Design Thinking For The Employee Experience 

Instead of just throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks, let’s try to really understand the problem.
— Vice President of Marketing Communications, Healthcare

A case study

Leadership at a healthcare client of ours recognized there was a gap between the needs of their sales and service personnel working in the field and online tools and collateral that were being developed to support them. 

“This is what we've always done," said the Vice President of Marketing Communications, "and nobody was really thinking about what the sales force really might need... all these things that are developed in isolation make sense until they reach the account manager who gets 400 emails at the end of the evening."

We sought to better understand the typical day of a sales rep and service technician and to observe their behaviors and attitudes in context. Over thirty ethnographic interviews were conducted with individuals who had been nominated by regional management. The result of the insights generated fostered an entirely new way of looking at solutions developed for the field.

We then facilitated an employee experience ideation workshop, where stakeholders from internal development teams were prompted to take what they had learned and apply it to new solutions with field personnel right at their side co-creating along with them. “The ideas generated and vetted in this effort are a treasure trove of possibilities,” says the client. “As we plan for the future, we can consult this library of ideas to inspire what’s next for marketing communications.”

The next step was to socialize the insights and ideas to extended teams responsible for execution against the development plans. In an effort to accelerate this education and inspire action, we created a set of seven personas to tell each key employee story. We specifically designed the personas to be different than the traditional look and feel of internal communications, and went with illustrative storyboards. The personas were so big a hit, the client had full-size foam board prints produced and placed them around their corporate offices.

The marketing communications team identified which solutions they were going to take into development and hold themselves accountable for, and which they were going to table for possible implementation at a later date. “Immersing ourselves in the voice of the field helps us prioritize and focus," says our client. “Most of all, the voice of the field simply reminds us that we should be asking if every sales tool we create is 'Field worthy.' When in doubt, ask the employees, themselves.”