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Tag Archives: Customer-centric Design

Transforming Employee Engagement into a Competitive Advantage? Here’s How

22 Oct

Organizations typically focus on Customer-centric Design in their Strategic Planning and overlook the critical driver of PerformanceGrowth, and Operational Excellence—their employees.  With cut-throat competition now the norm the realization has become clearer that employees are:

  • The face of the business and create lasting—or perishing—brand impression.
  • Sources of innovation and organizational knowledge.
  • Representation of the company’s service philosophy.
  • Expected to live by its Organizational Culture and values.

Employee Engagement has emerged as one of the significant pillars on which the Competitive Advantage, Productivity, and Growth of an organization rests.  What, exactly, does it mean when an employee is engaged?  Employee Engagement, over the years, has been thought of in terms of:

  • Personal engagement with the organization.
  • Focus on performance of assigned work.
  • Worker burnout.
  • Basic needs (meaningful work, safe workplace, abundant resources).
  • Attention on Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral components related to an individual’s performance.

Although Employee Engagement is widely seen as an important concept, there has been little consensus on its definition or its components either in business or in the academic literature.

Kumar and Pansari’s 2015 study define Employee Engagement as:

“a multidimensional construct that comprises all of the different facets of the attitudes and behaviors of employees towards the organization”.

The multidimensional construct of Employee Engagement has been synthesized into the following 5 components (or dimensions).

  1. Employee Satisfaction
  2. Employee Identification
  3. Employee Commitment
  4. Employee Loyalty
  5. Employee Performance

The 5 dimensions of Employee Engagement have been found to have a direct correlation with high profitability, as substantiated by a number of research studies:

For instance, a study of 30 companies in the airline, telecom and hotel industries shows a close relationship between Employee Engagement and growth in profits.  After controlling other relevant factors—i.e., GDP level, marketing costs, nature of business, and type of goods, the study found:

  • Highest profitability growth—10% to 15%—in companies with highly engaged employees.
  • Lowest level of profitability growth—0% to 1%—in companies with disengaged employees.

Research reveals that Employee Engagement affects 9 performance outcomes; including Customer Ratings, Profitability, Productivity, Safety Incidents, Shrinkage (theft), Absenteeism, Patient Safety Incidents, Quality (Defects), and Turnover.

The differences in performance between engaged and actively disengaged work units revealed:

  • Top half Employee Engagement scores nearly doubled the odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.
  • Companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS).

These 5 dimensions become the base for measuring Employee Engagement in a meaningful manner that permits managers to identify areas of improvement.  To assess an organization’s current status of Employee Engagement, a measurement system is needed that includes:

  • Metrics for each component of Employee Engagement.
  • A scale for scoring metrics in each component.
  • A comprehensive scorecard that pulls everything together.

Let us delve a little deeper into the first 2 dimensions of Employee Engagement.

Employee Satisfaction

Definition

Employee Satisfaction is the positive reaction employees have to their overall job circumstances, including their supervisors, pay and coworkers.

Details

When employees are satisfied, they tend to be:

  • Committed to their work.
  • Less absent and more productive in terms of quality of goods and services.
  • Connected with the organization’s values and goals.
  • Perceptive about being a part of the organization.

Metrics

The 5 metrics that gauge Employee Engagement in terms of Employee Satisfaction include:

  1. Receiving recognition for a job.
  2. Feeling close to people at work.
  3. Feeling good about working at the organization.
  4. Feeling secure about the job.
  5. Believing that the management is concerned about employees.

We take a look at another dimension central in significance.

Employee Commitment

Definition

Signifies what motivates the employees to do more than what’s in their job descriptions.

Details

Employee Commitment is much higher for the employees who identify with the organization.  This element:

  • Develops over time and is an outcome of shared experiences.
  • Is often an antecedent of loyalty.
  • Induces employees to guard the organization’s secrets.
  • Pushes employees to work for organization’s best interests.

Research has found that employees with the highest levels of commitment:

  • Perform 20% better.
  • Are 87% less likely to leave the organization.

Metrics

The 3 metrics that gauge the Employee Commitment dimension of Employee Engagement include:

  1. Commitment to deliver the brand promise along with knowledge of the brand.
  2. Very committed to delivering the brand promise.
  3. Feels like the organization has a great deal of personal meaning.

