Transforming the Employee Experience

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transform the employee experience it’s time to get over our obsession with employee engagement

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surveys say

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we have an engagement problem

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customer service isn’t a cool place to work

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IT  isn’t a cool place to work

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banks aren’t a cool place to work

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[…] isn’t a cool place to work

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employee engagement is  write down the first 5 words or phrases come to mind

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? How can we increase employee engagement?

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✗ How can we increase employee engagement?

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hmmm, we need to change the way we survey!

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? How can we measure employee happiness

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✗ How can we measure employee happiness

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you won’t build empathy from surveys

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you won’t connect with people from surveys

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you won’t discover insights from surveys

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surveys scratch hopelessly into surfaces

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quantifiable, rational, but soulless

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surface view into function, utility, satisfaction

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extrinsic focus provokes jumping ship

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leads to “me too” sea of sameness

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what will I get (money, benefits, time, status)? how much does it cost (effort, time, money, status)? how does it compare?

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you’re asking the wrong questions

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how do I see this employee?

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how do I see this employee?

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…despite the high level of corporate spending on engagement, survey results released in January by polling giant Gallup estimated that  less than one-third of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs— meaning “involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace”  ~Fastcompany

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do you think our kids are fully engaged…? we should do an engagement survey! Jeff Golden, flickr

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INSANITY is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Einstein

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Most failures in industry are not that people can’t solve problems;  it’s that they’re not always great at identifying the  right problems  to solve. ~John Kembel, Stanford d.School

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organizations are asking the wrong  questions

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organizations are solving the wrong  problem

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organizations are having the wrong conversation

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what the surveys DON’T say

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we have a  organizational design  problem

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or even better

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we have a  business design opportunity

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we have an innovation opportunity

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we need to    reform workplaces

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…using the word “engagement” often limits our thinking. It’s assumes that our job is to reach out and “engage” people, rather than to build an organization that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful, and fun ~Josh Bersin, Forbes

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…using the word “engagement” often limits our thinking. It’s assumes that our job is to reach out and “engage” people, rather than to build an organization that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful, and fun 

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How might we create a joyful home? Jeff Golden, flickr

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work /werk/ an opportunity for  discovering and shaping  the place where the   self meets the world ~David Whyte

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 …the consummation of work lies not only in what we have done, but  who  we have become  while accomplishing the task.  ~David Whyte

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We’ll use the greatest violin maker in the world as our example.. we’ll imagine that it’s an Italian violin maker named Franco and that Franco has a studio where 15 or 20 apprentice and journeyman violin makers work alongside Franco making the most exquisite violins in the world.  Is Franco happy? He is alternately ecstatic, frustrated, transported, confused, exhausted and lost in the zone. He and his work are inextricable from one another. No one would say about Franco or his employees “They’re happy.” Instead, people in Franco’s town would say “Those guys live and breathe violins, and people around the world rejoice.” ~Liz Ryan Brent Pearson, Flickr

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The workmanship was much better in Bach’s time than it is now. One had first to be a craftsman. Now we have only ‘talent.’ We do not have the absorption in detail, the burying of oneself in craftsmanship to be resurrected a great musician. ~Stravinsky

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What we have to confront in the present workplace is the reluctance to engage in conversations that really invite the creative qualities hidden deep inside each human being. It is a reluctance born of the knowledge that by inviting creativity and passion, the organization must also make room for fear and failure…

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It is a high stakes game for the company

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but it is also very high stakes for the individuals playing out their life’s destiny within its walls.  ~David Whyte

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work·horse /wərkˌhôrs/ a person or machine that dependably performs hard work over a long period of time

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Manager is derived from the old Italian and French words maneggio and manage, meaning the training, handling and riding of a horse.  It is strange to think that the whole spirit of management is derived from the image of getting on the back of a beast, digging your knees in, and heading it in a certain direction. 

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The inherited language of the corporate workplace is far too small for us now. It has  too little poetry, too little humanity, and too little good business sense for the world that lies before us. ~David Whyte

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art·ist /ärdəst/ a person skilled at a particular task or occupation

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  In what way might your talents and experiences fit in with what we do? ~Skaltek interview question

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Please take a few days to think about whether you want to work for us.   If the answer is yes, please send us a proposal outlining what you think you can do for us, what your job description might look like…

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Every human being is a Leonardo da Vinci. The only problem is that he doesn’t know it. His parents didn’t know it, and they didn’t treat him like a Leonardo.  Therefore he didn’t become like a Leonardo. That’s my basic theory.  ~Oystein Skalleberg, Founder Skaltek

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en·tre·pre·neur /äntrəprəˈnər/ a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk

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transform each employee from someone who takes orders & writes code to someone who is an innovative thinker innovation @infosys ~CEO Vishal Sikka

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innovation  is about designing customers ~Michael Schrage

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innovation  is about designing employees

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who do  you want  your employees to become

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who do  your employees  want to become?

