For our latest episode of #HRTechChat, my guest was Theresa Harkins-Schulz, senior vice president of customer experience at Inspirus. And this is where our conversation began, with Theresa’s sharing of her philosophy around the customer journey. Because of its customer-centered connotations, she prefers the term customer experience over customer success and other monikers denoting the realm of activities organizations carry out in tending to their customers.
From there, our discussion expanded to ponder comparisons between the customer experience and the employee experience and to what extent organizations can approach both similarly, look at them through the same lens, or even coordinate their efforts. A member of the 3Sixty Insights Global Executive Advisory Council and long-time board member (and past president and past education chair) for Recognition Professionals International, Theresa has trained her focus on the art and practice of employee recognition for much of her career — several years ago designing an employee recognition program for Delta Airlines.
Following is a short elaboration on just three of the many additional ideas we explored:
- Campfire Girls: HR can get so wrapped up in planning and throwing great events for employees — kind of like being “campfire girls” — that they confuse this for the practice of giving employees recognition, which is an attitude. This aligns nicely with an idea, discussed in a previous episode of #HRTechChat, that providing pizza and beer on Friday does not equate to cultivating employer culture. It’s nice to do nice things like this for employees, but it is not a substitute for the hard work.
- The Components of Good Employer Culture: What are they? It’s a challenging question. Unequivocally, Theresa believes trust is the essential, bedrock ingredient. Other fundamental components of employer culture are purpose and an understanding of the job that needs to be done. You can’t really argue with any of these, which provide as good of a calculus as any to sussing out what underlies a good employer culture. “Some of this really goes back to […] Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and establishing that psychological safety in the workplace,” according to Theresa.
- Pandemic, Hierarchies, Speed, and HCM Technology: The pandemic has laid bare the need for agility in working together and in catering to employees’ needs. Hierarchies that have settled into existence over long periods of time slow this down. So does old, bad or no technology. There is a demand for immediacy, and there’s a symbiosis to the flexible of an organizational structure and the technology in place to facilitate cooperation and promote a positive culture. Today , this need for flexibility to deliver on immediacy is exponentially more pressing than it was ahead of the pandemic, and it will only increase in importance as the future of work continues to become the present.
There was much, much more to our conversation. Click on the video to watch.
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Brent Skinner 00:03
Well, hello, everyone. Welcome to the next HR tech chat I have with us today Theresa Harkins-Schultz, who is Senior Vice President of customer experience at Inspirus. Remember, Did I pronounce the name of the company correctly? I did. Yeah. chiastic. Okay. Welcome.
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 00:26
Thank you. Thank you. It’s good to be here.
Brent Skinner 00:30
Yeah. Yeah. And
Brent Skinner 00:32
you know what? We had a, an awesome discussion a couple of years ago, just a couple of months ago. Just joking. But it was a while back, but we covered a bunch of ground around with it. Let me see if I can, in what I’m gonna ask you do is kind of keep me honest here. But I think what we talked about was, what’s the what is the point experience around technology? How, what are some of the some of the parallels between their experience at work with their HCM technology versus the technology that just dealing with all the time, we talked about, sort of that perennial subject matter of HR, getting a seat at the table? Now, what these sorts of things? Where would you like to start? Sure, it’s
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 01:26
some exciting stuff. It was a great conversation. And thanks, Brent, for inviting me today. You know, I think first just let’s talk about experience, because even within my title, right? Today, I’m the Senior Vice President of customer experience, but oftentimes people will say, Well, are you customer success? Is it customer experience? How do those things relate? You know, and I think that businesses today, we’re all looking to make sure that our customers are successful. We have Customer Success organizations that may serve as call centers, they may include account management, they may include technology implementations, but ultimately, that is just one subset of the experience that we as business provide, overall to the customers and the employees that we serve, and inspire us we are looking to help organizations engage and motivate their employees, utilizing different technology, tools and suites, as well, as you know, recognition practices. I’ve been in HR kind of ended up there, like many people was just, you know, oh, well, you want to do some recruiting? Okay, that sounds good. Let me give that a try. And from there, it kind of snowballed. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve enjoyed spending time in many of the different towers within HR. But ultimately, you know, the lens that I like to look at things is really from a view of systematic thinking, and not just what do we want to do? And are we checking the box to get it done? But how does it make people feel? What are we asking them to do in order to achieve that, and all of those things, experiences are really about the feeling the emotion, the interactions that we can have? technology plays a huge part in that. And that was where you and I had a lot of our conversation last time.
