Reflect on your employment experience for a moment. What would you say are the defining events in your relationship with your current employer? And now consider: what role did HR play during these times of maximum impact? Enabler? Inhibitor? No role at all?
Designing HR to better support these “moments that matter” will require a shift in our thinking from programs, processes, and policies to the design of experiences that delight and engage. A traditional process-based approach focuses on how HR delivers with efficiency and effectiveness from process to process. Yet customers of HR increasingly expect the kind of customer-centric experience encountered in daily lives as consumers of products and services, heavily shaped by personalized interests and needs.
Like enterprises that lead in customer experience and understand that not all customers have the same needs, HR leaders are also recognizing that their customers are not limited to employees. Rather, applicants, contingent workers, alumni, board members, and even young people that comprise the future workforce are all potential HR customers in addition to the organization’s employees. A variety of factors come together to define the personas for these various HR customers. Examples include role, place in the organization, preferred ways of communicating, technology access, tenure, and even generation.
In order for HR to better serve all customers, HR should gain a deeper understanding of three key elements of the customer experience: HR customer personas, moments that matter, and the customer journey.
HR customer personas
To frame the context for a particular experience, we need to identify the relevant HR customer personas and prioritize the investment in experiences in a way that considers their respective impacts on the business. Is the experience under consideration more related to an HR customer’s job role, their geographic location, their stage of life, or perhaps where they are in the employment life cycle?
Moments that matter
Once we have defined and prioritized personas for further investigation, we can observe and identify the key moments that matter for each. Considering moments that matter through the eyes of the HR customer begins to shift the focus from a purely process-based mindset to a customer-centric approach geared toward increasing engagement, satisfaction—and, productivity. Every aspect of work—the physical environment; how people meet and interact; how managers spend their time; how companies select, train, engage, and evaluate people—is reimagined in the context of specific moments that matter for specific personas.
Moments that matter can include a truly targeted moment in time or an extended time frame. Examples may include applying for a job, the first 90 days of employment, receiving performance feedback, getting promoted, or figuring out the next career move. Positive impact from those “moments” that generates a combined positive experience and enterprise value—like a faster speed to productivity—is where the organization derives measurable value.
HR customer journey maps
We understand our customers when we take a journey in their shoes. Creating journey maps involves depicting the sentiment, or attitude, felt by customers as they experience the moments that matter, and envisioning the desired outcome.
At each step on the journey where our investigation reveals neutral or negative sentiment, we determine what enablers or interventions will be required by HR to improve the experience to the envisioned level of satisfaction. This also involves being selective, enhancing those moments that will make a meaningful impact for the customer and the business.
We have found that this effort to map out the customer journey is best done in immersive lab spaces designed for collaborative exploration. These labs provide an environment where robust data gathered about the experience, needs, and desires of customer personas can be fully absorbed and considered along with business imperatives to develop the vision of future-state experiences.
The combination of data, vision, and an honest assessment of current gaps helps HR leaders prioritize required initiatives, establish a roadmap, and develop a strategy for piloting, measuring, refining, and implementing changes to accomplish the envisioned HR customer experience.
Making it happen
Breakthroughs don’t happen by accident. They happen by design.
Applying design thinking for the moments that matter focuses on the cultivation of ideas, relationships, and opportunities to help accelerate the profound change in perspective needed to move HR toward a customer-centric approach.
The goal is to keep an eye on the ultimate prize: an HR organization that enables the moments that matter for its customers. This means designing with an end-to-end view of the customer experience and demands a shift from typical process-driven thinking to reveal new possibilities only seen through the eyes of the HR customer.
Reflect again about one of the defining experiences you recalled earlier. Now imagine an enlightened HR intervention specifically targeted at enabling your desired outcome.
Designing HR for the moments that matter just might be the next big thing for forward-thinking HR leaders.
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Michael Gretczko is a principal in Human Capital at Deloitte Consulting LLP and is the US leader for its Human Resources Service Delivery (HRSD) practice. He focuses on large, complex global business HR transformation.
Arthur Mazor is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the firm’s global practice leader for HR Service Delivery and HR Transformation Strategy. He collaborates with complex, global clients to achieve high business impact with a focus on transforming human capital strategies, programs, and services.