A few years ago I was interviewing Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos who told me, “While we’re known for great service, the key is really our culture.” I have long since wanted to dig deeper into these two foundations of great companies. So on May 4, 2016 I held a roundtable with 3 leaders in human resources and customer experience to discuss that relationship, our digital future and how they engage veterans which seemed appropriate considering May as National Military Appreciation Month:
Monique Herena, CHRO, BNY Mellon, which was founded by Alexander Hamilton 231 years ago and actually was the first listed stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Martha Delehanty, SVP Human Resources, Verizon, a leader in communications with more than 160,000 employees and over $130 billion revenue.
Jasmine Green, VP, Chief Customer Advocate Nationwide, a top 100 best companies to work for, known for their customer service.
We kicked off the conversation with Warren Tomlin, Leader of Mobile at IBM sharing how the relationship between culture and customer experience is changing in our digital world, “In many ways digital is becoming just another term for modern – and more than ever before consumer-grade experiences matter for employees.”
Robert Reiss: What’s your view of the relationship between culture and customer experience?
Monique Herena: Culture and talent are what drive our customer experience. In a digital and social world, we don’t make distinctions between our culture and how our clients experience us. It is all one experience that we try to knit together and reinforce to drive a consistent and high-quality experience. We spend a lot of time focused on what “winning with our clients and employees” means in that context and on cultivating that culture. Our 51,000 employees globally, are our best ambassadors and are the ones receiving real-time customer experience feedback that helps us get better. Focusing on employee performance and development efforts–that’s really going to drive the client experience.
Jasmine Green: From a culture perspective, our onboarding process uses a message from our CEO to underscore the mission and the purpose of why we’re here, what we do and why we serve the customer in all areas of the businesses we support. The future is about integrating the customer experience and the human resources for the associates. As companies consider culture and customer experience, there has to be a conscious effort to implement both. The cost and benefits should be considered. Engaged and better associates are going to yield a better customer experience.
Martha Delehanty: Work today is, unlike 20 years ago when companies hired on compensation and benefits, shifting to where people want the simple understanding of how ‘my work matters’. So we wrote our credo, which like the Constitution is aspirational, and it starts with, ‘we have work because our customers value our high-quality communication services.’
Reiss: Talk about digital and the future.
Green: With the Internet of Things, we know that many of our associates are also customers. We’re using the intersection of customer and data and customer experiences to allow us to better position our product offerings for an internal audience at Nationwide as well as external customers and potential customers. This information allows us to continually improve everything that we do for associates, as well as customers, consumers and partners. The Holy Grail for us would be for our audience to understand that Nationwide is not a single product, but a diverse range of product offerings that provide holistic protection for our members so that consumers experience one company caring for all of their protection needs.
Delehanty: Here’s an example. Think when you called FedEx years ago asking, “Where’s my package?” a person looked up and found where the package was. My guess is somebody had the forethought to say, “Is that system customer centric or employee centric?” So today if you create the employee experience, the digital platforms have a very, very different development lifecycle as well as potential experiences. So we’re really trying to shift, knowing those lines are going to continue to blur; and frankly it’s best for the customer, which invariably has to be best for the employee.
Herena: We capture two billion data events every single month through Digital Pulse, our Big Data analytics platform. BNY Mellon’s vision is ‘to improve lives through investing’ with a mission of ‘helping people realize their full potential’, our best practice is to be clear on our goal for clients and then use data and analytics to achieve it. We believe, you move culture and performance by focusing on important issues and highlighting those KPIs linked with HR’s wealth of data, and then putting insights and analytics into the hands of our managers which drives better decisions to achieve our strategy and winning outcomes.
Reiss: Many of your employees and customers are Veterans. What are you doing to engage Veterans in your workplace?
Delehanty: Only a few years ago, Verizon maintained a lower ranking on the list of “Best Companies to Work for” for Veterans. Through specialized recruiters and through candid discussions with business lines, we were helping Veterans translate their leadership skills on the military front to using those skills in a corporate environment. Last summer, we worked with West Point to bring on six cadets, creating an experience for them that resulted in building a database that helps translate the military resume to a corporate resume. Our modest investment has paid off full-force in our important work and we’ve actually become one of the top companies to work for with Veterans and continue to receive exceptional recognition for a great hiring plan. It doesn’t hurt that our chairman is passionate about this initiative, having served in the military. Most importantly, there’s a broader Veterans’ pool that is either under employed or not employed– a tremendous amount of talent that are very aligned from a culture perspective.”
Herena: “We have a very active employee resource group, ‘VetNet’ which is sponsored by one of our executive committee members and has a large global membership. We recently kicked off a project with workforce planning and analytics, conducting a study to ensure we have the right entry points into our organization, targeting the right workforce planning areas to empower people to be successful and integrate the right leadership skills– we’ve built some programming around that.
Green: We have an associate resource group for military to raise awareness and appreciation for the military member. We have a Veteran hiring initiative at Nationwide, and in a four-year timespan we’ve hired our 1000th Veteran since 2012, and we’re continuing in that stead. This corporate mission is among the noble causes we’re truly proud of.
This article was written by Robert Reiss from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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