Brent Skinner 03:19
Yeah, you hit on a bunch of stuff here made me think of a bunch of things. So first of all, some just kind of lay him out here. And then let’s try to knock him down one by one. If we get to them all, that’s great. If not, that’s fine. One ideas around employee motivation, employee motivation, I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently. And, and I’d like to hear a little bit more about your philosophy around that. And also the experience the experience of the employee, which, which in my opinion, is very much wrapped up with almost synonymous with the idea of employees feelings, right? And how I was talking about where they actually let’s, let’s sit on that for a little bit. I was talking with a colleague of my former colleague of mine, stay in touch with and I was talking with him about our concept of concrete and abstract HCM. The idea that there’s two hemispheres to HCM and both matter, you need both. And he threw a curveball at me and he said, you know, HR is it’s, it’s all abstract. It’s, it’s all about employee feelings. And of course, we were sort of drawing a, you know, for the sake of the conversation, we’re calling abstract HCM and employee feelings essentially the same thing. I think that works even objectively. I thought that was really interesting. What are your thoughts about that around? employee experience is about deployed feelings in HR may be all about employee feelings, like, like 100% what do you think about?
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 04:54
Yeah, so I have I have mixed emotions about it. And I’ll just share a quick story that kind of frames up, you know, the mixed emotions that I have. But when I started off working for Delta Airlines several years ago, I helped design and deploy their recognition programs for their employees within that organization. And Delta was one of the early adopters that really taking a systematic approach to recognition and having it woven into the framework and practices and training and onboarding and everything that was already happening within the organization. And I joined another organ, a professional organization. And what I found was a lot of great people with a lot of good heart. But their approach to this was around, I labeled them campfire girls, because they were really looking at things from I’m planning a party, I am an HR, and I am all about making employees feel good in planning a party, I am looking, you know, to be the campfire girl and, you know, gather everybody around to sing songs get together and roast marshmallows. And on one hand, this is where the mixed part comes in. I love the fact that what those you know, professionals were doing work was evoking emotion within their workplace. What I was challenged with and where I get challenged with HR getting just equivocated to the feeling aspect is that if you don’t also make it purposeful, if you don’t weave it into the practices of the organization, it’s always an afterthought, it’s a nice to have, and not a must have in the organization. And so that’s where I believe the experience is key, and HR is delivering that, but you can’t only focus on that abstract feeling side, you have to also focus on how am I going to achieve that outcome? Or those thoughts or those behaviors? And what tools Am I going to use to help incentivize or motivate or to create those moments and experiences to happen in the organization. So I relate, it just took some time for me really to pull together, getting in touch with my softer side, so to speak, and understand because I was very, you know, I was the nerdy technology, one that just wanted to be behind the computer. And you know, I don’t need those feeling things that’s for other people. But it really it all comes together. And they’re very interrelated.
Brent Skinner 07:37
This interesting, and so there was, so that actually fits in with a couple of things that um, that. So there was one there was one conversation had with another person recently, and as you were, as you were talking, I was racking my brain is kind of going to the catalog say who’s it with? Who is it with? It was a connection there. fella who works in a in psychometrics around best fit for culture around, you know, what is your employer culture at your organization? figuring that out, you know, what is your culture from a psychometric standpoint, and then and then hiring for best fit for that. And the example was, you know, a, let’s, well, let’s use an example outside the HCM industry, let’s say you know, let’s say you’re, you’re an engineer, and you’re an engineer at General Motors, right? And, and there’s a certain culture there. And maybe, let’s say BMW is hiring engineers. Maybe it’s maybe you’re an ace vac engineer, right? Before General Motors, they’re hiring engineers at BMW, just because you were successful. A spec engineer, a GM does, and you might really know your stuff. And all of that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to fit in fit in the culture of BMW for H vac, right? And so, so we’re looking at the wrong things when we’re recruiting. We’re not necessarily looking at the right things, we’re looking at the stuff that, you know, at first blush seems like the stuff we should be looking at, but we should be hiring for culture. But the other thing that we talked about that was super interesting, it was it was sort of a tangent and was a funny tangent during the conversation wasn’t a tangent, but it was it was an aside. You know, player culture is not pizza and beer on Friday. It’s not campfire girls, it’s, it’s, those are nice things to do. But you’re not creating a cup. That’s a completely just that’s that is that is not culture. That’s a it’s a, it comes from a good place. Right. You know, a company that says yeah, I want to put a foosball table and in rec room for my for my employees. That’s certainly not a bad thing. You’re not getting A bad employer by doing that, but you’re misunderstanding culture.
