The Value of Employee Experience Data to Continual Improvement

Employee Experience data can be used to enable and support continual service improvement in a number of ways.

Process to show the value of employee experience

Have you ever stopped to think whether your continual service improvement (CSI) – or simply continual improvement if you’ve gone “all ITIL 4” already – efforts are missing something? That you might have a number of areas across which to improve your IT support capabilities, but you don’t know the true root cause of the issues. Or you don’t have full sight of the possible improvement opportunities because traditional IT service desk metrics and improvement methods don’t highlight all of the deficiencies.

In this blog, I explain how employee experience data is useful not only when measuring outcomes (value), but also in both recognising problems and helping to identify the required solutions/improvements.

Gathering the right ingredients for continual improvement success

In my experience, continual improvement is an underused IT service management (ITSM) practice. In part because of what’s needed to successfully undertake it. For instance, that:

  • Continual improvement needs accurate data. What are you improving right now? How are you certain that there’s a need to improve? Do you have data that demonstrates this? Then is there data that digs into the issue to identify the root cause (or causes) as a way of understanding what actually needs to be improved upon (and then also assessing whether the improvement was achieved).
  • Continual improvement needs the right focus. Is this area the most important thing to improve upon right now? And for whom? For instance, will it improve things for employees and business outcomes – or is it simply improving IT support operations or is it “a good thing to do” relative to what you think is important to others?

How employee experience measurement helps

Our customers find that employee experience measurement – in part thanks to the employed mechanism that leverages simplicity and immediacy – results in a far greater response in terms of end-user feedback. With customers often seeing customer satisfaction (CSAT) feedback levels of less than 10% increasing to employee experience feedback levels in excess of 25-30%.

And when you have enough employee feedback, in particular response rates in excess of 25%, you can start to trust the results. Although I’d argue that end users don’t really have a reason to lie about how IT support performance adversely impacts them.

For example, our aggregate customer employee experience data up to the end of 2018 highlighted that the top three contributing factors for employee happiness were:

  1. Speed of service
  2. Service personnel’s attitude
  3. Service personnel’s skills.

Whereas unhappy employees highlighted:

  1. Slowness of service
  2. Their issue not being solved despite ticket closure
  3. Having to reexplain the issue and provide details repeatedly, i.e. being bounced between people.

So, if you were already measuring employee experience in your organisation, you’d have accurate data and the ability to prioritise and focus effort. As an example, the deeper analysis of bullet #3 above highlights the impact of bouncing on both employee happiness and their level lost productivity:

The value of reducing reassignment count

re-assignment-ticket

 

So here, with employee experience measurement, there’s accurate data rather than simply a gut feeling or assumption that multiple IT-support bounces hurt employees. Obviously dependent on the level of multiple reassignments within your organisation, there are two valid reasons to minimise the level and frequency of bounces and the ability to prioritise available resources and effort among other improvement opportunities. We wrote an entire article on this if you wish to learn more.

Tips on how to run Continuous Improvement?

Process to show the value of employee experience

Tip 1: Set a visible target for everything you do

One of our customers, Virgin Trains, states that when approaching continual improvement projects, “We start by writing a news article that describes what’s changed by this project. What’s the most interesting and important result of this project to users of the service?” It’s a great way to get the IT organisation focused on the target and the improvement initiative that will deliver it.

Unsure on this? Then try a sense check in your organisation. Ask members of an improvement project team what the target of the project they’re working on is. I’m sure too many will state the deadline for the project.

This is a scary answer in terms of not being focused on actually delivering the desired outcome(s). But it’s also a missed opportunity for providing staff with meaningful work – something that fulfils them on completion, with them making a difference rather than simply hitting a deadline.

Tip 2: Frequently communicate on what’s next

Another continual improvement good practice is what we call the three-month model. It involves having an improvement-focused meeting with senior management/directors every three months. This might not sound anything special at this point. However, the focus of the meetings should not be on history, i.e. on what has just been achieved, but on what should be improved next.

Importantly, our customers find that it’s relatively easy to get their senior management to commit to new improvements when the recommendations are based on employee experience data. In particular, because every director is interested when you ask them if they’d like to hear what >2000 employees have said about their services. Plus, how they compare with the aggregated employee experience benchmark, our Happiness Score™, highlighting which IT support channels are working well (and which aren’t), and where they need to improve across people, processes, and technology.

In summary, employee experience data can be used to enable and support continual (service) improvement in a number of ways. From identifying people development needs, through motivating teams and getting everybody involved, to measuring and demonstrating the business value of ITSM.

 

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