Is "Worker Experience" as Important as Customer Experience?
August 08, 2017

Pete Goldin

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While executives say they understand the importance of Worker Experience and its impact on Customer Experience (and thereby customer loyalty and revenue), leadership struggles to fully connect the dots and implement programs to affect meaningful change, according to a study from Appirio, a Wipro company.

The study, entitled The Worker Shapes The Customers’ Experience, shows that 90 percent of business leaders believe engaged workers are better suited to provide superior customer service, but nearly the same percentage (87 percent) of businesses say they face hurdles when trying to improve Worker Experience in meaningful ways.

Surveyed leadership believes it is the responsibility of direct line managers to ensure workers have what they need to succeed. This belief leaves the burden of Worker Experience initiatives dependent on an individual manager’s control, prioritization, and education, which binds those changes to rollback when a new manager takes over.

“The past 15 or so years have seen a relentless focus on revolutionizing Customer Experience through digital transformation,” said Chris Barbin, CEO of Appirio. “Executives are just now beginning to understand how Worker Experience ultimately impacts the customer — and the company’s bottom line. This is no longer an issue that lives only in HR. Time and time again, we see that the top performing companies are the ones prioritizing the worker. That’s no coincidence.”

“Many businesses implement what they believe are Worker Experience-related initiatives in a ‘throw it on the wall and see what sticks’ way,” said Harry West, VP of Worker Experience at Appirio,”It’s often done in such an ad-hoc way that metrics and outcomes aren’t clearly identified. Executives know they should be doing something, but they don’t understand what or how. This is a common struggle.”

Businesses understand how haphazard the funding and project management of Worker Experience is — even if they aren’t sure how to remedy it. Only 26 percent of companies say they have a formal Worker Experience program; the rest fund these efforts ad-hoc, meaning Worker Experience is not a formal budgeting item in most companies.

Other key findings include:

■ Executives say they see the value of Worker Experience: 88 percent believe that Worker Experience directly affects the business’s bottom line, including revenue and overall ROI of business objectives.

■ Yet leadership lacks focus and prioritization: 70 percent of business leaders are focused on more than 8 solutions to improve Worker Experience, and 48 percent address Worker Experience in an ad-hoc way resulting in less substantial implementation.

■ Worker Experience is not rising to implementation priority: Only 26 percent of businesses have a formal, dedicated Worker Experience program, and 20 percent admit to doing nothing to address Worker Experience directly.

“Leadership often equates Worker Experience with employee training and onboarding programs,” continued West. “Those programs are undoubtedly important, but the data suggests that true success comes from robust programs that create engaged, productive and agile workers, who in turn create aware, satisfied, and amplified customers. It’s a self-perpetuating phenomenon driving profits and growth that we call the Virtuous Cycle.”

Methodology: The commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Appirio examines global Worker and Customer experiences across industries. The respondents included business leaders at the manager level and above, from the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan and Australia.

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