In a retail industry goods and services are sold to customers through various distribution channels and different business approach aiming to increase profits. Every industry faces its own challenges and pain points and there is no exception for retail industry. Large retailers have successfully set up the inventory management system, marketing plans and solid customer base yet they face different challenges for instance in engaging their employees and utilization of technology in business or moving from traditional approach to a modern way of operating businesses. A few retailer front liners’ pain points and solutions are highlighted below.
Pain Point 1 : Managing Ever Changing Customer Needs
Customers love to change their needs and their preferences frequently. Adapting to seasonal trends such as hiring seasonal worker, festival campaigns and creative marketing approach during festive season helps retailers to thrive and achieve their business goals. Getting rid of traditional learning methods and follow the customer buying pattern and needs determines business success.
Solution : A bite size learning such as Podcast and Vodcast and other tools that SelfDrvn has introduced helps to increase the interest and speed of learning among learners. They now understand learning is in our hands and just a click away
Pain Point 2 : Increase Training Efficiency among the Retailers
The conventional training in the retail industry can be expensive, time consuming and fail to meet the goals. The cost of getting the outlets employee can be exorbitant both in terms of time, sales loss and money.
Solution : SelfDrvn solutions harness the power of an engaging learning platform with anytime and anywhere access. No more additional 8 hours’ time for training, they can learn on the go with mobile application during the break and free time and engage closely with their colleagues.
Mobile learning or more commonly known as m-learning support learning with the learning needs and gives them the flexibility to learn and make learning more interactive and engaging. Many task and communication efforts with their colleagues can be done electronically with their own pace.
Pain Point 3 : Employee Engagement, Retention & Talent Development
Lack of engagement highly contributes to high staff turnover within retail industry, and is hitting high in several countries. Employees that stays around are working within an uninspiring work atmosphere. This leads to low engagement levels gearing towards unable to foster talent and unleash their true potential.
Solution : It’s time to roll-out #gamification in your engagement strategy. Learners tend to love your training content and wants to come back for more as they seek to top your Leaderboard with points and several badges. The retail industry is highly seeking for engagement champion and we in SelfDrvn is here to help them achieve their goals through our platform.
SelfDrvn Tailor Made Solutions
This client of us is experiencing fragmented communication across WhatsApp and email without no direct channel between HR and marketing teams. Furthermore, they lack of clear way to motivate employees across compliance, learning and performance outcomes and besides of managing customers, business and team, store manager is loaded with manual admin and coordination. Over the time this becomes a biggest pain point for our client and without further delay SelfDrvn jumped in to provide solutions.
Since internal communication is one of their biggest drawback, we focused on it and proposed the below solutions.
Onboarding – Through Quest, SelfDrvn tool, it enabled HR onboarding checklist to be paperless, and step by step walkthrough for faster onboarding process. New joiners are now able to post on News feed and access to learning material via the platform. In other words, on-boarding becomes simplified and an easy walkthrough for new workers on compliance and learning.
Aligned Communication – SelfDrvn introduced a single platform for two-way communication channel, build effective communication that drives motivation & performance with easy information sharing. Employees are now able to connect directly with HR, Marketing for inquiries and it notifies employees for HR Approval in real-time. Employee has easily access to HR application and latest product updates and promotion can be shared or announced in a single platform.
Performance – By using our platform it allows individual KPI and goals to become transparent whereby Employees have a solid understanding on day-to-day responsibilities affect the company goals. This further enables healthy competition among employees through Leaderboard and helps to identify Top Performers and Under-Performers on a real-time basis that allows faster intervention especially for those who are under-performers.
Rewards & Recognition – We drive intrinsic motivation with rewards and recognition, promote positive behavior changes through timely recognition, acknowledge Top Performers with Real-World Rewards, publicize Achievements (Employee of the Month) to create multiplier effect. On top of that, leaderboard enables achievement transparency and healthy competition among employees. The platform allows publicly recognize top performer (Employee of the month) on the platform in real-time and also incentivise employees with real-world rewards
In a nutshell, SelfDrvn has successfully supported our clients in the retail industry in managing learning, engagement, rewards and recognition as well as performance using different and customizable tools and techniques.
Employee engagement brings sense of ownership towards the organization
Engagement driven leadership is definitely a part of leadership by example or being a role model as an extraordinary leader. A leader without title still manages to create followers via engaging them and creating the importance of the presence. Many studies show that the more engaged the employee is the higher the chances of retaining them in the organization be it at emotional or at rational engagement Engaging employee and keep them motivated and retaining them in the organization is a challenging task for many.
