What Do Your Customers, Workforce and Partners All Have in Common? They’re Humans First

As digital technologies change the nature of work, business leaders and employees alike are asking: What role will the workforce and the human touch play in the future? Even as automation assumes certain tasks, it becomes clearer that human connections and experiences are more critical than ever.

Many businesses already recognize the importance of the experiences they deliver to customers. Increasingly, organizations are also considering and prioritizing the experiences they provide to their workforces. In Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 84% of survey respondents rated the issue of employee experience as important, and 28% identified it as one of the three most urgent issues facing their organizations this year.

Yet many companies focus on these initiatives independently and treat them as unrelated—an approach that yields only marginal results.

People are the common denominator and success in the digital age demands that organizations weave customer, workforce and partner experiences into a cohesive human experience.

Designing an integrated experience

Implementing customer, workforce and partner experience improvements as isolated initiatives can drive transactional behavior and deliver inconsistent or negative experiences.

Consider, for example, the airline industry. Delayed flights can have a highly negative effect on customer satisfaction, so many carriers focus on achieving on-time flights. Gate agents, who often are measured by on-time departures, experience intense pressure to streamline boarding and ensure nothing in their process causes a delay. As a result, they spend less time with each passenger, which can create neutral or even negative experiences for both the customer and the employee.

A customer’s experience can also be affected when interactions with a partner organization don’t meet expectations. For example, a passenger might be accustomed to having Wi-Fi when flying with her preferred airline carrier. If a flight operated by an alliance partner doesn’t offer that benefit, the customer is likely to be disappointed.

In an optimized human experience ecosystem, customers have their core values satisfied at every touchpoint, workers feel equipped to do their jobs without fear of consequences, and key partners work in collaboration to improve the experience of all involved.

Aligning values

To rethink human experience in a comprehensive way, organizations can begin by identifying shared values across the ecosystem and then create experiences driven by those values.

The ecosystem includes customers, the workforce (including contractors, consultants and gig workers) and partners. Companies should seek to better understand the fundamental human needs and desires of all individuals in each group and then work to deliver solutions that address those needs. At every step, organizations can focus on a handful of fundamental principles.

The first is being obsessed with the human. Think about focusing on the workforce, customers and partners as people. Put their needs first and design for their natural tendencies.

The next is proactively delivering on those needs. Seek feedback from everyone in the ecosystem and strive to anticipate and understand their desires before they can.

The third is executing with humanity. Take every opportunity to acknowledge customers and the workforce as humans first. Consider who they are beyond their interactions with your organization.

Authenticity throughout all physical and social environments is critical. The workforce and customers should feel welcomed, safe and unjudged at all times. And last but not least, strive to change the world.  Business results should be balanced with the responsibilities of good corporate citizenship. Understand, respect and support stakeholders’ values.

Measuring impact

As companies seek to improve the human experience, assessing the status quo and measuring progress is critical. By applying these principles and an in-depth statistical analysis of what motivates customers, the workforce and partners, an organization can pinpoint how far along it is in its human experience journey. It can also identify the degree to which human values are aligned to customer, workforce and partner experiences.

Organizations can even identify with what Deloitte calls the human experience quotient, the expected increase in growth that can result from elevating experiences across stakeholders.

Overall, it’s important for organizations to remember two fundamental points. First, it’s about all the humans and how engaged and satisfied they are. Second, by aligning human values across these groups, organizations can create exponential value and drive accelerated, sustainable growth.