We begin and end each day as humans. Yet, our technologies and pace of change are making us feel, well, a bit less human. So how can we, as marketers, understand and reconnect with the human experience?

Many businesses lately have been pushing to move away from the “customer experience” (CX) towards “human experience” (HX), touting that CX is dead and HX is what will differentiate the businesses of tomorrow from those of today. However, a lot of the discussion around HX has been just that—discussion—with very little quantifiable evidence to back it up.

We set out to explore the actual business impact of focusing on the human experience. We wanted to understand what we could do to pay down the “human debt”—the costs of choosing easy or limited solutions that our advancements in technology and the pace of change are creating. We outlined two primary questions to answer through this research:

  1. Could we identify the essential human values? 
  2. Could we prove that these human values added value to our organizations?

As an answer, we built the Human Experience (HX) Quotient and the Values Compass.

The Human Experience Quotient

The Human Experience Quotient is an algorithm that indicates where an organization is along the journey to elevate the human experience, which further enables businesses to make smarter decisions on what they can improve to align to the values of their customers, workers, and partners.

The Values Compass

Our Values Compass is a proprietary tool that gets to the bullseye of what matters most to humans—the things that truly motivate our feelings and actions—whether as customers, the workforce or partners. The Values Compass maps cardinal human values—ambition, curiosity, belonging, and certainty—along with corresponding intermediate points to provide a visual reflection of a customer, employee, or partner’s values in aggregate. We defined four cardinal human values rooted in a sense of personal achievement (Me), belonging (We), curiosity (Unknown), and control (Known).

  • "Me” includes people who are driven by ambition and getting ahead, whether in or out of the office. They are motivated by challenges and working on their flaws and weaknesses. They chase after achievement and respond to goal-oriented experiences.
  • “We” includes people who are driven by belonging and the support of other people. They are motivated by acceptance by others and enjoy experiences that offer opportunities for teamwork and collaboration.
  • “Known” includes people who are driven by control and safety. They are conservative and tend to trust in tradition over new ideas because they prefer things that have worked before. 
  • Finally, “Unknown” includes people who are driven by curiosity and creativity. They are motivated by experiences that encourage imagination and enjoy experiencing and developing new ideas.

Finally, we built an algorithm to feed the Values Compass from a database of more than 200,000 humans’ answers to more than 10,000 questions—things like demographics, attitudinal statements, and behavioral data.

Unlike existing measures, this algorithm provides a new manner of measuring human values—one that is applicable to marketing and HR leaders alike because it takes into consideration the entire business ecosystem—from customers to workforce to partners. It also provides a guidepost for companies looking to have more human experiences by unearthing five common themes that allow businesses to activate on human values.

It’s worth noting that there is no “right” Values Compass: instead, it reveals the core values of a group of humans. The Values Compass enables organizations to quickly survey and assess the values of all humans in their ecosystem, and to identify strategies and tactics to bring them into closer alignment.

What did we learn from measuring human values?

Our research found that organizations with close alignment to the values of their customers (CX), workforce (WX), and partners (PX), and that leverage resources to create human experiences that are meaningful to all members of the ecosystem, grow faster and build stronger brand loyalty. By applying these tools to a study of the QSR space, Deloitte Digital found that companies that focus on the human experience are twice as likely to outperform their peers in revenue growth over a three-year period and have 17 times faster store growth than those who do not.
We also uncovered five core human tenets for how to elevate the human experience. These five tenets are our point of view on how to activate human values in your business:

  1. Be obsessed by all things human
  2. Proactively deliver on human needs
  3. Execute with humanity
  4. Be authentic
  5. Change the world

What is most exciting about this research, the HX Quotient and the Values Compass is what it means for all of us as consumers—after all, who wouldn’t want to be treated just a little bit more human? 

Dive deeper into our research and read our report, The Human Experience: Quantifying the value of human values.

Amelia Dunlop is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP leading the Customer Strategy and Applied Design business in the U.S. focused on helping CMOs and business unit leaders drive new sources of growth.

Ashley Reichheld is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP and the leader of the Customer-Led Marketing practice for the Automotive, Transportation, Hospitality, and Services sector.

Jannine Zucker is a leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice focused on global transformations.

Maggie Gross is the head of strategy for Heat New York.

Christine Kang leads multi-disciplinary teams at Doblin to help clients develop growth through innovation that is deeply rooted in customer needs.

Laura Martin is a senior consultant in the Human Capital OT consulting practice.