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 10:05
Yeah, I think I mean, first of all, hiring and hiring people for culture has such a great impact. Because ultimately, if we don’t, as you know, individuals feel like we are aligned, or that sense of belonging, and that sense of purpose within a team, no matter what our skill and competency set, we’re always going to be pushing against the grain. I, you know, myself have experienced that in my career, just even, you know, over the long standing debate of being a remote employee versus being one in the office, right there, there’s a lot of tension that can come into that. And if an organization is, you know, has a cultural value of FaceTime, or presence in the office, it’s very difficult to kind of adopt into that remote work practice and bringing that together. So I think culture is, you know, very important. And culture, really, those are things that we do to celebrate our culture, or to have stories or exhibit ways that we can visibly show, you know, that we care about our employees, or that we’re concerned for our employees, but it’s everything else that’s happening all along that journey. Right, having a foosball table is great. But if we don’t either allow our employees the time to utilize it. Or if we don’t encourage that kind of five minute break, because it refreshes, you know, the brain and gets people thinking and moving in different directions. And we encourage those breaks. Those are the aspects of our culture, something sitting there doesn’t make a difference, right? We have to help people understand what it is we expect them to do with it, and why they can use it, because otherwise it becomes a question mark in people’s minds. And then people go to the rigidity of well, we need rules around that we’re going to need a sign up sheet for when people can use the foosball table. And instead of letting people really self regulate and use, you know, their best judgment in these situations and letting them know, we have expectations for you to get your job done. And you’ve been hired, because you’re competent, because you have demonstrated that you’re a great hpac engineer. But you also have some freedom and flexibility and how you behave, we expect you to collaborate, we expect you to be honest, and we want you to bring your best work, help us know what that means to you in the workplace, and how to exhibit that. And I think that’s where a lot of HR organizations can kind of miss the mark, because the HR or the business itself, right, they just take it to such an extreme of looking for rigidity, or rules or a perfect formula. But sometimes you just gotta let go.
Brent Skinner 12:55
I think you really hit on the head with that last one, the perfect formula. I I don’t think one exists. I got a couple of questions around. Well, first of all, a couple of observations around if we’re going to, let’s stay focused on the foosball table, because I think it’s a great, it’s a great visual for this whole concept here. A company an organization, an employer could put a foosball in the, in the meeting room. And, and again, it’s a good thought, but it’s not really understanding culture. You know, it’s but you said some things, right. So for instance, yeah, if we’re encouraging people to use a foosball table, then yeah, if we have a, you know, that’s giving them the break that they need. There’s all sorts of science around this. I can’t say anything off the top of my head, but there is around taking a break or going for I have culture of of one, I work from home to agriculture, when I tried to go for a run couple days a week, I do a workout routine couple other days a week, just like some time I listen to music, and then I’m back at my computer, and I’m focused, but if you’re putting that foosball table without understanding that, then you didn’t understand culture. But if you didn’t understand that, then you know, then that then the foosball table is a culture tool. Right. A, B, right.
Brent Skinner 14:13
Brent Skinner 14:15
what are the components of the components of, of employer culture? What are they?
