Design Thinking Meets HR: Solving Problems With the Employee in Mind




At its core, design thinking promotes human-centered design in an organization, both outwardly toward customers and inwardly toward employees. While companies may utilize this to enhance innovation within their customer experience, applying design thinking to your employee experience and HR function can have a direct impact on the holistic brand experience.

Transforming the perception of HR and the role that it has the potential to play in contributing to overall growth can provide many benefits. Any given organization’s success is largely dependent on the output and general satisfaction of its employees. Designing meaningful employee experiences, from the very first to the very last interaction, can lead to a much more engaged, loyal, and delighted workforce, and in turn a more engaged, loyal, and delighted customer base.

Developing tailored benefits, recruitment, learning & development, and performance management solutions across the organization are just some of the ways that HR can leverage the design thinking approach.

Recruitment, Onboarding, and Learning & Development

Cultivating a positive recruitment process is critical in order to secure top talent. Ensuring efficiency, transparency, and continuous communication throughout the process is a great starting point, and design thinking can help frame that candidate-first mentality.

Talent acquisition and HR departments are oftentimes the first point of contact that any given candidate might have with a company. Empathizing and identifying pain points in an applicant’s journey is the best way to begin ideating innovative solutions throughout the recruitment and training processes.

In a similar vein, learning & development should be more centered around programs designed to encourage more impactful and customized both learning and self-learning, nurturing an environment of and desire for continuous development. Training and development solutions for employees should speak across generations, functions, and learning styles, making the experience more impactful and memorable.

Workforce Optimization and Employee Engagement

Now more than ever before, optimizing employee experience is integral to engagement and loyalty. HR can play a vital role in enhancing and differentiating experiences, improving efficencies, and designing all solutions under a human-centered mindset. This approach can provide companies with a unique competitive advantage, while directly affecting both the customer experience and overall brand sentiment.

Design thinking can help HR professionals to better understand and empathize with employees, both current and prospective, by beginning to understand how to alleviate the pain points associated with any given experience. Studying how employees work under different demographics and work environments, and what specific challenges they face, will lead to a happier workforce.

If your organization can truly tap into hiring the right people with the right talents, training them the right way, and getting them passionate about the organization, their role, and continuous development, success will not be far behind. 

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