How to build a data-driven business case for your workplace investment

  • Posted on September 9, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes

Gartner Digital Workplace Summit 2019 is just around the corner. And that’s followed a few days later by Gartner ReimagineHR. Senior IT, HR and line of business professionals will be attending the events for a range of different reasons. But there’s one challenge that quite a few attendees will share.

Wrestling with workplace investment rationale
Whether you’re an IT or an HR leader, chances are that at some stage you’ve struggled to develop a powerful business case to support a new employee experience (EX) investment. 

It can be really hard to create a compelling justification for an investment in a new platform, new experiences or, in fact, any EX initiative. As hard as actually executing the initiative, in some cases.

You’ll be faced with a number posers:

  • How do you identify where to make an employee experience investment? 
  • How can you quantify the change or uplift in business performance attributed to that investment? 
  • How can you move from decisions based on your gut feel to those made using data? And how can you then have full confidence in that data?

But by understanding the critical relationship between your workplace experience (WX) and effective employee and customer experiences (EX and CX), you can begin to build a more persuasive case for your investment. Below, I’ve outlined three steps you can take to construct a convincing business case.

1. Understand the importance of investing in EX
When it comes to improving business outcomes – whether that’s generating increased sales and profits, attracting more customers, gaining a larger market share, or creating greater shareholder value – all roads usually lead back to the satisfaction and performance of your employees. 

Productivity, efficiency, talent retention and innovation can all be directly impacted (and improved) by effective employee experiences. But it’s often difficult to know what elements of the overall employee experience landscape to focus on (and where you need to invest).
Understanding that you need to invest to maintain (and keep evolving) your EX is the first step. But identifying precisely where to make your investment should be steered by data – which will highlight the EX issues that need to be addressed (and the results you can expect). 

At Avanade, we have developed a set of algorithms, methods and data recommendations based on advanced data science, multivariate analysis, AI and machine learning and predictive analytics to do just that. And – as I’ll explain below – if you’re attending the Gartner ReimagineHR event, you’ll get the exclusive chance to hear more about this model.

2. Grasp the relationship between EX and CX
The relationship between CX and EX isn’t new. Despite this, too many organisations are still overlooking it. 

Conversely, by acknowledging the intrinsic relationship between EX and CX, leading organisations are able to appreciate the value that workplace investments deliver. Engaged employees, well-trained, armed with the right tools and technologies, and facilitated by the right culture, can deliver the type of CX that brings competitive advantage and business success.

And to support this concept, research from the MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) showcases the correlation. Organisations that are able to nurture effective employee experiences can double their customer satisfaction, become twice as innovative and boost profitability by 25%. 

Being able to clearly articulate the link between EX and CX will lend greater authority to your business case.

3. Quantifying the returns from a combined EX and CX approach
It’s this step that many businesses struggle with the most. And that’s because it can be incredibly hard to calculate a specific, accurate value for the impact that an EX investment will (or could) deliver.

By working with clients across the globe on their workplace strategies and initiatives, we regularly see the powerful results of the relationship between EX and CX. At Avanade, we spend a lot of our time helping clients to use customer and employee initiatives in tandem to enhance their financial performance and achieve a faster time to market, higher productivity, increased sales or other target metrics.

And, as I mentioned above, we’re now working on an exciting and distinctive methodology that delivers targeted insights – defining the relationship between EX and CX in financial performance terms. With this pioneering approach, we are able to share insights into the quantifiable impact various EX initiatives have on business performance, covering areas as diverse as work complexity, creativity and culture to name but a few. 
Learn more about insight-driven EX investments 
We’ll be sharing more on this at Gartner’s ReimagineHR event. My colleagues and I will be on stage speaking exploring how best to prioritise and measure the financial impact of EX initiatives – see details below: 
Event: Gartner ReimagineHR
Session title: EX + CX = ROI+
19 September 14:30 – 15:00 
Room: Westminster D

So, if you’re attending (and seeking to create a business case for your own workplace investment), come and talk to our team. And if you’re not at the event but would like to know more, please email me to stay in touch. 

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