Designing for Dignity

How to empower your employees through a digital transformation

  • At a retail chain with a lauded mobile experience, employees tasked with determining product pricing were buried in multiple systems and spreadsheets with no single source of truth.
  • At a major insurer, employees in the workers’ comp division had a platform for serving their direct business customers (the employers), leaving operators without clear tools for engaging with the injured person.

Map the spheres of influence

Start by mapping out all the employee groups as discrete entities. Think of the influence they have on each other and your customers. The greater the spheres of influence an employee group has, the higher they should be on your list to determine the role digital can play for them. If they have direct interactions with your customers, that should be a sure sign to put them on an accelerated track.

Investigate the pain points

Many employee groups are involved in what are perceived to be mundane and repetitive tasks. There’s a script to follow or a spreadsheet to fill in, day in and day out. It’s important to observe these individuals in action. At Jetblue, this meant a listening tour for Petrova and her customer experience colleagues. When updating the boarding management tool for gate agents, they traveled to airports across the country and hosted lunches for gate agents and others who used the software. They applied the same rigor and the same listening tools that they would with the customer, and created new channels of communication where employees could quickly express their feedback and ideas, which often became product requirements.

Measure what matters

These efforts to enhance the employee experience will likely show up in your customer experience scores. An overall NPS survey may be to capture it, but you can investigate the specific touchpoints where you’ve made a difference to the employee experience. On the employee side, a culture of dignity and respect will naturally decrease turnover and increase perception of leadership. But it’s also worth looking beyond functional metrics like attrition or perception of leadership. Look at how the employees truly feel about their ability to express themselves as measured through creativity, courage, curiosity, invention, purpose and amazement. Equally, if not more important, look at an employee’s sense of belonging, measured through connection, mutual respect, inclusivity, psychological safety, shared values and recognition.

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Method

Method is a global strategic design and engineering consultancy. We use design and technology to solve big challenges for businesses, people, and the planet.