employee centric design
CLIENT: large organisations
MY ROLE: STRATEGIST & SERVICE DESIGNER (Primary and Secondary Research, Journey Map, Stakeholders analysis, Systems thinking, Deep 1:1 interviews, Prototype & Testing)
"Digital transformation", "Agile ways of working"...
Change is hard. In this 21st century, large traditional organisations are having to adapt the way they work at an accelerated pace due to constant changes in customers expectations, technology and organisational restructuring. The problem is that whenever a new system is in place, this causes fear, either because employees don’t understand the importance of it, either because they are afraid they don’t have the necessary skills and might lose their jobs.
I wanted to investigate how employees are coping with organisational changes and understand if we could develop a service to help on that.
I started this project going through secondary research and also mapping who are the professionals that most influence and help large-legacy-type organisations from the private and the public sector go through a restructuring phase; I discovered that traditional consultancies, like McKinsey and EY, that help the C-suite develop and deliver strategies for change management, and Coaches and Change Agents, that usually are hired to help employees deal better with change, were the most important professionals to speak to, so I did 12 deep 1:1 interviews with them.
Through these conversations, it got clear that we are all living a transitional phase where we are migrating to new ways of working, from having in-house systems to supporting cloud-based ones, from having to deal with constant changes in customers expectations, and employees valuing a sense of purpose over stability. And large organisations are the ones suffering the most. losing talent, having high turnover costs and emotional distress.
In parallel to talking to these professionals, I’ve also wanted to understand how employees ‘react’ towards change, so I did 15 deep interviews with leaders from B2C companies and Councils where I could map and validate how an organisational change happens today:
There is a key moment when an organisation announces that is going to go through an organisational change, that immediately sets a negative tone for the rest of the transition. Another important phase is when the restructuring actually begins, causing employees aversion to change.
Because they only communicate ‘what’ is going to happen, without explaining why and how is going to affect each employee daily work.
Overall, I discovered 3 key insights:
- employees lack awareness about the importance of change > Instead of top-down communication, we can create a 2-way engaging conversation
- people operate in different emotional frequencies > Instead of one-size fits all approach, we can meet them where they are
- employees feel undervalued with no support > Because the change is ‘forced’ upon them
How might we create a service that can empower employees to create appetite and action towards change, so that we can maximize employees engagement, while minimizing the impact of change?
The solution should be flexible enough to adapt to the different needs and paces of these organisations. So, I’ve created ECD: an employee-centric-design firm that uses data and service design to engage employees at the beginning of the organisational process, empowering them to become agents of change.
We've 3 core offerings:
1) CHANGE INDEX:
A proprietary assessment tool to identify and map employees as promoters, participants and detractors, as well as their skills and gaps. This provides organisations with relevant data to meet employees where they are and cope with their individual needs;
2) PERSONALISED CONTENT
To inspire employees to take action inside your organisation. With our Content Analysis Algorithm, we match employees with content to broaden their vision through similar organisation case studies and self-development opportunities;
3) CO-DESIGN CHANGE WORKSHOPS
To envision what the change could look like and experiment with new ways of working, we involve them at the beginning of change management in cross-disciplinary teams to think about their own needs for change through a co-design process.
PROTOTYPE & TESTING
Through storyboards of how both the employees and the HR teams will experience the ECD program, I’ve tested and refined the core offerings. I also talked to experts that are playing in similar fields to understand best practices.
I discovered, for instance, that an initial message from the CEO is fundamental to get employees to join the program. Instead of offering a full package, it was also important to break into small offerings, to be able to tailor-make and adapt to each organisation need. The time commitment needed to be further explained, like being very clear that ECD is an automated and easy to use process, with short time demand for both employees and the HR/Employee Experience department.
The overall feedback was so positive and aligned with what organisations and consultancies need today, that I’ve been invited to present ECD to one of the most renowned design consultancies worldwide and one of the biggest investment institutions.
We're currently developing the Proof of Concept of the 1st core offering - Change Index assessment tool - together with a local Council in the UK.