MarTech Interview with Jesse Murray, Head of Employee Experience at Rightpoint

Learn the strategies for improving internal communication, fostering innovation, and aligning technology with employee needs to elevate your organization's employee experience.
Jesse Murray

Jesse, can you briefly share your background and how you became the head of employee experience at Rightpoint?
For my career I’ve had a focus on driving engagement and efficiency for customers using innovative technologies. I joined Rightpoint 12 years ago in the role of General Manager for our new at the time Detroit office and was responsible for driving the growth of that unit for over 7 years. My core passion though has always been driving better and more innovative employee experiences and I took that on as my sole focus in 2020 with a focus both externally for our customers and more recently internally focused as well for Rightpoint.

Could you give an overview of internal communication strategies that can help elevate the employee experience?
Personalization, engagement and omnichannel
a. Personalization – Employees want to read with and engage on content that has personal relevance. Ensuring the messages reach the right people at the right time is critical.

b. Engagement – communication does not mean broadcasting content to people, it involves driving conversations and engagement with content and encouraging active participation. The most successful communication programs encourage that conversation and engagement.

c. Omnichannel – Consumption and conversations need to reach employees when and where is easiest for them and varies by job and preference. Ensuring your message can reach employees where makes most sense for them ensures higher readership and engagement.

How does structured internal communication positively impact employee experiences and what lessons can other organisations learn?
Better, Not More, Communications
One of the most common employee feedback items we’ll often get from our customer research and across employee engagement surveys is “better” communication. In many of these instances there has been a misinterpretation of volume of messaging as better when what employees mean is relevance. Communications strategies built on the structure of differentrole needs, clarity on relevance and contextual impact ensure not just readership of the message, but understanding as well.

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What innovative tools or approaches are vital to keeping internal communication effective in the evolving modern workspace?
I struggle to call this innovative persay, but starting any effort with an understanding of employee needs and motivations has been the number one predictor of success in our experience. Beyond that, understanding how to reach employees across a complex technology landscape in the tools and manners that work best for them removes friction for the employee. Creating an environment both technologically and culturally where engaging with content through social sharing and related solutions has and continues to be key to creating a modern workspace.

I’ll also call out the expectations difference for an intranet and workspace here. A workspace, as noted right in the name, must be a place where an employee can work, not just consume. Work needs differ by employee and integrating work dashboards and activities alongside personally relevant communications can drive both higher engagement and higher productivity.

How does better internal communications impact other areas of the organisation, like the experiences offered to customers?
Modern businesses are constantly changing and evolving, some large but many small and persistent, which can be difficult to keep up with for employees also trying to be productive in their role. Just as critical though is ensuring employees are fully aligned and equipped to support those changes. Ensuring roles that are more directly customer facing (e.g. leadership, sales, service and similar) are equipped with the most timely and accurate information is imperative to their success as employees but moreso the success and engagement with customers themselves. Selling the wrong SKU or at the wrong price, not resolving a customer inquiry accurately, sharing the wrong brand message are all moments that create lower engagement and lower satisfaction with customers, or when done right, generate customer advocacy and brand loyalty.

I’ll also highlight the natural connection between Corporate Communications and Human Resources in our most successful customers. Employee engagement is a critical measure for HR both for ensuring an engaged and productive workforce but also in ensuring a more stable workforce through better talent attraction and retention. Effective communication is key to ensuring employees are equipped with the right information to be effective and happy in their jobs.

What challenges do organisations face when implementing internal communication strategies and how do you help address them?
Leadership Value – communications leaders will often struggle to get the investment to create an adequately employee centric communications strategy due to a lack of understanding or buy-in on the broader benefits of effective and engaging communications. Modern workspaces and intranets are often the vehicles through which employee personas, journeys and job analysis are done, as a base need to ensure a personalised communications experience. In what we refer to as Return on Total Experience (ROTX), demonstrating the value driven across the employee lifecycle in measurable impact to productivity, customer satisfaction, engagement, attrition and costs is critical to creating leadership buy-in.

Technology centricity – One frustratingly persistent challenge is alignment of technology before employee needs, resulting in decisions made for reasons other than fit for purpose. This of course happens for many reasons; needing to realise added value from existing investments, overselling by the existing technology vendor or internal sponsor, lack of supporting employee research to identify needs, siloed organisational structures preventing collaboration and many more. Conversely, always selecting a best of breed solution can create a disjointed and difficult to navigate employee experience. Measuring technology decisions by the impact and value to the employee experience can help create less friction and ultimately higher adoption.

How can organisations balance innovation and the adoption of new technology with ensuring functionality and accessibility for employees?
Technology and innovation absent understanding of impact on and motivation of employees is at the root of lost value. Understanding how these new innovations will impact employees, what the value is to them and to the organisation and creating a culture that supports this evolution are key actions that can be taken. When selecting a new technology or innovation on existing investments, give weight to what opportunities exist to integrate into the existing ecosystem and consider whether the change increases or reduces friction.

How can organisations embrace integrated touchpoints to humanise the workplace? What impact does this have?
Prioritising the moments of collaboration between two people is a key strategy in aligning value to the moments that have the most opportunity. These moments are when technology has the most purpose but also needs to be seen the least. As an example, recent Microsoft research shows both leaders and employees are excited at the opportunity AI has to transform their companies and jobs. As great as the opportunity for transformation may be with AI innovations, employees need to be equipped with more than just new technology, they need skills and mindsets which focus on creating exceptional customer outcomes and driving innovative ideas. This mindset shift includes reimagining what it means to measure success, redefining the relationships of manager and employee and reassessing the accountability for lifetime learning.

How can organisations prioritise their employee experience initiatives and ensure their investments are achieving the right goals?
Consider the Total Experience and the role which Employee Experience drives value to customer and product experiences. Ensuring alignment between company initiatives requires an understanding of the overall journey and most critically where these journeys intersect. Most critically, to drive value requires a measurement framework to express the impact of one part of the organisation on another which we call return on total experience (ROTX). A simple example of this concept is being able to measure the impact of employee productivity and engagement on customer revenue and NPS.

Jesse, what advice would you offer to organisations seeking to get started with enhancing their employee experience based on your experience?
I’ll offer the same thing we recommend when we’re partnering with our customers. Start by understanding employee feedback, engaging in interviews and observations and collecting data around employee outcomes and metrics. Most customers I speak to have a wealth of employee feedback and working data in silos and we’ve found great success in grounding employee experience discussions with deep understanding of the current employee experience.

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Jesse Murray, Head of Employee Experience at Rightpoint

As SVP of Employee Experience at Rightpoint, Jesse Murray is a trusted advisor for employee experience transformations including employee engagement and retention, organizational insights, new ways of working, knowledge and search, productivity and efficiency and digital workspaces. LinkedIn.
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