How do you get job satisfaction in product beyond helping customers? Our product skills can make a difference and impact people’s lives when we put them to good use through working with charities.
We love being product managers; the fast pace, watching your ideas come to life that help customers, and seeing those success measures turn green… but there can be that one thing missing. Do you ever get that occasional voice in the back of your head that you should be doing bigger things to help people? Yeah, us too. But you can use your product management skills to make a difference.
At comparethemarket.com Corporate Social Responsibility is a major driver of colleague engagement. Our colleagues want to be able to make a tangible difference by sharing their skills and expertise with others. The product team at comparethemarket.com has been so fortunate to get the opportunity to do just this working with a fantastic charity called Embrace Child Victims of Crime
A little about the charity
Embrace Child Victims of Crime is a national charity that helps support children and families that have been victims of crime. It supports the victim’s recovery and provides services that are right for them from practical help to counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy. While there are so many charities we’d like to help, we used a companywide vote to determine where to start and Embrace came out top, kick starting our deep dive into where we could have the most impact.
We spent a lot of time on Teams calls with Embrace to really understand what the charity is trying to achieve, how it wants to help people, and what its website needs to do to achieve that — effectively their vision statement. As a team of product and design volunteers, we took this away and started diving into the website and mapping out opportunities.
We prioritised four key areas of focus that most aligned to the vision and would add the most value to the charity forming them into ‘How Might We’ (HMW) statements. Ours centred around; How might we raise more funds? How might we make it easier for someone to find help? How might we make it easier for agencies to get someone to help? How might we make the website easier to navigate?
Next, we followed a rapid discovery and ideation process to identify some possible changes we could make aligning to our HMW statements. As this was done completely remotely, we used the online collaboration tool Miro to help us map the journey flows across the website, and then defined and prioritised the customer pain points, optimisation opportunities and new ideas across the journey with post-it notes. As any product person will know, the use of post it notes in as many colours as possible is essential for any product or delivery to be a success!
Now, to make a difference. To maximise our time and impact we ran a two-day virtual hackathon to collaborate and work through our backlog of ideas and improvements. We worked whilst on a Teams call, as if we were in a room together, and had regular check-ins with Embrace to review any questions that cropped up during the day. In true hack style we quickly made a change, tested it across desktop and mobile, and then published it to production capturing a change log as we went to form our handover document. With just a few Wordpress related hurdles along the way, as no product delivery is ever completely smooth sailing, we ended our hackathon feeling energised with the amount we managed to get done.
So, how did all of this make a difference? Well, the impact was immediate — not just because of the tangible changes we had made to the website but to the effect it had on us as product people. I can honestly say (despite how frustrating Wordpress can occasionally be) we all had a smile on our faces the entire time from the feeling of such reward and pride. But as well as the warmed hearts and job satisfaction, we had an impact on the charity and a family through the first change we made. You might remember the HMW ‘How might we make it easier for agencies to get someone to help?’. We tackled this by implementing a live chat functionality through a Facebook Messenger plug-in onto the site as a quick response tool. Not long after this went live, instead of the usual long process of filling in referral forms, a police officer was able to contact the charity to get support for a family that had just experienced a tragedy. This meant the charity were then in touch with those victims of crime and providing support within hours — much faster than usual.
The charity was so grateful for the support and enthusiasm we were able to give, telling us our help, and that of our colleagues in risk, legal, data and marketing, who also lent their skills during the course of the 48 hour volunteering project — had enabled it to “move forward months in just two days”.
We’ve taken so much from this experience and have learnt how our skills can make a difference. If you aren’t already doing something like this, we would highly recommend you propose it to your companies and try to do the same as it was such a rewarding experience for everyone involved