Design Thinking: Meet Your New Strategy for Retaining High-performers

January 23, 2018 | Oracle | HCI
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While the War for Talent is heating up for the moment, the War for Top Talent never stopped. Whether you’re in a bear or a bull market, high-performers are essential to your organization. They take sales to the next level, they turn customer service into an art form, and they prototype your next best-selling product. If you were trying to sum up the purpose of modern HR, it might go something like this: hire more high performers and figure out how to retain and develop them. Today, we’re going to talk about the second part of that statement and how principles of design thinking can make your employee experience more engaging for high-performers and your workforce as a whole.

Pioneered in Silicon Valley, Design Thinking is a methodology used to shorten the time-to-market and improve the quality of new products, services and processes. Design Thinking starts by grounding the project in empathy for the end user and advocates for a rapid cycle of brainstorming, prototyping and testing to optimize the final product.  How can this approach help you retain more rock star talent? Let me count the ways!

High-performers are always in demand.

In the age of LinkedIn and, your best employees are hyper aware of their value in the marketplace. To retain them, HR needs to start curating employee experiences with programs and processes that serve the needs of top talent. Design Thinking has the potential to deliver human-centered experiences that turn your best people into your biggest fans.

Avoid expensive, drawn out design processes.

Properly applied, Design Thinking principles force you to start prototyping quickly and let the flaws in your concept reveal themselves early. Coupled with frequent opportunities to pilot, collect feedback and reiterate, Design Thinking will help you avoid much of the second guessing and analysis paralysis that can derail your project and cost you money.

Enable mastery and autonomy.

 Mastery and autonomy are major motivational forces for most people. Keep this fact in mind when designing your next policy or process. Does it seriously restrict your employees’ ability to develop their skills or how they use them at work? Without a compelling reason for such a restriction (e.g., regulatory compliance, safety etc.), Design Thinking dictates that you take the path that best aligns with your employees’ fundamental human needs.

Design meaningful rewards and career experiences.

The better you understand your people, the better you can design programs that recognize them the way they want to be recognized and develop them the way they want to be developed. Programs rooted in empathy for the end user can be an essential part of your strategy to retain your top talent.

Design Thinking is no panacea for every human capital challenge under the sun, but it is a powerful tool to increase engagement and reduce roadblocks to performance throughout your organization.

Want to learn more about how to apply design thinking to your talent management challenges? Click here and sign up for this upcoming webcast on the topic.