Can CX help prove the value of a diverse workforce?

Let me start this post by being clear – I don’t know the answer! But following a fascinating conversation with a respected contact, I thought it was worth discussing whether CX can help prove the value of a diverse workforce.

The real challenge when I look at a typical diversity and inclusion (D&I) dashboard is that the measures are usually outputs to show potentially successful progress towards a goal (diverse and inclusive workforce.)  Measures such as representation % of females amongst senior management or external awards for inclusion demonstrate that a series of actions did (or didn’t) deliver the outcome.  Measuring the outcome, without determining the sentiment aspect can often result in progress stalling as people gaze at the metric, willing it to improve, but not focusing on what to do to achieve this – a watched pot never boils, as my granny used to say!

So the first consideration is that if the measure is the outcome, and achieving the outcome means success, then start measuring the failure to achieve the outcome.  Instead of representation % of females amongst senior management, measure % of females who failed to achieve promotion.  Instead of reporting how many external awards the business, track the number of awards the business went up for but failed to win.

By looking at the failures, you will then have the answer to fixing the blockers to hitting your outcome.  Asking “why did that fail?” highlights the barrier to achieving the outcome and it gives you a tangible action to progress toward the outcome.  To get executive buy-in, assign ownership of the most impactful failures, giving clear visibility to the leaders and the business at large, and showing that the outcome really does matter.

From a customer experience (CX) perspective, we have so many (read: too many) measures, but everyone seeks to have a single measure.  The second mistake is obsessing over the number versus the direction of the number / % increase or decrease.  One way that we address this in CX is to create an aggregated score of all the all the core measures, weighted according to importance – this gives us a Customer Health Score (CHS).  There is no such thing as a perfect CHS – it depends on the factors that matter to your business, where the customer sits along your customer journey, external factors (e.g. government increases taxes), but can still be split out into its component parts.

Many seniors obsess over Net Promoter Score, so I can still report that, and allow external benchmarking against the competition.  But equally, what matters is the aggregated score – is it heading to where I want it to be?  Did the changes made have the expected / desired effect?  If I only have X to spend, where might it have the most impact? It sounds like a lot of hassle, but that is why you have a data warehouse with all your data linked, managed and secure, overseen by a data scientist.

If that sounds like too much hassle, you might be able to focus on a proxy metric.  In CX, the metric that gets attention in modern businesses is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).  It’s a combination of actual data (how much has customer spent with company, how much are they worth right now?) and predictive data (if we sell customer X or Y, in the future, they will be worth Z.)  It’s not as complex as it sounds and because it has a $ value, it gets everyone’s attention.  And it is inextricably linked to customer engagement and satisfaction.

For example, if I double the quality of my product, or offer new additional items that the customer values, they will be happier, spend more and stay longer = CLV goes up.  If the company outsources critical components of the service, increases the fees, has some service disruption on their website, there is a tipping point where customers will start looking elsewhere, they will ignore your marketing and ultimately leave = CLV goes down.

So question is, for the metric that matters the most, is there an accepted $ value that is associated to engaged employees, healthy cultures, that ultimately reflect a great D&I environment?  I don’t believe you can make a business fully engage and focus on this topic unless you can show an increase in revenue or decrease in retained revenue. I’d love to hear from businesses that have successfully linked a monetary value to the engagement and / or diversity of their workforce?

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