Setting People-First Goals in a Technology-First Decade


By Camille Nicita, President & CEO, Gongos, Inc. 

Given the uncertainty that 2020 will undoubtedly bring with elections and shifting corporate mandates, it’s more important than ever for business leaders to set priorities for the decade ahead. But changes that affect both corporations and consumers alike raise the imminent question: “how can organizations deliver on a people-first ethos in a decade that may otherwise be defined by technology-driven change?”

Reflecting on the last few years of the past decade, the tight labor market — prompted by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Job Act in 2017 — spurred a dedicated focus on employee experience, employee retention and employee engagement. Companies have embraced an employee-first mandate, tossing around buzzwords like “employer branding” and “employee belongingness” in addition to introducing new organizational roles like ‘Chief People Officer.’

The truth is, creating an exceptional employee experience is just one part of humanizing your brand. In addition to keeping a dedicated focus on those in your organization, humanizing your company in a technology-first era requires you to further understand and connect with customers. Here’s some guidance for leaders to keep in mind when setting effective, customer-centric goals for 2020, and beyond.

Oftentimes, the why is where differentiation lives because of its tie to the emotional component of decision making. It is also often grounded in value or belief systems that largely remain unchanged. Uncovering the why requires human interaction with your customers. And, to create the most holistic view, behavioral data needs to be overlaid with human motivational factors. This can be realized by empowering frontline employees to actively listen to customers and funnel observations up to executives.  Executives are also encouraged to establish discipline around gaining empathy for customers by better immersing themselves in their worlds. Numbers such as NPS and CSAT are one-dimensional, point-in-time exercises, and organizations are far better served to delve into the why of these singular measures to gain truer understanding of humans in all their complexity.

That said, when trusted with personal data, brands and marketers alike must dance the delicate line of technological evolution and sensitivity to protect and respect consumer security. If handled carelessly, a breech in privacy will place consumer trust and loyalty at risk.

Regardless of what the future holds and where technology takes us, a great customer experience is always preceded by a great employee experience. And, while it is important to set priorities for the coming decade with customers at the forefront, there is no better representation of your brand than your frontline employees. The symbiotic nature of the customer and employee relationship is critical to a people-first growth mindset. Leaders who embrace this are sure to ride the waves of change in 2020 and beyond.

As published in CommPro.