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An Interactive Session at the Talentpool-SHRM India Mumbai Forum

Defining Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a blend of both design and thinking.  Any system, process or product that is created by applying the principles of design thinking will be practical, easy to use, and visually appealing. This is why Design Thinking is becoming an integral part of all functions of an organization, especially where system and process design is concerned.

Today, HR is actively deploying the principles of design thinking while creating process and systems that their employees use in an effort to create positive employee experiences starting from hiring – the first point of contact that the organization has with an employee.

Read more for some interesting insights and exclusive moments of the forum.

In partnership with SHRM, we recently conducted a forum in Mumbai on Design Thinking on 24th January, 2017, at ISDI – Indian School for Design & Innovation.

The panel comprised of eminent industry experts – David Wittenberg – Innovation Consultant, Author, Speaker, Professor of Business, Educationalist; Jonas Prasanna – Talent Brand & Social Media Recruitment – Lead, Capgemini; Vaibhav Goel – Vice President HR, Head – HR Governance & Integration and Project Manager – HR 2.0 (Digitization), Reliance Industries Ltd.; and Babita Basak – Head Recruitment – India CSC, Citibank. The forum session was moderated by David Wittenberg.

In the forum the panelists emphasized on three key aspects of Design Thinking:

  • Common challenges in hiring that can be addressed by using Design Thinking
  • Impact of Design Thinking on Organizational Culture
  • Technology as an enabler of Design Thinking

Common challenges in hiring that can be addressed by using Design Thinking

Babita underlined that the main challenge in hiring is how to make it simple for the candidate to know about the positions that are available, to apply, to know the status of their application, rejection, offer – i.e. to be informed about all the key milestones in the hiring process.

Adding to the discussion, Vaibhav explained that in his organization, they have stopped differentiating between how they treat their employees and their consumers. It is one of the biggest paradigm shifts in the organization.

These two things will help us to provide the candidate with experiences which create a differentiation for the company and leave a lasting impression. We look at this entire process in a holistic manner as all the employee experiences are interconnected.

Vaibhav went on to explain the integral principles that they follow when they design people processes. First one is that we are pro-user – we look at everything we do from the employee perspective. The second one is that we are trying to co-create with our users and outsource, we are integrating and taking feedback from our employees on these processes. The third principle is holisticity – the integrated-ness.

Design Thinking and Cultural Change Management

Vaibhav continues saying that after defining our leadership standards, we started implementing them with the first layer of the people managers as a part of our manager effectiveness program. This was followed by “Leadership matters, and it starts with us”, this program started from CEO to top down. Culture changes percolate top down. It is thus extremely important to start from the top, she said explaining the culture and change management at her organization.

Talking about an HR transformation at his organization, Vaibhav shared the three pillars – transparency, meritocracy and empowerment, on which the transformation was based and that have brought about a huge cultural change in the organization. By offering the employees these three things, having a common process for internal and external candidates, giving more opportunities to employees we stand a better chance of retaining employees. If we don’t give them new and better opportunities, they will find opportunities, themselves he added.

Design Thinking and Technology in Hiring

Technology is design thinking’s partner in process and system creation.  What can we do in design thinking to make technology in hiring more effective?

Jonas said that we need to identify talent personas of the candidates and find out what motivates them and what devices they use. We should know what social media channels that they use and the time they access those sites. This information can help recruiters decide where to place the ads for the job for better response, he explained.

Explaining their process, Babita said that they try to find out at which point of the process did the candidate became disengaged. In addition to speaking to the candidates, they also took feedback from the hiring manager on the hiring process. They also check on how the job has been presented in the advert and whether all relevant links were given on the site.

While technology has made it easy to apply to jobs – just with a click, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the right person, Vaibhav said highlighting a key challenge HR faces due to technology. Technology is increasing information, but that is not necessarily productive, he added.

On the positive side, technology is building communities and networks – which are helping us to gain more insights about the candidates. In future these communities and networks will become more important than the CV of the candidates, he added.

We thank all the panelists for such an insightful and interactive session. It was not only informative, but also gave us a lot of food for thought. The examples of candidate feedback shared by Babita and Vaibhav, reiterated the importance of “human contact” and “empathy”. So while we work towards creating high-end technology-enabled systems and processes, we also need to ensure that we keep the people element of the HR function alive and active.

Here is an exclusive collage capturing some moments of the Talentpool-SHRM India Mumbai Forum, 2017:
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