Chicago’s Worker Experience Tour: Expanding the 6 Percent

May 26, 2017 Rachel Illingworth

It was a rainy, but far from sluggish, day in Chicago when we brought the Worker Experience (WX) Tour to its fourth stop at the modern industrial Savage Smyth event space. Featured speakers included executives from Moen, DineEquity, and Appirio.

Virtuous Cycle is the WX foundation

No, the Virtuous Cycle isn’t the name of a hipster band from Brooklyn. The Virtuous Cycle means happy workers and happy customers, and this year, we have the research from Forrester to back us up. But our presenter in Chicago, Justin Fogarty, Appirio’s Director of Content and Customer Marketing, wanted to cover all of our bases, so we did a little number-crunching of our own — with the help of the last 18 years of Parnassus Reports. From the list of Fortune 100 companies, between 1998 to 2016, we found that the companies that had invested in a stronger WX, had also tripled their investment revenue. Their revenue was sitting at an average of 713 percent, compared to the 229 percent investment revenue of companies who didn’t contribute to WX. It’s a wonder that only 6 percent of companies have a dedicated budget to improving WX.

Freak out a little

Appirio’s Head of Worker Experience Solutions, Harry West, talked about the four levels of the WX transformation – bashful, basic, brave, and bold. West illustrated that “one of the strongest capabilities to provide a truly great WX is to give your workers a voice, but also respond to their feedback.” If you’re trying to improve communication with your workers, you don’t want to bashfully send out a detailed once-a-year survey to sample your workers’ thoughts and feelings about their work. Monitoring feedback with an infrequent and formal survey won’t accomplish much. But the bold approach is to gauge worker sentiment by responding in real time with actions to foster improvement.

WX enabling technologies

Appirio’s CEO and co-founder, Chris Barbin sat down for a fireside chat with executives from Moen and DineEquity, both of which represent the 6 percent of companies that have taken steps to improve their WX.

Lisa Feiler, Moen‘s Manager of HRIS and HR Administration, explained that they wanted to focus on the learning and development of their employees. So they partnered with Appirio to implement Workday, a platform that will allow them to better understand who their talent is and how they fit into the Moen structure. Since implementation, they’ve continued to build on their WX roadmap, adding Workday Talent Management and Recruiting, with plans to incorporate a learning system in the near future.

Michael Chachula, Director of IT Strategy, Innovation & PMO at DineEquity, summarized his WX perspective best when he said, “Your WX is your internal product to your employees. They need to mature, they need to maturate, they need to stay competitive for you to stay competitive.” DineEquity had five disparate databases prior to teaming up with Appirio, but now they have one system and many tools to equip their workers. Chuhula quipped that “value proposition doesn’t start with the customer — it’s all encompassing. It really comes from the worker.”

After learning how other companies did it, Yoni Barkan, Appirio’s Director of Global Solutions and Innovation, demoed technologies —  like Google Wave Analytics, Salesforce, and Workday, as well as AI & Voice Enablement —  and showed how they are changing WX. Amazon’s Alexa updated us with a performance dashboard, and posted to Salesforce Chatter in real time. It was a bold way of showing how easily interactive data recognizes and rewards workers —  further strengthening worker engagement.

The Future of Work and WX

Humans have the same attention span as goldfish, and more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush. We learned this trivia from WX guest speaker Cheryl Cran. More importantly, she explained that “Change happens through inspiration and engagement. No one wants to be driven or pulled to change, we want to be inspired to change.” What does the Future of Work mean for us? It means that we’re being called to upgrade our operating systems — what we think, how we share, and how it affects the customer. The Future of Work requires creative problem-solving and being able to handle yourself under pressure.

The Future of Work requires guidance before embarking on a WX transformation. The complimentary Virtuous Cycle Diagnostic Workshop allows us to take a deeper dive into the worker life cycle of your company, and build a roadmap for WX success.

Visit our Worker Experience Tour event page to learn more and register for an upcoming event near you.

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