Once upon a time… is a fairy tale phrase that applies to many of our business and people practices. Once people came to work at 8am, clocked in and executed all day on what their manager told them. Then they clocked out at 5pm and went home. Today’s work environment is populated by digital natives who value experience when interacting with a company – for both, purchasing and employment decisions.
21st century talent feels empowered to take charge of their own journey within an organization. Managing the talent.experience (TX) will become as important as managing the customer experience (CX).
Since we identified talent.experience (TX) as a key talent trend three years ago we have seen a movement toward applying customer experience design methods to the world of work, culture and talent.
I interviewed five companies of various sizes and industries to explore how they are experimenting with design thinking principles to shape culture. Why did they choose to do so? What lessons did they learn along the way?
It All Starts With the Business
“Culture was a big barrier that was preventing us from reaching sustainable performance,” says Céline Schillinger, Head of Quality Innovation & Engagement at Sanofi Pasteur, a global pharmaceutical company. “Despite all the procedures and equipment, we were inconsistent in meeting quality standards.” It wasn’t till a new Chief Quality Officer joined the organization in 2014 that the company discovered the root cause for quality inconsistencies was much more systemic than just fixing technology or process.
The impetus to reframe culture may present itself in the form of a business problem.
Or as an opportunity.
“I believe that sports are a great place for innovation. Each innovation has the ability to impact millions of fans,” explains Jack Elkins, Director of Innovation at the Orlando Magic, an NBA franchise. “To be prepared when opportunities present themselves, sports teams and companies alike should proactively create cultures resilient in their pursuit of these opportunities.”
Taking a Page from…
“As a software company, kCura already applies design thinking to the evolution of our product to improve the experience of our end users,” comments Dorie Blesoff, Chief People Officer at kCura, an e-discovery platform. “When we decided to approach the internal ‘customer journey’ approach for our employees, it seemed natural for us to apply customer-oriented and iterative design thinking with the same goal our product development team has for improving the user experience.”
“Much like marketing looks at customer experience, we are looking at a ‘consumerized’ HR approach. Human-centered design thinking is the best method for this. We started viewing stakeholders as personas and designing HR programs from a user-centric perspective,” outlines Kelley Steven-Waiss, Chief Human Resources Officer at HERE Technologies.
When Employees Become Activists
“We transformed our organization to where people come together because they believe in something they have in common, a common purpose. This way they become activists of a change they believe in. The way we go about it is by empowering employees to do things that are beyond their job description. And leaders are there to encourage and remove barriers,” explains Céline Schillinger.
“There is a bigger appetite from employees to co-create rather than be given solutions to implement. They want to architect their own learning journeys in partnership with the organization. There are also fewer resources in HR, so we need to build a network of creators,” remarks Eric Doctors, SVP of Leadership & Organizational Development at Leo Burnett, an advertising agency.
Programs That Got a Makeover
At Leo Burnett, Eric Doctors and team created the professional development program “Leo Leaps” which leverages design thinking both as the learning experience and to build design thinking skills that employees then apply to developing their careers and solving business problems.
At HERE Technologies, Kelley Steven-Waiss’ team facilitated employee workshops to identify beliefs and ways of interaction to inform their core value design campaign.
“One example of where we apply design thinking at kCura is the career map for individual team members. An internal survey revealed that team members were leaving us because they were unsure of the next specific step in their careers, so we sought to clarify their career milestones and development goals by creating career maps for each individual role. Managers now share the career maps with their team members to help them set specific goals that will help them develop skills needed to take the next step. This process allows us to encourage shared responsibility for career development,” outlines Dorie Blesoff.