The website http://juggle.wikia.com/wiki/Top_40_Jugglers has readers vote for the best juggler in the world. For the past two years, the winner has been Ofek Snir from Israel. If you are bored, you can search him and see his amazing ability.
In looking up the best jugglers, I found that June 17th is Jugglers Day. This year, October 3rd is CX Day, but I am starting to wonder if it should be moved to June 17th given all of the juggling CX professionals must perform on a daily basis. I would argue, though, that CX professionals are some of the best jugglers in the world today. In many organizations, CX professionals have to fight internal barriers of key functional heads or information users who marginalize the role of the CX professional. They have to fight for credibility and strategic importance. All the while, they have to juggle all of the key, necessary components to create a successful and impactful CX program.
Last week at the 2017 CXPA Insight Exchange, we talked to a number of CX professionals about all the areas on which they are focusing. You can see the eight areas that most CX professionals today are trying to juggle in their role in the picture to the right. If you can’t see it, the eight areas are Communication, Insights, Action, Impact, Strategy, Culture, Resources and Technology.
Walker has been around for almost 80 years and has been a leader in the area of CX consulting for almost two decades. Over that time, we have identified these eight areas as critical to the success of any CX program. The icon on the left illustrates the six areas that are key to success – plus technology and communication, which surround those six areas as boosters that strengthen and enhance the other six.
In our booth, we gave CX professionals three stickers and they put the stickers on the three areas that are their biggest challenge right now. Taking Action was the biggest challenge for most CX professionals, by far. This is something we hear a lot: Far too often, information that could create real and lasting change in an organization is not fully used and acted upon. This is part of the reason CX professionals can be marginalized and have to fight to get Resources, which was another top vote-getter. This also is why Impact was mentioned quite often as a top challenge; if information is not being Acted upon, it is not going to have the desired Impact. We have a webcast on taking action if you would like to listen to it; you can check it out here.
The other two areas with a lot of votes were Culture and Technology. Even with all of the technology providers today, many CX professionals are still struggling in this area. This tells me the issue is not the technology platform itself but how the technology is being used and implemented in the organization – which is probably dovetailing with Action. We also did a webcast on Technology which you can listen to here.
Culture is an area where we have seen significant focus over the past several years. Organizations are realizing CX cannot be truly performed in a vacuum but must become part of the fabric of the organization. For some tips on creating a CX-focused culture, guess what? We have a webcast on that as well.
CX professionals have a lot they are trying to juggle today and we all can’t be Ofek Snir. We must prioritize and focus on key areas and work to improve areas of weaknesses while still maintaining all of the other areas. If you would like to see where you stand on these different areas and see your level of maturity based on our new maturity model, you can sign up for the survey here and you will get a free report showing areas of strength and weakness along with how you stack up compared to others.
Last year I had the pleasure of working with Sea Island to measure employee/team member perceptions of working for Sea Island. Sea Island is an amazing resort on the coast of Georgia where the rich and famous go to vacation. I was out there last week to present the team member survey results to some of the executives and managers. I had the opportunity to stay at the resort, and this place was absolutely amazing. This was the nicest place I have ever stayed by far, you can see a picture of the main part of the resort below.
However, what made it truly amazing was not the ocean, the architecture, or the amazing food, all of which really was amazing. It was the people. The staff at Sea Island were absolutely incredible. They would bend over backwards for you and do it with a cheerful attitude. I was shocked at just how happy the staff was. Just about everyone I met were some of the nicest and friendliest people I have interacted with at an organization. So when I looked at the employee survey results, is it any surprise the scores were also very good? The team members really enjoy working there. I have blogged before about how loyalty and happy employees exhibit positive behaviors which impact the customer. Sea Island is a case study in how this works and the impact it has on the customer.
You might think that working at a resort is not a bad gig, but keep in mind, they are still working, they aren't playing in the ocean or talking private squash lessons from their on-site squash pro (yeah that is right). They also have to deal with some not-so-nice people. We heard some pretty rude customers while we were there, but the staff took it all with a wonderful attitude. I think it starts with the culture and tone of leadership in that they truly seem to care about the employees and truly want to take care of them. The employees then want to take care of each other and support one another, they really are a team. This then translates into impacting the customers in a very positive way. They are truly exemplifying the service profit chain and that happy employees make for happy customers, however in their case I would say happy employees make for an amazing experience for the customer.
