What the Heck is EX Design Part 1

//What the Heck is EX Design Part 1

“So what do you do Lucas?”

Ever since we started Musketeers I’ve been unpacking the language to describe Employee Experience Design (EXD) – the application of human-centred design principles and methods to the workplace internally and to the domain of People, Culture and Performance.

If you’ve been hearing some of the talk about Employee Experience Design and want to know what the heck it’s all about, this post is for you.

Employee Experience Design, shares the primary focus of other Design fields like Customer Experience (CX), User Experience (UX), Product Design and Service Design – the purposeful shaping products, services or experiences to better meet the needs and desires of the people using them. In our case, those people are employees and employers.

So what are the desires and needs of employees and their employers? Major macro factors continue to transform the workplace creating complexity, frustration and change on both sides. Employers struggle to attract, keep and engage talented people, negative employee experiences spill onto the customer experience and the reputation of managers and the organisation take a hit. Employees feel increasingly disconnected, disheartened and disinterested in the goals and direction of their employers – If I had to guess, I’d say none of this is a surprise to you.

Unlike traditional People, Culture & Performance approaches to solving these challenges, where the main focus is on policy and process, the central focus for Musketeers is on the people and their experiences, desires and needs.

We’re concerned with designing work experiences that address an employee’s sense of belonging, connection and meaning, with increasing positive experiences, simplicity and focus, and with improving their engagement, efficiency and productivity. Equally we work to reduce employees and employers’ frustrations, pain points, complexity, confusion and waste.

So how do we do that?

Like other design fields, Employee Experience Design draws insights from a wide range of fields, including Psychology, project management, sociology, anthropology, product development and many more. We use a variety of methods to solve problems but primarily use a designer’s toolkit – data-driven and ethnographic search, empathy maps, journey maps, ideation, prototyping etc.

A common misconception and beginner approach to implementing “Employee Experience” is to do what I call the Instagramification of the workplace – trying to make every experience a highlight. Every step of the employee journey a sugar-high.

The problem is that if everything is awesome, nothing is awesome.

Real humans need reflection, connection, expression and purpose. How might we drive innovative thinking across a particular department? How might we make having difficult conversations easier? How might we have constructive conflict? How might we help new hires learn to navigate their work 50% faster?

If we are to create workplaces that meet the needs of both employees and employers, Employee Experience Design has a leading role to play. 

In What the Heck is EX Design Part 2 I want to share with you the Philosophy, Principles, Modes of Working and Tools and Methods that drive and shape how Employee Experience Designers work. See you there!