How Service Design can help the Human Resources department in the new employee experience

People’s daily lives are made up of interactions. These interactions can happen between people and devices, products or services. Waking up with the help of the alarm clock, reading the news on the phone or checking the agenda for the day. However, what makes these activities bad or good are the experiences – and experiences can be designed.

Nowadays, new services and products are saving time spent on daily tasks and, consequently, improving their experience. For instance, using applications that track their sleeping patterns, people can find their perfect wake up window. They can also order breakfast delivery, spending this time with their family rather than going to the supermarket and cooking. They can check the best routes for their commute avoiding traffic or knowing what time is the best to leave to take public transport. What about the experience people can have at work?

Can we design the experience of the employee?

People spend most of their lives working. In fact, the dimensions between personal and professional life are shrinking, making the daily employee experience part of the human context and not only part of HR, business and formal procedures. The employee experience is much more than the physical workspace or benefits employees can get. It is about understanding in depth the employees’ needs and creating new experiences based on them.

In the context of digital transformation, organizations need to reinvent themselves to follow this new pace. This action means being more up-to-date on new tools, new methodologies and different approaches to ending up at new results. In other words, from a strategic point of view, organizations that excel in the context of experiential economics have made a fundamental choice. As a result, they have chosen to be user-centric and to adopt Service Design as the approach to designing their services and delivering experiences.

Putting the employee at the center of this experience system, companies can attract and keep talent and shape great teams. But for this to happen, they need to understand the different wants and needs of their employees.  

But, what is Service Design? 

Service design works on orchestrating processes, organizations, and communication and, finally, making everything working harmoniously.

Service design is a human-centered design approach that places equal value on the customer experience and the business process, aiming to create quality for customers and seamless service delivery. 

(Source: Practical Service Design, Service Design 101)

Imagine Service Design as a theater. Spectators can enjoy viewing the final result on stage, where everything works perfectly. The actors memorize their lines from a script, the lights and sound are working perfectly and costumes have been sewn. However, for this to happen, a collaboration between everyone who worked on this team was made. Someone had the idea for the theme, someone invested money on it, someone sewed the costumes, wrote the script, memorized the lines, rehearsed and got the lights and sound synchronized with the play. Finding a balance between different roles and logistics in the same service is also part of the job of the service designer.

Service designers get a deep understanding of users’ desires, needs and pain points. Plotting these journeys from different stakeholders onto a customer journey map, people can reflect on what they testify visually on that map and, certainly, bringing high impact.

What can Service Design bring to the HR?

A new lifestyle has been adopted due to social changes and the emergence of new technologies. One of the impacts of these changes is that the work environment has been re-signified in order to extrapolate the walls of the organization and what we understand as a model and work schedule. Consenquently, a large part of the people today can work from wherever they want, the time they want, and in some cases, with the tools they want. 

We must understand that in the 21st century work environment people are looking forward to new models, as it is becoming increasingly clear that many things in the workplace or HR traditional model no longer work

Not so long ago, the HR used to be made by bureaucracy and the mechanization of processes, consequently becoming an operator of programs or processes to train people, to evaluate performance, documentation or to ensure compliance with good practice at work. Theoretically it has the function of managing internal behaviors and potentiating human capital. But practically, industrial thinking within organizations ends up limiting the potential of this area.

Service Design can empower both employees and HR

From the earliest stages, Service Design allows the HR to understand how the ideal candidate searches for a job, what they use to evaluate and compare companies and opportunities. In later stages, it provides insight into what people want and need, their experience along the way, the touchpoints that allow the company to create a better experience, and the goals they must set in order to fully utilize and maintain key people. 

The importance for the HR to work with a Service Design approach is the opportunity it brings of looking at the problem from a macro perspective in a collaborative way. Consequently, visualizing the system end-to-end with the stakeholders, understanding users’ points of view in depth and finding important steps that can be improved more accurately.

Service Design succeeds when it finds ideal solutions based on the real needs of real people. Seeing the world through the eyes of the employees is therefore a first prerequisite to improving or designing a great employee experience. Therefore, bringing a positive impact to the business while reflecting well on the company’s reputation.

Human Resources departments have a very important role in the context of innovation, because HR is responsible for a series of processes that directly impact organizational performance. These tasks include recruitment and selection, integration, development and training, performance evaluation, culture and organizational climate, job and salary policies. Using Service Design methodologies, HR and the stakeholders at the company can collaborate, bringing new processes and innovation to the company, putting themselves in other peoples’ shoes. Creating together a new process for the company can speed up some procedures for HR and other stakeholders, and through a new storytelling, employees can experience a new culture with more consistency that they can relate to.

Service design, HR and our reality  at Spindox

At Spindox, we work closely with our customers, generating solutions and bringing value to their services and products. As a service designer, my job is understanding our users’ needs, concerns and desires, transforming them into innovative and practical solutions. These values are translated on our product and services not only visually but that can speak with them in a meaningful way.

Applying Service Design to the employee experience, I had the opportunity of interviewing and understanding our colleagues from different backgrounds, roles, cultures and situations. During our collaborative design sessions, I could perceive the role of each person responsible and involved with the employee experience process more in depth. This approach allowed me and them to have more empathy towards each other.

The employee experience is not static

Working closely with the HR and the Spindox staff, I realized that what’s involved in our employee experience is more complex than what it looked like on the surface. In fact, there are many more people involved in the Employee Experience process and there are many layers of interaction and roles of the staff that needed to be explored. Understanding deeply the process and complexity of a company with more than 700 employees was very important.

Therefore, the Spindox employees are a moving target and, in fact, there is no common experience for everyone. For this reason, extracting relevant main pain points was essential for this project.

We could understand that for each stage of the employee experience, it was regarded different needs. Starting from the first phase of the employee journey – focused on the onboarding of the new colleagues – it was important not to follow standard processes that could work in other companies. Instead, we focused on our reality and what needed to be changed.

The new onboarding experience

For the long-term employees, it’s easy to tell where to go or who to call after being used to a company’s procedure. Instead, for the new ones, everything is new and it can look sometimes intimidating. So the onboarding needs to be transparent for the new employee. Therefore, the process involving this journey needed to be clear for everyone from the staff.

For this reason, one of the results of this new onboarding experience was changing and orchestrating some steps in this process. This was important to bring a more clear communication between the staff connected in this stage.

Listening to our collaborators, we could bring value to our current materials produced for the onboarding experience. In addition, a standard procedure and guidance for everyone that is coming to work with us.

In conclusion, this new employee experience will sure bring countless benefits and I hope that everyone can benefit from the changes that are about to come. We will be working on constant iterations and improvements of the new processes in order to bring a meaningful experience for all of our colleagues at Spindox.