In 2012 I was managing an innovation project for an insurance company. At that time, an omnichannel strategy was an important innovation topic. 5 years later, omnichannel became the standard in business to consumer sales & marketing.
In a modern shopping experience, the ability to identify, evaluate and purchase in one seamless journey leveraging different channels is expected by the consumer. He might use a mobile app to learn about a product, visit a store to taste or feel it, talk to a sales agent over the phone to get further details, and finally purchase over the web, all in one seamless experience.
Today, a combined use of mobile apps, social media, traditional stores and the web is used to learn about and purchase products and services. A brand is experienced as one continuous flow, irrespective of the channel used.
Omnichannel working experience?
I am regularly asked why a deployment of a business social networking application did not succeed. A correct deployment of the solution, a dedicated communication strategy did not result in the social networking platform being substantially used following the initial spike of use.
Compare the deployment of this social networking application with adding another sales channel in the mix without defining the relation to the existing channels. This provides an additional way for a customer to make a purchase but does not in itself create a seamless cross-channel experience.
Considering how we work today, we work at an increased number of locations: office, satellite office, home office, the airport, the bar, … This trend is supported by technology developments like mobile phones, voice-over-ip, document sharing and desktop virtualisation which enabled remote working.
Nonetheless, these advances in collaboration technology and workplace design, the working experience today is not considered seamless. Often it is interrupted as workplace switches are not facilitated, caused by difficulties in connecting, limited global access to information and applications, fragmented communication tools, etc …
Creating a good workplace strategy
Sales and marketing departments develop channel strategy based on the customers’ buying preferences and insights in the shopping behaviour. Using a similar approach, HR departments need to design the ‘omnichannel work experience’
To develop the best work experience, HR should analyse the different working practices and the working preferences of employees. Develop an understanding of the current working environment and map the current work experience. Use experience journey maps that differentiate the needs of different workers and define their optimum experience. It is key to clearly differentiate between different worker types – i.e. mobile sales teams and stationary production workers have different workplace needs.
A successful workplace strategy leverages available data and insights in workplace and working tools preferences and use. Mechanisms that continuously capture relevant data and insights in working preferences should be built-in, allowing to steer the strategy based on employee preferences.
Stay tuned for more insights on the omnichannel workplace!