Coined by organizational psychologist Anthony Klotz, ‘The Great Resignation’ describes the current wave of people quitting their jobs. This trend has led many to re-think where or why we work. Workers today want to be valued creators that can tackle challenges in a meaningful way.
For that reason, ‘The Great Resignation’ continues to dominate headlines and stun business leaders as turnover rates reach new highs; according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4 million Americans left their jobs in November of 2021.
Companies looking for innovative ways to attract and keep top talent should look no further—human-centered design (HCD) provides a framework to make work cultures more inclusive, engaging, and supportive. Here are three ways to use human-centered design to provide the best employee experience possible.
Define the problem.
A big part of human-centered design is defining the problem. Identifying customers' needs can be easy to do in some instances, but when it comes to building a culture that values employees and makes them feel valued, this requires more than just throwing money at the situation. You need to invest in listening to your employees and understanding their pain points. Understanding the needs and desires of your employees will help you create a better experience for them, which includes understanding what motivates your employees and their pain points. When you properly define the problem at hand and frame it objectively, you'll develop better solutions for fixing it.
Create personas of your employees.Creating personas or ‘user profiles’ of your employees is another way of using HCD to improve the employee experience. HCD emphasizes people-centered research and collaboration, which often requires creating personas. Personas are realistic representations of an individual or demographic group used in the design process. By understanding what drives your employees, or your main user group, you can create solutions tailored to their needs and desires. A firm grasp of who your workers are will also help foster a better understanding between management and employees.
Welcome feedback with open arms.
A key component of human-centered design is accepting feedback and responding to it. Feedback is a form of collaboration, and the collaborative process allows everyone to be heard on a level playing field. Asking your employees for feedback on their likes and dislikes about their work environment is an excellent place to start.
If you want your employees’ opinions to be accurate and honest, they need to feel comfortable and supported. Human-centered prompts ‘I like, I wish, I wonder’ are helpful because they take the negative connotation out of the feedback process and provide users with a framework to talk about their experience. Sometimes this feedback will reinforce what you already know, but other times it will reveal how work cultures can be specifically improved.
The Human-Centered Design Process in Action
A company can use data to improve its culture, but it’s not easy to do. It takes a human-centered approach to the problem and a willingness to learn and pivot. Today, some of the most innovative companies use HCD to study their employees and improve work culture.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful. With that in mind, they also want their employees to thrive in a healthy work environment. To do this, they conduct in-depth studies on their employees and how they work. One study found that by creating flexible schedules for workers, productivity increased by 15%. They also found that it significantly improved happiness and decreased turnover rates when people stayed with the same teams.
While Apple is often considered a tech company, in employee feedback interviews, they found that engineers were unhappy because they didn’t feel like they had enough creative freedom. They decided to hire more people in other teams and allowed them to explore ideas on the side, resulting in a 10% increase in employee happiness and productivity.
The future of work is upon us; It requires creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, collaborative teammates and effective communicators. The greatest challenge is not the distance that separates us: it’s creating a confident and capable workforce powered by curiosity, empathy and initiative that’s able to navigate today’s challenges.
Employee experience is crucial to the success of any company, especially in an era consumed by rapid change. It’s essential to take the time to approach work-culture issues in a human-centered manner to reach tangible business outcomes.
To learn more about HCD and how to implement human-centered practices into your workplace, download our free ebook: Human-Centered Thinking in Action.