Engaging employees is absolutely a topic of key concern among organization and talents and it sternly embeds with talent retention. An engaged employees have a great sense of ownership towards the organization and the leaders (role model), and most likely to stay longer than the other employees and contribute enormously both in their personal growth and to the organization’s success leading way to higher customer satisfaction as well as new businesses.
Leaders who fail to fulfill employee engagement soon or later have to follow the business nearest exit door. It’s time for leaders to establishing a robust reputation, attract and retain talents via in the business world of engagement as the core.
Digital integration to enhance customer relationship, employee engagement and business solutions
In SelfDrvn we work closely with renowned clients with a robust and noteworthy customer base coming from various industries and background. As we have established a solid relationship and significant reputation with our clients, they are always keen to share their engagement plan and strategy for digital integration purpose. One of the substantial learning point for us from these clients is how leaders and companies adopt and welcome ideas with open hands especially from the Gen Y. The ideas gathered through various channels such as organization climate survey, idea box, ongoing surveys and weekly/monthly meetings are then filtered by the cross teams and goes to the hands of the leaders for further engagement efforts. This clearly indicates the great importance that these leaders and organizations give to both employee ideas and concerns to further enhance customer relationship, employee engagement and business solutions.
Our client, Nettium has expressed that SelfDrvn tool has helped and supported the leaders in engaging employees especially the younger workforce. The gamification tool that we applied on them has positively resulted in leaders to be understanding their younger generation workstyle and needs, which further assisted them in solid and engaging management as leaders.
Another feature that Nettium has benefited from SelfDrvn is adopting the feedback culture embedded as one of our services to client. Employee perceive it as a 360-degree feedback tool that anonymously support in promoting the feedback culture in Nettium from their peers as well as managers. With such features, manager has embarked on their self-improvement based on the feedback given by employees and has strengthen their leadership skills along the way.
A good leader has the ability to champion this and manage it tactfully. In other words, engaging talents fuels leadership skills leading towards empowerment and retention at workplace. Extraordinary and successful world leaders involve their team and make them feel valued and engaged and part of the organization.
Transparency and rewards based leadership suits in managing the current generation workforce. Keeping this in mind, SelfDrvn has one of the features allowing employees to voice out their opinions based on the survey questions with point accumulation at the same time. These points later can be used for redemption and also use it for monthly auction purpose.
Leaders who build purpose of employee existence and work on on-going effort to engage them in the team and organization fuels sense of belonging to the organization. Employees feel connected and may be glued to such role models and those leaders always strive in engaging them in every single efforts and keep them informed.
Three key aspects of employee engagement – Motivation, Communication and Bonding
These factors can make or break working relationship and plays an important role in bringing employee under one umbrella within aligned core value and unified goals. An essential challenge is how leaders act as role model and drive the entire engagement efforts instead of being a components of engagement.
Failure to engage employee most likely leads to increased cost to the company and higher turnover. There are many leadership traits but an engaging leader is becoming more prevalent particularly in ensuring to accomplish task through employees and involved employee in. Can you recall the best leader you came across in your life? Was the leader engaging and uplift you and your career in the organization?
Start to Lead!
Faced with making a decision that could have potentially disastrous consequences, would you bite the bullet and take accountability? Or would you see how you could buy yourself a little more time, get just that little bit more information that will help steer you in the right direction and wait for more clarity? Often enough, if we have the opportunity to postpone or delay a decision, we would take it gladly, especially if it was critical enough in nature. Though a non-decision in many ways is still a decision, time and time again we see how fear drives us all.
Nobody wants to take the fall for making a bad call. Although our work responsibilities necessitate us making quick decisions, we tend to stall in hopes of more clarity and higher probabilities of success.
Facets of Making Effective Decisions
As leaders and managers, perhaps we believe we need to make all the decisions before us but that is not true. As leaders, our job is to lead and making decisions is but one facet of the role. But with decisions to be made across a spectrum of things, large and small, that may affect one or many across an enterprise, how are we to make good decisions?
The modern enterprise is fraught with many challenges. Layers of organisational hierarchy, informational siloes, an inundation of data from a variety of sources and all the trappings we as managers insert into our processes supposedly to help, not hinder, all contribute to make decision making into that nightmare many of us face on a daily basis.
How can decision making be stripped back to its basics so that it enables us to do what we need to do – making better decisions?
First, it starts with trust.
The entire point of hiring people is to help us get things done which necessitates managers getting out of the way once tasks are appointed. Trust that the people we’ve hired to help us grow our business can do the task set and let them get on with it.
Second, it continues with empowerment.
