Season 3, Episode 32: Improving the Stakeholder Experience

Rick Pastore, Senior Director and Technology Research Advisory discusses findings from our recent research looking at “Improving the Stakeholder Experience,” including what approaches work best and what distinguishes high-performing companies from their peers.

Show Notes:

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from top experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Gary Baker, Group Global Communications director at The Hackett Group. His guest is Rick Pastore, senior director and technology research advisor at The Hackett Group.

The concept of employee and customer experience is a major aspect of The Hackett Group’s Digital World Class™ Performance Benchmark. As companies transform and modernize digitally, we see them changing the ways they deliver for their customers and enable their workforce to be productive and effective. The Hackett Group wanted to further explore how companies are improving their stakeholder experiences. This was examined across the business services function at global, midsized and large enterprises. The Hackett Group defined stakeholders as the employees of the organizations rather than the customers.
Among the big-picture findings of the study, they found that improving the stakeholder experience is a strategic priority high on the list for many organizations. However, the progress has been slow in building that experience. They also found that the business services functions are going at it alone. Very few organizations have an enterprisewide goal or program in place. They found ample room to adopt some of these practices.

When it came to the kinds of stakeholder experiences companies are targeting for improvement, The Hackett Group found three most predominant. First was collaboration with the function on projects and initiatives. Second was the transactional engagement with the various functions, as opposed to the strategic collaboration. Third was to really improve the collaborative capability among stakeholders. Among the respondents, top performers were separated out as their own group. These 14% of respondents had the most progress in elevating their experiences based on how they were tracking and measuring them over the last few years.

Improving the stakeholder experience is an investment that costs money. The most improved group increased their investment over the past two years at nearly twice the rate of the peer group. Top performers are expected to increase their investment about 9.5% over the next few years moving forward. The top five methods for improving stakeholder experience were ranked by all respondents in terms of their impact. First was the routine, regular interaction of function employees with their stakeholders. Second, employees having some sort of evaluation and compensation tied to the experience satisfaction rates of their stakeholders. Third was deploying those all-important tools that enable virtual and hybrid workforces to engage with each other. Fourth was the entire category of the voice-of-the-customer tools. Fifth was linking the performance evaluation and compensation of function leaders to employees to experience satisfaction.

The study also uncovered effective approaches that many companies are simply not making use of. Two of them are tying either the employees or leaders’ evaluation and compensation to the experience goals and metrics. Another is looking at omnichannel platforms so that stakeholders have another way to interact with the technology function. Lastly, in this category, specifically for the technology function, is involving stakeholders in solution development to a greater degree.

There are a few critical factors that seem to really make a difference in separating top performers from everyone else. First, it is critical that the function leader is behind the mission. It also helps if your business overall has a culture oriented toward stakeholder experience. Then, there is the maturity of the function’s business partnering organization and processes. Clearly defined goals and metrics are also important. Lastly, the talent and training of the people who interact with stakeholders is critical. Again, top-level sponsorship from the business really differentiates top performers. The most improved organizations who responded have that linkage to digital transformation programs.

More and more employee engagement is happening through technology. Thus, many organizations are putting in place technology-centric initiatives to help improve experience satisfaction. Standout technologies include collaboration tools, self-service systems for transactional types of engagement and knowledge management tools. In closing, Rick highlights the key advice for organizations to improve their stakeholder experiences. What’s really moving the business needle for stakeholders is effective access to data. Finally, we are urged to consider technology as an accelerator.

Timestamps:

  • 00:51 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Gary Baker.
  • 01:12 – Rick provides an overview of the study.
  • 00:51 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Gary Baker.
  • 01:12 – Rick provides an overview of the study.
  • 02:58 – The big-picture findings.
  • 05:02 – What kinds of stakeholder experiences are companies targeting for improvement?
  • 07:09 – The investments organizations are making to improve stakeholder experience.
  • 08:43 – The five most effective methods for improving stakeholder experience.
  • 12:20 – Effective approaches for improvement often overlooked by organizations.
  • 14:37 – Critical success factors separating top performers from everyone else.
  • 19:08 – What technologies are companies deploying in support of improving the stakeholder experience?
  • 21:02 – Closing thoughts and advice.