In case you haven’t noticed, the world of work is changing — people are more mobile, teams are more virtual, organizational structures are more fluid, work hours are more flexible, and offices have more ping-pong tables, latte machines and bring-your-dog-to-work days. In exchange for the more casual and flexible approach to when, where and how we do our jobs, we put in more hours whether they are accounted for or not. We write emails at the dinner table, work on weekends, travel more, and maybe accept lower pay and reduced benefits in exchange for a better work/life balance. Despite the tradeoffs, it seems to work for everyone. We get the flexibility we need and our employers get workers who are more engaged, more productive and better able to create and deliver meaningful value to customers. Over the last year or so, TJ Keitt and I have been leading research into workforce experience and IT's role in supporting a changing work environment and how to measure workforce experience.
Understanding employee happiness and workforce experience is more art than science today. There is a science — a science that Forrester helped create — to evaluate the quality of a customer experience and its relationship to loyalty and the likelihood that that customer will do more business with you. We believe the same is true of the employee’s experience. CX pros believe that great customer experiences don’t happen by accident, they have to be designed through a structured process that includes research, analysis, ideation, prototyping, testing and re-evaluation. We believe the same is true of workforce experience. CX professionals recognize that their relationship with customers is a constantly evolving dialog that improves that experience over time and as needs change. We believe the same is true of workforce experience. Our workforce experience research uses customer experience as a template. We believe that workforce experience and customer experience are two sides of the same coin. Customer experience is defined by ease, enjoyability and utility. By the same token, workforce experience is defined by employee engagement, productivity and customer impact. These characteristics translate into shared values like empowerment, loyalty, satisfaction and advocacy.
As an employee, it's great to see so much attention suddenly being focused on my happiness! The CEO of HCL believed in the value of employee happiness so much that he wrote a bestselling book on the topic: Employee First, Customer Second. In a world of "the customer is always right" and "customer first"? Surely not! It's not quite as counter-intuitive as you might think. The goal of the business is to create value for a customer and that value is created by the employees. It is therefore the responsibility of leaders and managers to create an environment that encourages and nurtures the people that create the value. At this year's Forrester Forum For CIOs in London June 10 and 11, we will get a chance to discuss the Employee First, Customer Second philosophy with one of the top executives at HCL, Srikrishna "Keesh" Ramakarthikeyan, Head of Global Infrastructure Services and Healthcare and a 2011 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader recipient. We'll ask him how HCL puts this philosophy into action every day and what specific tools they use to make it work. Please join us and if you have questions that you want to make sure we ask, please leave a comment and your question below.