Innovation and Creativity are two important factors for any organization to identify new solutions and meet challenges. Where creativity is the idea generation, innovation is the implementation of those ideas for better processes and procedures. Innovation is vital for sustaining competitiveness and requires strong and engaged talent. As HR has a critical role in developing an engaged talent, it is prudent to design innovative solutions. So, how can HR design systems and solutions that foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration within the organization? ‘HR Design’ is one approach that serves the purpose, by aligning HR with Design Thinking. This enables HR to think beyond the traditional approach and focus on intended outcomes and experience. Design Thinking brings an innovative approach to HR by changing the way it organizes work and provides solutions in creating superior employee experiences. It transforms HR from a “process developer” to an “experience architect”. Design thinking for HR is what TQM for manufacturing as it helps the former create an easily adaptable culture and drive organization competitiveness. Being people-centric both HR and design thinking focusses on customers, with empathy as a crucial element of practice. Empathy is a core principle of Design thinking which makes it relevant for HR especially when dealing with employee issues. The HR design approach can further be used to improve on many areas of HR, including recruiting, onboarding, performance management, workplace design, and L&D. This can be utilized to deliver talent capabilities linked to HR and business strategy. Having known the relevance of design thinking to HR let’s explore how it can be used with various domains of HR to deliver value.
Recruitment – Many of the recruiting challenges can be addressed through a human-centered approach, helping recruiters improve on processes and workflows. Where Empathy can help the hiring team to ascertain the expectations of candidates and recruits, ideation and prototype help to identify new solutions in improving the overall human experience. It helps you identify the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of the interviewing experience.
Onboarding process – There is a truth in the saying that “First Impression is the last impression” and the impression new hires make on their onboarding is an analogy. HR should develop and maintain a connection with new hires from selection until onboarding to create a feeling of trust amongst them. Empathizing can help to know and understand them better and creates meaningful onboarding experiences with less reliance on hectic paperwork and time taken procedures.
Employee Relations – This is the responsibility of HR to create and maintain a positive relationship with the workforce to keep them loyal and engaged. With an empathy-driven approach to design, HR can easily address disputes and issues, concerning all parties. This is also beneficial in developing suitable policies and procedures and address employees’ doubts and concerns related to them.
Training and Development – The principle of design thinking can be applied to T&D in deeply understanding and implementing a performance solution in line with employee’s needs. Bringing a human-centered approach to L&D through design can help in continuous improvement, overcoming challenges, and design an engaging, meaningful, and lasting learning experience
Exit Formalities – Employees are brand ambassadors for an organization. While most companies remain busy creating a better candidate and employee experience it is equally important to improve on exit experience. As the business landscape becomes uncertain exits and layoffs are inevitable. In this Covid situation, there are headlines everywhere about layoffs and job cuts. It is unfortunate to part ways from people, but HR can mould this experience by treating them with respect, care, and dignity. HR can strive to create a great experience by understanding the feelings and apprehensions of employees during exit which could help in designing a suitable severance package and compassionate outplacement support.
Vendor Management – This is one of the important functions for HR especially when a key process like payroll, compliances are outsourced to external agencies. The concept of design thinking can be applied to build empathy around the needs of both vendors and partners. This helps in identifying problem statements, brainstorming ideas, and alignment of intended services to achieve organizational goals.
Design thinking can also be used to improve other areas of HR including performance management, compensation and benefits, and workflow design. Companies like Apple, Google, Cisco, IBM, and many others have already adopted the concept of design thinking to develop innovative HR solutions
There is a change in the business landscape that is transforming the way we solve problems, and design thinking is one such approach that promotes involvement across different functions and develops a collaborative approach to the organization. Continuous testing of what works and what doesn’t leads to the creation of a happier, efficient, and effective workplace. This offers a huge advantage in attracting and retaining quality talent and positions the organization as an employer of choice. Hence design thinking offers a powerful tool to build talent capabilities linked to business and develops a conducive organizational culture.
So, how open is your HR to align with Design Thinking in delivering talent capabilities.
IMPROVING ON CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE
Work-related learning is a great way for people to gain an understanding of the working world and the traits of a particular profession. It has been a decade of working under the umbrella of HR, experiencing, and learning from almost all facets of HRM. I found the HRM as an invincible agent that not only ensures the smooth functioning of any organization but binds all its other aspects to achieve successful business growth. Responding to the technological, cultural, and demographic shifts the HR has evolved itself from a business function to a business partner. This evolution not only helped HR to improve on basic functions but transformed it into a significant business advisor on various people issues. And people being the most important aspect for an organization, attracting and retaining the quality ones always remains a challenge, whether a start-up or a Forune 500 company. This shifts the onus to the HR function to develop a thoughtful TA strategy that could bring in people who are a culture fit, stay longer and be more productive. Eventually this leads to develop a group of highly engaged employees who are more productive, deliver higher quality work and make customers happier. The result is a highly sustainable business and a growing organization.