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 14:22
I don’t know, the first component is trust. Okay, first, I think trust is a fundamental aspect of culture in the workplace. Secondly, I think it goes around purpose, and then an understanding of the job that you need me to do. And I think that piece alone, if I understand what it is, you’ve asked me to do, and I know what tools are available for me to get that job done. We’ve established a trust bond that starts the process, right? Because then it really drives into I mean, some of this really goes back to Good old friend, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and establishing that psychological safety in the workplace. Those are the first components of it, you know, the trust, knowing what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, understanding how I fit into the picture, those are all aspects, you know, all of the workplace? And secondly is how do we want people to behave? And then are we holding people, you know, accountable to those behavior standards, and encouraging, you know, both the positive, and, you know, providing feedback when necessary, on negative or, you know, behaviors that need to be, you know, eliminated or minimized in the workplace to accelerate others, I think people are really open to the feedback, and they’re open to, you know, growing in that culture piece. But I think those are some of the key aspects that kind of ring true. When it comes to what is the base of culture, right? I mean, the base of culture is all about the trust and the relationship that you have with the employer. And then it goes to that next step, right? What about your manager? What about your peers? What about your job content, all of those pieces kind of blend together? As you look to evolve a culture and the behavior is absolutely paramount. How do people behave, you can’t go out and say, we believe in collaboration and have a team, or individuals that function on an island and toss things over the fence. Collaboration means, you know, we’re going to generate ideas, we’re going to use design thinking principles, or, you know, whatever is important in that organization to bring those aspects together to help evolve that culture piece.
Brent Skinner 16:38
Mm hmm. How do you think so first of all, you’re, you’re singing my son. I love Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And it really does. I mean, it it does really apply. It’s a great way of thinking about HCM, you know, because what does it you know, that physiological and safety needs, you know, compliance and payroll time and attendance and scheduling, those are the things that you can. Yeah. And then once you have those in place, and working properly, so employees are afraid that they’re not going to get paid this Friday, because the payroll system messed up or something like that, right. Which, which? I haven’t, I don’t know anybody that personally that that’s happened to but apparently does, right? So,
Brent Skinner 17:25
Brent Skinner 17:27
Then you can focus on this employer culture stuff, right? You have sort of that you’ve created the birth for yourself. But one other thing that I just wanted to hit on is I actually forgot about this. While we were talking, it reminded me I saw an article. So I was looking through my history and LinkedIn, because I actually shared it this weekend. And I just remembered, it was a story how long on from Harvard Business Review. It’s a how company culture shapes employee motivation. You can go to my profile and see it in my post activity. But they said, What did they say? They were they worked with a number of, of different companies determine what are the Okay, the word that the motives around increasing performance and organization. So this, and they said they found six, three, or five or six. So the positive ones they found were play, purpose and potential. And there were three negative ones, which were emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia. And I won’t bore the audience by reading through each of these, because I think it would take too long to read through them. But I mean, we can get the basic gist here, you know, play purpose. And what was that other one? It was potential? Yes. potential. Yeah. I mean, this is interesting. I wanted to I mean, we’re talking about self actualization in a scene.
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 19:00
Yes, absolutely. Well, I was gonna say that sense of belonging comes right into that as well into the the, the purpose and the potential, it is all about the self actualization. And, you know, really, and I think as you look at more and more people entering the workplace, they are more concerned about what they are doing, and what impact it’s either what it’s going to have on something right, they want to understand that full picture. And I think that, you know, the job content and for individuals to really find meaningful content, that’s number that’s that one of the number one ways to help them be motivated, right? If I don’t like the job content that I’m working on, I’m probably not going to be very happy in my job. I mean, they always say the old adage is, you know, find a career you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. And I mean, it really it rings true when you look at trying to find something, you know, that’s that that you feel a sense of purpose mean potential really is. It’s kind of like meaningful recognition, it boils back into the eye of the beholder, right, you may see my potential as one thing, but I may feel my potential to be something else. And at the end of the day, sometimes we just need someone to believe in us. And you know, to help unlock doors, and let us realize and find what our potential may be, you know, too many organizations have, you know, especially in the HR and I, the exercises are good, but, you know, hypo pools and identifying, you know, the small handful of people that, you know, are the next leaders of the company, it’s kind of an outdated practice, I mean, all of us have potential and, you know, when you look at bringing in gig workers, and different people with different skill sets, you’re looking at things on more of a, almost a project or an ad hoc basis in the workplace, that you need to match purpose and potential with those skills and things that are happening in the business. And that really changes the way that HR is going to need to function. Because those experiences and then they’re going to need technology to help them be able to match that up so they can deliver a better package to the employees or they’re not going to stick around.
