Like Customers, Employees Have Essential Personas Too! Here Are Action-Based Tools For How To Identify, Develop, and Leverage Them


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One of the core elements of CX, articulated by Clayton Christensen as Jobs To Be Done, or JTBD, is PERSONA. JTBD can be either functional or emotional – – or often both. In human-centric terms, and just as with customers in CX, it has become increasingly important to understand EX, or employee experience. And, within EX, it is essential to identify JTBD elements and the drivers which shape employee behavior.

We have found that, to better generate insights about employee personas, especially as they impact CX and EX, qualitative discovery tools are particularly effective. There and an array of qualitative insight methods we can apply to reach this objective: focus groups, mini groups, online and in-person forums, OBBs (online bulletin boards), individual depth int4erviews with executives and employees, etc.

These techniques can be used to identify, for example, how closely employee perceptions of individual touchpoints and overall value delivery align with – i.e., are linked to – those of customers. Customers express their view of delivered value through degree of vocal support, level of favorability, current/planned purchase activity, breadth of consideration set, etc.

Employees, similarly, can significantly impact customer loyalty behavior toward their employer through a range of attitudes and behaviors on behalf of the brand/brand experience, company, and customers. These attitudes and behaviors, again like customers, can range from highly positive, to indifferent, to highly negative.
Because much of the corporate world does not link EX and CX – resulting in operational gaps, overlaps, inconsistencies, and lack of cohesion and purpose – qualitative discovery research can help an organization:

– Build on engagement to reach employee ambassadorship

– Align the enterpr8ise focus and processes around the customer, and become more obsessively stakeholder-centric

– Recruit, train, reward, recognize, promote, retain, communicate with, and motivate employees

Note: Whether quantitative surveys are conducted with employees or customers – and, for dimensionality and granular actionability, they absolutely should be – they often won’t provide the anecdotal depth of insight available through qualitative approaches. Ideally, both qualitative and quantitative CX and EX research should be conducted f0or full-spectrum guidance.

To paraphrase TQ icon W. Edwards Deming, everyone in the organization must understand their role in delivering customer value; and this must be evident to the customer as well. In designing, or redesigning, customer and employee experiences that are positive and memorable, too often employees and customers have different agendas, neither fully appreciated nor understood ty enterprise leaders. Qualitative discovery research techniques, and the insights they yield, help identify what will bring customers and employees into closer aligned purpose and results.

Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC, specializes in customer and employee experience research/strategy consulting, and brand, customer, and employee commitment and advocacy behavior research, consulting, and training. He has authored seven stakeholder-centric strategy books and 400+ articles, white papers and blogs. In 2018, he was named to CustomerThink's Hall of Fame.


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