New tech at work and improving the employee experience – How to get it right – Interview with Carrie Duarte

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Today’s interview is with Carrie Duarte, Partner at PwC, Workforce of the Future Leader and Director on PwC’s U.S. Board. Carrie joins me today to talk about PwC’s new Tech at work and employee experience research report, the main findings, what they mean and what leaders should be doing about them.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Only 20 percent of support teams provide self service and other customer experience trends – Interview with Jeff Titterton – and is number 299 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Carrie:

  • Conversation about PwC’s new Tech at work and employee experience research report.
  • Global survey of about 12,000 people from Canada, China, Hong Kong, Germany, India, Mexico, the UK and the US on their views about digital tools that they use in their daily work.
  • Organizations have spent millions on technology but they’re not getting the bang for their buck.
  • The reason why is that they’re often not thinking about the workforce and how it needs to adopt and adapt to that technology.
  • Some really common themes emerged from the research:
    • One, leaders say that they choose technology with their people in mind but their employees don’t agree.
    • Two, people really want digital skills training and employees and say they would love to spend up to two days per month on training to upgrade their own digital skills if offered by their employer. But, they report that not only are they not being offered training they are spending their own time trying to digitally up skill themselves and that is not being acknowledged, validated or rewarded.
    • Three, employees value both the human touch but they also like the the digital assist and there are certain things within their work experience that they would prefer to be digitally accessible because they can do it on their own time, when they want and where they want.
    • Four, efficiency and status drive interest in advancing digital skills. However, workers split into three different groups when it comes to their approach to acquiring new skills: 34% are driven by curiosity, efficiency, and teamwork, 37% are driven by status, such as promotions or other recognitions and 29% are driven by individual achievement within a predictable environment. This potentially brings a degree of complexity to any change or upskilling programme as it speaks to the need to take account of different learning and motivation styles.
  • Complexity doesn’t need to imply confusion or difficulty but could imply that change programmes need to be more sophisticated if they are to work.
  • 73% of people surveyed say they know of systems that would help them produce higher quality work but many executives and leaders are not tapping into the collective intelligence of their employees.
  • Execs and leaders don’t have a clear and accurate understanding of how their people use technology in their jobs and what tools they need.
  • Leaders often have a hard time understanding what is it really like to do particular jobs, especially if it involves new tech.
  • Carrie referred to my March 18th article: 10 Things That You Can Do To Improve The Employee Experience and how the little things matter.
  • Get your employees involved….check out a concept called citizen led innovation.
    • Carrie mentioned one example where employees developed bots to help alleviate the pain and stress of filing expenses. That pointed to the need to streamline the expense reporting policy.
  • When we see the employees really latch on to new technology, get excited about it and engaged with it it is translating into a better customer experience. It’s also helping reduce employee turnover, increase engagement, performance and productivity.
  • Examples:
    • A bank in Africa did a whole rollout of new technology and it was rejected. The problem was that the employees were afraid of failure. To address this, leaders in the bank went out and redid the new technology roadshow but, this time, they talked about their own personal experience with technology and some of the failures and some of the risks that they had taken. That made it OK for folks to ‘just click it and try it’, which created a huge increase in people that were just willing to try the new technology and adopt it.
    • A large aerospace and defense company has been working on automating some of its back office. They created a bot to help with that. But, it failed. More interestingly there were several people on the team that were involved who were afraid of the technology and afraid of clicking and breaking it and because it had failed. But, the organisation used this an opportunity. They invited people to just try it out. They said’ We know it doesn’t work. So try it. Tell us how it feels for you”. It took three months of trying and failing and failing and failing. But, in the end they fixed it and, in the process, it brought the whole team together.
  • Quote from a picture that will feature in my new book: Punk CX:

“Dude, sucking at something is the first step towards getting kind of good at something”.

  • When was the last time that you sucked at something?
  • Too often in agile environments we only talk about learnings from projects and related deliverables and not enough about how we, personally, have performed and/or conducted ourselves in relation to others (customers, peers, colleagues etc).
  • Before diving into the technology and digital upskilling, you have to first focus on your culture.
  • You have to establish a culture of caring and trust where it is OK to try things and where you catch people if things don’t work out so well.
  • You have to create a safe environment for people to try things, fail and learn.
  • That enables a team to approach digital upskilling with more emotional commitment rather than the reluctant compliance that often comes with rolling out new technology.
  • Advice:
    • Take a step back and think about what technology does your workforce really need? What is their daily experience really like? How are you ensuring that you’re really reflecting the voice and the experience of the employee when you’re thinking about major technology investments?

About Carrie

Carrie DuarteCarrie is PwC’s Workforce of the Future Leader. Their Workforce of the Future consulting teams help CEO’s and their organizations build teams that thrive, today and in the future. Carrie leads the teams providing strategic and tactical advise as organizations develop their Workforce Strategy, drive Workforce Performance & Experience, and optimize the Workforce Environment.

In 2017, Carrie was also elected to be a Director on the PwC Board of Partners & Principals. In her role as a director on the board she provides governance oversight to our management team and provides input on the PwC strategy.

She is also an Associate of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

She lives in Southern California with her 3 children and spends her weekends surfing, ocean swimming, and at many kids sporting activities.

Check out the Tech at work report at www.pwc.com/techatwork, say Hi to Carrie and the folks at PwC on Twitter @Carrie_R_Duarte and @PwCUS and connect with Carrie on LinkedIn here.

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 Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

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