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It’s About People

Release Date: June 30, 2020

As the CX industry continues to evolve, we learn more about the importance of a holistic experience across several aspects of the company – the new “experience management”, or “XM”, model. An important piece of XM is the relationship of how the employee experience drives the customer experience. Host Steve Walker welcomes guest Shane Green, a keynote speaker, consultant, television personality, and author of “Culture Hacker: Reprogramming Your Employee Experience to Improve Customer Service, Retention, and Performance” for a discussion on how the employee experience affect the customer experience.

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Steve:
On this podcast, we focused mostly on the customer experience, but we should never forget that the best CX programs should include a very important asset.

Shane:
Every manager must take responsibility for culture. The question is not do you have a culture. The question: do you have the culture on your team that will help deliver the great customer experience? And so we started to map employee journey.

Steve:
Making certain your employee experience drives your customer experience on this episode of The CX Leader Podcast.

Announcer:
The CX Leader Podcast with Steve Walker is a production of Walker, an experience management firm that helps companies accelerate their CX success. Find out more at Walkerinfo.com.

Steve:
Hello, everyone. I'm Steve Walker, host The CX Leader Podcast and thank you for listening. On The CX Leader podcast, we explore topics and themes to help leaders like you leverage all the benefits of your customer experience and help your customers and prospects want to do more business with you. We focus quite a bit on customer experience on this show. After all, we are The CX Leader Podcast. But as our industry continues to evolve, we're learning more and more about the importance of a holistic experience across several aspects of the company. The new experience management, or XM model, as they say. An important piece of XM is the relationship of how the employee experience drives the customer experience. And my guest on this episode just happens to have written a book on this subject. I'm delighted that Shane Green, who is a keynote speaker, consultant, television personality, and author of "Culture Hacker: Reprogramming Your Employee Experience to Improve Customer Service, Retention, and Performance" has agreed to join us on the show this week. Shane, thank you for being on The CX Leader Podcast.

Shane:
It's my pleasure. This is great.

Steve:
Well, I know a little bit about your background, but just in case our audience does, just give us a little bit of background on how you got interested in this.

Shane:
The tease is I arrived in the US from New Zealand at 21. I was very fortunate to work with the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company for about 10 years. Opened some hotels, then worked with Starwood Hotels, opening hotels around the world. And so really telling background when I decided to start my own business, it was really with that in mind. How to teach people, I found that it seemed at the time, as customer experience really started to take off. People started to look to the hotel industry and sort of say, hey, how do you guys do it really well? Hotels did really well, I think, was customer service. I think the whole latest services and interaction experience obviously is the journey. So we started out looking at these very interactions, started to map the journey. And as we started to become quite sort of involved, the experience we worked with the NBA, BMW, NetJets, Westfield, all mapping out their customer journey and how to enhance each of the touch points. What we kept coming back to was in hotels, its product, place, process, people, and of course it's the people, stupid. As we looked at all these different industries we'd get pulled into, we go all right, you've got the product, the processes, the process. It's interesting. We mapped in a lot of different industries. We think all processes are within 10 percent of each other, really making them stand out. Place, environment. How do you instill the sense does it. And we're good on most people. And so for the last five years, we've been researching and studying and unfortunately working with really great companies on how their employee experience determines their customer experience. And what's interesting, it's really about that, the idea of culture, which again goes back to the Ritz Carlton days, Ritz Carlton every day as a manager we go, it's a quote, it's in whole hospitality axiom: "Employees with a great attitude deliver great service, employees with a poor attitude, deliver poor service." And as we've started to evolve in the culture, what we've realized is culture is just the collective attitudes of hearts and minds. So as a manager, what I would say and where we sit today is that the number one question that managers must be asking themselves if they're really serious about great customer experience, is how do your employees feel about what they do and how do they do it for? And as a result, that feeling really going to carry over to customers. So that's kind of the quick overview of where we are today.

Steve:
Yeah. Ritz Carlton is really one of the, you know, the seminal companies, I think, in birthing the whole customer experience movement. I can't remember how many times I've read the examples of that organization. And you're right, it is the people that differentiate that place and sort of their whole approach. I love your concept of cultures, the collective attitudes of all the people in the organization. I assume now that this would be somewhat of the motivation for your book. And how did you get the idea to write Culture Hacker and what's the spin on on being a hacker for culture?

