Shane Green, President, SGEiShane Green, President
Regardless of whether it’s a B2B or B2C transaction, customer satisfaction fosters loyalty and encourages brand advocacy. Businesses across every sector are today dead-set on delivering exceptional customer experience. However, in this effort, several organizations often tend to forget that employees are the cornerstone of any transformation initiative. That’s why the journey toward employee-centricity should always begin with cultural transformation to allow employees to articulate, demonstrate, and live larger organizational values.

“Several businesses lack a clear strategy around their employee experience. At SGEi, our goal is to help clients build sound organizational culture that enables employees to grow and hone leadership team’s capability to inspire their people,” says Shane Green, President,SGEi.

Staying true to this objective, SGEi has been delivering a plethora of services, ranging from employee-focused training to leadership workshops and culture consulting services for the past two decades. Such a comprehensive service offering has enabled several businesses to ensure optimum customer experience and deliver on their brand promise and purpose.

In an interview with Manage HR, Green shares insights into how SGEi offers businesses a variety of learning experiences and helps them build a customer service-oriented culture.

What were the factors that spurred the conception of SGEi?
While working as a manager at the Ritz Carlton hotel, I realized the various nuances of ensuring a great customer experience. At that time, I felt the need to share my knowledge and experience with other organizations that struggle to create a happy and loyal customer base. And this was the realization that spurred the conception of SGEi.

Since our inception, we have been focused on certain core areas, including customer experience journey mapping, creating moments that define customer experience, and building strategies. Our focus and dedication earned us the honor of working with some reputed organizations, such as BMW, Christie’s Auction House, among others.

While working with these clients, we gradually realized that organizations often neglect the concept of employee experience (EX) while discussing customer experience. Today, we have identified about 47 key moments in the employee’s journey from a day, week, month, and year. And we look to see how the employees feel about each of those moments. Then, we consider mechanisms or manage leaders’ habits that impact those moments and help companies create a strategy to shift their employee experience.

Our goal is to help clients build sound organizational culture that enables employees to perform at their best and elevate the leadership team’s capability to inspire their people

Please give our readers insights into how has the HR space evolved over the years and how has SGEi been a part of that transformation?
When we started propagating the importance of EX strategy a decade back, not everyone was serious about this. But the HR landscape has undergone drastic changes over the years with more technological advancements and the emergence of new theories and praxis. Today, EX has become one of the major discussion points across every industry vertical. Businesses have started to realize that they cannot improve customer experience without focusing on employee satisfaction and engagement. In fact, reports suggest that the EX space is going to witness a huge investment of $350 billion this year alone.

Our goal is to help businesses drive meaningful and effective cultural transformation for a positive employee experience. The journey begins with managers and leaders since they are the ones who should champion or facilitate any positive change first. That’s why when we engage with clients and conduct our assessment to put a strategy in place, our team first aims to make the leaders comfortable and confident in the changes that will be implemented.

We firmly believe that organizational culture is not solely about the HR department—leaders and managers are the key contributors to it. They converse with employees directly and understand their problems. So, we believe in elevating the leadership team and helping them understand the key habits they need to evolve in themselves first. We then help refresh or build critical cultural mechanisms like recruitment, onboarding, communication, performance management, and recognition. Then, in the end, we focus on the employees and provide them with the necessary training they need to understand and adopt any new core values that guide their activities and interactions.

What are the changes that the pandemic has accompanied, and how is your company responding to those?
The pandemic has changed the concept of workplace on various fronts—from remote working to the proliferation of gig workers. Rather than architecting a well-decorated office space, it has become essential for businesses to focus more on ensuring seamless connectivity and building communication among employees.

The home is the new office, and whenever an employee logs in for the day, he/she expects the same emotional connection with peers and colleagues. At this juncture, managers and leaders have to be more proficient as well as understand the requirements of their employees for leading the virtual teams. Our goal is to facilitate this journey and prepare managers for the future.

What is the typical process that you follow while engaging with clients?
We leverage the Culture Hacker Assessment approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cultural priorities and requirements of the organization. We first assess clients’ business environment for knowing the existing gaps and the behavior and habits of leaders. We look at every point that contributes to culture—recruiting process, recognition process, and how key messages are communicated with everyone.

Then, we recommend the necessary strategies that need to be implemented or which mechanisms should be changed for the next 12 or 24 months. Clients can themselves build a strategic roadmap to follow our recommendations or can directly engage us. We also have a training academy in Las Vegas where we bring people to provide them with proper training.

For example, we worked in liaison with one of the largest U.S. airlines and trained 35,000 flight attendants over a single year. Our team coaches complemented their internal resources to help facilitate that change within the predefined timeframe. Finally, the airlines could witness the change and measure the outcomes. Not stopping there, we also provided necessary support services to sustain that change. More importantly, we made the entire training process seamless and interesting—it’s not just showing some lifeless PowerPoint presentations.

What does the future hold for SGEi?
Over the years, we have worked in liaison with several enterpriselevel clients, and we still focus on them. Going forward, our aim is to help more small businesses that cannot afford to have sound HR infrastructure. In fact, for this purpose, we are developing a small business assessment and toolbox. In a nutshell, traditionally, HR has been more administrative and very functional. We approach it from a much more dynamic business-orientated perspective. That’s why we have been able to drive several businesses toward success.