In the build-up to last year’s International Customer Experience Awards, I caught up with the multidisciplinary team working with OMV Deutschland: Thomas Bauer from OMV, Roland Mäusl from 360°communications, and Stephanie Ogulin and Josef Gasteiger from ambuzzdor.
As Thomas described it, the working relationship of these three organisations “started as a client, partner and service partner relationship, but ended up as a friendship.”
This strong relationship was crucial to transforming the employee experience at OMV Deutschland, an Austrian-based oil and gas company, and they are looking forward to presenting in the Employee Empowerment category.
“It’s a story of how this energy company transformed from the industrial age to the digital age,” says Stephanie. “Our project is all about giving the single employee greater power, voice and involvement, and this goes across the whole company hierarchy.”
This required a cultural shift in the organisation. Thomas describes it as “going from a knowledge and expert culture to a learning and collaborative co-working culture.”
To implement this transformation, they put a range of policies in place. “One of the easiest things was town hall meetings. We implemented a digital tool where employees can add questions that are moderated and are visible to the executive board, which minimises the distance between the everyday worker and the board,” says Joseph.
They have also introduced more sophisticated feedback formats. As Thomas says, “before, we used to get 2 or 3 questions. Now we get 16 or 17 questions in one session. And these are high-quality, deep questions.”
Roland points out that the development and project teams are taking advantage of “rooms for open and free thinking”, which give them the physical and mental space they need to come up with creative solutions.
As with any transformation project, there’s a typical progression, as Stephanie explains. “First you get nervousness, then you get excitement, then you get frustrated, and so on. We tried to set up an experience programme that openly speaks to these challenges and lets employees at different hierarchy levels experience this. It was important that the transformation team have a good feeling of what is needed next.”
Joseph says that it’s important “not just to use internal blogs or standard forms when talking about change. We moved very quickly to an experience-based approach and guided them through the change.” Roland also stresses the importance of embracing new approaches: “We’ve realised an infection for doing more new work, using more collaboration tools and doing meetings in a new way. We also have strong support from evangelists – including the management team.”
Although OMV have entered awards in the past, winning two, they say this is their “most emotional project” yet. “We don’t just want to share it because we are proud, we want to share it because it’s so emotional and we love our project.”
The international and intercultural aspect is also a big reason for their attendance. Roland says it will be “interesting to see how other teams and other cultures are transporting these kinds of ideas”, and the team plan to pick up new ideas from open presentations on the day.
In the end, the team want to share a story of how they changed the employee experience for the better. As Thomas puts it, “everything we do is about human exchange, communications and talking to each other! It’s so simple.”
The International Customer Experience Awards will be held on 19th November – enter now!
For more customer experience stories from Awards International, click here.