As a business leader, do you think about how your approach to hiring impacts your organization and customer experience? In my most recent Daily Dose vlog, I talk about how the employee experience affects your customers. I always say, what’s on the inside, shows up on the outside. How do you hold yourself accountable when managing culture and employee experience?
In today’s podcast episode, I’m revisiting conversations with two previous guests, Mary Winfield, VP of Customer Experience and Trust at Lyft, and Carolyne Matseshe-Crawford, Head of Fan Experience at Fanatics. Both of these women place a strong value on employee experience, and you’ll hear some of their thoughts and strategies regarding implementation.
Do You Live Your Values?
When Mary joined Lyft, she knew she would be working with people who were passionate about what they were doing. It was immediately clear that the work was going to be centered around how to treat people better. For her, this was inclusive of treating employees, drivers, and customers well. “When you treat people in an exceptional way, exceptional things happen,” says Mary.
Though Lyft was growing quickly, Mary didn’t want to lose sight of continuing a delightful customer experience. A delightful CX meant that they were to develop a value system around uplifting other people. They uplift their drivers/employees by being authentic and engaged.
Mary and her team ensure that they’re conscious and connected with the driver community. By speaking to drivers and getting to know what’s important to them, Lyft has been able to create partnerships with other companies to offer discounts on products and/or services (like learning how to do your taxes) that will be beneficial to their lives.
Tactic 1: Be Authentically Engaged
Mary spontaneously goes to driver-organized meetups because she wants to show up, connect, and be present for what’s happening with the drivers. Additionally, she spends time in official Lyft driver hubs, which has been beneficial to enhancing the driver experience because she can the hear drivers’ complaints and concerns about handling accident and insurance issues, and have an idea of the areas they’re considering driving in.
It’s this face-to-face time with the driver that she finds most insightful because she can see first-hand what is or isn’t working in the experience that people need. Mary believes that when you’re present and authentically engaged with employees (or contractors), it’s more beneficial than looking through data on spreadsheets and being on conference calls. To her, being present is a deep immersion of understanding the experience.
Tactic 2: Focus on Talent and Hiring
In addition to understanding the experience of drivers, Mary developed a strong focus on talent and hiring for Lyft employees. She works with HR to be very deliberate around questions that are asked during candidate interviews. To Mary, it’s important that the employees on their Lyft team are skilled and capable to take care of aspects related to the driver and passenger experience, and that they have the ability to serve with empathy and care. She also has potential employees sit in with associates so they understand what a typical workday will look like before they accept an offer.
Role-playing helps Mary and her team understand how employees react in certain scenarios. For instance, she’ll arrange a situational assessment where “problems” have been set up for someone to solve without needing deep training. In one scenario, she devised a situation in which someone was having an issue with their DVD player – a simple issue that most people could relate to. To her, seeing how the employee solved the issue through their patience, engagement, and personalization, was a powerful tool to see how the person would operate in their role.
Tactic 3: Take Advantage of Your Employees’ Strengths
In an industry where supporting highly engaged sports fans is your business, it’s important that employees are engaged as well. In this interview, Carolyne specifically mentions that she prides herself in surrounding herself with a team of talented people. It’s important to her that employees shine so they can “be their best selves.” She specifically references lessons learned from my book, I Love You More Than My Dog, that you should connect your personal self with your business self. When you decide to be real and blend who you are as a person with how you lead, you create a better experience for your employees.
Carolyne utilizes both her left and right side brain as the leader at Fanatics. To her, it’s important that she recognizes the strengths of her employees and how they can do the work that’s best suited to them. If they’re more analytics-driven or more creative and intuitive, how can the employee be best suited in their role to take advantage of their strength? She has seen that through her actions of being a leader and inspiring her team to showcase the best parts of themselves, there’s a stronger internal culture of enthusiasm, excitement, innovation, and ownership. The employees are ultimately happier, which creates happy customers.
When you decide to be real and blend who you are as a person with how you lead, you create a better experience for your employees. - Carolyne Matseshe-Crawford, Head of Fan Experience @Fanatics Click To Tweet
Tactic 4: Listen to Your Employees
When Carolyne joined the team, the needs of the employees weren’t always listened to. So in an effort to improve employees lives, they built an employee roundtable. For instance, when hired, employees worked the shifts that they were scheduled to work upon initial employment. Some employees were on shifts for extended periods of time that they didn’t necessarily prefer. After listening to feedback and performance metrics, Carolyne and her leadership team were able to create shift bids based on performance, which allowed employees to have different shift options. This was a major improvement within their culture.
Tactic 5: Assess your Employee ROI
Within the first six weeks as Fanatics’ head of fan experience, Carolyne realized that they needed to bring in the right talent to deliver on experience, especially as they went into high-season times. She figured if they got the right talent at Fanatics, they could reduce attrition, reduce cost, and improve quality and the overall customer experience.
By working on the various aspects that systematically contributes to employee engagement, Carolyne and her leadership team were able to make effective organizational changes. When looking at ROI as it relates to people, Carolyne looked at data from the HR team to understand employee churn. Connecting the dots between churn and hiring, Carolyne took the time to be very deliberate about job descriptions to better communicate the nature of the job so that they could bring in people who are excited about what they’re doing and feel like they’re a part of the team.
In addition to improving the hiring process, Carolyne and her team realized that upgrading technology was another factor to be considered. Outdated technology was slowing communications and leaving some customers less than satisfied. By creating an overhaul to technology and removing old equipment, they were able to onboard new hires more smoothly, and employees were able to get their work done more efficiently. By focusing on hiring, processes, and technology, Carolyne and her leadership team were able to improve the Fanatics culture. Employees were happier and more motivated because their tools worked better.
Carolyne also leaves us with this great piece of advice: “I wish I had known earlier in my career how critical your culture and employees are in the way that you lead to truly delivering world-class customer experiences. You have to start with your employees in order to get the results that you desire for your customers.”
If you want to listen to these interviews in full, please click here and here.
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