From Personas to Journey Mapping and Beyond: Quantifying the Employee Experience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to measuring and developing employee journeys. Your industry and organizational culture will help you decide what's important to measure and how to apply those statistics in your employee journey development. Yet as I covered in my last article, "Lies, Damned Lies and (Productivity) Statistics," going through these exercises can help you identify weak processes and areas for improvement, provided you approach your metrics with a critical eye.
Employee Persona Development: Do Your Research
Unless you're at the small end of small-to-medium businesses, it's unlikely everyone will use the same technology in the same way every day. Which brings us to persona development. Personas can be developed based on the different roles existing across the organization, but remember: you cannot develop a persona for every job description or title. Instead we group similar areas together to come up with more generic personas. One persona might cover executives and senior management who are interested in receiving reports, updates and approval requests and exceptions they need to manage.
Sales might have a range of related personas: sales engineers, customer success managers, who use the same systems such as Salesforce, Zendesk, etc. HR may have a role or two, again based on the level of seniority and the systems they use to do their day to day tasks.
Research is a big part of persona development, from pulling the stats on intranet use, enterprise search use, down to the numbers for major technology platforms in use by different roles across the organization. Interviews and possibly focus groups will help you gain an understanding of how employees are using the technology provided, including potentially uncovering some shadow IT use cases, where employees use tools unsanctioned by the organization to accomplish tasks.
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Employee Journey Mapping: How Granular Do You Go?
Further research will move you from personas to journey maps — where you cover not only what tools and technologies employees use and how, but when and where. If the stats tell you the corporate comms news app sees traffic spike between 7:30 am and 9:00am, you may want to check with some employees to see if and why they are reading the corporate news on their commute into the office.
Depending on the size of the organization and the number of detailed personas you have, you can end up generating a number of employee journey maps that help you understand the day to day tasking, the impacts of technology provision on the employee and the usage patterns. Below is a high-level example of an employee journey map:
Related Article: Why You Need to Map the Employee Journey
A New Source of Data — Personal Analytics
A new source to consider is the analytics provided by some applications. Although it is not the first, or only platform providing them, I am going to use the Microsoft Office 365 MyAnalytics capability as an example, mostly because I have just started playing with it myself.
The documentation landing page on the Microsoft site gives a good overview of the capabilities provided by My Analytics, the personal dashboard, the Insights add-in used in Outlook, and more. Note there is a privacy guide page too. MyAnalytics is built to be GDPR compliant, although it notes in bold it is “not designed to enable employee evaluation, tracking, automated decision-making, profiling or monitoring.” Good, glad we cleared that up (although plenty of other tools do all these things if you're interested).
So what does it provide? MyAnalytics provides the individual with data-driven insights based on:
- Email, calendar, chat and call activity generated by and in Office 365.
- Windows 10 activity history data: whether you worked on a document, or browed the web or used apps on your laptop, etc.
- Data that would be otherwise unavailable to the individual employee but is presented in aggregated form to protect individual privacy.
Why provide you with this data? Microsoft suggests it can help strengthen your working relationships by growing your network and improving team meetings. It can also help you find more time to focus on work projects by eliminating distractions and preventing your ill-fated attempts at multi-tasking.
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The data is accessible through a dashboard page, and through built-in functionality in Outlook.
I will let you read up on the Microsoft pages linked, and play with it yourself to decide if you find the functionality useful. For example, my focus and collaboration figures are off because my organization uses GoToMeeting and not Skype for Business or Teams for online meetings. We also use our own in house chat-based collaboration platform which we sell (eating our own dog food and all that). So as we are not “all in” on Office 365, utilizing every tool at or disposal, therefore the percentages are off. Which of course is fine, provided you take it into account — the dashboard and its numbers can still be useful.
Related Article: Enterprise Personal Analytics: The Solution to Lagging Productivity?
Bringing it All Together?
So having very quickly explored one specific example of personal analytics, the question is, how do we tie this into the metrics used for creating our employee journeys?
The answer is: very carefully.
This extra source of data could be of great utility, but you can only discover it in a one to one interview, or in focus groups or surveys as part of your research. You can ask employees if and how they use such tools if provided. Check with HR to see if the topic comes up with managers or in team meetings, and find out if any official program promoted their use. You can ask individuals if they'd volunteer to describe how they use the personal analytics insights, and if the analytics have changed the way they work or any of their habits (e.g., apparently I answer email too quickly). As you may have multiple tools or platforms in use across your organization you might decide you want to do some “normalization” of the data provided by them.
The bottom line is, you will have to decide in your own context whether they are a useful additional source of data that provides any real insight into how your employees are utilizing the technology at their fingertips.
About the Author
Jed Cawthorne is principal product manager at NetDocuments. He is involved in product innovation and product management and working with customers to make NetDocuments phenomenally successful products even more so.