Designing the Employee Experience at Qcue

1. Understand your people with Design Thinking. An accessible practice that puts humans at the center of the problem. There is nothing more human centered than an organization.
2. Build what your people need. Observe real behaviors and look to solve their problems allowing your people to be as successful as possible.
3. Attract talent with your awesome employer brand. You have created a place where people can be their absolute best— you have a great employer brand so share the story to attract more talent.
4. Foster talent by designing meaningful organizational touch points that align employees, their needs and aspirations to the organizational goals.
5. Engage talent by innovating the employee experience. In doing so, you prepare your organization for the future of work resulting in long term success.

Historically, the employee experience has often been controlled with rules and policies. Systems are designed that with boundaries and expectations so people can be held accountable. The rules were dictated by the law and what the business owners and/or executive leaders wanted. The motivation often being delivery of information for compliance and protection.

Yet we abide by completely different rules when it comes to the design of our products and services. We look to provide a service that our product users want, need and hopefully enjoy.

Here at Qcue, we are innovating the employee experience by applying the same standards and principles that we apply to building our products and delivering services. 

Paula Moughton-Weems for Qcue, Employee Experience Design at Qcue

1.         Understand your users | Understand your people

Design thinking for product design puts the customer/user at the heart of the design process. It is human centered and encourages you to think about who you are designing the product or service for.

What is more human centered than an organization? Without people there is no organization.

Design thinking encourages an inclusive approach that allows for the collaboration of a variety of stakeholders. It is a very accessible process. Organizations ARE human centered and design thinking puts the user at the center of the process. Given the complexity and diversity of people, design thinking allows for organizations to consider the many needs of the employee.

2.         Build what people need

Great products meet the needs of its users, great organizations should meet the needs of its employees. So, we ask them what they want? Not quite. If you ask people what they want, they will tell you. If you build that, it probably isn’t going to be what they need. You would need to observe someone’s process in order to truly understand what they do, why they do it and the impact it has. To design is quite simply to “devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred one’s” — Herbert A. Simon.

The goal of the employee experience is to help people deliver value by being their best so here at Qcue we provide people with what they need in order to succeed.

Lucky for us many studies have been validated and published, so we don’t need to go back to the drawing board when considering how to approach problem solving for people operations. You do need to understand the unique blend of needs at your organization (understand your users). Here at Qcue, we often start by testing an idea on a small group and see what we learn. The same agile methodology that we use for our product development. If you want to try this at your organization, it is likely that HR or People Operations are gathering some data that you can experiment with.

3.         Attract customers | Attract talent

We have created a company that people want to work for because we meet our employees needs and expectations, making them amazing! In turn, they do great work. Our employer brand is one of the most valuable assets an organization has when attracting top talent. Our brand is how we share the story of what we do, and how we do it.

A strong brand is a valuable mechanism to attract more customers. The same goes for attracting talent.

We have recently launched Qcue Insights. This is where we share our employee stories and provide thought leadership on how we solve problems and innovate for the future. Our employer brand is as important as our product brand when considering how we attract top talent to join our team.

4.         Retain your customers | Foster talent

The goal of a software product might be a conversion, a problem solved, information shared or protected. A goal for an employee might be learning opportunities, career progression, personal fulfillment, financial stability or work life balance. When customers interact with our business, it’s called a touchpoint. In these moments the business is interacting directly with the customer and this is a huge opportunity to make or break the relationship. When employees interact with the organization, it is an organizational touch point... and it has the same opportunity to make or break the relationship.

Products need to be sustainable, your customers should want to keep using and keep paying for your product. You can’t find financial stability if you experience churn.

At Qcue, the organizational touch point is one of the most important factors when thinking about fostering our talent. Much like our clients deserve an exemplar customer service, employees seek meaningful experiences that deliver on the promise of why they decided to join your team. Here at Qcue, our turnover is currently at 4%! We have a great team who want to stick around.

5.         Engage existing and new customers | Engage current and future talent

Blockbusters vs Netflix. They were both providing customers with access to TV and movies. Why didn’t blockbusters see the future of on demand video streaming and get there first? They couldn’t compete with the value that Netflix provided to its customer. Delivering what your users need today will only get you so far. Needs change as external factors evolve. Netflix provided a new approach that revolutionized the way we consume TV and Movies.

Today, the workplace includes multiple generations. We might consider those multiple generations as new markets. A sustainable product moves into new verticals, it crosses the chasm of technology adoption bringing more people into the future. The workforce is changing and creating an organization that can harness this opportunity will have the competitive advantage.

Thinking about what we have today and what we might have tomorrow by experimenting to shape the future of work will result in long term engagement.

The design thinking process is not linear. Growth is not a straight line but a bundle of ups, downs, backs and forth, trending top right. Applying design thinking with agile methodologies to our people operations allows us to learn through experimentation. We have repeatable processes in place that allow us to experiment with ideas, observe the impact it has on our employees and consider how this will bring us closer to achieving our goals. This helps us drive value today while shaping the future of the Qcue employee experience.

Author: Paula Moughton-Weems. Paula is Qcue's Employee Experience Strategist. She is redefining People Operations with design thinking and agile methodologies.

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