Top tasks can help deliver a better employee experience

Are you focusing on employee experience? Does your organisation recognise its importance and how it differs from employee engagement?

Today I have a guest post for you by Gerry McGovern @gerrymcgovern, who has developed the Top Tasks method and published seven books on digital experience.

He has just published his latest book – Top Tasks – which is described as “a prioritised list of what matters most to customers.” It was developed as a result of 15 years of research and practice.

Here’s Gerry to tell us more…

Top tasks can help deliver a better employee experience

“Why do I keep doing what I do?”

That’s the question management thinker Tom Peters asked on Twitter in October 2018:

One of the greatest challenges that organisations face today is to deliver a quality employee experience. And to do that one of the first challenges to overcome is to unify the silos.

Historically, organisations have operated almost like organisations within organisations. Each department or division controlled its own environment and interacted in a quite rigid and defined way with other departments.

Today, that model is out-of-date.

Further reading on the All Things IC blog: Why you need to focus on Employee Experience.

Customer experience
First, we had customer experience. Now we have employee experience. The essence of customer experience is a holistic, seamless, easy and simple experience for the customer. It’s the same for the employee. The employee shouldn’t have to understand complex technical systems or organisational structures in order to easily and efficiently do their daily work.

You can’t create a seamless customer or employee experience if you don’t have a seamless organization.

And you can’t achieve simplicity by measuring inputs, systems, production. You must measure use. The reason why so many enterprise systems are so awful is because they were never designed with the employee in mind. These systems rarely, if ever, measure success based on the success of the employee using them. Slack shows that employees are hungry for enterprise software that is easy to use, and that they will reward such systems with their use.

Delivering quality
You cannot design great customer experiences by getting a bunch of developers just to develop code. This is how we got traditional monstrous enterprise systems. Single discipline output never delivers a quality customer experience. It is multidisciplinary teams (designers, coders, writers, psychologists, etc.) who are much more likely to deliver quality experiences. If an organisation wants to sell internationally to as broad an audience as possible, getting 12 white men in their twenties to create the product is simply not going to cut it anymore.

Multidisciplinary, multicultural teams deliver better customer and employee experience.

Communicators can play a critical role in delivering better employee and customer experiences. I worked on my first intranet in 1998. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to work on intranets for organisations such as Tetra Pak, IKEA, Atlas Copco, BBC, Rolls Royce and U.S. Internal Revenue Service. What I noticed again and again is that it was communicators that were driving the change and innovation.

Reinventing roles
Communicators were reinventing their roles. Communicators who were no longer happy to be the person who communicates about the thing that was done or the thing that will be done. Rather, communicators who were getting involved in the making and designing of the thing.

Communicators who were not simply interested in publishing, but were also interested in ensuring that what was published was findable, understandable and actionable. (The purest digital is always actionable, because digital is the land of do.)

Communicators have many natural and necessary skills today, and one of the most important of these skills is empathy.

Communicators are trained to understand how others feels, and that is a foundational skill when it comes to designing great customer and employee experiences. Encouraging the growth of multidisciplinary, cross-departmental teams is a natural skill for communicators—because you are people.

The Top Tasks book that I have just published is the result of 15 years work on a series of methods and techniques to deliver better employee and customer experiences. It starts of with a task identification research method to clearly understand what matters most to employees and customers.

Then it moves on to an information architecture design phase where it uses the top tasks discovered to design an intuitive navigation and search environment. Finally, the Task Performance Indicator measures the performance of the top tasks.

It answers questions such as:

  • How many employees can find policies?
  • Of those who find policies, how long is it taking them?
  • Do they understand the policy?
  • Can they easily act on the policy?

One thing I noticed over the years was the intranets were 5-10 years behind public websites. It’s high-time that employee experience gets the attention it deserves. To deliver an excellent employee experience will require a multidisciplinary team with representatives from every department. Communicators can and should be at the hub of this new essential network.

Post author: Gerry McGovern.

Thank you Gerry, you can find out more about his books via his website.

First published on the All Things IC blog 21 November 2018.



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