Shane:
Ok, so I think so, first of all, I'm not an H.R. person. I'm an operator. So what's most interesting is I looked out there, what I felt was that H.R. was missing that culture is not an H.R. thing, I think it's a business thing. Every manager and employee in the organization must be involved in the culture. And yet so many organizations, it's an H.R. lockbox that they think they've got some sort of special skills or special insight that means they are the only ones that can talk about culture. As they say, culture is collective hearts and minds. In fact, every manager must take responsibility for culture. The question is not "do you have a culture." The question: do you have the culture on your team that will help deliver a great customer experience. And so what we started to understand is we started to map employee journeys. We were doing customer journeys forever. And I started to make journeys and started to look at what were the key moments in an employee's journey from the selection process, their first day on the job, recognition for interactions, the lead to how they were communicated to. And basically what we said is we said, hey, there are certain things that you have to elevate that will make a great employee experience. And so that's where we still decided to come to do our research and sort of create the book. Where the hacker element came in, probably came in from… and I'll tell you a story. So working with a very, very large sports entertainment company, I won't throw their name out there under the bus. We were doing a program with them. We were kicking off a customer enhancement. What we were about, you know, in passing, and we would do these all employee engagements. And for this group we had was for this one event, about five thousand employees sitting in an auditorium. Pretty cool. Five thousand; very excited. And the president of the sports entertainment company got up on stage. "Our culture is broken. We have to fix it. You're going to fix it with me. And if you don't, we're going to make changes." And all of a sudden, I watch the whole audience froze. Now you've got to think about it: first [unknown] to begin with. But the thing that I think really matters, he says, "our culture will change." Well half the employees look at each other and go: "what the hell is culture." You know, this is going back a few years. And so what I realized is that so often when we want to make change, we go out with large "Ra ra. We're going to change, we're going to change." And we for… even worse. They fight against us because they don't want change. People are scared of change. So the idea of hacking and again, I'm not a hacker, but again, they do they go in behind the scenes, quietly create change to code usually. And all of a sudden the change is created often without people knowing about it. And this is how we approached change, particularly in the employee experience. Even back actually to the customer experience with Ritz. Ritz Carlton with the big about creating mystique. They never wanted to let the customer know something was going on. It was always like, how did they do that? And so we took that same approach and say, change a recognition program or a selection process, things would start getting better. And now, in our sign of success, was the only employee says, what the hell is going on? Things are just getting better around here. And so that's how sort of the culture element and the hacker part came together.

Steve:
You mentioned several things in there. I want to circle back to a couple of them. But when you talk about employee journeys, I think a lot of our listeners are comfortable and familiar with the employee journey mapping. Do you recommend some sort of method for employee journey mapping as well?

Shane:
It's actually… I do it the same way.

Steve:
OK.

Shane:
What we do is, again, we go in and we follow employees. So that's the first part, just like you would of the customer. Then we survey the employees and we say, here are these significant moments. And what's interesting is most employee survey say rate satisfaction. So I look at a lot of employee satisfaction surveys and they're actually rating the wrong things. They're not rating the important things. And so what we do is we map. Then we ask employees to rate, first of all, the satisfaction of each of these touch points. And then we ask them to rank the importance of each of these touch points. What we get back is often the discrepancy that we see a lot of times in customer experience strategy. There is a disconnect between what the customers want or believe should happen or how they feel about an organization and what the organization… the organization thinks it's delivering great customer experience. The customers: not so much. In the employee mapping. We see the same thing. But we also see the managers focusing on the real priority that in their experience.

Steve:
Hey, let's talk a little bit about the connection between employee experience and customer experience. You just referenced there's usually a misalignment between the frontline employees or the employees that are interfacing with customers and management. Frontline employees, or are pretty savvy people typically, aren't they?

Shane:
Absolutely. And it's I got to tell you, as a customer, I guess as a consultant, everything I do, I get very frustrated. So I did… I did a TV show result. Askew was on TV a couple of years on the Travel Channel. And I always remember because in all things reality, they really want someone to come in and shake the tree and get upset at employees. And it was funny. It was like one of the first or second days of the show. And I turned the whole production team and I said, guys, I want you to understand one thing bad customer service is not the fault of the employees. It's them have failed them. And again, a number of different ways created a situation where they are allowed to, encouraged to act in certain way. And I always think that message is important. No one comes to work to do a bad job. However, when they again negatively motivated or they get frustrated. And again, how they are treated and let's face it, in society today, there's a lot of talk about just understand that employees for the longest time were treated. You have a managers. You have owners who said, well, you should just be lucky to have a job. That is the quickest way to turn someone off. Horst Schulze from Ritz Carlton would tell us this every day: You can't make someone deliver great service. You have to inspire them to want to. So, I often talk with managers, supervisors out there. I'm like, what do you do to inspire your people to want to get them excited about taking care of the customers?

Steve:
You know, we're talking a little bit about the deficiencies of leadership, the misalignment of processes. And I want to go back to somebody said earlier, which is how do you treat your employees to create that culture that you want? And it really requires some more advanced H.R. skills. I think you were talking about H.R. surveys and a lot of us think of H.R. as being more compliance driven. But what you're talking about is more strategic H.R. and that, you know, just like in the customer experience, it's not all owned by sales. It's not all owned by customer service or delivery. It has to be pretty persuasive throughout the whole organization to do it right. And I think that's what you're talking about with the employee experience and building that kind of culture, right?

