in Experience Design

Designing the Employee Experience

“In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create.

– Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage”

Designing Design Teams has been a big part of my work these past few years. During 2020, we had the unfortunate task of reducing staff due to Covid’s business impact and then rapidly rebuilding and scaling once new retail experiences were needed. (contactless payments! on demand delivery!)

Everything Has Changed

Life got very complex – very quickly. A few things became apparent to me during this time. All of us were adapting to a new reality. Burnout was real, frustrations were high and people began re-evaluating everything around them. Maybe they wanted more, maybe they just wanted less. Either way, people were seeking change. The needs, expectations and behaviors had changed for both our customers and employees.

Retaining top talent relies on how well we understand our employees needs and motivations

Back at our Design Ranch, we were working from our homes – whether that was from the kitchen table, a basement desk or an attic set up. With our children, family members, roommates in the background, our entire lives were now brought into the workspace. At this point, I began to really value the Employee Experience and started to frame it as a design problem to solve. “How might we improve the work experience for our team?”

Time to Practice What We Preach

Using human-centered design principles on our own organizations allows us to fix internal root issues. We have apply Design Thinking, empathy, journey mapping and experience analytics to view the employee’s journey – much like a customer’s journey with one of our products.

We prototype, test and validate our hypotheses with research, analytics and identifying touchpoints along the employee journey. As an iterative process, this is a powerful approach to improve retention and attract new talent.

Hiring for Distributed Teams

As we began bringing on new talent and growing the team, what became apparent is that recruiting fresh talent was a different ballgame and retaining existing staff required a new playbook. We had to find, attract and hire talent that we had never actually seen in real life — only 2D, flat screen images of people out there somewhere.

Now that everyone was remote, working geographically close to where you live no longer was a driver and even the constraints of living in the same time zone or country were lifted. The usual office perks like having a fun, modern office building in midtown Atlanta didn’t mean as much if nobody was allowed to visit or workout in the gym overlooking the city skyline. (gosh I miss that!)

The term “hybrid work” comes up often in the conversation as a way to allow for workers to work how they want. Companies like Salesforce are allowing most employees to come into the office one to three days a week, according to a recent announcement . Other companies, LinkedIn are addressing the mental health impact of remote working by surprising their almost 16,000 full-time workers with a paid week off on April 5, 2021.

The talent landscape has shifted, and as Design leaders, we are uniquely positioned to empathize with the needs of our customers and employees to help our people thrive and succeed.