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Transformation calendar    Nov 09, 2023

Exploring the importance of journey mapping to facilitate seamless business change

Lucy Selby, Senior Technical Consultant at Fidelity International, shares insights on emotional journeys and their impact on digital employee experiences.

In an ever-changing business landscape, the ability to navigate change seamlessly is a key component of successful organizations. Journey mapping, a regularly used research method, can play a pivotal role in this success. Whether a part of design or when seeking efficiencies and cost savings in existing tooling, emotional journeys are integral to driving business transformation and cultivating a workplace culture that not only embraces change but also tackles problems at their root. 

In this guest post, Lucy Seby, Senior Technical Consultant at Fidelity International, delves into the importance of understanding emotional journeys within the employee experience in a digital workplace. Her advice reveals how understanding emotions can revolutionize the way we approach technology and transform the workplace for the better. Skip ahead to:

1. Understanding employee perspectives

2. Delivering experiences that engage users

Understanding employee perspectives

In this section, we'll dive into three critical aspects: uncovering the 'Why,' humanizing the tech journey and addressing those pain points that impact employee experiences.

Getting to know the "Why"

When looking at digital tools and processes, the predominant focus is often on usage stats and data, a trend that intensifies during harder economic times. However, this conventional approach fixated on the “What” (pertaining to actual usage data) and the "How" (related to the choice of tools or processes), doesn’t tell the full story. Until you understand the “Why”, you’re not getting the whole picture.  

Let’s look at an illustrative example.

Meet “Claire”. In this instance, we’re using a tech support journey, but the scenario is transferable to any task that requires someone to interact with a digital tool or process. 

If we only looked at usage data in isolation in this scenario, all we would see is the final 3 points, where Claire connects with the digital support toolset. But that’s only a third of Claire’s journey. What about the rest?

The data only paints a partial picture: Claire is trying to avoid engaging with the available digital systems. In order to change this behavior, we need to understand the “Why” behind her actions. Knowing what she did or did not use doesn’t help us drive change. If we can understand why an individual might avoid using a particular tool, we can eliminate the wastage of the initial two-thirds of their journey.

Humanizing the tech journey

We don’t just want people to use technology; we need them to like using it. You may be thinking that a company’s employees are a “captive audience” as they have no choice but to use the systems and tools provided. While this is technically true, we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that a captive audience doesn’t vote with its feet.

Consider Claire: Engaging with the proper support channels was the right thing to do, but she used up two-thirds of her journey time actively looking for any way she could avoid engaging with the service. This digital portal is the only means of getting support; Claire is a “captive audience,” so why not simply go straight there? 

Here is where we need to dig into the why.

  • Claire doesn’t feel comfortable engaging with the support service - it makes her feel inadequate.
  • The solution was so simple: if this had been a support person helping her, she would have felt embarrassed and judged.
  • She finds the portal tricky to use; it’s painful and takes a long time, and it’s not clear how quickly she will get help.
  • When she was already stressed and anxious, using a system she found painful didn’t feel like a fast way to her best outcome, and time was of the essence.

Creating a user-friendly, efficient, and supportive tech journey is essential for fostering employee engagement: even when employees are seemingly bound to use certain tools, they still have choices. 

3: Addressing "pain points"

When it comes to solutions, tools, processes, or journeys, we often hear talk of “pain points,” and this concept is more accurate than we realize. When a system proves “painful” to use, such as in Claire’s experience, we will instinctively steer clear, even if no logical alternatives exist. As humans, we’re hard-wired to avoid pain in all its forms: physical, mental, and emotional. 

Let’s try a quick thought experiment.

  • Reflect on your last experience of really bad service. It could be anything, maybe your Internet provider, an app on your phone, or a garage where you took your car for an MOT.
  • How did this make you feel - frustrated, disappointed, angry, maybe a combination of feelings? In response, you might have uninstalled the app or resolved never to return to that garage.
  • Now imagine that all other service providers have been discontinued, leaving you with no choice but to revisit the same unsatisfactory service. How does it make you feel now?
  • If you had to use the service again tomorrow, would you move to use it immediately, despite the bad experience? Or, like Claire, would you procrastinate and try to find every possible way to avoid using the service that made you feel bad?

    Claire's journey is a familiar narrative, yet how this scenario can directly affect a company's bottom line is often overlooked. If staff are spending their time trying to find alternative routes through a digital landscape or avoiding the digital ecosystem altogether, they are not doing what the company pays them to do. And there are further impacts; Claire was late to her client call. Perhaps she came across as flustered; maybe she made comments about the technology not working for her. This could erode client trust and reflect poorly on the company. There are many subtle yet very real impacts on the business that we can directly link to disengagement with the digital.  

