The best service delivery experiences start with an employee experience lens

When it comes to service delivery, many organizations focus only on process automation, measuring outcomes like response time instead of considering the entire service experience. As a result, over half of employees report that they can’t easily navigate everyday moments in the workplace.

Onboarding is an example of a service delivery experience that includes many critical touchpoints – sometimes referred to as moments that matter – that can influence an employee’s overall opinion of the organization and directly impact productivity, engagement and retention. Research from the Human Capital Institute suggests that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer for at least three years if they have a positive onboarding experience.

Service delivery platforms like ServiceNow make it easy to coordinate onboarding activities, like set up new accounts, order equipment and schedule training. But onboarding is a pan-organizational process, not a series of siloed tasks. Without an employee experience lens, the onboarding experience can feel disjointed for the employee and lack clear ownership within the business.

Service delivery isn’t just about onboarding, though. It also includes the day-to-day experiences that make a difference to our work lives. If you’re using ServiceNow in a service delivery capacity in your organization, it’s essential to look beyond the benefits of basic process automation to capture the broader employee experience journey. Here’s how to shift the frame and start improving your service delivery:

Use a continuous improvement methodology

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a common service delivery standard used by many IT departments and other service providers, such as HR and facilities. ITIL provides a framework for continuous improvement, which includes:

  • Adopting an agile framework to maintain a backlog of wish-list and must-have capabilities in roadmap and backlog
  • Using tools such as an employee journey map to act as a continuous improvement vision
  • Regularly adopting or upgrading new capabilities through constant minor releases
  • Improving employee listening within the service delivery team

Service delivery owners often have a hard time achieving continuous improvement. The good news is you can start small. Continuous improvement is about incremental change, not big-bang change. 

Develop an employee listening plan

Employee listening is a newer term that encompasses the various methods and techniques an organization can use to understand the employee experience. When organizations lack a mechanism to gather or respond to ongoing employee feedback, processes fail to evolve to employee expectations.

In service delivery, good employee listening provides insight about how an experience is or isn't working for employees. Employee listening indicates a strategy that is more holistic than one that simply aims to improve processes such as delivery time.

A good employee listening plan includes both qualitative and quantitative input as well as activity-based insight alongside opinion-based data. For example, a holistic listening plan may include:

  • Interviews with new employees about their onboarding experience
  • A 30-day questionnaire about an employee’s onboarding experience
  • Ongoing analysis of search and support logs for common questions and issues
  • A service rating option immediately offered after a support incident is resolved

A robust employee listening plan helps you continuously evolve and respond quickly to change, such as the sudden shift to remote work many of us experienced in 2020. It also provides useful evidence to stakeholders who have access to time or budget to improve the experience.

Use a service design approach

A service design approach refers to how you consider and prioritize customer and employee needs. For example, in its latest release, ITIL 4.0 suggests you use a value co-creation model. This simply means that process improvement or efficiency benefits should be considered alongside employee needs, wants and experience.

A service design approach also refers to how you engage end-users in the service design. At Habanero, we value co-creation at all stages of process improvement, so employee stakeholders are invited into process design workshops that shape the overall experience.

Service design tools comprise the research, planning and design assets that define an experience through the lens of the customer or employee. ITIL 4.0 defines a value co-creation model, but it doesn’t tell companies how to achieve it. That’s where service design tools come in.

Common tools in the service design toolkit include:

  • Service blueprints
  • Journey maps
  • Design sprints

How are these different than other planning tools such as process or workflow diagrams? First and foremost, they are designed to surface the customer and employee experience. They do this by prioritizing visible aspects of the process (what the customer sees) and the interfaces customers use to interact (also called props). They may also include sentiment detail, such as the emotions a customer might have at a critical touchpoint, so those moment that matter can visibly surface and instruct improvements.

Combined with employee listening, service design assets can help executive stakeholders understand the broader, more encompassing challenges employees face that impact productivity and engagement.

Embed change

There is no adage less accurate in the technology space than, “If you build it, they will come.” As humans, we resist change – especially if something is asking more of us than it did before. When employees are not part of the service delivery solution design, we commonly see challenges with adoption.

Take a common service experience, for example:

When looking for support, Jane always calls her coworker, Bob, because she knows he’ll make the change right away. A service improvement implementation disrupts this typical relationship. It’s the kind of change that can be difficult for both Bob and Jane. Why would Jane fill out a service form if calling Bob is quicker and more predictable? And why would Bob log all his tasks in a system if he sees no benefit to this extra effort?

How do you help Bob and Jane change their behaviours and adopt new beliefs?

You bring them along the entire journey. If you miss the chance at co-creation, you’ll spend much longer throwing carrots or sticks at people to convince them to adapt to the change. 


By adopting an employee experience lens through building up your capabilities in employee listening, adopting continuous improvement and using a service design approach and tools you'll be much better positioned to build amazing moments that matter that foster commitment and boost productivity.


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