Return on Experience - It’s time for a new way of work

02 December, 2019

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Series edition 4/6

Everyone is tired of hearing about all the disruption happening today and how it calls for a new way of work. But what we do know is that we live in a world that is moving faster than ever before. The opportunities to commercialize good ideas and scale them are abundant but the time we have to get into the market and beat out the competition continues to decline. 

Business leaders have to be okay to work with incomplete data and experiment, creating a culture of iterating over a problem and continually adapting and testing against customer personas. We need the ability to think ahead for what customers and competitors will do next.

We have to work on assumptions of what a great experience may be and validate the assumptions quickly to know we are on the right track. If you truly want to innovate, you cannot rely on a clear path to success, you need a way of creating a vision and objectives which provides a clear set of initiatives to deliver on the experience goals and then allows the organisation to quickly validate and re-work if required. Build on loyalty by providing better experiences and use data to provide insights and enable both customers and employees. 

Woman reading emails on her phone

This means we have to change the way we organise our people, prioritise work and show progress. We have to work in an agile way with short iterations, but that is not enough. We need to throw away the productivity metrics of features and burn-down charts and look at delivering value that gets us closer to the business goals. 


Business leaders will need to earn commitment and mutual trust through repetitive and mindful interaction. Connecting the critical few behaviours to brand purpose and build a movement in the workforce around new ways of working.

We should act our way into new mindsets instead of thinking our way into new behaviours. In my view, the migration to return on experience needs leadership commitment to move away from the traditional way of planning, executing and measuring success on projects. 

Leadership commitment must move towards being open to the notion that, to innovate and create new and exciting experiences for both your customers and employees, you need to admit that you probably don’t know and you must allow your front line staff to make choices, change processes and find new ways of providing amazing service to your customers. 

Return on Experience is not a new set of measurements but rather a culture change, and it means we have to see both success and failure differently. Success may mean experimenting on a new function or feature and finding out that it doesn’t affect your customer or employee experience positively and deciding to go in another direction, rather than spending a lot of money which produces little value. 


Leaders should aim to let go of control and, give front line teams a goal and allow them the freedom to find the right solution rather than telling them what they believe the solution is before they start. As a leader, if you create the right environment for people to make decisions instead of deciding things yourself, you will be able to empower people to create great experiences and motivate them by giving them autonomy and trusting them to get the job done. 

Return on Experience is a mixture of Leadership Experience, Customer Experience and Employee Experience which, when working well together, create amazing results.

Contact us

Dilan  Radia

Dilan Radia

Partner, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4668