IT. It was a black hole. They didn't know what to do differently and they were avoiding using the service desk. So I was thinking all the time that now what we are solving is not something that is only this company and after that I resigned from my role at that time and went to an interview at 10 different companies to find out what they feel about it, and do they really agree that the problems were the same in their organisation? And it was quite clear after that that there is a need for having a company like us.

Pasi Nikkanen: Yeah. So what were the things that came up with the interviews? What did you find on customer satisfaction, SLA, that kinda things.

Sami Kallio: Yeah, so it was really interesting. All these 10 companies they were having at some level. At some point. And most of them were using outsource as provider. And what I found out was almost everyone was using scale one to five. And every time I ask what they know about it, they said that there was at least 3.7. And that really was almost it every case. Then they asked me if this is good or not. I said I don't have an idea. Then I asked them what do they know about this number and the only thing they knew about it was it has always been the same. And it took me at least five, six, interviews when I realised I had to ask questions. Is that the figure that you have in that outsource agreement as the minimum level? And that was the case. The agreements were running the business.

Sami Kallio: So if you met that target, you kind of thought we are now in a good level.

Pasi Nikkanen: Yeah.

Sami Kallio: Even though if they didn't know if they are on a good level. So that was kind of their question to me that okay, this is something that we have set to be okay or good level, but we don't know.

And I think, now Pasi we are at your home and you have that watermelon over there. That is the metaphor for exactly this thing here. It is easy, from our perspective, and when we have interviewed people, it is quite easy to get the so-called [inaudible 00:03:59] to be okay. So when you are having a meeting with the CEO and the provider it kind of feels ... Okay, everything should be okay, but simultaneously you're hearing complaints and bad feedback from business units and employees that you are not sharing them and really doing it for their purpose.

So we are using this metaphor for the watermelon.

Pasi Nikkanen: So what is the watermelon? Why is it watermelon?

Sami Kallio: Because it's green outside and red inside. So that's the feeling there, what we heard from every company. So that's why we're using that in our

Pasi Nikkanen: Right, so the green one is the SLA that you get green, and red is actually the employees that complain down the corridors.

Sami Kallio: That's the thing. So we help you to slice the watermelon or something.

Pasi Nikkanen: I think it's really easy. If you have an SLA, okay, let's try it now. We have it contracted at 3.7. So let's get to that. You two do all kind of things like ... You start to feel their feedback's out of the equation that you feel are not ... aligned to the contract. So, all the things that you are doing, it still has to get to that number, 3.7. So what do we then mean with the employee experience? Because I think what we should really be striving after is to try to improve and understand what is really the experience of the services for the employees. And now people are just talking about the contracts. So what do you think ... Is the employee experience only about happiness? Or how do you see it?

Sami Kallio:  It is not really only about happiness, because there is ... Clear proving in our benchmark that if you have a high level of happiness in your entry level service management, you will lose less time from end-users per ticket. And that is something that we have been measuring now for three years. And if you are having really good result, you're only losing per incident one hour from the business units and end user's time. But if you are having really bad service experience, you are losing even seven and a half hours. So there is huge, huge difference with the perception of lost work time.

Sami Kallio: Yes, our brand is being heart and happiness and all that, but there really is a business gaze in focusing on the end user's experience. So what we try to help enterprises to do is ... The whole industry has been forced. I would say forced to cut costs and only focus on the IT internal epicenter. And that is been going, in some cases, too far. So optimizing only that, we end up in a situation that the end users are losing more time. I don't mean that the self-healing tools and that kind of stuff would be bad, of course it would be good, employee spaces and all that. But you have to have good tools, and good connection, and good services for end users to make them happy.

But I also have to say that in this industry overall we should be proud. Because even the lowest course that we have measured are quite high, because we are using the same metrics that met promoters score. Which is the most used consumer metrics. You all know the best that you recommend, and we have been using the same mathematics from the beginning. But the point is that the lowest scores that we measure are about 40. I have never seen a consumer teleoperator company on that level. So all companies we are measuring are better than any teleoperator.