Interested in learning more about these foundational pillars to Employee Engagement? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 5 Dimensions of Employee Engagement here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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The 6 Pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Thinking: A New and Revolutionary Way of Looking at Supply Chain Management

7 Aug

Supply chain thinking used to be limited to the managers of a few global companies—companies that were struggling to coordinate internal information and materials. This, however, led to an exciting boom in cross-business coordination based on Supply Chain Management concepts.

Today, the field has broadened and shifted over time. Current supply chain trends—differentiation, outsourcing, compression, and collaboration—are being used to restructure supply networks and improve coordination. As more companies integrate their networks, capabilities are improving. The levels of product customization and business complexity are also increasing. As this continues, Supply Chain Management is being used in new ways to create uniquely defined customer relationships anchored on appropriate Customer-centric Design.

The field of Supply Chain Management will continue to influence companies. The best way to understand the impact of a long-term trend is to examine how the trend has changed the way executives view their businesses and what issues they choose to focus on.

Rationale Behind Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities. It is the management of the flow of goods and services. Essentially, Supply Chain Management addresses the fundamental business problems of supplying products to meet demand in a complex and uncertain world.

Conceptually, Supply Chain Management draws on the value chain concept of business strategist, Michael E. Porter. It conveys the idea of looking at the supply chain issue at the multi-company level.

As the global business environment becomes more complex and competitive, there have been shorter product life cycles and greater product variety. Due to this, it has increased supply chain costs and complexity. The birth and growth of outsourcing, globalization, and business fragmentation has resulted in a crucial need for supply chain integration. Coupled with advances in information technology, this has led to the creation of greater opportunity for Supply Chain Management.

Why is Supply Chain Management essential at this time? There is now an increasing need to create net value, build a competitive infrastructure, leverage worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand, and measure performance globally. Only Supply Chain Management has a systematic process to satisfy these increasing demands.

With the increasing application of Supply Chain Management, there have been shifts in the view of management and influencing Strategy Development.

The 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Management Thinking

The 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Management Thinking are the major shifts that have redefined management’s view which is far different from traditional Supply Chain thinking.

The first Core Pillar is Multi-company Collaboration. This is the shift from cross-functional integration to multi-company collaboration. Traditionally, Supply Chain thinking was focused on integrating within their companies. But with the new Supply Chain Management perspective, the focus now is on integrating across companies to coordinate and improve supply.

With the shift in thinking, what is asked now is how do we coordinate activities across companies, as well as across internal functions, to supply products to the markets. This is a great deviation from the traditional thinking which ask how do we get the various functional areas of the company to work together to supply product to our immediate customers.

With the first Core Pillar, we get to achieve significant breakthroughs. There are lower supply chain-related costs and improved responsiveness within a chain of companies.

The very essence of Multi-company Collaboration is rethinking how organizations align goals and make decisions.

The other Core Pillars are Market Mediation, Demand Focus, Product Design Influence, Business Model Innovation, and Customized Offerings. Each core pillar is considered an enabler that has a vast impact on Supply Chains.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the 6 pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) thinking? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about the 6 Pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Thinking here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

Cannot Close that Sale? Check-out Problem-centric Selling!

10 Jul

Nowadays, sales reps who get to close the sale are those sales reps who get to discover the customer’s real problems. With life getting more hectic and people always on the rush, customers only prefer to spend more on the phone with sales teams who “gets it.” These are the sales reps who do not only get to discover the customer’s real problem but also get to help them problem-solve in new ways.

Yet, a great number of salespersons miss closing the sale and reaching their quotas. In fact, in 2018, Salesforce found that more than 57% of sales representatives are expected to miss quotas for the year. This can be a challenge more so with organizations developing resolutions that revolve around increasing sales metrics and implementing new technologies.

The traditional method of selling is not enough anymore today. The first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve the core problem. A new method is now necessary that will require salespeople to first diagnose the real problem before coming up with the solution. This comes with a new Customer-centric Design.

The Future of Sales: The Upcoming Trends Salespeople Must Watch Out For

A survey was conducted on more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide. As a result of the survey, 5 Top Trends were revealed that are shaping up the world of sales. Two of these Top 5 Trends are changing sales mandate and the emergence of a Data-driven Sales Playbook.

