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Talking with Kat Kennedy, CXO of Degreed

Degreed provides a smarter and faster way to develop, measure, and upskill your workforce. In this episode, Kat Kennedy, CXO of Degreed, sits down with Joe to talk about how to improve the experience for a customer along every stage of the journey.

Intro to Degreed

“Chief Experience Officer isn’t a completely made-up title, it just means I get to support product and technology and work closely with the security and IT teams as well. It’s really fun working with people who build all of the things.”

Degreed is an enterprise SaaS company working with some pretty big names such as Boeing, HP, Visa, and Shopify, just to name a few.

The focus of Degreed is to help people (over six million at the time of this podcast) at some of the world’s most transformative organizations build the skills they need to take on the changing world. With large organizations hiring sometimes thousands of people per month, it can be challenging to know the skills of all employees and how best to facilitate the growth of those skills.

“We really are just exposing the work that happens within the organization, encouraging internal mobility through things like special projects and mentoring, and then bridging the gap to build those skills further.”

The DNA of an Experience

For Kat, it all comes down to partnerships. Companies should be asking themselves, “Do we treat stakeholder relationships as true partnerships? Are we partnering on solutions?”

Vs.

“Here is a tool we’re putting into place for you.”

The latter may work for some businesses, but not for a company like Degreed. This genuine partnership attitude is what Kat feels has really set them apart.

Kat and Joe both agree that customer feedback and reviews can be just about the most useful tool in improving customer experience, with positive feedback being a major morale boost for the team. Kat tries to have as many conversations with clients as she possibly can, meeting her client advisory board every single month and trying to take that feedback to heart.

“These relationships can’t be beat.”

Degreed’s team also has what they call a “product council,” a team that Kat feels safe to bring her more “out-there” ideas to.

All of these things play a role in building a community and providing validation while also being an honest soundboard for critique and improvement.

The Role of Visual

Kat and her team only meet once a month, and explaining product details can be tricky via phone or email, so she is a major advocate for using visual tools to asynchronously get a point across. A big fan of CloudApp’s annotation tool to connect with clients about a product concept.

The ability to provide so much context to the discussion has made these remote conversations far more effective and given confidence to those on both sides that everyone is on the same page.

“Being able to quickly give tone and context at scale is huge.”

How Degreed Does It

The great thing about Degreed is that it’s a solution for a problem that virtually everyone has encountered.

As soon as Degreed talks to consumers, they usually immediately understand its value. Most of their contracts start enterprise-wide with a rollout to the entire company at once, “which is so powerful.”

The team also has a real focus on telling a human story, not just describing feature functions, something that Kat says has been a major competitive advantage.

“I love talking to our customers because I hear them talk about the story in the same way we do.”

The Future of Work

“We still talk about work like we did in the industrial world, and work doesn’t look like that at all anymore.”

Kat says that at some point in just about every conversation with a client, they will mention that their job codes are a mess, usually referring to the fact that a title like product manager could mean a million different things. Putting people into these broad, and often inaccurate boxes currently leads to a lot of inefficiencies. “We need a better definition of work, but this can be a really tough definition to solve.”

Kat feels that Decreed is right on the verge of truly addressing this issue. “I think the way we talk about work is about to change drastically, and it’s going to be beautiful for individuals as well as organizations.”

Listen to the episode here.

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