This necessitates a few things. Organisations need to arm their people with the skills and information they require to do their job. Clarity of objectives, effective planning and a proper handoff are all critical for achieving success. Empowerment also means a willingness to allow someone else to call the shots, make the big decisions and then to see how things transpire. In effect, there is an acceptance of the possibility of inherent failure because we do not control every aspect of the decision-making process.
Third, it ends with accountability.
Together with the trust and empowerment bestowed, is the expectation that the decision-maker is now accountable for what happens consequent to the decisions made? Why is accountability so important? Because someone must take the fall, must be held responsible. Because the buck has to stop somewhere. In our experiences within our own organisations and in the news we see, we note how organisations are increasingly complex, how individuals hide behind the corporate veil, how accountabilities are murky and decision making processes involve a ton of paperwork, governance and time. Can things be overlooked? Can disasters take place? Can lives be lost? Of course, which is why all decisions need to be supported by accountability.
Fourth, it involves building into the decision the action to carry it out.
What does this mean? As Peter F. Drucker stated in his 1967 HBR seminal article, The Effective Decision, “Converting the decision into action is the fifth major element in the decision process. While thinking through the boundary conditions is the most difficult step in decision making, converting the decision into effective action is usually the most time-consuming one. Yet a decision will not become effective unless the action commitments have been built into it from the start.” In other words, decision making is not just about theory – it is about doing what needs to be done to support the decision made.
Decisions without actions are merely empty words. Set an actionable plan from the start to ensure that decisions can be carried out quickly and effectively.
McKinsey in their work helping organisations become more agile, have found that it is possible to accelerate the improvement of decision making by categorising the types of decisions made – they’ve observed four types of decisions : big-bet decisions, cross-cutting decisions, delegated decisions and ad hoc decisions.
Decision-making, like many other things in life, require deliberate practice. More importantly, it also requires quiet reflection post-decisions so that thinking and actions can be reviewed for betterment. Decisions need to be tracked, feedback on decisions need to be sought so that relevant parties can take a look at both decisions made and the manner in which they are made.
Ultimately, good decisions are borne of experience and much as we don’t want to admit, many of these experiences are the result of bad decisions which we come to learn from.
The employee experience is about the entire journey – every touchpoint, every interaction of an employee’s time spent within an organisation. For many Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers, this may take place over the course of years, if not decades but for many folks today, it may be a period of months or a few short years. Nevertheless, it is still about the journey.
This begs the question, if we can positively impact the employee experience (EE), if we can create memorable experiences, do these not make a difference in their lives and the work they create? Yes, of course it does.
Crafting a positive employee experience involves the entire journey an employee will go through.
Organisational Structures Need to Change
Perhaps, that is the reason why EE has become such a trend. Jacob Morgan talks about the emergence of roles like “Global Chief Employee Experience Officer” or “Head of Employee Experience”. Denise Lee Yohn, in her Forbes article, talks about 2018 being the year of employee experience. What does all this mean?
It is recognition of the clear correlation between frontline engagement, customer service, productivity, performance as well as revenue growth. This affects all employees – candidates, contingent workers as well as alumni. With this correlation must come the shift in our approach from instructional design to experience design. When it comes to experiences, organisations have long held the view that it is about the employee fitting into the organisational culture. It has long been about how we need to get our people aligned to our organisational objectives.
Employee Experience is Built By Your People
But work has meaning not just for the organisation but for the people within. Work brings meaning to our lives, helping us connect the individual tasks we accomplish with the greater goals we work to achieve. As such, organisations need to come half way, realising that it is incumbent upon them to meet the employee at the middle. We, as organisations, need to not just fit employees into our organisational culture. These employees create the very culture itself. When we talk about learning and development, our goal should no longer be about finding out what’s missing in the employee toolkit but rather, asking them what they would like to learn. Our goal should be as Josh Bersin puts it, “to deliver learning to where people are”.
“Employees create the very culture itself.” Get your people aligned to shared organisational objectives.
The focus is on the employee. It is not about what we want from them on their first day, for example. Rather, it is about asking what we’d want their first day to be like. The difference is subtle yet palpable.
In the Deloitte 2017 Report, Reimagine and Craft the Employee Experience: Design Thinking in Action, there is clear reference to the need for design thinking to come front and centre, with 3 principles being fundamental to effectively engaging the workforce.
Principle One – Empathise
The first principle is empathy – that empathy helps you see things differently, allowing you to create different experiences which can have varying levels of engagement. As you move up in your career, you will notice less focus and importance placed on your technical ability and far more focus on those skills that really matter – the ability to influence, to listen well, to empathise, to connect, to collaborate and to lead. This is why empathy matters.
