Written By: Vishesh Kumar, Associate Vice President at Infiniti Research
Employee insights can pack more punch into market intelligence than you’d expect:
Admittedly, not every employee is an internal entrepreneur or feels motivated to don that cap. However, every staffer is a carrier of often disorganized and jumbled but still deep-enough understanding that can better illuminate researchers’ perspective of the market and provide useful pointers. The fact that such data might be in the form of bits and crumbs and piecing these nuggets together can be annoying is no reason to shove them aside! Besides, employee research will help close gaps, if any, in the narrative around the brand (“brand story”), so it sticks together better, thus making the storyline more cohesive and relatable for potential customers. Just in case you thought market intelligence teams tap into the wisdom of customer teams as a matter of established routine, well, think again. Suffice it to say, businesses that have looped customer support data into their market research are seeing significant payoffs in their market segmentation efforts. Pulled together with care and thoughtfully interpreted, the insights lying wedged between the ears of the workforce can be a veritable minefield for organizational decision makers. However, this is easier said than done, and though almost everyone knows where employee intelligence resides, how many organizations truly care to sift it? That might just be changing. There is growing realization that employee feedback, once properly refined and processed, can serve as a strong basis for CXO decisions capable of fueling bottom lines, innovation, and cost efficiency. The ascension of employee intelligence in the overall intelligence market portfolios being closely followed within the corporate research community.
Challenges/Importance of the Service/Function
Employee as an engagement conduit with the customer
In the leadup to a purchase and post the sale, customers fraternize with brands on multiple occasions along touchpoints such as social media, search engines, ads, and with the customer support team. The last-mentioned group is particularly significant since it takes the full impact of customer communication and engagement (e.g., email, live chat, phone calls), be it online or offline, without any third party coming in the way! Over time, support teams typically scrape together veritable stockpiles of data on what customers look for in products and services and how pleased they are with in-market offerings. There is always room for product improvement and most certainly customer support teams can serve as conduits of ideas and metrics for in-house market intelligence squads researching various customer groups, their needs, and the “whys” and “how’s” underlying their buying decisions. In this effort, marketing intelligence is also providing teams with the much-needed fillip.
Employee marketing: The workforce as an unsung brand builder
Taking the discussion further, employees’ perspectives on whether the brand is meeting and exceeding expectations around quality, customer experience, and overall reputation are becoming increasingly crucial inputs for market intelligence researchers. Employees’ appraisal of the brand can help uncover specific features of a product or service that will enable it to stand out in a sea of competitors. Sure enough, employees deserve to be appreciated for this brand enriching effort, which hasn’t historically been the case!
Why miss the lucrative chance to turn in-house ideas into successful products?
Presented with the right circumstances, employees might feel encouraged to apply their entrepreneurial skills within the four walls of the organization. This is arguably a better option than forcing them to take their fledgling ideas elsewhere. 3M’s Post-It Note (those classic sticky notes we have grown used to) was the handiwork of an in-house chemist-cum-inventor. Similarly, Amazon’s ‘buy with 1-click’ button was an internal programmer’s response to the online retailer’s need to make its ordering system as frictionless as possible for buyers.
How can IR help you?
The so-far overlooked source of competitive advantage, namely, employee intelligence, is drawing the attention of some businesses, and these enterprises are blazing a different trail by choosing to curate employee intelligence, no matter the odds. The employee engagement practice was birthed at Infiniti Research to address that need and deliver lots more. At Infiniti Research, we hold the perspective that the brush strokes of employee engagement must extend across the echelons of the organization on a continuous basis. Over the last more than two decades, our practitioners in employee engagement and market intelligence have worked with large, medium, and small businesses to drive workforce satisfaction and improve talent retention appreciably. Besides, our efforts have helped bolster a strong corporate culture that values talent and is committed to employee growth and development.
For a leading conglomerate, employee intelligence, more than all else, is proving to be a game changer:
Our client is a diversified corporate group with a presence in several unrelated industries, including media as well as stainless steel and galvanized products. By parking its money in multiple products and fields of operation, the group has so far successfully overcome market volatility while generating impressive returns. However, diversification does come with potential downsides, key among them the duplication of functions, which gives rise to significant inefficiencies and cost escalations. With a diversified org structure, many employees ended up working on similar tasks and, in general, the staff had hardly any clarity about their roles and responsibilities.
Duplication of functions left employees conflicted over what the employer expected of them. The multitasking work environment left the employees with little time to pursue lateral opportunities in other strategic business units. Most of all, a siloed infrastructure ensured various functional units were cut off from one another. This meant collating workforce analytics from across these entities was almost next to impossible! Our experts in employee engagement, market intelligence, and marketing began to collaborate with the client in early 2023. As things stood, employee management initiatives were all over the place, so to speak. Our experts set about consolidating these workforce initiatives. By so doing, they ensured tasks were not only framed with extreme clarity but were also tied in the right teams and individuals. Furthermore, workforce engagement processes were flushed to rid them of redundancies and task overlaps.
Our experts in talent management and market intelligence, by centralizing resources, tools, and engagements, moved the mercury level of employee experience up several notches. The result is a more positive workplace that employees feel invested in, leading to improved productivity and lowered staff attrition across the client’s business units. All employee data has been moved under a single roof, opening whole new possibilities in talent analytics like never before.
Summary of Case Study:
Over the years, our client has been busy expanding the product range as well as field of operation, and this has worked to the business’ advantage overwhelmingly in the past. However, there are pitfalls diversified org structures must actively seek to avoid such as role conflicts and task duplications for the decentralized workforce. In early 2023, our specialists in talent management and market intelligence stepped in to tame these and other issues stemming from corporate diversification. Notably, employee engagement has moved from the backburner to the center stage at many of our client enterprises. It’s about time businesses such as yours took advantage of our employee engagement practice.
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