Yelena Pevzner: We need to obsess over employee experience

Apr 20, 2022
Employee Experience Financial Services Industry

The Ally CIO is a fierce advocate for a best-in-class employee experience.

happy employee selects the happiness emoji button to indicate job satisfaction
Credit: Thinkstock

As a fully digital bank, Ally has an established track record of innovating new products and services for customers. And Yelena Pevzner, CIO of Corporate Technology at Ally, believes it is equally important to extend that “fierce commitment to obsessing over the customer” to the employee experience.

CIO contributing editor Julia King sat down with Pevzner at CIO’s Future of Work summit to discuss how Ally is prioritizing employee experience, improving productivity, and changing mindsets.

What follows are edited excerpts of that conversation. For more of Pevzner’s insights, watch the full video of the session embedded below.

On connecting CX and EX:

In today’s world, with more technology, with more various enterprise platforms, applications, it is becoming increasingly difficult for internal customers—employees—to actually navigate through it and get their tasks done and be productive. So that is why it is even more important to focus on employee experience.

Choosing what we do, nowadays—at work and in our personal lives—as our CEO pointed out early this year, is going to become increasingly more important because what is impactful? How do we spend our time? I think that shows us directly the connection with how we can think differently and how the employee experience is something that should be a focus. And we need to obsess over driving the best experience for our employees.

Here at Ally, we do hackathons; we have been doing them for a number of years. And in the past 3 years, there is one consistent theme that emerged that out of multiple teams and groups that come together to produce working solutions: There is a 50/50 percent split between ideas that enable the external customer versus those that enable internal employees.

On what employees want:

The concept of ease of use is not new, right? It has been around for a long time. What is becoming more difficult is the number of different technology platforms.

The ultimate goal is to create jointed, consistent, and contextual user experiences. In our case, employees go in and out of different systems to get their daily tasks for their job function done, so the goal would be to have technology that seamlessly puts it all together and allows them—the employee—to just get in and get out. With technology, in our case, we want our employees to get in and get out, to just have the minimal time spent with this technology because it enables them to do something else.

On mapping the employee journey:

We have the whole digital product development team that focuses on external customer experience. What we are trying to do now is apply the same discipline, because there is a whole methodology to it, to internal employees. But yes. You can start with different areas, but there are so many opportunities for improvements, and we identify a number of areas where it would just greatly simplify employee’s life.

On automating for business value:

Automation for automation’s sake is not always the best use of everyone’s time. So, enabling automation is more about how we can leverage technology to enable specific outcomes and business value, rather than the standard thought of automating tasks.

One example is that we looked at our call center volume and found that 25% of the calls pertained to locked accounts and resetting passwords—and we are probably not unique. It takes, on average, an 11-minute call to address those issues. That translates into about 20,000 man-hours of time annually that can potentially be saved by automating those tasks.

On prioritizing EX:

Shifting the mindset from just optimizing one particular application or platform user experience to considering the holistic view and how it enhances or takes away from the user experience is one of the challenges because it is a change, right? And also changing the mindset to demand best-in-class experience versus accepting status quo. Another [challenge] is making the whole experience a strategic priority and a design principle. Because sometimes it is overlooked and [there are] the traditional challenges [of] competing priorities and finite budget and resources. So, making it a priority and making it stick and making it happen.

This article originally appeared in CIO’s Center Stage newsletter. Subscribe today!