What is Design Thinking?

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

In the case of Design Thinking for HR, design thinking is an employee‐centred approach to creative problems-­solving that uses a framework that begins with building empathy. The goal of this process is to gain an understanding from the employee’s perspective, define and uncover the heart of the problem and use this information to come up with ideas that lead to a brand new HR programs to prototype and test. This always leads HR teams to create truly meaningful and effective employee experiences that improve engagement and performance.

Why Design Thinking for HR?

Traditional HR teams are often populated by people who see their role to protect the organisation, to avoid risk and ensure consistency. This type of HR function is becoming less valued within the business. What is valuable to the business is a HR function that can improve the employee experience so talented people work at their most productive. One way HR can transform itself is to incorporate design thinking into its people strategies.

By incorporating design thinking into it’s toolkit, HR can transform from a traditional process oriented model, where systems are constructed around standard processes, to a people oriented model in which programs are designed specifically with the employee in mind.

“Design thinking is important, and it works. In this year’s survey, respondents at companies where HR delivers the highest levels of value are almost five times more likely to be using design thinking in their programs than their peers” 

Deloitte University Press 2016

Phases of Design Thinking

The framework has five basic parts: building empathy, defining the problem, ideating, prototyping, and testing. This is a radically different way for HR to design programs. Traditionally the business would define the need for a HR program and HR would build it using best practice methodology. It may take months, even years to design and roll out without a mechanism for feedback and testing. The new way of designing HR programs begins with empathising with employees, giving HR designers a comprehensive and accurate understanding of their people’s needs. And by prototyping and rapid testing, HR can roll out a program in weeks, not months.

Design the Employee Experience

The cost of employee disengagement is estimated to be at $70 billion annually. Turnover continues to play havoc on Australian businesses and across the globe as the job market becomes increasingly competitive. It’s no longer in dispute, employee engagement is critical to the long term success and growth of a business and it’s the way employees experience their work and workplace that directly impacts their level of engagement. It also directly impacts the way customers experience the organisation which in turn impacts the bottom line. HR Leaders are in this new exciting era of being encouraged to be creative by designing employee experiences that build engagement, reduce turnover, attract talent and improve productivity.

Rather than focus narrowly on employee engagement and culture, organisations are developing an integrated focus on the entire employee experience. A new marketplace of pulse feedback tools, wellness and fitness apps, and integrated employee self-service tools is helping. Deloitte University Press 2017

Learn Design Thinking for HR

It is time for HR to reinvent itself by incorporating Design Thinking into its people strategies. This one-day fast-paced program will equip HR Leaders with the necessary tools and skills to move away from “process design” to “human-centred design”.

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