  • Trend 1: As sales mandate change, teams are falling short of rising customer expectations. Technology is changing expectations on how companies should interact with consumers. It is now the salespeople who are on the frontline who are carrying the onus to deliver when customers demand more personalized consultative engagement. As a result, customer satisfaction has become the most-tracked sales Key Performance Indicator.
  • Trend 2: A Data-driven Sales Playbook is emerging. The ingenuity of salespeople with data-driven insights have been amplified. With the richness of data available, this has led to more effective methods of lead prioritization and forecasting.  There is now an increasing need for sales reps to prioritize leads based on data analysis rather than on intuition.

The effect of these Top 5 Trends has further been amplified with the increasing number of missed sales. Today, the traditional method of selling just does not work anymore.

A New Approach  to Selling: A Problem-centric Selling

The traditional method of selling is focused on determining the prospects’ needs. This does not work anymore as the first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve their core problems. There is now the need to shift to Problem-centric Selling.

Problem-centric Selling is an approach that diagnoses problems with as much specificity as possible. Often, the real problem is not well articulated by the potential buyer. With Problem-centric Selling, the specific customer needs are well identified thus enabling salespeople to better offer the right product or service.  It is thus important to integrating the philosophy of Problem-centric Selling into your Sales Management approach.

The Problem-centric Selling is anchored on 5 core elements.

Problem diagnosis starts with knowing and understanding your customer and their problems. This is where the first core element is centered on: Know the key facts about the customer.

Salespeople must be able to get a description of the environment of which the buyer works, the processes they use, the structure of the organization, the tools they have, the current goals of the business, and other information about the buyer and the business. The facts gathered must go beyond the basic name, size of the company, and the industry the business is in. This way, the salesperson can get to establish the context for where the customers’ problems lie.

The other 4 Core Elements are essentially important in guiding every salesperson to master the Problem-centric Approach and hit that sale with a successful deal.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Problem-centric Selling? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Problem-centric Selling here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

Developing an Innovation Mindset: Investing on Technology is Never Enough

13 Apr

Organizations today are spending money on the latest technologies and working hard to solve problems as they arise. Yet, sad to say, this is simply not enough.

Today, to get on top of today’s fiercely competitive business environment, organizations need to take a strategic move: Develop an Innovation Mindset. What is an Innovation Mindset? What does it take to develop an Innovation Mindset? Often, this can be mindboggling as we get confused as to understanding what is an Innovation Mindset. Developing an Innovation Mindset is never the mere act or intent of investing in technology. It goes beyond spending money on the latest technology.

Developing an Innovation Mindset is to undergo the transformation from an innovation-averse to a forward-thinking organization.

Understanding an Innovation Mindset: What It Takes to Develop One

Developing an Innovation Mindset requires scaling innovations repeatedly and making it grow as fast as others. Companies need to depart from adopting technologies as point solutions to evolving future systems. This can be achieved by cultivating the mindset and methods of the top 10%.

The top 10% are the Leaders in Innovation Management that are already enjoying a considerable head start and are not standing still. The systems they have put in place are specifically designed to not only accommodate innovations but also scale them across the enterprise.

Developing an Innovation Mindset Starts with the Right Tools

To foster than Innovation Mindset, we need to put in place 5 key principles.

These 5 principles can provide organizations the foundation on developing Innovation Mindsets.  There first 2 are defined as:

  1. Adopt technologies that make the organization fast and flexible. Consumers now demand that companies are fast and flexible. The market is getting impatient when there are delays and so structured that it ceases to be an organization with a Customer-centric Design. Principle 1 focuses on making organizations fast and flexible. Achieving this call for efficient use of decoupling data, infrastructure, and applications to achieve greater flexibility and a faster-moving IT culture.
  2. Get grounded in cloud computing. This principle is focused on catalyzing innovation. Adopting this principle will enable organizations to maximize the use of the cloud to successfully utilize other technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and analytics.

There are 3 other principles that organizations must take notice of and focus on. The other 3 principles are recognizing data as being both an asset and a liability, managing technology investments well across the enterprise, and finding creative ways to nurture talent.
Integrating these principles in the organization’s journey towards Digital Transformation will promote the development of an Innovation Mindset. When this happens, we can expect our organization to keep up with the pace and catch up.