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how might we create a home in which our kids can grow up to become happy, self-aware, and compassionate adults? Jeff Golden, flickr

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to learn more about asking provocative questions, check out my slideshare questions ask provocative

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? How might we create an environment in which people are empowered to do the best work* of their lives *remembering our definition of work

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? How might we design an organization in which ordinary people are enabled to do extraordinary things

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? How might we rethink performance management in a way that helps people unleash their imaginations and craft their life’s opus

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[Companies] must find a real way of asking people to bring these hidden, heartfelt qualities into the workplace. A way that doesn’t make them feel manipulated for the subject of some five-year plan. They must ask for a real conversation.  ~David Whyte

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conversation starts here explore imagine experiment understand reigning myths visualize future possibilities play with assumptions

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change, growth, transformation always involve  identity, status, affiliation

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which means you need to EXPLORE perceptions of the present and the past, mythology of employees, teams, communities within your organization

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explore mysteries hidden beneath measurable surfaces

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qualitative intuitive insights into soul

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deep probing into beliefs, desires, significance

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intrinsic purpose attracting commitment

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leads to transformation becoming unique

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is this me? does this fit into my world? how does this make me feel? how will it affect me? what are other people doing? does it provide meaning or pleasure? how does it connect with my legacy?

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provoked in conversation

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unraveled through story

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spread through myth

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satisfaction utility behaviour features, function outcomes WHY?

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satisfaction utility behaviour features, function outcomes STORIES identity beliefs needs desires significance

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LISTEN stories build empathy

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If someone from Mars came down and saw what you were doing as a  housekeeper, what would they call you?  Serenity Sisters Clutter Busters Peace of Mind Police … they were creating a space for a traveler who was far away from home to feel safe and protected. ~via Chip Conley pedro alves, flickr

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I don’t just deliver mail.  I see myself helping to  connect people to other people. I help build the  community.  ~via Alex Pattakos Christian Weidinger, flickr

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How do employees  see themselves & their situation?

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What did you think about on your way to work today? What is your most important job (not job description)? What gets in the way of you doing it in the best way possible? What helps you to do it in the best way possible? What about your job makes you want to jump out of bed? Hit snooze? If you won the lottery and no longer had to work, what would you miss? When do you go home feeling like you had a great day? Tell me about a great day you had recently. When are you excited to come in on a Monday morning? Tell me about the last time you were really excited to come into work. When do you go home feeling like you had a terrible day? Tell me about the last time that happened. Who do you like to work with? Why? How about when you run into a problem or need information, who do you seek help from? Tell me about a time when you felt like you did the best work of your life. Why? Who else was involved? What conditions were present? What did you value most about the work the team did together? In what ways did the work make a unique contribution? When you see an issue, or have an idea of something that could be improved, what do you do? What brings you joy? If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about your organization, your work, your role, or your responsibilities? Is there anything else that is important to you that we haven’t talked about and that you think I should know?

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Imagine yourself 5 or 10 years in the future You are still telling people about your experience at [company] and how it helped you become the person you are today. What is the story you tell? What was your legacy? Why are you still an ambassador for [company], even though you no longer work there?

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ask a few provocative questions

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then listen deeply

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channeling your inner psychotherapist

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map journeys weave larger narratives

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Brady Bonus's journey as a Mad*Pow employee

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emotional journey at [company] dreaming looking applying starting finding fit contributing growing transitioning advocating

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provoke uncover & build cultural myths

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Penguins are not nurturing of their sick. When one falls behind or is injured, the other penguins attack it. They cannot be weighed down by the infirm. It defines pack behavior. Elephants, by contrast, are majestic animals that care for one another. When one of them is sick, the entire herd rallies around and nurtures the sick one until it is better or passes. The entire tribe is affected. They feel a  connection that keeps  them looking out for one another. “We are the penguins,” the COO liked to say often, smiling and proud. Mark Dumont, flickr

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What are stories that are so-[company]? David Stanley, flickr

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Bring [company’s] culture to life using your medium of choice [pictures, video, story, music, improv…]

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Imagine you’re at a cocktail reception. How would you be able to tell if someone works at [company]?

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What 5 words or phrases would you use to describe what it’s like to work here?

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If you were to write a completely honest Glassdoor review, what would you say? Rating Pros Cons Advice to management

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[…] isn’t a cool place to work

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this isn’t an engagement problem

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this is an innovation opportunity

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a complex design challenge

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a challenge of identity

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a challenge of culture

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a challenge of mission

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and it matters because

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EMPLOYEES are the soul of your brand

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EMPLOYEES imbue magic into your products & services

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EMPLOYEES ignite your touchpoints

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EMPLOYEES breathe imagination into crevasses of frozen business models

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To acknowledge the hidden part of  human beings is to  make a home for them  and to create a loyalty beyond the bottom line.  … These hidden human dynamics of integration are more of a conversation, more of a synthesis and more of an almost religious and sometimes almost delirious quest for meaning than a simple attempt at daily ease and contentment. ~David Whyte

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Instead of thinking about how to increase employee engagement, how to improve and position your employer brand, how to fight the war for talent… think about how to  improve and position your employees

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change is the result of facilitating thousands of conversations

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start the conversation

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unleash the Leonardo hiding within each employee

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mentor each employee in the crafting of their life’s opus

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craft the unique legacy of your organization

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interested in transforming your employee & customer experience? EMAIL me! joycehostyn.com joyce_hostyn@yahoo.com

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