Tag Archives: Employee Experience

People Cannot Work Forever

People Cannot Work Forever

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When cars run out of gas, they can no longer get the job done until their tanks are filled up. And it’s the same with people, except people are asked to keep on truckin’ even though their tanks are empty.

When machines are used for a certain number of hours, they are supposed to be given rest and routine maintenance. If the maintenance isn’t completed as defined in the operator’s manual, the warranty is voided.

Maybe we could create a maintenance schedule for people. And if it’s not done, we could be okay with reduced performance, like with a machine. And when the scheduled maintenance isn’t performed on time, maybe we could blame the person who prevented it from happening.

If your lawnmower could tell you when you were using it in a way that would cause it damage, would you listen and change your behavior? How about if a person said a similar thing to you? To which one would you show more compassion?

When your car’s check engine light comes on, would you pretend you don’t see it or would you think that the car is being less than truthful? What if a person tells you their body is throwing a warning light because of how you’re driving them? Would you believe them or stomp on the accelerator?

We expect our machines to wear out and need refurbishment. We expect our cars to run out of gas if we don’t add fuel. We expect our lawnmowers to stall if we try to mow grass that’s two feet tall. We expect that their capacities and capabilities are finite. Maybe we can keep all this in mind when we set expectations for our people.

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Announcing Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly

Human-Centered Change and Innovation Weekly Newsletter

We’re about two months into the re-birth and re-branding of Blogging Innovation as Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

At the same time I brought my multiple author blog back to life, I also created a weekly newsletter to bring all of this great content to your inbox every Tuesday.

Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly brings four or five great articles as an email to you from myself and a growing roster of talented and insightful contributing authors, including:

Robert B. Tucker, Janet Sernack, Greg Satell, Linda Naiman, Howard Tiersky, Paul Sloane, Rachel Audige, Arlen Meyers, John Bessant, Phil Buckley, Jesse Nieminen, Anthony Mills, Nicolas Bry and your host Braden Kelley.

You can sign up for the newsletter here:


I would be interested to know whether you prefer:

  1. Tuesday
  2. Sunday

And, if you’ve missed out on previous issues and would like to explore them, you’ll find the links below:

Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly

Finally, if you know a globally recognized human-centered design, change, innovation, transformation or customer experience author that should be contributing guest articles to the blog and newsletter, have them contact us.

I hope you continue to find value in everyone’s contributions to the conversations around human-centered change, innovation, transformation and experience design!

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Don’t Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience

Don't Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience

Too often we speak about Innovation, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Employee Experience and Organizational Change as very distinct and separate things.

But is this the right approach?

Those of you who have read both my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and my second book Charting Change know that the main reason that the second book even exists is because innovation is all about change.

Apple couldn’t bring the iPod, iTunes and the iTunes store to market without inflicting incredible amounts of change upon the organization and building many different new organizational capabilities and hiring many new types of people with many types of expertise new to the organization.

I’ve also written about BIG C and little c change, with BIG C change including transformations of many types (including digital) and little C change including projects and other small initiatives. And yes, every project changes something, so every project is a change initiative. And so yes, project management is in fact a subset of change management, not the typical wrong way ’round that change management is usually made subservient to project management.

Stop it!

Architecting the Organization for Change

For an invention to have any chance of becoming an innovation, the organization must transform, and to do this well we must design corresponding changes in both employee experience and customer experience to accelerate and integrate:

  1. Value Creation
  2. Value Access
  3. Value Translation

See my important article Innovation is All About Value for more background on these three phrases.

Because of the interconnectedness between innovation, change, transformation, customer experience and employee experience we must look at these different specialties holistically and in a coordinated way if we are to maximize our chances of successfully completing the journey from invention to innovation.

Service Design and Journey Mapping have a role to play, as does Human-Centered Design because people are at the heart of innovation and transformation. These tools can help uncover the customer needs and help visualize what the NEW experiences must look like for both employees and customers to maximize the holistic value created and the ability of customers to access that value as effortlessly as possible.