It is a skill that allows us to understand, to share and connect with others in terms of what they see, hear and feel. In other words, it allows us to step into the shoes of another. How are we to effect change, to solve problems, to think up new solutions if we only ever see things from our own narrow world-view? This is why empathy is the first of five blocks in Ideo’s Design Thinking Framework.
Principle Two – Envision
The second principle is about stepping outside ourselves because to envision, we must generate a variety of options and see how these can become potential solutions. It is about understanding that we need not be limited into thinking that there is only the one way forward or a zero-sum game.
Principle Three – Experiment
The third principle is experimentation. In another word, testing, where you collect both qualitative and quantitative data so that you are data-driven. You get closer and closer to a more meaningful evaluation of your problem. This helps you come up with solutions that are more targeted.
We worry that that AI and increased automation will take away many jobs. Yes, it will but at the same time, it will free us to do more meaningful and valuable work. The kind of work that matters. If we want that to grow, to develop further, to manifest in a variety of ways previously unimagined, then we need to craft the kind of employee experiences that touch us in more ways than one.
SelfDrvn, an all-in-one tech platform to retain, reward and engage talent, has become the first Malaysian company to be featured in the Gartner Hype Cycle! SelfDrvn was listed as a vendor in the Worker Engagement Platform category for the 2018 Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace.
What is the Gartner 2018 Hype Cycle Report?
Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle measures the maturity and adoption rates of various technologies and provides insight into how relevant they are in solving business problems. The Hype Cycle helps you discern the hype from what is commercially viable by providing a graphical representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications. This helps you discover how one technology or application can evolve over time.
Previous Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, 2017. Source: Gartner
Each Hype Cycle drills down into 5 key phases of a technology’s life cycle, namely:
- Innovation Trigger;
- Peak of Inflated Expectations;
- Trough of Disillusionment;
- Slope of Enlightenment; and finally,
- Plateau of Productivity.
By mapping out the technology against the different phases of its life-cycle, stakeholders and potential investors can then decide how soon to get on board, how to reduce risk on their tech investment decisions and compare the investment against potential business value.
The Hype Cycle for the Digital Workspace report includes suggestions for potential advancements and suggestions for best-fit solutions and vendors.
SelfDrvn, sample Vendor in the Worker Engagement Platform category
This year, SelfDrvn was listed as a vendor in the Worker Engagement Platform category with the following metrics:
Benefit Rating : High
Market Penetration : 1 – 5 percent of target audience
Maturity : Emerging
Worker Engagement Platforms are designed to boost employee engagement and motivation by providing positive worker experiences. Behavioural economics and positive psychology represent some of the focus areas in order to maximise worker adoption.
Gartner’s VP of research and HR tech Ron Hanscome explains – these platforms are designed to incorporate various disciplines such as gamification, corporate social responsibility, social recognition tools as well as industry-specific workforce management solutions. The aims are simple – increase engagement and performance by looking at elements such as recommendations, mindfulness and connecting through purpose.
Multiple activities are supported such as regular feedback, coaching, competition, team or social activities, personalisation as well as social recognition. Game-style mechanics help to increase adoption in general. Worker engagement with the platform is, therefore, quite high thanks to these activities. Consequently, workers provide more input and feedback on work-related factors. Among other things, they can discuss work schedules, best practices and working conditions, thus providing real-time feedback on their engagement level.
Worker engagement platforms are an emerging aspect of the current digital workplace. As employees are increasingly mobile and on-line, such platforms reach out to the evolving needs of the workforce today.
Strong correlation between engagement and business impact
Employee engagement correlates very strongly with business performance as indicated by numerous studies by Gartner, Gallup, Hay, Willis Towers Watson and more. Worker motivation and engagement are critical in any work environment especially when innovation, creativity and cross-collaboration is called upon. Disciplines such as neuroscience, behavioural economics and positive psychology, when embedded in these platforms, teach us a great deal about motivating individuals.
Organisations today should have a strong focus on employee engagement in the workplace. Ron Hanscome suggests that by investigating and piloting some of the tools and techniques showcased, organisations can come to their own decisions about the strengths and weaknesses of these different tools fitting into their individual organisational culture and context. As these solutions are still emerging, there is no commonly defined feature set. The use of leading design practices such as the use of personas or worker journey mapping will help ensure functionality improvement and better worker experiences.
