The buzzword “employee experience” is everywhere these days, especially in the area of human resources, training and development. It even has its own acronym — EX.
It’s the hot topic of the day thanks to the excruciatingly tight job market. As everyone in business will tell you, a company is only as good as the people who work there. So keeping top talent when they are being hunted by your competitors is vital to a company’s bottom. Hence, EX. To keep employees happy, HR needs to look at the entire employee experience through the lens of design thinking — from the first time a potential candidate reads a job posting to the day they get a gold watch at their retirement party.
Josh Bersin, renowned industry analyst and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, a provider of research and thought leadership in HR, talent and learning, wrote about the employee experience on his blog recently, and specifically tied the entire process to design thinking. It’s a relatively new concept for HR, but one Bersin says “really matters.”
EX is the foundation for the entire employee experience. So how do you measure and improve it using design thinking as the guide? Bersin tells his readers to “empathize with employees, follow them around, survey and interview them, sit down with them in workshops.” By spending time with employees and empathizing with their experience, you’ll hear what’s important to them at work, getting down to the nitty gritty about the challenges and the opportunities. Look at the common “moments that matter,” he says. These include onboarding, job changes, relocation, and even the little things that bog people down if they become difficult to accomplish on the job, like too much bureaucratic red tape.
Keep it Simple, and Co-Create
All of this empathy will likely lead you down the path of job simplification. Take a page from Marie Kondo and throw out what doesn’t give people joy — while embracing new ideas for improvement of day-to-day life in the workplace and overall satisfaction.
When deciding which changes to pursue, Bersin urges HR to make it a collaborative effort. “Every solution you develop should be ‘co-created’ with business people and leaders,” he writes.
Once you’ve settled on a few ideas roll out a prototype and gage employee reaction. These changes shouldn’t involve total transformation. The point is to let people know you care, get them on board for change, then to make sure what you’re implemented is having a positive impact — and is not simply another process or system that confounds people. The goal should be to iteratively improve employees’ lives on the job, keep them happier, and increase the quality of their workday.
Imagine if every employee got out of bed in the morning really and sincerely looking forward to coming to work. That’s the power that design thinking can bring to your workplace.