Ralph Waldo Emerson is often credited with the quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
In many ways, the marketing industry has taken this powerful sentiment to heart. Thanks to big data, companies now have court side seats to their consumers’ behavioral patterns, purchase histories, website visits, and more, allowing them to create — and monitor — personalized customer experiences (CX) along the consumer journey.
Always working in tandem with CX is the employee experience (EX). Many companies now strive to shape EX at every phase of the employment journey, from the moment an individual is hired until the moment they leave the company. But accomplishing this requires more than good intentions — leaders who create powerful employee experiences often do so by leveraging in-depth analytics. With insightful data in hand, leaders shift the cultural narrative to boost results and retain top talent.
Company Culture: The Heart of the Employee Journey
Company culture — the ways in which people think and act within the organization — is shaped by employees’ daily experiences through every phase of their employment journey. This is something Aileen Allkins, Corporate Vice President of Customer Service and Support at Microsoft, takes to heart. “I try to think first and foremost about the support engineers and advocates as human beings,” she says. “What is the frame of mind of the person helping the customer? What would make them want to answer that next call or take that next chat when they’ve just been abused?”
She goes on to say: “To me, the key is helping them to continually understand the difference they make.” Allkins explains that to help Microsoft engineers grasp the impact that they’re having, she takes time during every meeting to share a story about how the team has helped a specific customer. She believes that this model of storytelling goes a long way. “That’s how we empower them to continue to feel motivated — by helping them understand the link between the phone call they just took or problem they just solved and the overall impact on our customers,” she explains.
In this powerful statement, Allkins’ sums up the importance of creating experiences that align with organizational goals. This is culture management in action. Thanks to intentional, consistent storytelling, Microsoft engineers believe in the value of their work and feel appreciated by upper management. They are happier and more motivated as a result, which translates into improved customer response rates and greater organizational success.
Taking the Pulse of Company Culture Through Data
When it comes to evaluating company culture, data is critical. By data, we mean more than surface-level surveys, but robust analytical capabilities that probe deep into the company culture.
The Culture Advantage Index measures several crucial indicators of workplace health, including feedback seeking, psychological ownership, creative problem solving, and taking effective action.
According to data from the index, 61% of employees feel comfortable asking for feedback and 54% believe their opinion is valued within their organization. On the lower end, a mere 33% describe their organization’s approach to problem-solving as “outside of the box” and only 41% feel that individuals within their organization accomplish the things they say they will do.
This data represents only a fraction of all the cultural metrics the index analyzes. When leaders apply tools like the index to their own workforce, they tap into powerful insights that reveal the factors impeding better performance and a healthier culture. This data, broken down across organizational levels and teams, provides not only a clear picture of organizational health and the status of the company culture, but prescriptive actions for improving the employee experience — and thereby improving organizational results.
For example, if only 24% of a leader’s team believes their opinions are valued, that’s a red flag. Leveraging this data, leaders can map a better plan moving forward — identifying experiences they need to create tol shift this existing cultural belief. Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen leaders host frontline feedback councils, share success stories at weekly meetings, designate “culture champions,” and much more — all in an effort to create employee experiences that better align with organizational goals.
Reaping the Rewards of a Data-Driven Culture
Exceptional results are attained when organizational culture is aligned with strategy. Companies that get their culture right are deeply rewarded — their employees are 73% more enthusiastic about going to work and 76% better at cross-departmental collaboration during high-pressure situations. This type of healthy workplace culture is attained when an effective employee journey map is put into play — one that is backed by data-driven insights. Only then will leaders attain the level of cultural success needed to reach results of the highest level.