What Does It Take to Have an Innovation Mindset

Developing an Innovation Mindset has led leaders to take command and be in-charge of market demands. Leaders are adopting DevOps, automation, and continuous integration/continuous deployment at a faster rate than Laggards. Let us take a look at a Travel Industry disruptor. The company migrated its platform to microservice as part of decoupling initiatives.

As a result of taking this initiative, rapid response to change was achieved. This also enhanced its capability to add new features as the company experiences explosive growth.

Let us take a look at a more internationally recognized company: Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay), the Alibaba Group’s financial arm. The organization embedded cloud services and AI across multiple processes and product lines. Furthermore, AI capabilities were offered to external ecosystem partners.

Today, Ant Financial can instantly assess the credit risks of underserved people who may not have bank accounts and even target them with loan offers. The overall cost was reduced by 50% and the company experienced a 10-fold increase in daily visitors.

Developing an Innovation Mindset is key.

Interested in gaining more understanding of developing an Innovation Mindset? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Developing an Innovation Mindset here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Best Practices: Your Guide to Driving Performance Improvements

18 Mar

More sophisticated managers explicitly use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to promote cross-functional–not just vertical–alignment. For them, KPIs are the means and methods for rigorously defining and measuring the fundamentals that matter.

Why are KPIs important? If used effectively, KPIs can clearly track value creation and deliver value for its stakeholders – customers, employees, and investors.

KPIs are being used by organizations in different ways. Yet, there are clear and measurable differences that exist in terms of how it is being used. There are organizations that use KPIs to monitor and assess performance while there are those that use KPIs to guide and drive performance improvements. Data-driven and customer-oriented leaders use KPIs in practicing Customer-centric Design, while those more concerned with hitting their numbers remain focused on efficiencies.

There are 4 primary best practices for Key Performance Indicators that organizations should follow. These best practices are every organization’s guide to using KPIs to drive performance improvements.

The 4 KPIs Best Practices

The 4 KPI Best Practices can demonstrate the effective use of KPIs to reflect and illuminate the strategic priority of organizations.

  1. Focus on Customer Experience (CX). The first KPI Best Practice, Focus on Customer Experience is focused on an increased understanding of customers’ wants and needs. There is a renewed emphasis on learning more about users of products. The main objective of focusing on customer experience is turning customers into brand advocates and evangelists. When KPIs are focused on customers beyond the sales funnel, this encourages an organization to realign itself around sharing, coordination, and collaboration.
  2. Identify Top KPIs. When top KPIs are identified, it is basically identifying the priority KPIs. Doing this requires identifying the appropriate number of KPIs to prioritize. There are guide questions than can help organizations in the prioritization of the KPIs. One of the questions can be “Is there a consensus on how KPIs affirm and support strategy? Another significant question can be one that points to how directly the functional KPIs contribute to enterprise success. When going through this process, it is important that leaders understand how KPIs interrelate and align.
  3. Foster Enterprise-wide Discussion of KPIs. A very critical Best Practice, the third KPI Best Practice is focused on reinforcing the company’s culture. In fostering enterprise-wide discussion of KPIs, KPIs must be central to leadership conversations around driving organizational behavior and change. It is not merely an assessment tool. If KPIs are not front and center at a management meeting, there is something wrong with the meeting, the management, or the KPIs.
  4. Treat KPIs as Special Class Data. Treat KPIs as Special Class Data is the fourth KPI Best practice that is essential in process transformation and automation. Organizations must understand that data and analytics are the raw ingredients of KPIs. KPIs special class as a data asset will become even more important as they become an input to ML algorithm and process automation. In the years to come, organizations can expect that data capability that supports more complex KPIs will become a source of competitive advantage.

What Matters Most

It is very clear that KPIs play a vital role in directing the priorities of organizations. With the changing global economy, organizations have been recognizing the importance of Customer Focus. In fact, it has taken a priority seat and identified as the top KPI by executives.

But does this hold true to all organizations? Identifying top KPIs is important but organizations must know the right way to identify the appropriate number of KPIs and prioritize them. It is important to note that KPIs must align well with the organization’s internal processes with its external customer behaviors.

Customer Focus is a priority, but is it also your priority KPI?

Interested in gaining more understanding of the KPI best practices? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Best Practices here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.


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