When Supriya Goswami thinks about her most memorable moments at work — a birthday surprise, an empowering experience — expectations aren’t part of the story. Instead, what she remembers is how she felt at the time, something she believes is the key to unlocking great employee experiences.
“The next big frontier I see is not around meeting employees’ expectations, but focusing on the ‘feel’ factors — shaping how the employee feels about the experience,” said Goswami, VP of product marketing at Whatfix. “Focusing on the moments that matter can play a big part in this.”
Whatfix is a digital adoption platform (DAP) provider based in San Jose, Calif. and a sponsor of Simpler Media Group's virtual Digital Workplace Experience (DWX) Conference. Goswami recently presented the session, “Managing the Moments that Matter in the Digital Workplace.” We spoke with her about how employers can identify and take advantage of moments that matter in order to increase employee satisfaction and productivity, while providing a more positive experience throughout the employee journey.
Why Employee Experience Should Focus on Moments That Matter
Simpler Media Group: Thinking back on your career, which aspect of the employee experience made you feel most fulfilled when working?
Supriya Goswami: A critical factor contributing to my satisfaction at the workplace is empowerment and freedom to perform my job while being accountable for results. How does empowerment and freedom come alive? Some organizations provide easy access to information — especially tribal knowledge, which sits in the heads of long-time employees. They’re brilliant at making this tribal knowledge available and decentralized, for example, by providing recordings and notes from the best sales calls. This sounds simple but requires the right mindset and discipline. Someone has to curate the ‘best’ sales calls, sign off on the budget for the right technology, get the calls transcribed, and deliver them to employees.
SMG: Your DWX presentation focused on 'moments that matter.' What does this phrase mean to you?
Goswami: When I think about the different organizations in which I’ve worked, there are certain experiences that stand out. These are the moments that matter. For instance, I was organizing an offsite team-building session that just happened to fall on my birthday. One of the company leaders sent a luxury car to take me to the offsite and make it special for my birthday. It was a memorable moment.
Another example is when I joined Whatfix in the middle of the pandemic. I had never met anyone in person and my first day at work was in my home office. I was blown away by how quickly I was able to onboard and learn about the organization and my team because of the technology and tools available at Whatfix. It wasn’t just onboarding. I felt integrated into the Whatfix team and culture.
SMG: In 2021, Whatfix was named one of the Highest-Rated Cloud-Computing Companies to Work for by Battery. What role do you think moments that matter played in earning your company this award?
Goswami: Quite an important part. We increased our headcount by 40% in 2021, and 100% of those were hired and onboarded remotely. While our talent acquisition team did an outstanding job getting new hires comfortable with the company and the work, we also relied heavily on our digital adoption platform to onboard employees, familiarize them with the tools used at Whatfix, and engage with them at moments that matter.
And it’s not just the HR team. Functional leaders across the organization spent time identifying the points at which an employee may be faced with challenges in their daily work, say while working within an application. In those moments we used our DAP to ease the process for them. This included little things like pop-ups reminding our employees to stretch their legs from time to time, and not-so-little things like auto-generated emails reminding our Customer Success Managers to invite their customers to our webinars. This kind of support has made our team more engaged and productive.
Focus on Feelings, Not Expectations
SMG: In your session description, you state that 'the cost to continue to meet employees’ ever-growing expectations is unsustainable.' What do you mean by this?
Goswami: It feels like we’re in a talent arms race. On one hand, the increase in virtual and remote work has made more jobs more accessible for quality talent without traditional geographic bounds. For instance, an organization in the Bay Area can hire a person living in Kansas for most roles without asking them to relocate. At the same time, we’re seeing a massive outflow of talent with workers leaving jobs in droves. Employees are far more willing to leave jobs now than they were just a few years ago.
As multiple HR thought leaders have observed, the employee experience has now become table stakes. So, how much more can an organization spend on making the physical workplace more enticing for a prospective employee? Or for that matter, how much more can they spend on new tools (digital or otherwise) that promise to make work easier? There’s a point where we can see diminishing returns on these investments, and that time could very well be approaching.
SMG: What do organizations find are the biggest challenges when creating moments that matter for their employees?
Goswami: I don’t doubt that organizations want to deliver on moments that matter. The biggest challenge that they’re presented with is being able to identify those moments. Every organization has a diverse set of employees, each with different roles and sets of activities. This makes it difficult for a central team to identify what matters to each person. Of course, there are some standard ones such as the onboarding experience and anniversaries, but there are also those that are unique to teams and roles. The day-to-day work of a salesperson is very different from someone in customer service. The opportunities to delight them would also differ accordingly.
SMG: How are organizations overcoming these challenges and creating moments that enhance the employee experience?
Goswami: At Whatfix, we’ve gone beyond using our platform simply to drive application adoption, and are now using it across the organization to enhance our employees’ experience in the flow of work. Key to this is the ownership functional leaders and even managers take in making the workstreams simpler for their teams through the use of our platform. With their help, we’ve been able to create a personalized onboarding experience for every new hire and a workstream that simplifies work for all employees no matter what their job function. It wouldn’t have been possible without the combined efforts of HR, functional leaders and of course our internal technology teams. Our Digital Adoption Consultants are now seeing customers adopt this same strategy in the exact same way in their own applications.
Enhancing Employee Experiences Is Everyone’s Job
SMG: What are your top recommendations for organizations that are either getting started with creating these workplace experiences, or looking to improve their current experiences?
Goswami: Recognize that it’s not the sole responsibility of HR to create an enhanced digital workplace experience, if that was ever the case. Organizations need to look at both structured and unstructured moments that matter because every one of them presents an opportunity to engage and delight employees. Your employees are also customers and know what the customer experience feels like. They’ll soon have similar expectations at work, too, if they don’t already.
Organizations need to start thinking about their employees as their customers. Functional leaders and managers are in the best position to understand their teams’ expectations and the small moments within their everyday work that can be used as opportunities to engage and delight. As a result, employees become more interested in their work and more productive, which benefits the team and the organization as a whole.
SMG: What excites you most about the future of the digital workplace?
Goswami: As an employee, it’s exciting to see the increased focus on using technology to enhance the employee experience. We spend a significant part of our day in our workplace, and it’s time enterprises started focusing on giving their employees the experiences they deserve. An increasingly digital workplace gives enterprises the opportunity and the tools to do so. What also excites me is the ease with which the digital workplace can make remote teams feel connected, as evidenced by my own experiences.