What about the employee journey in the work environment ?

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I already mentioned the existing asymmetry between customer and employee facing digital initiatives. One of its most remarkable expression is the famous “customer journey” while employees are often parachuted in a labyrinth…and without a GPS.

Let’s start with the customer journey. Customers must exactly know what they can do, what they’re expected to do, the whole in the most intuitive fashion. And with the less clicks : businesses know that after 3 clicks they lose the customer, if the have to re-enter an information that’s supposed to be known, the customer gives up. In case of an issue, support and feedback forms are only one click away.

Being a customer is a pleasure, being an employee is a fight

Bottom line : being a customer is a pleasure. People go e-shopping for pleasure. And customers can even buy without any needed because the experience is so nice.

Now let’s have a look at the employee journey.

If you love being a customer, you’ll hate being an employee. Endless series of clicks, double entry of data,  Sibylline user interfaces and acrobatics needed to jump between the many applications used to do one’s work.

Who would are proposing customers one site for the catalogue, another to order (where the customer will have to manually enter the references found in the catalogue), another for payment where the customer will go with is order reference, a fourth for shipping and delivery…where he would have to upload a copy of the order ? That’s exactly the world in which employees live in.

On the other hand, businesses seem to talk more and more of user experience and to care about it. So, what’s the problem.

First interface has long been mistaken with experience. That’s not because an interface is appealing at first sight that it’s easy to use and the experience good.

User experience is a matter of tool. User journey is a cross-toll experience.

That’s the difference between experience and journey. Experience is often vertical and is assessed in single application perspective while the journey is about using many applications jointly or in a row.

Email (because it’s far from dead), intranet, collaboration solutions, document repositories, line of business applications : how to switch from one to another in the right sequence, how to use one from another, how to avoid double entries ? What characterized the user journey is that it does not happen in a single application but encompasses the need to use many applications jointly or in a row to reach one’s goals, to do one’s job.

How to meet this challenge ? First with native integrations between applications to deal with interoperability and access issues. But that’s only the visible part of the iceberg. Depending on one’s job, each employee will have a different journey. So businesses will have to adopt a line of business perspective to understand one’s day to day job and prioritize the scenario to handle. Knowing not everything will be handled at once, the most critical ones will have to come first.

The employee journey : a critical matter of trust, engagement and adoption

Don’t believe it’s only a technology matter or that it’s only about making the user interface more appealing, what’s neither priority nor critical. That’s also a matter of adoption and, even more, of having the application portfolio actually used and, most of all, the newest applications that have to find their place in an overcrowded landscape.

It’s also about trust and engagement. A couple of month ago, as I was walking through a company’s building, I heard someone saying “pffff….it does not work and we won’t have any fix before months…if it was for the customer website if would have been fixed immediately, no matter the cost”. And, if I had been this person, I would have added “how do they want me to handle customer issues if solving their problems is like an assault course”. The message, as employees get it, is that nothing is too beautiful for customers and that they’ll have to do with what’s left. Loss of trust in the company’s ability to provide them with a work environment that’s worth the name, disengagement and propensity to tell their friends that find the customer website awesome that the other side of the business is not that appealing and that employees are the poor relation of IT.

One of my contacts one said : “if employees are the business’ wives, customers are the mistresses. We know were the gifts go. But one should remember who does the housework and irons shirts. One day or the other it will backfire“.

Not glorious at all. Isn’t it ?

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Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
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