Brent Skinner 21:16
Uh, you know, I, we just sort of inadvertently segwayed into the next question for you is, how can, how can technology, it’s nice? How does technology help with this. So let me just give you my thoughts on this. This is sort of a, a, this is a sort of a site on the science fiction future of work idea. And I actually wrote about this a month or so ago, that I think AI is going to play a huge role in formulating these, these, these constantly. reforming teams, so I think these think about projects in the future and the teams for them. We back up there, right now we have static, the organizational hierarchy or organizational structure, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just that we have sort of this analog understanding of that human analog understanding of what we need. And so we have position roles. And we have titles and all these sorts of things. We have teams that form and these teams work on all sorts of projects, and they, they’re sort of stuck. They’re not, they’re not technically static, because they do change over time they have bring on new people, it’s very slow, right. But in the future, we’ll have sort of AI understanding the competitive landscape outside of the organization and bringing in gig workers. I mean, there’s all sorts of variables that need to change, you know, regulatory landscape needs to adapt to this and all sorts of things. But but potentially, we could have organically forming teams and formed by AI and I would argue also psychometrics very important to to, to create these bests best case scenario of culture fit teams for certain projects. And then they would, you know, they would convene and disband as necessary. That mean, at some point it gets, it’s kind of hard to think about, but what is what are your thoughts around how technology can maybe help this? What are your thoughts on that? And then also, how can technology help today around employer culture?
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 23:31
Yeah, so you know, I think as we look towards the future, and I think one of the things that, you know, the pandemic has brought forward is that being flexible, having agility in our work practices is going to be absolutely paramount. I mean, in order to tackle business problems, right, we can’t look at them through the same lens that we’ve done. For several years, we need, you know, new individuals with different thinking patterns, we need diverse teams, we need a variety of skill sets that may be a part of that team in order to solve problems, because, you know, having it be a job function, or one person’s, you know, type of assignment. It just, it really doesn’t produce the results, that having, you know, a diverse group of tea, a group of people, and I think just the pace at which businesses are going to need to spin up, spin down and re spin, right individuals into those teams. It’s going to continue to grow because the challenges that people are facing and the resiliency that’s needed out there is just it’s not going to stop. And I think that there’s a lot of opportunity in that space for HR to really be thinking about, you know, how are we going to support that many of us as you know, have grown up in HR are very used to, as you, you know, describe the traditional hierarchy and the traditional structures. So, you know, when we we look at that, well, what does that mean? Right? performance reviews, you know, hierarchy, all decision making, those kinds of things, those slow processes down, they don’t necessarily deliver to us, the immediacy that most people want today. So that’s where I kind of jumped towards or jump, you know, to the other side of your question is around, you know, technology, and how can technology help with some of those pieces. And, you know, I really think that technology, whether it’s in, you know, the HCM space, or in, you know, motivation and recognition, the more flexibility that it can provide, to employ trust within its employees, or its leaders within an organization to be able to, you know, in real time recognize, motivate, reward their employees for behaviors that they’re seeing, they need that flexibility. I mean, it’s latitude within limits, not just limits of what we can’t do. But how can we do that? And that’s really, you know, it goes everything from the employees from the employee side, right? How do I have access to new content or learning content? Or how do I see, you know, wikis that are available within the organization, so I can research and look, you know, at things myself, I mean, technology really can, instead of being a limiting factor, it really can be an enabling factor for people to learn more to look for their passions to look for, you know, other potential opportunities or other ways that they may need to be looking and thinking about that. And I think that’s where, you know, HR and looking at how organizational structures will evolve over the next couple of years to be inclusive, no matter where people are, no matter what they’re doing, how do we bring them together so that we all are part of the same table when there’s not really a table? Right? We’re on a screen, we’re sharing, we’re, you know, brainstorming ideas, how do you use, you know, different tools, whether it be mural or mural, or, you know, one of these other, you know, applications that are ideation tools, there’s lots of ways to do it. And I think organizations just have to keep trying fail fast, and continue to find opportunities to bring those into the workplace.
