Employee Experience in Financial Services Part 2: Overcoming Common Obstacles and a Top 5 Bank’s Best-in-Class IT Experience

  • September 30, 2019
NTT DATA Services EX CX QA Blog2

With more than half of the American workforce reportedly unengaged with their jobs, according to Gallup, employee engagement has never been more important. In part one of this two-part blog post series, Megan Geyer, director of the customer experience practice at NTT DATA Services, examined the connection between better CX and engaged employees, how to engage a diverse workforce and the most important areas to improve to make financial services employees feel more engaged. In part two, Megan focuses on how to overcome the biggest obstacles to improving employee engagement, as well as how companies can leverage positive employee engagement initiatives to improve the customer experience. She also shares an example of how she worked with a top 5 bank to create a best-in-class IT experience.

Q: What are the biggest obstacles FSIs encounter in their efforts to improve employee engagement? Why? What can they do to overcome them?

A: One of the biggest obstacles to improving employee experience is the organizational structure of large enterprises. Many internal functions combine to enable the employee experience. Take the onboarding experience as an example. The process of onboarding a new hire involves HR, IT, security, facilities, individual business lines and other groups. However, in a largescale enterprise with siloed internal functions and budgets, it is very difficult for all groups to collaborate, align and resolve dependent issues together, often resulting in a poor employee experience.

One way to overcome organizational hurdles is to create a role for an employee whose primary job is to improve and govern the end-to-end experience of employees. This is a role we are seeing more and more institutions add to their executive suite, such as a chief experience officer or employee experience officer. This person’s primary duty is to be the advocate for the employee in a sea of competing business priorities. They facilitate collaboration across internal siloes, measure employee experience end to end, identify key opportunities for improvement and innovation, govern dependencies across groups, and act as the overall shepherd for achieving optimal employee engagement.

Another primary obstacle to improving your employees’ experiences is lack of on-the-ground knowledge of the root cause of pain points. Most companies have surveys they release to their employees on a periodic basis. However, these surveys gauge sentiment and not necessarily elicit root causes of pain points. Similarly, many companies have monitoring tools and analytics that measure subjects such as device performance or speed to complete an HR process. But these tools rarely represent the human aspect of why issues are occurring and certainly do not represent the prioritization of solutions in order to better satisfy employees. This causes a disconnect between leadership believing they have insight into the employee experience given all the data and metrics available, while not truly understanding the source of the pain points or the employee preferences for how to best improve their experiences. This disconnect creates a rift between leadership and employees, leading employees’ perception to be that leadership does not care about their on-the-ground experience working for the company despite best efforts.

According to Gartner, “… a better understanding the causes of redundancy, inefficiency, frustration, and stress that affect employees’ daily experiences can ultimately help CX leaders achieve their strategic objectives.”* To gain this insight, companies need to create true “Voice of the Employee” programs that get as close to the real employee experience as possible — observing employees conducting their jobs in the workplace, calling employees and asking them about their experiences, including employees in the ideation process for solving problems. Surveys and operational metrics are extremely helpful for certain purposes. But in order to create solutions that increase employee engagement, leadership needs to create empathy with the individual employees — understanding their lives, challenges, unique perspectives and expectations to enable experiences truly tailored to their needs.

Q: What can companies learn from their employee engagement initiatives that they can carry over to their CX improvement initiatives?

A: More and more, employers perceive their employees as internal customers. As such, the service and product experiences that employers create to enable their employees can serve as a model for customer experiences as well. Take, for instance, an internal service desk. The processes that are used to provide IT or operational support to an employee can be leveraged in external call centers when helping customers with their challenges. Internal employee engagement initiatives are also a safe space to test out new technologies and protocols before releasing them to customers. Leveraging employee beta groups, companies can pilot programs like new virtual assistants or support organizational structures in order to prove feasibility, test security constraints and model staffing requirements in a more controlled environment with fewer data security concerns and a captive audience. Companies can also more easily stand up Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs in an employee setting since they have direct lines of communication to these individuals. The learnings from creating an internal VOC program can be applied to creating a formal voice of the external customer program. This works the other way around, too: technologies, processes and programs from customer experience initiatives can and should be leveraged for internal employees. Aligning these strategies will result in more efficient technology portfolios, reduced costs and increased impact through shared lessons learned for customers and employees.

Q: Can you share an example (or case study) from your work with FS organizations that illustrates the company improved the experience of employees in order to improve the CX?

A: NTT DATA recently worked with a top 5 U.S. bank to create a best-in-class IT experience for 80,000+ global employees. Employees were frequently expressing very low satisfaction with the technology and support services provided, which were marred by long wait times for service support and problem resolution, as well as malfunctioning devices. Bank leaders knew what the technical problems were, but they didn’t know the degree of employee dissatisfaction or which roles were most affected. NTT DATA did a thorough assessment of the business constraints and environment, and then went out and spoke with employees across the business — from branch managers to call center reps to frequent traveling executives and office-based internal support employees. This client, like most companies, tracked employee pain points by top call drivers to their service desk — password reset being the number one driver in most cases. However, we were unsurprised to learn that this method was not reflective of the real source of overall dissatisfaction. The biggest pain point was when they had complex IT issues with hardware or software where the root cause could not easily be determined, particularly for employees on the road, such as legal advisors and loan officers who do not have regular access to office networks or onsite personnel. Troubleshooting took some time and required various subject matter experts to get involved. Issues could go unresolved for weeks, greatly decreasing their productivity and ability to serve their customers.

Based on this broad and deep foundation of knowledge about real employee needs, NTT DATA was able to identify root cause issues and work with the business to prioritize the biggest employee pain points to resolve. NTT DATA then worked with the bank to create a custom IT service model that suited their specific needs, aspirations and maturity level on the journey to becoming more employee centric. The custom model included:

  • Removing several IT dependencies on HR for desktop engineering so that IT personnel could prepare New Hire equipment sooner, leading to successful delivery of equipment on Day One.
  • Creating a concierge desk within their service desk function to oversee complex troubleshooting, providing employees with a single point of contact for employees, daily communication, higher levels of customer service and SWAT teams.
  • Improving IT order delivery by adding proactive customer touchpoints to ensure accurate packaging of orders, consumer-like order tracking, and guided setup/installation at point of delivery, both remote and desk-side.

This model aims to rebuild employee trust in business technology; better meet the needs of a greatly varying employee base; and increase employee satisfaction, productivity and engagement. Ensuring the retail branch employees have quick access to IT issue resolution better enables them to serve customers and drive more business. Providing loan officers with fast, reliable devices and infrastructure on the road ensures they will be able to get mortgage customers into their new homes on their closing dates. Supporting HR employees with the applications they need to onboard new hires allows the business to quickly scale the workforce to best meet customer demands.

If you take care of your employees, employees will take care of your customers, and customers will take care of your revenue.

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*Gartner, How Customer Centricity Improves Both Customer and Employee Experience, March 2019

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Tom Mataconis

Tom Mataconis is senior vice president leading NTT DATA Services’ Financial Services Business Consulting. Focused on growing the practice into a global market leader, Tom develops integrated consulting and delivery solutions that drive differentiation, business value and thought leadership. Tom has more than two decades of business and IT transformation expertise with many leading North American retail and wholesale banking institutions and is a former managing partner with Accenture.

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