Okay, that's maybe not a high target. Sorry, but that's kind of the situation. And the highest that we are measuring are about 80. And that is the same level that Apple was a few years back. I think they are even lower than that nowadays. So overall IT service men should be proud and show that through the business units, yes there are cases that we are doing badly and there are exceptions, but overall we are doing really well. So, congratulations guys, for what you have done for your end users.

Pasi Nikkanen: Yeah. And I guess ... The topic was employee experience in the world of ITSM, so why is it important? I think we have seen this growth when we started the company. It was like, everybody was confusing employee experience with the HR, employee engagement, and that kind of things. And I think last year it was Forbes that said that 2018 was the year of employee experience. And they were saying that the reason is when you are competing in the customer side, with the customer experience, it's like the last place where you can find these advantages is actually focus on your employees. And we are really focusing on the services that the employees are using on their work.

Not on the cultural things like how many perks and parties you're getting. Not on how nice the walls are, like the Google offices. But actually the services you're using with your devices and using with finance or HR or whatever. I think that's also like a really good point to bring out. Sometimes you hear that the IT guys are saying that they're talking to the HR and they are saying, "No, this is our thing. Employee experience is nothing to do with IT." But that is, I think, totally wrong. It should be an enterprise wide thing to actually measure in and develop.

Sami Kallio: But as you already know and understand, I think you have already noted that the whole industry during the four years has changed really, really much. In kind of a, how much we appreciate end user's experience. I think you remember in the first year, it was about 50% for all people we talked to. Both were saying that they are not at all interested in employee experience and that was kind of our ... We were almost closing up our company after that one. Some people even saying that end users will always complain that, "I'm not interested." And that is exactly right for many people.

Sami Kallio: Now, last year, total different thing. And every year after that, more and more interesting people ... People interested in this area, and I think that's ... Okay. Forbes, say he's now talking about experiences and so on. So there is a huge change, also, with ... Not only HappySignals but the bigger providers talking about-

Pasi Nikkanen: Yeah, I was just looking at the Knowledge event this year. And 60% of all those sessions were mentioning employee experience, or customer experience. So I think it's really the topic that is now really hot-

Sami Kallio: And making us happy.

Pasi Nikkanen: Making us really happy on that. So what would you say is ... What should companies do if they now feel that listening to this that, "Hey, yeah. We really need to do this." Or, "We should probably look into this employee experience part, this is what I've been saying." How should they start tackling? What should they do?

Sami Kallio: I think the main big, big problem behind the scenes is the SLA and the KPI, how you measure this industry and how you really measure your part in the success. But still, I wouldn't start from changing that because that is so huge change. And that needs first, kind of a cultural change steps before you are able to really do that end. But I would really concentrate on starting to measure, really, end use experience. And from end user side, experience side. Not your processes. Because sometimes we see that even though you measure end user satisfaction, you are asking questions really about your processes. So really focus on understanding what your end users feel. Not only just measure them continuously, but interview them. I've been so frustrated talking to people who are consultants in this area, consulting end users, core operations, about end user experience, and then you realise and ask them that, "Have you ever interviewed any one to one interviews?" And they say, "No."

How can you then think about it from their perspective? So a few things, start to measure the quality overall. And then do an ... Interview normal people. Not IT people, but normal people from enterprises. So you look at what they really do when they have an incident.

Pasi Nikkanen: I think that's a good way to kick off our podcast serious. So that was episode one. Hope you enjoyed. And if you want to learn more you can go to our website at happysignals.com.

And I think in the next episode, let's see, we'll talk a little bit about the motivation of the agents. Why is this also really important for the services people. Thank you.

Sami Kallio: Thank you.

Related content

6. IT-Support-Profiles


IT Support Profiles

In HappySignals measurement tool, we define employee into four different behavioural profiles. In this episode we ...

Read more >
HappyToday podcast: What are Experience Level Agreements?
6 minute read


#XLA - What are Experience Level Agreements?

Experience Level Agreements are an ever growing topic in ITSM. However, the term has never been given a single ...

Read more >