According to The Predictive Index’s 2020 Talent Optimization Report, employee performance is a top concern for executives across industries. This speaks to a widespread awareness of the critical role employees play in delivering on business strategies and brand promises.
Given how vital employees are to company success, the employee experience should be treated with as much care as the customer experience — and yet, this is rarely the case. Across most businesses, turnover rates are high, with The Predictive Index reporting a 47 percent average turnover rate for high performers. Similarly, the report notes that executives consider 51 percent of the hires they made last year to be bad hires. These facts — high turnover and a rash of bad hires — are costly for any business.
How do we ensure we’re hiring the right people and making them happy enough not simply to stay, but to excel in their roles with us?
According to The Employee Experience Index from IBM and Globoforce, “employees who experience a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigor [at work] are more likely to perform at higher levels and contribute ‘above and beyond’ expectations.” If the majority of employees were to feel this way at work, we’d likely see lower turnover rates and increased profits. But how do we make employees feel that way?
The key is to maximize the moments that enhance the employee experience and minimize those that cause disengagement.
Using Design Thinking to Build a Better Employee Experience
Design thinking is a human-centered method of creative problem-solving that provides stakeholders, product teams, and leaders with a thorough understanding of their users so that they can ideate, prototype, and test user-centered solutions.
Because design thinking relies so heavily on a solid foundation of user insights, journey mapping is a key part of the process. Defined by NN/g as “a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal,” a journey map helps us understand how a target audience (in this case, the employee) thinks about and interacts with the world around them. Once we have that knowledge, we can consider the what, when, where, and why of how they interact with a brand or business.
While these two methodologies are usually associated with customer experience, they can also be extremely useful in building better employee experiences. In both design thinking and journey mapping, the customer is the central focus. Their day-to-day needs, desires, wants, fears, and thoughts help us unlock insights into how we can best serve them with new products and experiences. Employees are a kind of customer, too, and their journeys with us are full of “moments that matter,” key points that define their experiences with our organizations. Those moments might include the first interview, the first day, the onboarding process, the first performance review, the first promotion, etc…