Brent Skinner 27:27
I think you’re absolutely right. And just to distill what you just said, into a few, I don’t know, categories are. So one thing is, you know, technology is definitely, to enable it, it’s enablement. So you know, we have, so we’ve, so we’re evolving in terms of our understanding of what is important to the business process, you know, we’re constantly learning what’s important, you know, we’re our understanding of what is important to the business processes constantly expanding, I think, and refining. Okay? And so, you talked about ideation? Well, there’s a technology can enable ideation, right can or can facilitate ideation between, you know, folks who are remotely located even before the pandemic,
Brent Skinner 28:21
And then there’s efficiency, there’s a, there’s an efficiency to ideation that the technology brings about, right? So this is something that that came up in a, in a user case that we looked at, or talked about a couple months ago around employee recognition, right? So you look at this is I’m going to try to string together a bunch of things here. So you look at the physiological and safety, the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs, and mass lows, right? And that, and what are those in those typically align with the things that accounting most often can actually translate into something that that into a number that fits into the general ledger, right? Okay. When you think about employee recognition, though, there is a, there’s an efficiency or a lack thereof to employer employee recognition. So you could have an organization whose culture values employee recognition, but they may have a very inefficient process for it, right? And so that is measured as an expenditure of labor, then that does make its way into the, into the general ledger. And so you can bring a technology in to get rid of some of these most of these inefficiencies and employee recognition process. And that’s measured as a gain in productivity, right. So I think that that’s, yeah, exactly. And so that so this, this is not where I expected this to go. But I think it’s interesting. Okay, that’s where accounting is, Oh, yes, a gain in productivity Well, what is the gain in productivity? Like, what did we gain? Right? Aside from the time saved? Right? What’s the other side of the of the coin there because that that definitely is important to business, even though it didn’t get recorded in the jet and will never will get recorded the general ledger until some time down the road when a new product is invented, or brought to market that brings, you know, brings a lot of cash in for the company. So let’s talk about that for a minute.
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 30:45
Yeah, no, sure. So I mean, I think measuring the productivity gains, you know, is one aspect of, to your point where recognition are where, you know, the measurement may end, but I think it goes back to where we started in the beginning. How do you bring that to measure the experience and how people are feeling, because when we are feeling positive about what we are doing, right, if I’m working out, and I’m seeing results, if I’m, you know, able to do burpees, do 10 burpees, this, you know, this week versus, you know, one burpee a month ago, I feel better about myself, I feel better about what I’m doing, I’m seeing progress, and that emotional lift that we have has value in the workplace, because I bring that attitude, I bring those thoughts, those behaviors to others. And so I think it really then, you know, that measurement starts to flip into Well, how do we measure some of the softer side? How do we measure, you know, whether it be NPS and how employees feel about, you know, whether or not they promote their organization, or their relationship with their peers, or their managers? Or how do we help reward them and align them with their potential or their passions, when they demonstrate those good things. I mean, that’s where it has to continue. And it may not be a measurement that, you know, an accounting function, or someone that’s a data analyst, you know, may perform, it really gets to the manager relationship, because managers that are successful, or leaders that are successful in the organization have a pulse on how their peep not only what they’re doing, but how they’re feeling about what they’re doing. And that feeling piece is where the experience comes in. And how we can help to evolve and move those measurements in a new direction, maybe isn’t always that hard cost, right, the hard ROI that’s on the books, it’s really those soft costs that are there.
Brent Skinner 32:48
I think you really hit it on the head there, though, with measurements, right? One of the things that, um, that that we talked about is the idea that, yeah, all of HCM is abstract, even payroll, there’s a huge amount of feeling behind getting paid, right? Even. It’s also a number, it’s also it’s also happens to be very quantifiable in terms of an actual dollar number, right? But it’s this idea that every single aspect of HCM has a potential concrete expression, a potential measurement associated with it, some of those are financial, financially related numbers. And some of them aren’t. But, but we’re still measuring, you know, so we were translating everything to a number, so that so that we can talk about it and gauge gauge, you know, success or a gauge, you know, our, our progress, progress is what I was looking for. Yeah, this is this is super interesting stuff. super interesting stuff. You know, customer experience. That’s something we haven’t we haven’t touched on as much today. But, but I am curious that you were talking about a little bit toward the beginning. But what’s what, what’s your philosophy around that? I know, you know, success, customer success, customer service condition, they’re all sort of subsets of customer experience. Is that
Brent Skinner 34:21
are there any
Brent Skinner 34:22
parallels here between customer experience and employee experience?