Shane:
Yeah. Listen, you hit on a couple of really key pieces there. One is H.R. has to be strategic. And again, I've got a lot of H.R. friends that I've said this to them and that I'm like many times H.R. isn't being strategic. They are focusing on what they want to deliver, not what the organization needs. The second piece that you said, which is critical, is that their first directive is usually around compliance and protecting the organization. That is almost in sort of conflict with the idea of culture, which is really allowing, enabling and empowering people. So you're almost reducing some of that control. I think there's been a lot that's gone on recently about really splitting H.R. H.R. being an administrative functional sort of role, often underfinanced to really a separate department, that's now called culture, which is really focusing on sort of those key elements that we talked about sort of earlier. The other piece that I'll sort of say is you're sort of right. Culture begins at the top of the organization. Again, you look at every piece of research that's out there, you know, emotional intelligence, some of the things that have sort of been written. And what we know is that managers, particularly direct managers have the single biggest impact on how people feel about what they do and who they do it for. And that goes all the way up through the organization. So I often talk to owners, presidents, CEOs, executive teams. And I'm saying just because you're not in direct contact with an employee doesn't mean you do not have an impact on culture. I like to say the most watched sport in America today is called boss watching again. Everybody watches the boss. Everybody watches what they're doing, how they act and interact. And what they're looking for is to see that discrepancy between what they say and what they do. And I think that puts a big responsibility on organizations where at times they fail, particularly at the top. And those people, including owners, managers, must be acting and interacting in a way that really shows what's most important to the company and organization. So there's a lot of stuff there. So while H.R. can't be the controller of culture, what they can be is the conductor. And that means that a big part of what they do is by being strategic. Like, I think one of the most important positions now in an H.R. team, as a data analyst. They need someone to break down pulse data feedback all the time. So they constantly have, just like we do with customers and understanding of how our customers and our employees feel. So I think H.R. has to continue to evolve. I think it starts to have to look at what are those key parts. And I go back to customer strategy. Customer strategy is knowing the key moments, knowing the values of your customer, what's most important to them, and then apply and looking at the processes and people that deliver it. I think H.R. needs to do a much better job of looking at the key moments, asking what do our employees value most about working for us here and then making sure that the processes and the managers are set up to deliver that correctly. I often find processes today for employees are so far behind what we do for customers I think it's frustrating. We really don't apply the same smarts to the employee experience that we do the customer. But that'll change.

Steve:
Yeah. This is really a great conversation, Shane, and I find myself here as a sort of a small business person going to school on some of your concepts. But, you know, a couple of things that flashed into my mind is the old axiom that people join your organization for the mission and they leave for the boss…

Shane:
Yeah, you're right.

Steve:
…your supervisor. And then the other one is if you want change to happen in your organization, you have to be very explicit, sort of the conductor. You have to say what the norms are. Leaders have to role model. And then there has to be consequences and rewards for people that, you know, either abide by the principles or don't, because that really undermines it. You know, first of all, the leaders don't role model what the values being stated are, that's not going to work. And then also, if you let, like a high performer that's got poor behaviors going on in your organization, that's going to undermine it too.

Shane:
Touched on something massive there. It's the final chapter of my book. And it's called "Change Is Not for Everybody Else," which I often find senior managers, executives, owners… They think. Well, the employees need to change. The front line needs to change. In fact, what we know more than anything else. If you're serious about customer experience or employee experience, the change begins at the top. So great job for pointing that out.

Steve:
Well, this is exciting some of your work you're doing. What makes you optimistic about the future? You said that, you know, it's going to happen rapidly on the employee side. What are some of the things that are standing out in your mind?

