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Designing employee experience

What do design thinking, the employee experience, and HR’s impact on marketing and sales success have to do with each other?

Almost everything.

Read on to discover how design thinking-driven HR can have an enormous impact on employee experience across the organization, which is proven to drive organizational success across the board – including in areas such as marketing and sales. HR’s impact from the Board level and throughout the organization just got a whole lot more impactful.

Design Thinking in HR

Design thinking encourages non-designers to think like designers in solving the problems relevant to their particular field.

In HR specifically, design thinking has a rich heritage. A great example is Cisco, who planned a 24-hour HR “Breakathon”. Over this period, they reimagined their HR solutions for their 71,000 global employees. Using design thinking, they came up with hundreds of innovative solutions to people challenges, many that are still being used today.

In fact, 79% of executives in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey rated design thinking an important or very important issue. This trend shows no signs of slowing down. Ford’s Global CHRO Kiersten Robinson recently noted that the company’s human-centered design thinking is what gives it its edge. 

Design Thinking and the Employee Experience 

With HR being the driving force behind employee experience (EX), what is the link between EX and company performance? Can it be quantified?

According to Dianne Gherson, IBM’S head of HR, the answer is a resounding “yes”. In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Gherson tied employee engagement to a 20% increase in revenue. 

Another IBM study, “The Financial Impact of a Positive Employee Experience”, showed that:

  • Organizations that score in the top 25% on employee experience report nearly three times the return on assets compared to organizations in the bottom quartile
  • Organizations that score in the top 25% on employee experience report double the return on sales compared to organizations in the bottom quartile

This is a powerful observation. As Josh Bersin notes: “Design Thinking casts HR in a new role. It transforms HR from a ‘process developer’ into an ‘experience architect’. It empowers HR to reimagine every aspect of work: the physical environment; how people meet and interact; how managers spend their time; and how companies select, train, engage, and evaluate people.”

HR is no longer just a process developer – with design thinking-inspired EX, HR is now that driver of performance across the organization, and can take direct credit for improvements in departments as diverse as marketing, sales and R&D. 

Designing the employee experience has a massive impact when it comes to improving employee engagement and productivity. HR is constantly measuring 4 key metrics on both an organizational and an individual level:

1. Performance

2. Engagement

3. Productivity

4. Retention

Each of these is positively affected by a well-designed employee experience.

Performance: when it comes to performance, a design-led employee experience can boost ongoing coaching and promote transparent and mutually agreed OKRs. As Peter Drucker said, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”, so measuring performance and employee satisfaction is critical. 

Engagement: when it comes to engagement, what makes a difference to employees? What increases engagement? According to Gallup, it’s factors such as purpose, development and coaching. This can be led by HR with the right tools to engage, and foster seamless communication and transparency

Productivity: design thinking can be leveraged to boost production by assisting employees in avoiding distractions, and from wasting time on repetitive tasks. For example, having internal and especially HR-related documents that can be signed digitally can make a huge difference to productivity – and morale.

Retention: retention is related to all of these factors. It starts with the right hire, and continues with ensuring that engagement is high, that productivity and performance are where they should be, and that the factors mentioned in the Gallup study are in place; factors such as purpose, development and coaching. A well-designed employee experience – for example, personalized employee reports –  will significantly increase retention, as it leverages design thinking to pave the way to an engaged, motivated employee. 

The right employee experience, one that is driven by design thinking, impacts these parameters directly. It does so in such a way that in the end it creates a more resistant, more strengthened organization – something that is especially important during these challenging times.

EX has been critical in attracting, retaining and engaging top talent. It’s also strongly linked to employee advocacy, which has the power to drive engagement far more effectively than the usual channels businesses and brands traditionally use. 

But the true benefit of an exceptional employee experience is that it acts as the rising tide which lifts all boats. The data is clear. Companies that actively create a powerful employee experience consistently outperform competitors by substantial margins. 

HR as a key sales and marketing driver? With the right tools, absolutely.

HR: The Driving Force Of EX

With EX being so critical, how do you ensure your HR team drives this powerful metric? This is where Mensch is so powerful.

Mensch’s HR platform incorporates design thinking principles into its various modules to significantly improve EX. 

For example, Mensch’s Employee Experience module is designed to maintain open communication between employees and HR, and keep EX front-and-center. 

EX at the very start of an employee’s journey at a company is critical. Mensch’s Onboarding module further empowers your company to attract the perfect talent as well as provide an individually tailored onboarding experience to employees – in-person or remotely –  drastically increasing the chances of incredible EX and long-term engagement and retention. . 

To learn more about how you can drive employee experience, get in touch with Mensch to schedule a demo.

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