Australian organisations can reduce staff turnover and boost productivity by improving employee experience (EX) and satisfaction.
This was a key finding from a new white paper, which was produced via a collaboration between Ricoh and Adapt CXO Advisory.
The paper suggests that Australian managers lag behind the rest of the world in managing talent and creativity and promoting positive workplace cultures where employees work smarter, not harder.
Although digital transformation initiatives have seen many Australian organisations become more efficient in recent years, EX may have fallen by the wayside, which could result in a significant drop in productivity.
Fifth Quadrant attended the launch event for the report, hearing from Adapt CXO Advisory Senior Analyst Peter Hind, Ricoh General Manager of Product, Marketing & Sales Operations Tori Starkey, DocuWare Director of Sales Asia Pacific David Wenzel, and Miller Heiman Group Senior Director of Sales Asia Pacific Gabriel Tsavaris.
Attracting and retaining top talent
Hind says that a major flaw in digital transformations at that they have focused too heavily on ‘transient outcomes’ rather than effecting the deeper change really necessary to improve workplaces and boost productivity.
“I think we’re witnessing a heightened appreciation of the importance of staff,” he says, citing research done by global think tank The Conference Board, which has been surveying CEOs since 1915.
“What came out of the 2019 [Conference Board] survey results was that the number one internal business driver for organisations is attracting and retaining talent.”
However, Australia seems to be lagging in this regard. Adapt’s Australian Workplace Priorities 2019 survey showed that although half of chief information officers surveyed planned to increase employment in the short term, just 26 per cent cited attracting and retaining talent as a key priority.
A collaborative approach
Starkey says that Ricoh’s digital transformation customers roughly fall into two camps. One group is quite risk averse and reactive while the other has a better understanding of its employee’s needs ahead of choosing an appropriate technology solution.
“Another concept our customers have referred to is ‘inhouse entrepreneurs’”, she says. “[These customers] empower individuals within the organisation to actually design solutions and come up with new ideas and drive their creativity and collaboration and efficiency outcomes.”
An example of this was a recent experience Ricoh had with its client DHL, according to Starkey.
“They rolled out a collaboration solution that took them 20 minutes every meeting to get up and running,” she says. “So they didn’t get the productivity gains they were looking for, they actually saw declines.”
However, rather than trying to make the existing solution work, DHL worked on redesigning it based on their employees needs so it is now single touch, which means that meetings can get started almost instantly.
Eliminating menial work with technology
Wenzel says that DocuWare, which Ricoh acquired this year, helps its clients eliminate many of the dull, menial tasks that take the enjoyment out of work as well as wasting time and money.
“We had a customer that was a chemical company with around 6,000 employees in Europe and the main issue was that an HR department of four people were doing nothing but change requests,” he says.
Whenever an employee made a change such as getting married, switching banks, or moving to a new address, it had to be logged.
“It was not high value work so it could be completely automated," he says. “We changed the direction of the HR department."
Wenzel says that, as a result, the HR team had more time to focus on interesting, rewarding and more high value tasks.
Three areas of focus for sales teams
Tsavaris says that companies must focus on three key areas if they want to build a high-performance, productive sales force.
First, management needs to ensure that sales teams have the required skills and knowledge. Second sales operations need to be formalised across territory planning, defined sales processes and compensation plans. Third, organisations need sales enablement, such as sales collateral, training and focused value messaging.
“The key part of retaining talent is how you develop that talent,” he says. “If you are effectively developing your talent, people will want to say so those three defining pillars are what we see as driving companies.”
The speakers agreed that by focusing on customer engagement, performance support and strategic alignment, an organisation can be best placed to achieve the highest levels of productivity possible.
Improving EX to boost productivity
There are a number of ways companies can improve EX thus driving stronger productivity, according to the white paper. These include:
- Taking a proactive approach to the process, rather than waiting until issues emerge
- Allowing staff to lead the way in implementing changes to processes
- Linking productivity improvement to long-term company goals
- Integrating functions across business units
- Being flexible and open to new ideas and methods from multiple sources
- Making improvement an ongoing expectation
Fifth Quadrant is Australia's leading CX consulting firm. We help companies in the financial services industry as well as other verticals including retail and automotive improve their CX and EX with our end-to-end, research-based approach. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today.