    At this point, you may be thinking, "This doesn’t apply to me; I make decisions based solely on fact, logic, and reason." If this is true, and you only make data-driven choices, then surely you are: exercising for an hour every day, drinking 8 glasses of water a day, never drinking alcohol, always getting 8 hours of sleep, and flossing your teeth - every single night.  

    Data tells us these decisions are right, but human nature tells a different tale. Have you ever made a decision that went against what the data and logic were telling you because “it just didn’t feel right”? If the above resonates, no need to worry; you’re simply human. But make no mistake, when it comes to decision-making, fact and logic are tied up in the boot of the car with reason; emotion is in the driver’s seat.

Delivering experiences that engage users

Within this section, we navigate three essential considerations for delivering effective digital experiences that engage users.

Bridging the expectation gap

A company’s employees have the same service expectations of internal tools and products that they would outside the company: they anticipate the same level of efficiency in the tools they use both in and outside of the workplace. Yet, here's where a divide emerges between those who provide internal digital services and those who use them. Internal service providers often have a "captive audience" approach, whereas the service users view themselves as customers. This disconnect frequently leads to scenarios similar to Claire's, where functionality takes precedence over the user experience.

The takeaway: Disconnect between those providing internal digital services and the users can result in scenarios where functionality overshadows the user experience. The key takeaway here is the significance of aligning internal digital services with user expectations for a more engaging and effective digital experience.

Being aware of "abstraction"

Let's try another thought experiment.

  • Imagine having a button that can send an electric shock to a person in another room whom you can neither see nor hear. You press the button to deliver a shock. You might feel okay about this, or you might not. But you don't witness or hear the consequences of your actions.
  • Now, consider if that person is moved to the same room as you, sitting across from you, and you're asked to press the button again. Would you still feel as comfortable delivering the shock? Or would you be less inclined to do so?

Numerous studies have shown that we're more likely to make choices that negatively affect others when we can't see the immediate effects of our choices. This is abstraction, or rather degrees of abstraction, in decision-making.

The takeaway: Emotions play a crucial role in digital experiences. Understanding and addressing the emotional aspects of technology in the workplace enables us to foster meaningful and lasting changes that positively impact the organization and the people inside it.

The human-centric perspective

As we know from Claire’s experience, when implementing solutions or processes for people, there's typically a heavy focus on data, including usage statistics, volumetrics, and measurements of progress to showcase improvement. 
However, the further we distance ourselves from the individuals and the closer we get to the numbers, we inadvertently increase the level of abstraction: The further we move away from the emotional journeys of those involved in the digital ecosystems we provide, the easier it is to make decisions that don’t benefit the employees who use them. 

As the customer experience transforms into abstraction and we lose touch with the consequences of our decisions, we find ourselves swayed by self-interest or external pressures, such as stakeholder demands, economic factors, ROI, and senior management priorities. We detach from those for whom we are implementing the solution, tool, or product and lose that True North.  

The takeaway: Don’t let the data blind you to the real experiences of your users. Stay closely connected with the genuine needs and emotions of the individuals you're designing for.

In summary

The future is now.

As the conversation matures around GenAI and its impact on digital capabilities, it’s essential to remember the unique human dimension we bring to the table. Emotions and emotional responses to digital journeys live in the domain of the human experience (thus far!), and viewing technology through the lens of human understanding enables us to design more efficient, people-centric solutions.  

Additionally, recent changes to the FCA Consumer Duty charter require firms to get much closer to their customers’ needs than ever before. To ensure compliance with the spirit of the regulations, a need to connect on an individual level with customers is emerging.  This shift towards a 'Customer First' ethos may usher in a significant cultural change for many organizations. It’s my personal opinion that a deeper understanding of customer emotions and behaviors in their interactions with our technological solutions will soon become as essential as analyzing graphs of usage data. 

It could be that there’s a substantial change in the air.  

How do you feel about that? 

More resources

Wherever you are in your journey, Stott and May Consulting provide a range of services to support you through business change and transformation. Find out more and get in touch to see how you can collaborate with our subject matter experts to plan for success.

Lucy is a Senior Technical Consultant at Fidelity International, focusing on creating connections between people and technology. Her unique skill set allows her to combine the human elements within the digital landscape and channel them into prioritized downstream automations, journeys, and solutions to enhance business efficiency.


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