SelfDrvn was established in 2015 by our CEO, Lam Mun Choong — an entrepreneur with a background in software engineering and a passion for understanding human sciences. Our mission is to enable a world where employee wellbeing is the key to company success. We want to help companies develop a thriving workplace culture that can build great employee engagement, recognition, retention and performance. So we’ve designed a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform that can help organisations improve engagement with their employees and customers through effective communication, gamification and behavioral analytics. Our product is part technology, part psychology, and part process. We believe that positive empowerment and people-centred strategies are the keys to building a successful business.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
The Gartner Peer Insights Logo is a trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc., and/or its affiliates, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
Gartner – “9 Questions That Should Be in Every Employee Engagement Survey”
Gartner – “Hype Cycle For the Digital Workplace, 2018”
Gallup – “How Employee Engagement Drives Growth”
Willis Towers Watson – “The Power of Three – Taking Engagement to New Heights”
Our (and Nettium’s) CEO, Lam Mun Choong was a keynote speaker at the 2018 Talent Ecosystem Conference, held on the 15th of August at Connexion, Bangsar South. He delivered a session on the topic of “Driving Business Outcomes by Focusing on the Employee Experience”.
Mun Choong first introduced the concept of design thinking – a process that serves as a protocol for solving problems and discovering new opportunities. Deloitte research indicates that companies where HR delivers the highest levels of value are almost 5X more likely to be using design thinking in their programmes compared to their peers.
Central Aspects of EX
When his team (Nettium) first approached the idea of designing their EX, they centered their strategy around addressing employee needs, making work more human, and to make work simpler through living out company values. Applying design thinking, his focus has been on three central aspects of the EX – culture, the workspace and technology.
Nettium’s Improved Benchmarks
Mun Choong outlined some intriguing statistics from Nettium over a 3-year period, ending 2015. While Nettium showed a 2X rise in headcount (86 to 174), the company’s productivity index went up by 2.5X, quality index by 1.4X, and customer satisfaction rose from a B- to a B+.
Nettium also showed lower absenteeism, which brought more than MYR1.36 million to their annual bottom line. A higher rate of employee advocacy was seen as well, which contributed to more than MYR600,000 in annual savings for their recruitment costs. More than 50% of all employees hired up to now have been coming in through employee referrals.
These findings have reinforced the belief that a good EX contributes significantly to the bottom line. Hence, should be approached with some rigour.
Here’s a sneak peek into the 3 central aspects of Nettium’s EX that Mun Choong shared.
The Employee Experience – Culture
There are three gaps, in particular, that Mun Choong wanted to address. First, the knowledge gap because employees often lack an awareness of the culture that the organisation needs. They are often more concerned with their own situation.
Second, the mindset gap – not everyone will believe in the culture that the organisation needs. You will, therefore, need to spend time to see how you can bridge this gap.
Finally, the behaviour gap where employees do not always incorporate the behaviours related to the culture that the organisation needs.
All 3 gaps had to be filled before focusing on communicating the importance of culture. Leaders have the responsibility to manage things operationally based on the culture they create. This involved budgets, structures they establish, as well as policies they enforce.
The Employee Experience – The Workspace
Mun Choong wanted the workplace to be employee-centric, which reflecting the company’s aspirations and values. He involved the employees from the start. The office is Instagram-able, and creates a sense of belonging and pride for all. The workspace helps greatly in employer branding.
Flexible options are present, ranging from open, team-based workspaces, stand-up meetings, sofas and cafes, recreation and nap rooms. He mentioned that people often ask about the purpose of a nap and games room – is he encouraging his people to sleep on the job, or play when they should be working? Would it not be distracting?
Mun Choong’s response was that the environment needs to be a product of the people who have to live and breathe there for a significant portion of their lives. With a 74/26 male to female ratio where the average age is 29, this is what was in demand. He trusts that people will enjoy and appreciate the environment, and trust that they will accomplish what they need to. The philosophy is, “We treat people they way they want to be treated and the way they deserve to be treated.”
Games room (there’s a PS4, pool table, and foosball table)
Yoga classes to unwind after a long day at work.
The Employee Experience – Tech
Mun Choong decided that helping managers become better coaches and mentors would be a key piece to the positive EX by providing more insight into individual strengths, motivation and stress factors. After all, Gallup research showed that managers account for up to 70 percent of variance in employee engagement.
Behavioural analytics are used to determine the cultural fit, as well as opportunities for job crafting.
Building the culture around collaboration and continuous feedback was going to help. He knew that he could allow technology to become an enabler for a whole host of things – personalised micro learning, provide real-time employee recognition, personalised rewards and flex benefits, help employees improve self-awareness and achieve their goals in real-time.
In his closing notes, he summarised that EX does help to drive better business outcomes. If employers can connect the relationship between the two strongly, they can ensure greater longevity in these campaigns and a better business all around.
This blog post showcases some key slides from Mun Choong’s keynote speech. To get the full public release set of slides, let us know your email here and we’ll email you a copy!