Many software companies have been using design thinking for years to inspire new products, features and evolutions of existing products with the goal of constantly improving the customer experience. Though, fewer have used design thinking to transform their own organizations from within — until the Chicago-based software company, Relativity (formerly kCura), did just that.
According to a recent article on HuffPost, Relativity’s chief people officer, Dorie Blesoff, decided to focus on the “internal customer journey,” using the same design thinking principles they use to develop products for consumers. One way they do this is to use design thinking to create career maps for team members. An internal survey uncovered that employees were leaving the company because there was no clear career path, or direction on how they could evolve and grow at the company. As any HR professional knows, employee retention is as vital to a company’s bottom line as hiring the right people in the first place. When employees leave because they can’t see a future within your four walls, it’s a big problem.
Blesoff and her team used design thinking to clarify career milestones and developmental goals for each individual role in the company. These “career maps” were then shared with managers, who use them to set specific goals for their team members, as well as development plans that ensure employees acquire the necessary skills needed to be successful along their career path.
In the HuffPost article, Blesoff said: “One challenge with a design thinking approach is that things can feel unfinished, since you’re constantly iterating and improving upon your product. It’s hard for some people who want to produce the perfect process.”
She argues that to adopt design thinking, HR leaders have to be agile and open to change. “They need to realize that there will always be new information, most impactful if shared from the users themselves. If HR can act on that information to improve a process and enhance the individual experiences of team members, they’re successfully applying design thinking.”
Design thinking has allowed Blesoff’s HR department to act as a strategic partner within the company, a role HR has long coveted. Just as product development and sales teams map out the customer journey from beginning to end, design thinking is being used in HR to map out the employee journey, focusing deeply on the individual employee experience along the way.
In this era, when technology is disrupting just about every facet of business, it’s more important than ever to keep focus squarely on employee needs. And at Relativity, design thinking has transformed the way they do just that.