The HCI organization recently conducted a survey in which they interviewed over 300 HR experts, a panel of design specialists and a group of talent acquisition professionals to better understand the outcome of Design Thinking when applied to the challenges of talent acquisition.
People Matters magazine also recently posted an article with the importance of using this methodology to re-define the HR function, quoting Josh Bersin on the subject:
Design Thinking casts HR in a new role. It transforms HR from a “process developer” into an “experience architect, reimagining every aspect of the HR organization”. – Josh Bersin
So there’s clearly a trend here, and we wanted to share our thoughts and experience on the subject. Maybe this is the “next big thing” to build stellar hiring processes and world-class employee and candidate experiences.
What is it?
On its own, Design Thinking is an iterative process which aims to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods.
Design Thinking is a five-step process which gets “return” inputs after it has been implemented to make sure it gets the best output.
Empathize: Understand the human needs involved
Note – Today’s labour market is completely candidate-driven. Meaning, it is all about the candidates, their needs wants and expectations. It is not only about the companies and their hiring needs any more, but recruiters also need to fully understand who are they looking for, who’s the right candidate, or in other words, the candidate “persona” they are looking for.
Define: Re-frame and define the problem
Note – The problem we face with other talent acquisition teams is that they don’t experiment, they hope and pray that a career site or posting a job gets them quality applicants, but nowadays that doesn’t work!
Ideate: Create as many ideas as you can
Note – there isn’t one universal solution for the current talent acquisition challenges. Each industry is going through enormous changes, new generations want new things, and the world is moving at a break-neck speed. So teams need to gather and brainstorm as many ideas as possible on how to improve the identified problems.
Prototype: Develop the key solution to your problem
Note – A great advice would be to use different methodologies and measure their impact. For example, different career site contents, shorter or longer job descriptions, videos, employee testimonials, different social media, employee’s stories, team blogs about projects you are working on…
Test: Test as often as you can
Benefits of implementing Design Thinking in Talent Acquisition
- It brings “human” back to TA since it works with people at the centre of every solution
- Helps people collaborate better within the business
- Identifies new ways to define real problems
- Develop new and innovative solutions
- Prepare and validate the future
Design Thinking is often referred to as ‘outside the box thinking’, as users are attempting to develop new ways of thinking that do not abide by the dominant or more common problem-solving methods. At the heart of Design Thinking is the intention to improve products (usually!) by analyzing how users interact with them and investigating the conditions in which they operate.
When we started introducing Design Thinking in our sourcing teams, we realized it gave them the creativity and problem-solving skills they needed, but felt short on other aspects such as time-management and result orientation.
Highlights of the study
Context: The changing work environment, including growing numbers of new and available jobs and greater talent competition for the best fit and most desired skills, has exacerbated current gaps in talent acquisition strategies.
Most recruiting processes and techniques are unnecessarily complex and are built for recruiters and compliance — better technology, better analytics, better reporting, better frameworks. It inspired many companies not only to rethink their talent management strategy but also the strategies they use in problem-solving.
These problem-solving approaches now include Design Thinking for a growing number of organizations — defined as an iterative methodology that seeks understanding through empathy and creates solutions by prototyping, refining, and re-designing.
Application Thinking takes an external approach to solution-finding, starting with customer insight. By using Design Thinking for talent development problems, all stakeholders’ mental, physical, and cognitive needs are carefully considered in this process.
Begin by asking exploration questions to gain stakeholder understanding: what is the candidate experience? What’s the background of the recruiting manager? What’s the business experience? And, from each of these “customer” perspectives — think: what do they need, want, and value?
By empathizing with each customer’s perspectives, Product Thinkers will provide background for issues and challenges in developing and optimizing talent acquisition processes. This approach, which incorporates each of these main stakeholders’ needs, will turn into a superior and efficient talent acquisition strategy.
Design Thinking approaches are effective in meeting some of talent acquisition’s biggest challenges. Organizations that use Design Thinking create better alignment of talent acquisition strategy and business strategy.
Taking the first step towards Design Thinking
At Catenon we have consistently done things differently than our competitors, we haven’t called it “Design Thinking” at such, but now that we put it into perspective, there are a lot of similarities in how we work, and what’s considered design thinking.
- Design Thinking helps talent acquisition teams build sustainable talent pipelines – we are ALL about mapping first, mapping ALL the time. Really, companies should NEVER stop mapping the market for top candidates, latest skills, most relevant structures… And mapping usually translates into talent pipelines.
- Design Thinking addresses the communication between the customers of the talent acquisition process to improve its outcomes. We are all about outcomes, communication, transparency and data – we have a Client Area that keeps our clients updated in real-time – every time we do something, they all know, which usually accompanied by data and insights.
- The candidate is given more timely and transparent information about their place in the process, and more opportunities for feedback. This results in greater insight into the candidate experience and improves the organization’s employer brand.
- Unlike traditional problem-solving efforts, organizations that rely on Design Thinking approaches are more likely to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative people data. That’s how we operate, a mix between technology, data and people – to have both hard and soft-insights on, what we consider, the most relevant business decisions, your team.
In the current world that we’re living in, with the number of ongoing changes and challenges, the best companies will be those who have pioneers and true leaders onboard – and that means, transforming into world-class organizations to attract the best.