Next Practices for Improving the Employee Experience: Proceedings (3) from HERO’s 2017 Winter Think Tank on The Employee Experience

Presenter: Dexter Shurney, MD, Cummins

Reactor Panel: Rajiv Kumar, MD, Virgin Pulse Institute; Lane Yahchouchi, Southwest Airlines; Dexter Shurney, MD, Cummins

On February 23-24, HERO members gathered in San Antonio, Texas for our Winter Think Tank on the topic of “The Employee Experience.” Having discussed concepts, approaches, challenges, and new applications for “voice of the employee” data in prior sessions, Dexter Shurney [slides] [recording] shared an in-depth view of how Cummins leveraged such data to inform their innovative design of their onsite clinic. Seeking to learn from the experts on how to create an extraordinary customer experience, they turned to experts at Ritz-Carlton to share how other industry sectors approach this. What resulted was a change in how Cummins staffed and trained their onsite clinic staff; the way the facility looked, smelled, and sounded; the processes implemented to drive convenience and customer service; a comprehensive array of services and offerings in one convenient place; and even the expected outcomes they strive to achieve. Imagine telling a physician that their goal is to help people to stop taking medicine!

As if Cummins’ inspiring example didn’t wrap a big enough bow around our meeting, attendees were treated to further inspiration and application in the reactor panel that followed. Lane Yahchouchi from Southwest Airlines and Rajiv Kumar from Virgin Pulse Institute joined Dexter to respond to questions about how their employees’ input has influenced the experience they have as an employee; lessons learned when using “voice of the employee” data; and if asking employees for their input was more an opening of Pandora’s box versus a fount of wisdom.

Discussion groups were posed the same three questions and the following themes emerged:

• We need to be creative about trying new approaches to getting ongoing feedback that is constructive and useful for ongoing process improvements.
• Genuine interest and support from leadership is critical. Don’t ask if you are not willing to use the information to drive change.
• It’s also critical to be transparent about motivations for asking employees for input. Need to engender trust by using the information to make necessary changes.
• Culture of an organization is also important. Pandora’s box can be a fount of wisdom when there is an environment of learning and a growth mindset.
• The recent election has uncovered many previously unheard voices and has emboldened some to speak more about their needs. This can create divisiveness within the workplace. There are measures employers can take to help by creating or educating about policies around respect and communication, conflict resolution skills training, and connecting people to EAP as a resource.

Our time together achieved all we hoped to experience from a HERO Think Tank: introduction of new approaches; case examples of innovators leading the way; challenging discussion to inspire new thinking; and lots of opportunities to network and enjoy one another’s company over meals, walks along the river, and refreshment breaks.

We’ll gather for more of the same robust discussion and challenges to “up our game” when we gather in Bloomington, MN on June 6-7, 2017 for our Summer Research Think Tank. Stay tuned for details!

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