Employees are the driving force behind a company’s operations, hence finding and retaining suitable ones is an important element of HR’s action plan. The hiring team should be able to source people who not only aligns with current requirements but could eventually handle the senior portfolio, and this is possible only when you engage with them and create a good candidate experience. The recruiters, sourcing agencies, HR professionals, hiring managers, or whosoever involved in the process should work in close alignment to create a great experience for candidates at every touchpoint of their journey. Recruiters being the first point of connect should work to create a pleasant and seamless experience for all job aspirants at all stages of the hiring process. In the end, all the promises an organization makes through brand image and interactions will only be impactful if the candidates get a positive experience throughout the hiring process. The role of a recruiter is very significant, to foster a positive experience for candidates, whether they are offered a job or not. My focus has always been a “people-centric” approach when dealing with candidates which helped me develop good relationships even after rejections. Candidates feel good about the company and brand after they see how they are treated. Let us check on some ways to improve on better candidate experience –
- Greetings and first statement – As many companies majorly rely on the portals database, phone interviews are common these days and can be convenient in screening applicants and inviting only qualified ones to attend the in-person interviews. When you call a candidate the way you greet and introduce yourself plays the same role as shaking hands in a face-to-face interview. You have only a few seconds to leave an impression not only for yourself but the company and it’s brand. One example could be-
Ex – Good morning Mr. Chris, my name is Adil, and I am glad to connect with you on behalf of company X regarding an open position. Is it a good time to talk?
This allows a candidate to know and understand the caller and to decide whether to continue further with the call or not.
- Well-Being – It is advisable to enquire about the well-being of the candidate and his/her family, especially during this pandemic time. The corona pandemic has been a strange and humbling experience for all of us, so it is a good opportunity to engage with a candidate on a personal level. This will help build a rapport and instantly shows a human side to both interviewer and candidate.
- About company – Recruiters should be confident, / and properly informed when it comes to the employer and its business. They should be passionate about their company, the role they are hiring for, and the interview process. Briefing about the employer, it is business, and role to the candidates demonstrate a professional and enthusiastic attitude. This will also engage the candidate and allow for a more meaningful exchange.
- About Role – The recruiter is responsible to find out as much as possible about the role. This can be done by developing an honest and realistic job description, inputs from managers, and an effort to understand the role alignment with the employer’s business. A proper understanding of the role helps the recruiter in keeping the candidate informed, engaged, and excited about the opportunity.
- Being attentive – One of the important attributes of a recruiter is to be highly attentive to his/her candidates by listening actively to their responses and recording them for further usage. Some recruiters will submit candidates and then forget about them, which makes it difficult for them to backtrack. It is important to listen, probe, and record the details of a candidate for better understanding and proper fit.
- Discussing the organizational culture and values – Company culture is a business’s attitudes, values, behaviors, and goals which define the way people interact with each other and the company make decisions. Communicating the organization’s culture and values clearly and effectively throughout the hiring process is vital to finding suitable candidates. Companies not showcasing them on their website transfers this responsibility to the recruiter to communicate it well in sourcing matchable resources having the same values.
- Reference request – It is painful for the recruiter to connect a candidate who is perfect but not interested in the job. This is indeed a tough situation for the recruiter but should be handled gracefully by respecting the candidate’s decision. It is time to plant seeds for a further relationship by knowing about candidates’ aspirations, briefing about company and position, and requesting references from his/her network. I prefer to share the JD with such candidates with the intent to reach out to suitable ones through them.
- Handling no show and offer declines – The most disappointing stage in the hiring process is the offer decline. Although hard to bear but should again be handled gracefully by being kind and respectful. This is an opportunity for the recruiter to learn more about the hiring process through follow-up and feedback. The feedback can have great insight into why the company is not a good fit or what things could be changed to be a better fit. Perhaps you may have to change a couple of things or may not have to change anything, but once done you will come out with a good employee. I have seen many declined cases turning out to be your best employees with strong follow-ups and necessary improvements, so keep trying.
- Closing the call – An important step in the hiring process is to provide an opportunity for the individual to ask related questions and apprising them about further steps. Thanking the candidate for the time and ending the discussion on a formal but sincere note leave a great impression on the candidates.
