Why It’s Time for Design Thinking in Human Resources
February 26, 2019 | Design Thinking
by ExperiencePoint

Why It’s Time for Design Thinking in Human ResourcesJohnny Taylor, the new leader of the Society of Human Resources Management, (SHRM) has been shaking things up since he took the helm of the largest human resources organization in the world last year. His latest effort, to put human resources in the middle of the national spotlight, came the week of the U.S. State of the Union address, when he took to the airwaves talking about how human resources is in the midst of the “transformational change taking place within our labor market and in our workplaces.”

One hurdle is the skills gap facing many workplaces today, which is resulting from technology outpacing the skills of workers in this country. According to HR Dive, Taylor is calling for innovative solutions to create a pipeline between educational institutions and employers — ways in which companies can upskill their current workers so there isn’t another skills gap in the next decade of innovation.

Is Design Thinking the Answer?

Job training is nothing new. But today’s environment, the labor shortage, the mindset of people just entering the workplace, and a myriad of other wild cards are making training a brave new world.

Taylor has joined a White House effort to increase training opportunities. Of late, he has partnered with business leaders to encourage companies nationwide to consider hiring ex-cons, a huge potential labor pool that many companies overlook, to the detriment of their own bottom lines.

He is also taking the unprecedented move of calling on the government to get involved, for the good of our country’s economy. According to the latest data from the World Economic Forum, training costs for the 1.4 million displaced workers today could be $34 billion or more — a sum employers may not be able to swing on their own. Hence, government help might be needed. It’s something the human resources world hasn’t seen for decades.

Does anybody else recognize design thinking at work here? Taylor, and SHRM as a whole, are riding two sides of the same coin. They need to have employees and their employers in mind when defining problems in workplaces today and innovating solutions to those problems. That means putting their customer — the employees — at the center of their innovation efforts, and brainstorming new approaches to providing them with the skills to thrive in the workplace of the future.

The shifting sands of today’s workplaces, economy, and labor pool require human resources pros to find creative, innovative solutions at a time when the employee experience is more important than ever before. Design thinking strategies could provide them with the roadmap they need to achieve those goals.


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