Case Study - Utilities - Strategic Qualitative Fieldwork

Case Study: Strategic Qualitative Fieldwork

If you really want to understand your employees’ needs, try walking a mile in their shoes.   
The Need  

After acquiring a new OpCo, a utility was trying to understand the experience of field personnel in their new territory. In today’s labor market, employee satisfaction, retention, and well-being are more important than ever, so the company wanted to get off on the right foot with its new teams in the field. 

Specifically, the utility sought to learn more about employees’ most pressing pain points with digital work tools and information management, along with opportunities for innovation and improvement that would add value to their work lives. 

The utility needed in-depth feedback to create a strategic roadmap, and an employee survey wasn’t going to cut it—for this challenge, they needed an immersive solution. 


The Solution

Bellomy conducted highly customized multi-phase research designed specifically for utilities, combining in-field observation and qualitative methodologies to shed light on the daily realities of electric and gas operations workers. Our solution included: 

  • Pre-observation interviews to set the stage for success: we met with team leaders first to set expectations, generate hypotheses, and build excitement among employees, showing them that their voices mattered
  • 4-day, in-field shadowing of field personnel to provide on-the-ground perspective: we put on our hard hats, steel-toe boots and safety vests, then immersed ourselves in the teams’ routine work, using tablets to take notes and upload photos via Bellomy’s proprietary survey system for organized record-keeping
  • In-field UX interviews with field workers to explore the complexities of digital work tools and information management: we leveraged our deep knowledge of the utility space to ask the right questions, and to ensure that we spoke to a variety of field employees, complied with safety regulations, and followed employee union requirements

Everything we gathered was stored on a dedicated project hub on Bellomy’s Research Cloud, where stakeholders could easily access consolidated notes, interview content, and photos on a daily basis.

The Result

The research revealed trends and challenges that were impacting teams in the field, including issues related to their devices, platforms, workflows, patterns of success, workarounds, and communications. Using this information, the utility prioritized strategies that would make the biggest difference.  

We identified both complex, long-term opportunities and low-hanging fruit that would be easy to address right away. Across the board, our research highlighted numerous ways that the utility could improve employees’ work lives and increase their efficiency through digital transformation.

And although the primary goal of the research was to understand employee experience, it will likely yield the added benefit of improving customer service. When employees are satisfied and face fewer unnecessary obstacles in their workday, it often translates to better service. Happy employees, happy customers, happy utilities… everyone wins.  


Are you trying to improve employee experience, satisfaction, and efficiency?  

Bellomy’s custom solutions –including immersive qualitative methods—can identify problems and areas of opportunity to jumpstart your strategic and operational plans. 

We’ve still got our hard hats. Contact Bellomy today to learn more about our wide range of qualitative solutions and in-field research capabilities.  

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