- Maintaining a database – Take some time to collect your thoughts and summarize your impressions in notes or some database. You need not decide at this point but recording impressions after any discussion will help you not only in taking a final decision but also to establish a comparison or backtrack candidates.
In today’s fast-paced economy, hiring is not just about filling vacant positions it is about sourcing and engaging with the best available talent. There are often thousands of people who apply to work for an organization each year and the way they are treated goes a long way as to how they feel working for any organization. So, creating a good candidate experience throughout the hiring process is prudent for any organization. Consequently, recruiters should now be more focused on building relationships with talent rather than on things that can be handled automatically. In the end, candidates are your potential customers, and you must be serious about them by treating them with respect, professionalism, and empathy. Remember we are dealing with humans and a humane touch will always reap good relationships, networks, and a pool of suitable candidates. Because hiring a talented employee not only saves time and money but also differentiates an organization from its competitors.
At HRletes we help you connect with quality, experienced and productive candidates. We assure you that only the most suitable candidates are referred to you.
HRletes – Serving in your frame
We have seen the challenges small and mid-size businesses face in managing the greatest asset – its workforce. Often leaders are endowed with the responsibility of overseeing HR but lack of knowledge and tools creates multiple complications. It’s very important then to view HR from a perspective of a specialized HR consultant or firm as they can bring a lot of structure, order, and professionalism to business by developing one organization’s HR strategy. But companies struggle to identify an appropriate time to hire an HR resource. Small businesses spend around 18 – 40 hours a month on HR-related stuff as they fail to consider and hire an HR specialist at the appropriate time. It’s imperative then to identify when to hire an expert for managing HR issues.
Before we identify the appropriate time let us just know some situations that draw your attention towards hiring an HR resource.
- When hiring becomes a challenge in the absence of JDs
- Attraction and retention of potential employees becomes a challenge
- When there is a mismatch between the company’s culture, environment, Vision and Mission
- The company lack HR processes resulting in improper business functioning
- The organization is struggling to become compliant with laws and regulations
- Identification and alignment of core competencies with organization goals is a challenge
- When there is no T&D plans and the company is looking to create one to improve performance
- Organization need help to build healthy employee relations
- The company needs to develop an appropriate PMS process
- Management needs consultation and solutions on HR related matters
The above situation is alarming for the organization to look for a dedicated HR resource or a Consultant to take care of its HR needs. Any business growing in size and complexity demands to hire a specialized HR but sometimes it is tough to decide as the above-mentioned situation mostly arises with increased headcount. Now to avoid critical situation business owners should keep other factors also in consideration and look for HR resources beforehand. The best way to identify and do this is to plan the HR resource when the business decides to do the following –
- The company has chalked out periodic growth plan – When you have rapid expansion plans it’s nice to have dedicated HR resources who can support recruitment, on-boarding, and other HR matters to run the operations smoothly.
- Building a company’s culture – Business owners are aware of the culture they want to build in their company but have no time to develop it effectively themselves. An HR expert can help to set out, create, and protect the desired culture and strategically develop it along with business growth.
- Looking to establish strong communication – People forms the core of any organization and HR acts as a bridge to connect them with Leadership. A proper HR communication strategy keeps the employee engaged and help them succeed. Organizations that plan for the long run prefer to link corporate communication to business strategy to develop effective and consistent business operations. An HR expert can help to develop a formal and comprehensive communication strategy to establish consistent communication with employees and help build a recognizable employment brand.
- Build on employee relations – Business leaders who believe in developing a happy and productive workforce, plans to establish good employee relations. Such an organization promotes healthy employee relations at the workplace to extract the best out of each individual. So if you are having the same belief, hiring a People expert seems to be a viable option. A human resource professional plays a key role in binding the employees and act as a mediator in preventing and resolving workplace issues. But this skill doesn’t come naturally to every start-up founder, so it’s advisable to hire an HR consultant to strategically handle the matter of employee relations.
- Business needs more attention – When the owners handle HR responsibilities themselves, keeping cost at a minimum and sacrificing time to focus on more revenue-generating activities, then it’s time to look for a dedicated HR professional. They can help you upgrade your HR and takes it to the next level while you take care of your business.
We cannot undermine that HR forms an essential part of any business. Small businesses without a clear defined HR role and well-trained HR professional face many challenges on their HR front. Whether you have one employee or 100, people management is always paramount. So thinking of an HR early would be a wise decision to avoid a messy situation. A right HR approach in any business maximizes efficiency as it helps find and retain employees important for growth and meeting company objectives. It is advisable to let go of certain HR responsibilities to an expert with a clearly defined HR strategy at the appropriate time.