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 34:27
Absolutely. I think that, you know, there’s many cultures out there that do get it right. And they bring forward, you know, kind of the mantra your employees will never treat your customers better than you treat them. And it really, you know, companies have to have that trust, have to have that agreement of what they’re going to do fair pay for the work that they’re performing. before they can even enter into how they’re going to surprise how they’re to delight how they’re going to deliver good customer service. I mean, we model what we see. And we spend so much of our working days at work, listening to, you know, briefs or PowerPoint presentations on this project, or this strategy, or this new initiative, I’m going to model things that I see from leaders in the organization, to customers, all the way from how do I solve problems in my power to solve them? Or do I have to get three approvals before I can actually solve your problem? So I do think there is ultimately a relation, a direct relationship between the employee experience and the customer experience. I mean, everybody is driving to help make customers successful. That’s why we’re in business. You know, the function of customer success happens within organizations. But ultimately, it’s about those experiences that go from, you know, how we as an employer, in the employee relationship, treat our employees, how do we recognize them? How do we motivate them? How do we, you know, give them a span of control over their work in their day that bleeds directly into that interaction that they have with the customer? And the last thing I’ll say on that one is, it also is apparent, I don’t know about you. How many times I call in somewhere and they say, Oh, well, hold on, I have to check another system for that. Yeah. Oh, you want that information that’s not here. And this is where the technology part comes back into play. If we can’t provide our employees, the right tools to do the job, that’s going to give the customer the right experience. We haven’t set them up for success to begin with.
Brent Skinner 36:50
Brent Skinner 36:52
that’s a huge, huge point. You’re so right, you’re so right.
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 36:58
customers? And I think everyone is that is the organization’s customer in a way, even the employees, right? I mean, they’re not they’re not buying your product, but they’re, you should treat them as customers. And you’re absolutely right, we’re getting to that chicken, the chicken in the egg. Question around,
Brent Skinner 37:18
you know, which comes first? Is it the vision or the technology? And I think that’s the wrong question. I think it’s all together, it’s all together at the same time,
Brent Skinner 37:26
you’re absolutely right. If you, you can have a great customer experience vision for your organization. If you don’t have the technology to make it happen, then you’re not going to be able to provide that experience, although at least you know, at least at least now it matters to you, you don’t have the right technology in place, right? Yeah.
Theresa Harkins-Schulz 37:43
And I think that’s where companies have to start right is to look at what is the function, and I think this is where HR can really help the business and be a great business partner, but to help the organization understand, at its core, what is it that I need the employee to do? And what are the best tool sets that I can use to support them? Right? And then you look at going back to your hiring equation, what are the skills and the competencies, competencies that they need, but ultimately, it could be those softer, softer side of the cultural aspects, you know, what do I need for attitude? You know, I have worked for some organizations that have not had great technology are very disparate, have a lot of things going on, I used to have, one of my guiding principles when hiring individuals was I would ask them what their learning style was. And they always kind of, you know, we’re a little perplexed by the question. But ultimately, I wanted to find out, were they an individual who is expecting an organization that can hand them a manual, and from A to Z, everything you ever need to do is going to be written in this book. And all you’re going to do is follow the instructions, or you willing to go out, look for that information and help writing the book. Because those are two different types of personalities that exist out there in the workplace. And when you bring, you know those aspects together, I think that’s where ultimately, there’s an opportunity for HR to help with that technology piece. And even just looking at the tools that we get for HR, whether it be for benefits, whether it be for rewards and recognition or compensation or 401k is right. How do they how do we make that a better experience so that I’m not going to five or six or seven different systems to try to find things out? How do we you know, get breast to breed and better technology within the HCM space so that employees are not frustrated with the experience. That is probably one of the biggest things that I hear from buyers as well as employees is I just don’t want another system. And what do they want, you go back to it, they want to be able to play and they want purpose. So if I am going to be able to bring those two things in, I need a technology that is integrated into the work that I do every day and not something standalone out to the side. So great talking great, great
Brent Skinner 40:07
office been wonderful talking. I just looked at the time. We can probably keep going but a great stuff. Teresa, thanks so much for joining us. You got me thinking. And hey, join us again in the future. I’d love to have another one of these with you.
Brent Skinner 40:24
Yep, sounds great. Well, you have a wonderful day. Brent, thanks for your time.