From Data to Action: How Companies Like Coca-Cola and KFC Are Addressing EX
The most progressive HR and work leaders I know are always on the lookout for new sources of data to help them better understand their workforce. But collecting data is only the beginning.
The real challenge is: How do we turn data into reliable action?
This was a hot topic at last month's X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, and I was curious going in: Could Qualtrics, one of the biggest data collectors, bridge the gap between insights and action?
What I found was the start of a transformation — and a work in progress.
Career Development at Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The company has a long history of innovation and growth.
As the company was navigating the disruption from the pandemic, it took the opportunity to accelerate a few areas that needed improvement. One such area was career development.
“We used this as an opportunity to reset ourselves,” said Tapaswee Chandele, global vice president of talent and development at Coca-Cola, in an interview. “We also took a moment to step back and listen to our employees, and they said that nobody's journey is going to be the same.”
Career development is a complex issue, and Coca-Cola knew that it needed a comprehensive approach that scaled across the globe. So, it turned to Qualtrics to try to better understand the needs of employees and the resources it would need to grow and develop.
Thrive is Coca-Cola's updated career development program, a completely reimagined experience that provides employees with the tools and resources they need to grow their careers within the organization and explore it in less stringent ways than in the past — something Coca-Cola called a networked organization. Employees can now build their own career paths within the organization, including lateral moves, rather than following pre-determined career paths.
Performance evaluations are another area the company revamped. With Thrive, evaluations changed from top-down initiatives to multi-person performance feedback, with demonstrable results.
"The biggest change was to multi-rater feedback. With our network organization, not only is a manager managing the rating but the network that you work with, we've got multi-data feedback we collect. We did all of those kinds of changes throughout and we've seen significant hard [engagement] metrics go up,” said Chandele.
Qualtrics is the data backbone that informs progress and performance of Thrive.
“There is this immense amount of data that we are making sure that the managers are getting,” said Chandele. “There's monitoring and feedback, so you can actually see how am I creating an impact with my team that is very transparent and available [to leaders].”
Related Article: Is EX the New CX?
KFC Manages Growth and Rapid Change
KFC is another organization that has experienced tremendous growth and change, accelerated over the past three years. But the company needed to update its operations to meet the needs of customers and guests post-pandemic.
“When I first started — and I’ve been with KFC for 15 years — it was drive-thru take away and from the counter,” said Rob Swain, KFC’s global chief operations officer during a presentation at Qualtrics X4. “Now, we've got click-and-collect, delivery and multiple aggregators, so the challenge is that some of our restaurant managers are spending half their time doing data analysis.”
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KFC also knew the face of the business for customers were their frontline employees. The company had to leverage and combine employee and customer experience data to identify real-time improvements and allow it to scale.
Swain said EX is often ignored in the restaurant industry, in spite of its impact on organizations. But Qualtrics’ recently announced Frontline solution, along with the previously announced CrossXM, could help bridge the gap between CX and EX, at least with data.
“Our team members have got choices not only about where they work but also the environments they work in," Swain said. "So, you know, we were working on both.”
Related Article: Has Qualtrics Quantified the Connection Between Customer and Employee Experience?
Qualtrics Pushing Into the Human Experience
Thinking about employee experience and customer experience less in a vacuum is something that Qualtrics, and frankly the entire industry, should aspire to — and desperately need — because the two are inherently linked. Organizations that focus on improving both will see significant benefits.
The premise is that by improving the employee experience, companies are better equipped to create a better customer experience. In turn, a better customer experience leads to more loyal customers, increased revenue and improved brand reputation.
Qualtrics has been beating the drum of experience management for years, which in the past has been mostly focused on collecting, aggregating and reporting on key organizational data and letting leaders figure out where to go next.
But that can’t be the end all, be all of the value the company delivers. An experience platform, by definition, has to include tools and resources to help organizations identify areas for improvement and plans to address them.
Data-based recommendations are already having some impact, according to Qualtrics clients. Real-time data, not backward-facing historical data, is needed and is coming online. And key connection points across the enterprise are all happening.
Qualtrics demonstrated how it is pushing this forward, though it’s still a work in progress. Its HR solutions page still focuses heavily on surveys, while the appetite from many of the HR leaders I spoke with is that they are looking to see what else it can do to better connect the different parts of the business.
That’s good news for everyone.
About the Author
Lance Haun is a leadership and technology columnist for Reworked. He has spent nearly 20 years researching and writing about HR, work and technology. Connect with Lance Haun: