Christophe Martel 0:00
The problem with CX is that everyone owns it between marketing sales service and therefore no one owns it. Because it’s everyone’s job and it’s it’s kind of gets lost in the middle.

Anne B 0:12
Welcome to Unexpected Journey. This week’s guests it’s Christophe Martel. Christophe went from being a geophysicist to co founder and CEO of found global found is a company that helps global organizations reduce work friction, and improve employee experiences. Fount believes that companies should get to what’s at the root cause of employee dissatisfaction. And that work should work for people, not just companies! Stay tuned for Christophe’s experience.

Before we begin, don’t forget to subscribe and leave your comments below. Now let’s get started. Welcome to unexpected journey. Christoph, how are you?

Christophe Martel 0:59
I’m doing great. Thank you. How are you doing?

Anne B 1:02
You know, it is it has been an unexpected journey this week. So how fitting is that?

Anne B 1:13
So glad to have you on the show.

Christophe Martel 1:16
Well, thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Anne B 1:19
You know, your marketing team reached out and said, We think that he’s going to be great. He’s, he’s the perfect guest for your show. And then we chatted and I found that we had a really great Kismat -a love of E X and CX together. And we had some great conversations. And here we are. And I’d love for you to tell our listeners about your product and kind of how you got here, you know, because the whole concept of the show is unexpected journey. I don’t think you thought you were gonna be here 2030 years ago?

Christophe Martel 1:59
No. Or even 10? Actually. Exactly. Yeah, so let’s see. To tell you how far how how far I come from.

I started my career as a geophysicist. So that’s a that’s an odd place to begin. And, and now in the CX and UX world, that

Anne B 2:32
may be one of the furthest leaps, you know, thinking about the experience of Ra to thinking about the customer experience?

Christophe Martel 2:39
That’s right, they don’t have a lot of experience. Yeah, exactly, definitely not very human centered. And, but that was a passion of mine as a as a kid and I kind of went and studied until the time I realized that the doing of it was not as much fun as the studying of it. But yeah, and so that that kind of led me to working for tech companies pre 2000 In business leadership roles. And then switching gears to go work for a company called CB the Corporate Executive Board that I spent 15 years at as a business leader, I was head of EMI for a long time. And kind of discovered there the the power of cx to to get, you know, customers to to be more and more loyal and to grow, share a wallet and all these good things. And also discovered the power of VX because I think I remember one one specific August when the structure wasn’t that big and with just barely 100 People were almost everyone just stopped working all at once. There was actually a strike without even really saying it. But just people were fed up with some policies that had that the company had had addicted and like realize how much it hurts when employees are just not not not leaning in. And then actually did did a bunch of work as a business leader that was mostly talent focused because it’s one of these big factors of success in the business like advisory and consulting that was CB and then became CHRO. So moved back from London to to DC which was website based to try and attack the simple way Experience question from the HR side. And I did that for a few years before Gartner acquired CB and I started a business that is focused on helping big companies figure out how to do employee experience.

Anne B 5:19
An d you’re out. That is a very roundabout journey to get here. And generally, when somebody has that there is it’s almost it’s a light bulb moment that triggers them to start something or to just have that aha, what was that moment for you? Where you said, I need to do something. In this case, it was an inspiration to found the organization you have now what was that?

Christophe Martel 5:55
So I was actually several, one of them was the attending. And actually, it was managing the launch of that particular program, customer experience roundtable at CB where they were heads of CX at really large organizations like Oracle and FedEx and forget well spent about 20 of them. And what was striking was the actually the diversity of the roles these people played, you know, one was, you know, at FedEx at the time, that person was actually more a supply chain person was trying to optimize processes. And then all the way to Oracle, where the gentleman was very, very, very senior and said, My job is to manage operations from the outside, and from the perspective of customer. And so it’s like, which I found a really interesting description of what CX is. It’s make operations work for our customers. And so and that felt like a powerful, very powerful meeting. But one thing I remember from it is that they all said the problem was CX is that everyone owns it between marketing sales service, and therefore no one owns it. Because it’s everyone’s job. And it’s, it’s kind of gets lost in the middle. So that was kind of one light bulb Lish. moment, there was another one actually, as CHRO. And by the way, I’m not an HR person. So pretty big learning curve for me to understand how HR works. Thank thankfully, the leadership team was the entire HR team at CB was amazingly good. But was actually a question that our CEO asked at the time, which was, so CB was very deliberate in man in measuring employee engagement, we even have products that did not so you know, we had lots of engagement data. And the question that CEOs is like, how, how come? Our, our team members are not working harder and better? Like, what? What prevents them to do so. And the engagement data kind of tells you how they feel about the company, but in a way still doesn’t tell you what? What would make it possible for them to do more with less essentially, which is always what CEOs want. And at the time, I remember distinctly meeting with the HR team to say, well, this is not about employee engagement, right? It’s not just Yeah, I want to stay with the company. It’s, it’s something else. And that’s something what drives it, essentially. And that’s something else was employee experience. I just didn’t know the term at the time. It and it started coming about at about that, that particular time. Right. So that was 2014 or so 1314. Were this notion of well, you know, what the CX folks do with customers really, we should do with employees, because Because experience drives engagement, both on the customer and on the employee side. And so that was a realization that there was a whole code that really didn’t exist in HR to go do that, but there was no you know, every HR structure is very centered on HR processes and what HR does rather than what employees are trying to do. And so, that felt like a whole new world to go and discover and when Gartner acquired CV, it felt like a really Important thing to go and create code around.

Anne B 10:04
It’s interesting that how many times we hear that we need our team to work harder and to work better. And use utilizing that terminology not be more productive, or more efficient, or it’s it’s to work harder work better. And I’m always curious what the meaning behind that terminology is what? What is the true underlying desire? When that those terms are used?

Christophe Martel 10:41
I think it has to do with the tried and true performance management framework that I think is shared by HR leaders and business leaders like which is the will and skill framework. Right. So your so employees want it bad enough, that they just work super hard. And they’re skilled enough that they’re able to do the job well. And if you maximise on these two dimensions, the top right hand corner, you have high performer the which is partly true, what we contend and actually that was amusing Gartner term. So the third component, and that’s one that most leaders don’t think about, because in their mind, an employee is a person that needs to be motivated and driven and trained, right? It’s a resource, even the term human resources, you motivate and you train your resource. The third component is the hill, which is in other words, how hard is it for people to do the work they need to do. And that component is basically not an attribute of the individual, it’s an attribute of the organization. And some organizations and I won’t name names, but are incredibly difficult to work in, because of very complex processes. internal or external, very bad, complex matrix matrices that are dysfunctional ways of working that just to that just don’t work. And so when you’re at work are trying with the right scale, and well, you expend all of it, navigating the big hill in front of you. And that’s a big waste of time, big waste of resources. And it’s a very similar concept to what you have in the customer world. So for example, I am a very high performing Amazon customer. Because they make it easy

Anne B 12:58
Me too, looking at my spend, exactly.

Christophe Martel 13:01
no, but they make it easy for me to spend money on products that I buy from them. And really, it’s about like the hill is almost, you know, almost a zero degree incline. And I think of you know, 20 years ago, ecommerce, the hill was more 30 degrees inclined, that could enter your credit card, get it stolen, you know, not receiving the package, not being able to return it and so on so forth was quite a hassle. It no longer is. And so that is an example of what that dimension that CX leaders have understood quite a while ago, which is frictionless experience for more effortless experience for, for customers, that business leaders and HR leaders only begin now to understand these a component. And that’s only a fraction of it. But

Anne B 13:57
it’s interesting that you talk about the the incline as a customer, right, because you’re right, fellow Amazon addiction happening right here, right. And they have made it so easy. There are so many protections to make sure that your credit card is protected. They make it easy for you to do Subscribe and Save. They keep your information so you can just reorder the in some areas they have it set up so that they can even ensure that they’re putting your information either in your trunk or in your garage so that it won’t get stolen. So that is near zero, if not perfectly zero in for some customers. Now, on the flip side, that E X portion now taking Amazon out of the equation, let’s just different company altogether. The employees have to do the work. And we’re let’s think about the actual end inclined from an employee that has to actually deliver on all of the promises that are being made to the customers. There’s an incredible amount of work in order to do that, from the order to the delivery to the packaging. And again, not just talking about Amazon, there are a ton of E commerce organizations. Some of them are singularly owned small businesses, you can see them out on Tik Tok and Instagram where they do the individual. Oh, I got an order from Christophe. Christophe, let’s do your package today. You know, you actually show that and it’s a high lift. So that incline is not near zero for the employees. So tying e x to CX, and making sure that that foundation is equal to deliver that, it’s, it’s interesting to tie those two together.

Christophe Martel 15:58
Yes, I mean, friction has to go somewhere. Right? And it can be actually dissipated entirely. If you, for example, get a machine to do what needs to be done. Right. So that’s kind of one of the promises of AI, is that it is going to automate a bunch of manual things. And so you know, when robots are able to do everything when it comes to shipping returns or doing whatever, like that, that will, that will be a way to deal with friction that does not impact employees. So you can actually remove it entirely, but most of the time, actually, friction gets displaced. Right. So the in this case, what you described is how the friction moves from customers, to the employees inside the company, which there was a great book from Tiffany Bova that actually talked about that, but like, the friction transfer, or essentially, and then when it gets on the what friction gets on the desk of the employee, they don’t know what to do with it either. So they either, so Gartner has calculated that they spent about on average, two hours a day, dealing with work friction, so that means hacking through it, or passing it on to somebody else, for example, their managers or passing it on to another part of the matrix, right, which is also one of the reasons why matrices are often dysfunctional. And so you’re, you’re, you’re you’re actually what, what is now a boon on the customer side and a competitive edge that you have, because you’ve made the experience effortless, becomes a productivity problem internally. And that productivity problem shows up in well, two hours of wasted work. But also employees that burnout because they spend their time making up for stuff that really is not working as well as it should. And engagement threatens that’s why, you know, when they have a choice of where to work, attrition rates go up. So you’re absolutely right, that it’s actually it’s, you know, friction exists in the system. It’s, it’s not managing friction for just one. One actor. Usually has that friction being passed on to the next actor, basically.

Anne B 18:47
So you’ve said a term several times in the last couple of minutes that I don’t know if our listeners have you have heard before. And the point, picture, no, no, this is, this is why we’re here. I want to make sure that everybody knows what it is and understands this concept. And then I want to dig a little bit deeper into kind of how you essentially your organization helps mitigate it. So let’s start with what is work friction.

Christophe Martel 19:18
So, work friction is actually a concept that is in the high level similar to customer or customer friction or customer effort. Right? So in other words, if you if you think about the customer well as a customer, friction is the work that you make me do as a customer that I think you should be doing for me. So in other words that you as a vendor should do for me. So if you make me reenter my personal detail on your website twice, I’m like, Why do you do this?

Anne B 19:56
It’s so frustrating. I already entered it once. It’s like If I have to submit a resume, and you made me enter it three more times, like why don’t you take it off my resume?

Christophe Martel 20:06
Exactly. So like, it’s like anything that I, my belief is you should be taken care of that. And And what’s interesting about that, is that customers are actually quite discriminant. As to, yeah, no, that wouldn’t be too much to ask of you. And, you know, that’s when you enter the wow moment, territory, that when it comes to friction, it’s no like this should be taken care of. And it should be easier than it really is. Well, it’s exactly the same thing for employees. And what’s very interesting, by the way, is that employees expectations around friction at work, are shaped by their experience as consumers. So what we talked about with their experience with Amazon, which is pretty smooth. Well, when they go to work, and they are trying to change their benefits, and it takes six times around to reenter their detail and to go through very complex menus, and they’re still not clear about what coverage they get. That’s a moment where they’re like, Oh, God, why do you make it so complicated? And that, how can that can happen with what I would call activities that have to do with my life at work. So for example, I’m trying to learn a new skill. While Yeah, the learning platform is, you know, hidden in some portal that I can find, and I can’t really find the skill that I need to learn anyway. And it’s not really available widely. So I have to go to another thing to subscribe. And these kinds of things are rampant all over the world of services to employees, right. So whether it’s learning or finding a new role internally, like all these things, none of these things are frictionless. And they should be and people expect them to be, especially newer generations. So not only is it that, but it’s also when I’m doing my work. So now when I’m solving a customer problem, as you said, you’ve put me on the hook to solve a customer problem. And now you make it difficult by me having to surf across seven different screens, and eight different databases to find customer information to be able to solve for that problem. That’s called Work friction, right? It’s the stuff that gets in my way that should. And it’s whatever it does that at work is called Work friction. And that’s what is the what makes up the two hours that we talked about earlier, is made up from micro things like that to a bigger ones. Like my system is out for 30 minutes, and I still have to take calls with with customers because I’m a service agent, and I’m doing my best to help customers. And I can’t do that. So I feel terrible about it. And customers feel even worse, and I get to negative servers on the back end. And like all of this, it has a profound sense of injustice. For me, it’s

Anne B 23:22
two hours a day, not two hours a week, two hours. Yeah, two hours a day, 10 hours a week.

Christophe Martel 23:29
Yes, 25% of my work that is wasted. Right. So if you work eight hours a day, you know, a quarter of it is wasted on stuff that shouldn’t get my webpage. But does

Anne B 23:41
I mean if if we can reduce work friction by even 50% the efficiency that is

Christophe Martel 23:53
20%. Like even if you didn’t do even 10% Like you get into the millions very quickly.

Anne B 24:00
Yeah. The efficiency, the cost, the impact to an organization is tremendous. So now that we all understand what work friction is, and the potential impact, both from efficiency, hours cost. Can you explain to our listeners, what does found? What strategies do you employ? What do you do to help mitigate work friction for your clients?

Christophe Martel 24:36
Every organization has worked friction to begin with, right? So there’s

Anne B 24:39
friction in my family.

Christophe Martel 24:43
Exactly. I mean, even I have worked friction with myself. Like there’s a bunch of time where I get in my own way, right. So the thing though, is that in smaller organizations, and that’s probably until the moment where you start having real structures and matrices taking taking shape. So maybe it’s like 500 employees, maybe 1000? I’m not sure. Where work question start becoming invisible. And I can see it in some in smaller companies, when work friction appears, everyone tends to know that it’s there, because everyone is close enough to the frontline to live it in some way, and to participate, to try to reducing it. And to try to figure it out. When an organization becomes bigger, what happens with work friction is that it sediments slowly, but surely, every year, there’s another layer of friction that gets kind of embedded in the way people do work in a company. Right. And that’s, it’s a very similar phenomenon to bureaucracy in that way, right? Like, where you have layers of decisions that end up growing and things get more complicated processes get hairier than before, and things just slow down. And the ones who see it slow down, are number one, workers. And workers see it in their day to day work. So in other words, they see that their work is becoming more difficult, more complex, slower. That the they can’t get into a state of flow anymore, because there’s so many things that get in the way that prevent them from doing the job, essentially. CFOs also see it, but they only see the result of it. So they that that was the question actually, that our CEO at the time asked about productivity. He was like, How come it’s not moving faster? Better? And the answer is that there’s just too much stunning in people’s way. And so the question, you know, organizations that are of a certain size, is, how do I see work friction so that I can manage it and reuse it over time. In an organization of a certain size, or let’s say, you know, 500 to 1000, the only way that you’re going to be able to visualize work friction and be able to do something about it as if you have data that describes it. And that data needs to come directly from employees that do the work, because they’re the only ones who can see what causes friction. So what found does is essentially to both be able to create a dataset that represents the work friction that workers experience in their days at work, whether it’s doing their work or using the company services. And understand which of these activities suffer the most from that friction tax basically. And which ones matter the most to that. So it means that if as an organization, you’re going to go and spend money and effort to go and solve for these sources of friction, then go after these three over there first, because they matter to me the most. And they’re they’re also the most painful. And as a almost double click, what the product does, is to allow you to zoom into each one of these activities to understand which parts of the work environment so processes, tools, structures, you know, other teams and so on so forth, are actually from the perspective of the individual doing the work, dropping the ball, but so were you know, is it an HR thing that’s not working? Or is it the CRM system? Or is it that the team that was supposed to support me on an escalated call, didn’t want to do that? And there’s, there’s a lot of complexity there that needs to be unpacked. And data is a great way to do that. And to diagnose things at scale and to resolve them at scale.

Anne B 29:26
A lot of information there for our listeners. Sorry, no, no, it’s all very interesting. And it’s all good. And I want to dig in a little bit more on the E X and CX tie in but before we do that, I want to give everyone a chance to get to know you a little bit more. So now, this is where we play a little game of this or that now for our listeners who have not watched us before how this works is I have a randomizer it gives me random or phrases, to phrases or words and stuff and I have to choose. We don’t get to pick neither. We don’t get to pick both. We have to pick one. We explain why. So are you ready? I’m

Christophe Martel 30:13
ready to see what I pick. I’m not sure I’m ready to explain why.

Anne B 30:18
Well, here we go. We’re gonna see if he if he explains all right, here we go first one. Okay. Oh, okay, well this is interesting. glassblowing or pottery? glass blowing? Glass blowing really? I kind of think you’re due for pottery kind of guy.

Christophe Martel 30:38
No. No, I don’t know. I like the blue. There’s something magical about the the lump of glass becoming like a transparent bubble. Thing. Plus, I like wine. So that’s probably also another reason. Now

Anne B 30:59
see if this was right after like ghost came out with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Yeah, no, I don’t know what had gone with pottery. However. Yeah, that was a very small moment in time.

Christophe Martel 31:12
I know exactly. Which, which use which one you speak up and I? Yeah, no. Small

Anne B 31:18
moment. I too, am gonna go with last point for many, many reasons. actually. One is it’s gorgeous. It’s, it’s fascinating. And also my grandmother used to collect them and it’s just kind of a great little memory. Plus, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this television show where they actually have this competition on glassblowing and they show it actually watching it is fascinating,

Christophe Martel 31:45
because you have much better reasons to pick that one than I did. So it’s

Anne B 31:49
just it’s they it’s hot. I mean, they get that so hot. And it’s just amazing to watch the talent it’s not just like toss it out. Do this tied in a bow and stick it out there. There’s amazing talent that goes into glassblowing I

Christophe Martel 32:08
hear you actually did not know that. But it just inspires me more than than the pottery but you should after

Anne B 32:17
this go look up a video on how to do it well, and it’s fascinating.

Christophe Martel 32:22
I will thank you

Anne B 32:26
All right, next one and we have oh, I know what you’re gonna pick on this one. geocaching.

Christophe Martel 32:39
Geocaching. What does that? Or

Anne B 32:41
orienteering? I actually don’t know what to orienteering.

Christophe Martel 32:45
Alright, so I actually don’t know what I want. Let’s go. Yes.

Anne B 32:53
First time in the history of the show that I’ve ever seen.

Christophe Martel 32:56
This isn’t a host nation and your randomizer.

Anne B 33:02
African Safari or Amazon rainforest expedition. Yeah,

Christophe Martel 33:08
Amazon rainforest expedition, like, I am not into the animal killing thing. So that’s

Anne B 33:17
on an African Safari, do you actually have to kill an animal? I mean,

Christophe Martel 33:21
like, I always thought that the term Safari meant meant that I mean, it used to be that like, maybe the the term now has evolved. And it may mean photography, Safari, in which case, in which case of the two, I would probably pick the African expedition. I

Anne B 33:41
heard African safari and that’s what I thought in my head. I went with Ooh, look, I bet you could get some great photography on it. That’s where my head went. Yeah, yeah. That’s kind of although when I heard Amazon rainforest, I’m like, ooh, do they have any good zip lines? So yeah,

Christophe Martel 33:58
I know that Amazon rainforest is too long though. I like open spaces more than jungles.

Anne B 34:10
Yeah, I think I would go with the African Safari. Mainly because I question like seeing these amazing animals and being able to get some really beautiful photography lions and draf rhinos. I bet it’s just gorgeous, and they’re majestic. And a bit the photography that you could get would be stellar.

Christophe Martel 34:37
I agree. I tried to take photos when I visited Africa and never had much of a camera to take them with so my photography came back. underwhelming, but it was very beautiful.

Anne B 34:52
I’m sure it was beautiful. I support you. Thank you. Okay, last one. vintage cars. Or modern electric cars?

Christophe Martel 35:05
vintage cars? Yeah, I mean, I’m kind of vintage myself. So Oh, man. Yeah. So, you know, it just takes one to know one no i, the one thing I would probably stay away from his vintage vintage French cars, because there’s really no chance in hell that they would work ever. But yeah, I like vintage cars. I don’t I don’t own one, but rather an old carpet. It’s not vintage.

Anne B 35:40
These days. I’m just lucky to have a car. But it’s just so neat. Whenever you’re driving down the road, and you see a redone vintage car, or you go to a car show when you see something and they’ve done such an amazing job refurbishing it. It’s the history and everything and you, you think, Gosh, 100 years ago, somebody was sitting in that and driving it. And you just think back to it. And there’s something magical about it. Yeah,

Christophe Martel 36:17
I agree. There’s something magical too about electric cars, but not one that I identify with. No,

Anne B 36:24
that’s, that’s more magical, scary versus magical. Oh, exactly.

Christophe Martel 36:30
Exactly. So yeah, they’re just the Yeah,

Anne B 36:34
kind of like wizard magic fairy magic.

Christophe Martel 36:37
That’s right. That’s more old school magic than

Anne B 36:45
thank you so much for playing, I love this game. Because no matter where you are, I mean, you could come back on next season, and maybe have a different perspective. So talking a little bit more about the customer experience and employee experience, I would love to hear how you think that the employee experience influences the customer experience. So

Christophe Martel 37:11
I mean, the first image that comes to mind is an i I’m French, so I can I can say this, like a cranky French waiter. Right? Like, the the last thing you want, if you’re visiting Paris is to go and sit down for for a snack at one of these cafes and to have a cranky French waiter. Because who knows? Who knows? How they’re going to make you pay for,

Anne B 37:44
like the imagery that you’re putting in our head right now?

Christophe Martel 37:48
Well, but that’s what it is, right? It’s like whatever made them mad that day about working in that cafe at that time, they’re gonna just take on you. And then they’re gonna, like, yeah. And then then they know, no bounds on how to make you bear the brunt of their suffering. So I think it’s just a very human thing, right? Like bad experiences are contagious. Right? And so and how often have we been as customers, you know, talking to a call center agent or service agent who says, Yeah, you know, if it, like, if it weren’t for me, like, I would help you, but I really can’t, because they make me not help you. And I’m really sorry, but so there’s a thing that happens when people essentially lose their allegiance to the company. That and it’s quite frequent. That actually, they end up creating a good individual experience for the customer with that agent with a terrible one for the company. So and by the way, the same thing happens internally with managers, right? So if you if you translate that system of a service agent and a customer, to the frontline manager, and their and their direct report and Frontline manager saying, Yeah, corporate doesn’t you know, they don’t know what they’re doing, but I know how we’re going to do this and I’m gonna protect here. It’s a very similar thing of don’t believe what they say Believe me. And that is the mark of a manager who has a poor experience and was making it known internally. So this this entire system, as you called it earlier, right like actually starts with With the customer facing system, let’s say, salespeople, service people, their frontline managers, and maybe their leaders who were there is just poor experiences that start resonating within the organization. And it typically is contagious. By the way, that means that people start quitting in droves, it means that people stop believing the mission and the metrics and everything else internally. And when that happens, they usually let customers know that that’s happening, because humans can’t really hide much. You know, everyone knows what your, what you feel at a given time, for the most part. So I, it’s a very powerful driver. And in an age where, you know, customer expectations are where they are, and they’re only going to increase. It’s a huge business differentiator, basically. So if you’re able to have customer facing folks that, that radiate the goodness of their experience with their company, like, that’s a huge positive spin on you, as a company, as whatever your product is, like, it essentially starts radiating everything on on both sides on the ground and on the bat.

Anne B 41:45
So I didn’t want to go into some specific success stories. But before I get there, what types of metrics what indicators? Would you consider the most crucial, right for measuring the success of employee experience? How do people know? Yeah,

Christophe Martel 42:06
so the principles of CX apply very much there, right, where you have leading indicators and trailing indicators. So trailing indicators, and CX is share wallet loyalty, you know, repeat business, growth rates, and so on so forth. Because customer vote with their vote with their feet, on the experiences they have, and they vote with their wallet. leading indicators are essentially interaction level measures. Right? So when a customer interacts with the Amazon checkout portal, you know, is it easy enough for them? Or is it too complicated, then they give up in the middle? Like these are, that’s an indicative leading indicator of that particular micro experience is one that, you know, should be improved. If we want the experience to flow better. Same thing with pretty much every stage in the purchase or purchasing journey? Well, it’s exactly the same for employees, is that if you if you look at their micro experiences, these interactions that they have, when they try to do their work, or when they try to, I don’t know, get paid, or to change their shift or to do whatever they need to do? How hard is it for them to do? And you need data about that. And that data is a leading indicator of the essentially, the overall experience that they’re going to have at work and that overall experience can be measured as a trailing indicator by attrition rates, productivity performance, right like these are all you know, business metrics essentially. So you have a similar you have a parallel between the trailing indicator on the business side, which are share wallet, customer loyalty, etc. Well, the equivalent for employees customer loyalty is employee loyalty, and that’s called employee engagement, actually. So when you measure employee engagement, that’s what you’re measuring. And the the leading indicators are all interaction level metrics that you capture during these moments of interaction

Anne B 44:52
I’m struggling a little bit to understand that these mainly because I have this conversation frequently and In every one of my lessons, every one of my listeners that reaches out specific to this particular item is constantly questioning how do I measure engagement? How do I measure employee experience? How do I measure this? So the reason I’m going to push back on this is mainly because they’re always asking, and they it’s a constant conversation.

Christophe Martel 45:20
I know, an engagement is really frustrating, because you can you can measure engagement, like, essentially, yeah, there’s plenty of ways to do that. You can measure NPS or likelihood to recommend working here to kind of appear, or you can measure intend to stay at the company or discretionary effort. And then you have complex engagement models that are really good at describing engagement, and this multiple drivers, but at the end of the day is telling you, here’s what this employee thinks about working at the company, right? Very similar, really

Anne B 45:53
employee engagement or employee experience. That’s just like, Do I like you?

Christophe Martel 45:58
The definition of employee engagement is, so employee engagement and employee experience are two very different things. Yes, yes. So I should have started there. My apologies. So employee engagement is a state is a sentiment. Alright. So in other words, it’s my state of being working here, this company is I’m engaged with you. I like you and I want to continue working here, or I’m not so sure. And or I’m just like, I’m ready to quit anytime. That’s my state of engagement. Okay.

Anne B 46:33
So everyone that’s listening, when we’re talking about measuring employee engagement, I’m not talking about are we interacting in a chat room? Are you happy? Are they like, Let’s go have a party? That’s not what we’re talking about when we’re talking about measuring employee engagement.

Christophe Martel 46:48
Yeah, measuring employee engagement is something that you measure usually using an engagement measurement tool, which is a survey typically, that you send to employees, and that is essentially asking, How much do you like working here? And how long do you want to stay here? Right? Unless it’s exactly the same as customer loyalty? Surveys, right? Like, how you want to stay with our brand, do you want to switch? Or likely are you to continue recommending us? It’s exactly the parallel right to to the customer world. Now, as you know, in the customer world, customer loyalty is earned through good experiences. Right, so the customer will stop being loyal if they have too many poor experiences? Well, it’s exactly the same thing with employees, employee engagement, which is, what I believe about the company and how much I like the company is going to decline if I have too many bad experiences as an employee. And so in this way, what we say in this world is experience precedes engagement. Right experiences are the things that people like is how they do their work, and what to experience every day. And these interactions and these hundreds of interactions they have at work. And when you know, it’s one negative interaction after another, you see their engagement dip, when it’s one positive interaction after another, their engagement goes up. So when you measure engagement, you’re measuring a trailing indicator, right? It’s the how do I feel after all these experiences I’ve had since I’ve been working here. So if you want to manage employee experience, you can look at employee engagement is going to be well, yeah, the result is they don’t feel great, but how come they don’t feel very? What do I need to fix to make them feel better? And that’s the question that employee experience measurement answers. And to measure that, you have to go down into the weeds into the carpet, of when I do this activity, terrible things are happening. So for example, I’m a cashier, cashier at in a supermarket, and the cash machine keeps breaking at rush hour. The Registered cash register keeps breaking at rush hour, and I have a line this long of customers waiting to be served, and they’re all angry at me and there’s nothing I can do. And the supervisor just won’t fix the damn register. And this happens time and time again. That is how, you know from one day to the next, someone’s engagement is going to decline to the point where they’re ready to quit and eventually quit. So these are experiences that are driving engagement. And engagement is just a state of sentiment, essentially.

Anne B 49:47
I think it’s the terminology that confuses a lot of people. Yes. Because they feel like as like I was saying that when we talk about employee engagement, it’s the act of engaging Do your employees. And that’s not what we’re talking about

Christophe Martel 50:02
the definition of employee engagement is this this the it’s a sentiment measurement of how engaged an employee feels with their employer. So it’s a feeling not an act. That’s right. And so we can measure those feelings very easily. Right? Like, by just asking people, the question of how do you improve that feeling. And that, you know, if you think about engagement surveys, by the way, employee surveys in every company out there, the way people act on the surveys is, you take the data, you route it to people’s managers, and say, Here’s how your team members are feeling. Now go have conversations with them about their feelings, which, by the way, is a really good thing to do if you’re an empathetic leader. However, it doesn’t solve any kind of systemic issues that like that cash register breaking down every time, that’s not going to get solved by the front, the frontline manager of this particular associate, right, that needs to be solved by someone in it. And that person is somewhere in a bunker. So the real question for employee experience is not so much about understanding how people feel. Because what are you going to do with feelings? Honestly, you what you want to understand is where it’s are things breaking down for them, what gets in their way, what gets in the way of them doing the work they’re trying to do? And just, you know, fulfilling the needs they have at work, like growth and learning and getting paid and having flexible hours, to go and pick up my kids at school, and so on, so forth.

Anne B 51:51
So now that we all understand that, can you share any success stories or case studies where found solutions have impacted? The employee six, the employee experience in any of your clients? Yep.

Christophe Martel 52:10
So a couple of few, a few examples. One, one from a very big global retailer, who has been, you know, I said, HR typically is not equipped to do to do this well, well, they’ve actually gone through a very big HR transformation in the past three years, where they’ve decided to quit employee experience in the center. And not only have the many organizations say that they are doing that, and talk a lot about UX but, but they’ve never really becomes a reality. In this case, it did become a reality. And what that means is that they’re actually measuring the experience of employees globally across, you know, almost 200,000 employees almost in every moment of their life at work. Now, it’s a, it’s orchestrated in a way that the survey load is very low, right, it’s like a couple of like, two, five minutes surveys in a year. But the engine essentially reconstruct the picture of what these experiences are, where people are encountering a ton of friction, which of these friction points matter the most. And the organization is actually instrumented, to have owners of moments and owners of touchpoints going to fix these things when they break down. And so the beauty of it is that it’s almost a self governed system, where there’s an effects leader, that’s basically just one person. And all she does is to ensure that the right people are accountable for the right data stream, and know when an experience that is provided to employees is falling under a certain KPI that they’ve, that they’ve defined. So they’ve been able to improve pretty dramatically the experience of employees across the board. And there’s a very big business reason for it. They’re their CX leader was very closely partnering with their effects leader. And it was saying in a recent meeting, we know that every increase of one point in engagement equals $200 million in extra revenue for the company. So we take this very seriously and all of that data gets reported to Executive Committee to the board and is central to managing the whole business essentially. So this is a case of like a true Experience centric organization, where e x MC x data are almost the central spine of decision making at the company.

Anne B 55:11
Well, Christophe, thank you so much for joining us today, I would like to ask two more questions, and that is one, why would somebody reach out to you? And how would they reach out to you?

Christophe Martel 55:25
So why would be if you feel that you’re, you want to understand what I would call but a different way to approach employee experience through quantitative understanding of, of points of friction. So it’s, it’s a, it’s kind of sidestepping the common confusion between employee engagement and employee experience and saying, You know what, of course, we have to make people feel good. But why don’t we try to reduce the pain that they experience at work every day, by finding what creates pain, and weak, you can actually do that in a really scaled way, with very clear data that tells you what to go fix. That would be a good reason to, to seek us out. People that are tired actually, of having a bunch of employee surveys going to all employees, and not much action being taken on improving the things that are supposed to be improved. That’s another good reason that we see that many people come in our way. And then how, how you do it? Well, I’m on LinkedIn. So I’m Christoph Martel.

Anne B 56:51
I think it’s below for everybody who’s wondering where to find it.

Christophe Martel 56:56
Or on our website, which is at get Also,

Anne B 57:00
we’ll be below for those who are looking for it. I’ll be putting that on the screen for you.

Christophe Martel 57:05
And yeah, so if you come come by DC, we can also meet for coffee, whatever, whatever works for you.

Anne B 57:13
There you go. Again, thank you for joining us. Really great conversation. Thank you so much, um, and everybody else. As always, thank you for joining us, and we will see you next time on Unexpected Journey. As we wrap up the episode, we would like to take this time to thank you for joining us this week on unexpected Journey. Our guest information will be linked in the episode description, along with a link to our hosts website, and our sponsors’ websites,,, and Please don’t forget to like, subscribe and share on your favorite podcast app and on our YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode and we can continue to bring them to you. Let us know your thoughts on what we discussed in the comment section. And once again, thanks for joining us. We hope to see you again next time on Unexpected Journey.

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