As we work to design the potential innovation as a product or a service or a combination of the two, we must also consciously design the customer experience and employee experience to enhance to possibilities of this invention becoming an innovation. This includes potentially designing OUT touchpoints in current journeys that people may taken as a given, but maybe no longer need to exist if we are truly keeping the customer and their wants/needs at the center of our focus.

As part of your innovation activities, consider creating customer and employee journey maps, printing them poster size and placing them front and center on your innovation wonder wall so that you can ask your innovation team the following questions:

  1. What is different about this customer or employee touchpoint when considering our potential innovation?
  2. How could we design out the need for this customer or employee touchpoint?
  3. With our potential innovation, what customer or employee touchpoints may no longer be necessary?
  4. With our potential innovation, what new customer or employee touchpoints may we need to create?
  5. What organizational and employee knowledge and capabilities are we missing, that we must have, to deliver the necessary and expected customer and employee experiences?

As we explore these questions, they allow us to look beyond the product or service that forms the basis of the potential innovation that we are creating and create more value around it, to make our customers’ and employees’ experiences of our potential innovation better, and to increase our chances of more successfully translating the holistic value for its potential customers.

Customer and employee experiences are not detached and separate from the new products and services forming the basis of your innovation activities.

The change and transformation that accompany innovation are not separate either.

We must look at all of these specialties together and not see them as isolated things, otherwise we will fail.

So keep innovating, but be sure and consider the change and transformation necessary to help you be successful and how you are going to innovate your customer and employee experiences at the same time!

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The Rise of Employee Relationship Management (ERM)

The Rise of Employee Relationship Management (ERM)

What’s in a name?

From the early days when HR was referred to as workforce management or personnel management, to the emergence of scientific management and labor unions, the practice of human resources has been constantly evolving.

The name for the practice and principles of getting the most out of people in business has continued to change too, with the latest term ‘human resources’ coming into being along with an acceptance that human factors were more important than physical factors and monetary rewards for motivation.

The Accelerating Pace of Change

But, in an era when the pace of change and transformation are constantly accelerating and innovation is increasingly important to maintaining relevance, should we still be focused on ‘human resources’? Or does our view and language need to evolve?

Every day customer experience becomes more crucial to market success, and more people are talking about happy employees as being the key to happy customers. But, are employers backing up this talk?

Today most digital transformations have at their heart, several elements of an evolved customer relationship management (CRM) approach and often one or more customer journey maps.

The Shift from HCM to ERM

So, should we be shifting our views from a focus on Human Capital Management (HCM) to a focus on ERM (Employee Relationship Management) and EX (Employee Experience) to mirror how we are thinking about the importance of employees as something not to be managed but instead to be empowered, supported and developed?

And how will Generation Z change expectations of employers?

Making a shift in our mindset and our language when it comes to employees, could also cause us to focus on different metrics – shifting from a focus on controlling the costs of salaries and benefits to optimizing employee lifetime value (ELV).

Unlocking the True Value of Employees

Employees are not just a cost, they are a source of incredible value and to unlock their full potential we must invest in helping them maximize the value they can create, access, and translate for customers. Me must go beyond training and invest in even more powerful initiatives like human libraries and internal internships to help each employee not just do the job they were hired to do, but to do the job they were born to do.

Innovators Framework(one of the many concepts introduced in my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire)

Building on the work of London Business School’s Gary Hamel and shifting to an Employee Relationship Management (ERM) mindset we can get beyond the obedience, diligence and intellect that fear, greed, management and leadership can deliver, and instead focus on unlocking the initiative, creativity, passion and innovation that will drive the organization to higher levels of success and continuing relevance with customers.

Employee Relationship Management (ERM) is the Future of HR

We must reimagine our approach to the humans in our organizations and to recognize and leverage their uniqueness instead of treating them as replaceable cogs in a machine.

The time has come for organizations to manage both the experiences and the relationships with each of their employees as individuals to make the collective stronger, healthier, and more resilient.

Now is the time to build a conscious, measured, professional approach to Employee Relationship Management (ERM).

What say you?


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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