I was talking to someone in HR this week. At one time, they were a trendsetter in terms of perks offered to employees. However, they have not done anything really new or innovative in years, and what was once progressive now lags many companies. Obviously, offering innovative employee perks isn't going to guarantee getting top-level employees. However, if all other things are equal, employees are probably going to opt for the organization with more perks. One perk that I have seen more and more lately is offering unlimited PTO. Even Sir Richard Branson has offered this to some of his employees. The belief is that they should actually treat employees like adults, and if they want to take time off, do it. They trust your work is done and if not, there will be consequences. This is one of the aspects of ROWE that I have written about before. A company I was talking to says they offer a generous PTO policy but receive a lot of complaints that the time can't be used. I think another advantage with unlimited PTO is employees won't have this unit of measurement to complain against. However, I could see employees not taking time off because they don't have that unit of measurement. Therefore it is imperative on managers to encourage employees to take PTO.
Another perk I have seen twice in the past month is offering free beer. I am a little unsure of this one. I think it is a neat perk and would play well to potential recruits, however, this could quickly spiral out of hand and could become a problem for some so there would need to be limits.
Another hot trend is in the area of wellness (which I find kind of funny that it follow the perk of free beer). A lot of companies are doing new and innovative things to help keep employees active and healthy, which is also a way to show you care about them. If you want some ideas, you can follow Healthiest Employers on Twitter () as they tweet a lot about what companies are doing in the area of wellness. At Walker, we just finished a company wide steps competition where the entire company was split into four teams and the winning team received a healthy lunch (the team I was on won by a large margin and the lunch was delicious).
However, I do not believe it is so much about specific perks. It is more about a general attitude and view toward employees, are they treated with respect, are they shown care and concern, are they developed, etc. Sure these perks are a manifestation of that general view but I know some great companies that employees love working for that don't offer trendy perks and I know companies that have a rotten culture that do. It really comes down to having the right mindset about employees (and not just giving lip-service) and that guides what is offered.
Several months ago I wrote a blog about paying employees to leave. LocalJobNetwork.com radio read the blog and conducted a short interview to dive into this topic into more detail. You can listen to the interview here. I am still an advocate of this as it makes the employees truly think about if they want to be part of the organization or not. You will still have people who will not take the payout because they feel they don't have the skills to go somewhere else or can't match the salary but at least it makes them evaluate where they are and where they want to go, which I don't see as a bad thing. One of the questions they asked was what is the downside to paying employees to leave. I couldn't really think of too many negatives, do you have any thoughts on the downsides of paying employees to leave?
Would love to hear any thoughts you might have about this concept in general.
I am sure many of you have read by now that Amazon pays employees $5,000 to leave. Technically they borrowed this idea from Zappos. The idea is once a year you basically have a buy out period and the amount goes up each year by $1,000 with a cap of $5,000. So after five years, when the buyout period comes around, you can take your $5,000 and walk out the door.
I know many may think this will contribute to employees leaving. That is EXACTLY the point with one small clarification, it will contribute to employees who don't want to be there leaving. When we measure employee loyalty, one of the classifications is Trapped employees. I have blogged about Trapped employees before but they are basically employees who don't really want to be part of the organization but plan to stay. They generally are a drain on the company culture and often do not exhibit positive behaviors. These are the very people that will hopefully take this buyout and move on. I think this would also encourage those who are searching for a job (and thus probably not overly committed) to go ahead and leave, rather than waiting on having a new job.
I think this is a brilliant idea and I have no doubt the ROI for this is for strong. So think about this, would you quit your job for $5,000?
I am sure you heard back in February the CEO of Yahoo decided to cancel the work from home policy and told employees that by June, they are expected to be working in the office. I have read a number of articles on the topic and have a couple of thoughts.
1. The problem is not a work from home policy. The problem is an enforcement of the policy and providing specific measurable outcomes for employees with which their productivity can be measured. I think it was the head of HR at Yahoo even acknowledged that the policy was not be executed as it should. Therefore, this is not a get everyone in the office problem, it is a get the policy right problem.
2. I think the CEO is getting a bit too much negative press. I read one article and the author commented that the CEO worked from home for a couple of weeks when she has her first baby. Did you get that, they were trying to make a case that she was being hypocrticial because she worked from home for a while after the birth of a child. My guess is, if an employee had a child, they would not be forced to come into the office for a while.
3. I think the thing that is getting missed is the fact that as CEO, she has the right to change the policy in a way that she thinks is best for the business. While it certainly creates a great deal of uphevel and chaos for the employees, at the end of the day, she is the leader of the company and you either need to get on board or get off the bus. And while I don't agree with the decision and think there will be a negative backlash in terms of cost and productivity, at the end of the day, she is CEO and complaining and crying about it won't help.