Shane:
Again, I there was an article just today that talked about the young generation. So the generation that we've spent the last 15 years complaining about Millennials. And again, I can go into that whole how pointless that was. But we've now got a new generation, Generation Zs. I believe the oldest ones are around 22, 23 right now. What was in the great article this morning says the Zs no longer can accept this sitting down. Well, we knew a lot in the last few years and particularly around some of the crisis that's been in this country is that we know that our young people aren't going to accept things as they used to. I think that's really being probably one of the most important changes among the generations, is that younger people are just sort of said, hey, listen, I'm not going to keep believing something that's not true. I'm not going to keep doing things one way, even if I'm not passionate about it. So our millennials started leaving work and all of a sudden we call them disloyal. Well, what they basically said is that I'm no longer going to sit around and have someone treat me poorly as a manager. Why I'm so optimistic is that our next generation, the Zs, have the strongest work ethic. That means coming out because they started to go through that being through the recession. Now they go through this so credibly strong work ethic. They're also an activist group. And what that means is that while they are going to sort of tell us that we need to change, the amazing thing about this next generation is they are going to provoke change, which means they are going to ensure it happens. I really do believe what we've seen in the world right now as a result of that. And again, this is pretty telling examples over the last couple of weeks where young people really got involved and made a significant change. I see companies today and again, I talk about this. I think we're shifting from a customer experience economy to an employee experience economy. Now, it's in its early stages. But what does that mean? We're starting to see employees have a tremendous impact over what a company produces and how it produces it, which means very much focused on the environment, very much focused on clean and green kind of processes. I think you're starting to see these younger generations, direct companies about who they do business with. You're starting to see over the last probably year where certain companies stop doing business with other organizations because of how they performed and what they did. So you're starting to see this come up. And what gets me so excited is that when you have a great customer experience and it's the ones that we already know, you mentioned Ritz Carlton, but I can mention so many. They do a great job. They also have a great employee experience. They work this out. And again, what we do is not it's not firm. And so what you're going to see is that the organizations that get ahead are truly doing a better job of listening to their employees, engaging with their employees and supporting their employees like never before. And they're not sitting around like we did with the millennials and complaining about what it is. We're going, this is the way it is. Let's now adjust to them and engage them in how our company is going to operate in the future. I can say that my son, he's twelve years old. The other night we were listening to music and he put a song on and I was like, wow, I think I've heard that song. And he goes, don't worry about it. It was so last month, the way that these younger generations are thinking is that we have to start moving quickly because you cannot be last month. Unfortunately, many organizations, when it comes to employee experience, is still thinking last century, and I am very optimistic. That's changing quickly.

Steve:
My guest on the podcast this week is Shane Green, he's a keynote speaker, consultant, television personality and author of "Culture Hacker: Reprogramming Your Employee Experience to Improve Customer Service, Retention, and Performance." Shane, we've reached that part of the podcast where we ask all of our guests to provide take home value. And I can't wait to hear what yours is. You know, typically we have a CX audience, but the way you have talked to us, I think the CXs, are going to have to be much smarter about their EX now. So, Shane Green, can you give us your best take home value today?

Shane:
All right, listen, again, it's going to apply to your CX and your EX. The most important thing I think today is that managers, leaders, you must be curious. The opposite of curiosity is grandiosity. That means we think we know it all. In today's very turbulent times, if there's one thing I can say to you is that we don't know anything yet. As a result, curiosity means be willing to ask the dumb questions. You apply this to your customers, apply this to employees. Many people are feeling their lives have dramatically changed in the last three months. This is the exact time. Pick up the phone. Go and see them. Have a conversation. But please start with this simple question. How are you doing? And let's start the humanity, which I still think is so important and CX and EX and truly listen. Understand what it is that telling you. And then think in your mind and hopefully you write it down. What are you going to do to help them be better today? Curiosity. I think that's the most important thing. Everyone needs to have go at it.

Steve:
Shane, that's a great thought to leave our listeners with. You know, being curious is one of the things that makes us human, right? When we want to try to learn new things and have new experiences and meet new people and consider alternative ways of doing it. So, Shane, if anybody listening to the podcast wants to continue the conversation, can you just let us know how we can get in touch with you? LinkedIn, website?

Shane:
Perfect. You can find me at Shane Green, obviously, on all the LinkedIn, but send it out a note to me, shane@shanegreen.com. shanegreen.com is my Web site. You can reach out to me on there. You'll also see we can get a copy of the book if you like what we've talked about. You will love "Culture Hacker" I promise. And again, I've got a lot of videos and stuff out there. So if EX is something on your horizon, you want to think about strategy, reach out. Love to talk to you. Thanks Steve.

Steve:
Thank you for being a guest on the podcast. And I would encourage all of our listeners to check you out at shanegreen.com, all your resources and all your thought leadership on this topic. Shane Green is the author of "Culture Hacker: Reprogramming Your Employee Experience to Improve Customer Service, Retention, and Performance." And you can find him at shanegreen.com. Shane. Once again, thank you for being a guest on this episode of The CX Leader Podcast.

Shane:
My pleasure. Steve, we'll see you soon. Cheers, everybody.

Steve:
And if you want to talk about anything you heard on this podcast about how Walker can help your business's customer experience, feel free to email me at steve.walker@walkerinformation.com. And be sure to check out our website, cxleaderpodcast.com to subscribe to the show. Find all our previous episodes, podcast series, and contact information. And if you want to leave us a note about how we're doing or what you'd like to hear on the program, we'd love to hear from you. The CX Leader Podcast is a production of Walker, we're an experience management firm that helps companies accelerate their XM success. You can read more about us at Walkerinfo.com. Thank you for listening and we'll see you again next time.

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