Human Centred Design for Hr?

Human Centred Design is gaining momentum in HR as more organisations are accepting they need to put employees and experiences at the centre of all they do.

More simply put, “Design Thinking” is a way to solve complex problems that creates new and innovative solutions using the insight and knowledge of the end users.

Now often coupled with the term “UX” or User Experience for a product, or website development and for HR the term “EX” or Employee Experience is a growing phrase.

“Human Design Thinking” (HDT) or “Human Centred Design” (HCD) as it is also known, is a creative approach to problem solving and the backbone of the work we do at Hill Consulting HRS. From Hiring Managers, to candidate experiences and even the needs of those in the HR function, to deliver the best processes and performance they can from their people – yet still in a cost-effective manner.

It’s a process that starts with the employee, the candidates or the hiring manager. It starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailored to suit their needs.

It also makes good business sense, by putting people at the centre of your design often also leads to higher profits, a more engaged workforce, better customer (or candidate) experiences and improved process and cost efficiencies. Innovative solutions do not have to be costly – and often actually save the organisation heaps of time, energy and money. And can stop the loss of existing or potential employees.

How Does It Work?

You work with the people closest to the problem your solving and HR doesn’t try to come up with all the answers. Instead, HR (is trained) to facilitate the design process- from understanding the problem to exploring, creating and prototyping new options, providing both stimuli and inspiration to participants. We help by up-skilling the HR team we’re working with and helping them through this design and protocol process.

Where Does It Come From?

Design Thinking has evolved and expanded its horizons in recent years. In the past “Design” was limited to and viewed as an area of responsible knowledge in dealing with all the aesthetics of things. Such as look touch and feel of a household object or the engineering of how things work. Steve Jobs and Apple and the rise of the digital market place have taken this “Design Thinking” to a whole new level. Apple indeed set the bar on the “look, feel and usability” of an everyday object such as the mobile phone. Think Google and IKEA. Now all Apps and customer focused products and websites, from how you book your airline tickets to how you do your online banking, have this “User Experience” or “UX” factor as it’s known, built in (and measured).

Look on the job boards like Seek and you will now see jobs now “UX specialists” in the IT jobs section.

Design Thinking For HR?

This is where things get interesting. As HR departments are realising these concepts can be taken and applied to everyday HR business challenges, to make the “User Experience” more enjoyable or easy. HR departments are now looking at these new ways of approaching problems now from a different perspective, with the end user in mind as opposed to the “tail wagging the dog” scenarios e.g. “because the IT system or policy says do it this way”

So really, it’s all about asking – How easy and user friendly are your processes? Do they work? Are you getting the results you want? It’s looking at your process, systems and technology, and even your hiring managers and HR team capability through a new lense. Are your systems and your people easy to deal with? Is the application process more complicated than it needs to be? Is a process or a step or form even needed? (saving time and expense) It’s about thinking differently.

It is now becoming a strategic approach and pathway to solving complex business problems.

A great example would be the number of job applicants received in a year.Consider this! For a mid size organisation. You have 24,000 applicants a year, only 3% of people get the job that’s 720 happy applicants and 23,280 disappointed (or very disillusioned candidates if your process is bad or slow or rude!) What a big waste of everyone’s time and effort? Candidates and hiring managers. What if you only spoke to the 720 a year you wanted to hire?! Saving 23,000 hours of work…….

Head and Hands

Team sessions and workshops often include a lot of post it notes, pictures and storytelling and creative designs and project walls, using participants heads and hands to come up with creative concepts and innovative ideas and prototypes, always with the end user in mind or in the room – and sessions are fun!

It is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating heaps of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out to the business.

Our Approach

Our approach like many HCD practitioners falls into three key stages of the human centred design process:

  1. Understand – the inspiration Phase where you learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs.
  2. Explore – the Ideation phase you’ll make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions.
  3. Implementation – this phase you’ll bring your solution to life, and eventually take to the business. And you’ll know that your solution will be a success because you’ve kept the very people you’re looking to serve (e.g. hiring managers or candidates and recruiters) at the heart of the process and the prototypes.

How We Can Help?

Through data analysis, interviews, and workshops we can help you understand what is really going on with your business, with your candidates, employees and your HR teams. We provide workshops and insight sessions with HR teams and the business on their current practices.

Our mission is to help organisations change the way they solve complex HR and Talent Acquisition problems to create successful and sustainable change within their recruitment and HR functions.

In the last 12 months, we’ve led strategic recruitment design projects to solving some of the following common questions:

  • How can we create a great candidate experience throughout our Talent Acquisition processes? What would it look like and how do we get there?
  • How can we deliver on a promise to candidates, new starters and hiring managers when they undertake recruitment campaign or apply to our organisation?
  • What does great Candidate Experience and Hiring Manager experience look like? and mean to us as an organisation or brand?
  • We talk about innovation but are we truly innovated in our HR practices?
  • How do we ensure diversity in our recruitment practices?
  • How might we best set up our processes in a competitive market place for attracting the best talent and ensuring our success in the future?
  • What is the best operating model and physical location for our Talent Acquisition team?”
  • How do we avoid recruiter burn out or agency spend blow out?

Ultimately, How can we “Re-invent’ Recruitment” so that we’re ready to hire a workforce now and create positive candidate and sourcing pipelines that we need for future roles?”

We have Experience in:

  • Delivering Human Design Thinking training, with HR and Talent Acquisition teams
  • Employer Brand review and development
  • Process and Journey mapping
  • Facilitating hiring manager and candidate co-creation
  • Creative concept development
  • Voice of Customer feedback campaigns (Hiring Managers and Candidates)
  • Visualisation, Storytelling and Rapid prototyping
  • ROI calculations and creating the business case for change
  • Measuring Employee Experience and Candidate UX

About the Author

Rachel Hill is the founder and managing director of Hill Consulting HRS. She is a management consultant and business advisor, specialising in recruitment process improvement.

With over 25 years of experience working nationally and internationally in the recruitment space, Rachel is now based in Australia and advises large organisations on their recruitment process, people and technology. She is a recognised expert at ultimately improving culture, engagement and profitability through thinking differently and better hiring practices.

Rachel has a unique ability to pinpoint an organisation’s ‘blind spots’, providing insights on current practices and helping them create innovative recruitment solutions whilst keeping a practical approach with the end users in mind and creating the road map for change. Rachel is passionate about people and HR automation. She believes in great candidate experiences and knows that good recruitment ultimate impacts the organisation’s bottom line.

To find out more or join one of our free discussion group webinars please get in touch.