Ep 174 – Design Thinking in Human Resources

Design Thinking Driving Innovation in Human Resources and HR

There has been a bit of buzz around Design Thinking in human resources recently. Like agile methodology, design thinking is a process for creating problem-solving and helps develop human-centric programs, processes, and experiences in the workplace. Because we’ve discussed agile workflows before, I wanted to bring in an expert to talk about Design Thinking and how it changes the way we solve problems and improve employee engagement as HR leaders.

Before we get started I want to give a special thank you to my podcast sponsor, ClearCompany

Episode 174: Design Thinking in Human Resources with Dorothy Mankey (@dorothym )

On this episode of the Workology Podcast,  I’m joined by Dorothy Mankey. She’s an Employee Strategy Consultant for Coreisma Consulting. Dorothy was first exposed to design thinking while working at Whole Foods while in human resources. Since then, her work has focused on introduce the concept of design thinking to HR and leadership teams focusing on how it can drive results by taking a customer experience focus. 

Design Thinking requires having the customer at the core of any product or service that’s being created or improved upon. It is human-centered, taking into account all the needs and concerns of the ultimate user. Dorothy shares that design thinking provides a frame work that is  focused on the user experience by deeply understanding the customer or in HR’s case the candidate and/or employee.

Companies like Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM & Nike who use design thinking outperformed peers by 211%. Is it right for #humanresources? #shrm #hr Click To Tweet

How to Engage the Customer in Design Thinking In HR

Dorothy shares a number of different ways to better understand your customer creating a better experience that’s filled with empathy. The path to engaging your customer is different for each organization and HR team. For most, it involves a number of different means and tools to gather information, insights, and research including of interviews, focus group meetings, and surveys.

Dorothy and I talk about the ways in which HR can help leverage design thinking to create a better experience for everyone including those within human resources and recruiting. Design thinking’s framework isn’t just limited to candidates or employees. It’s about creating a better environment for everyone, and we both agree that it can be used to help improve the engagement and productivity levels within our own HR teams.

We take things even a step further to talk about the growth in HR technology and how all this tech in HR and why they need to reach out to practitioners in all areas and industries. Not every HR team has a team or work experience like the Fortune 500 or companies within Silicon Valley.

Dorothy and her work is clearly driven by innovation and creativity for problem-solving in the human resources space. In order to adapt to the changing talent marketplace, it’s important to look for ways to better manage and retain talent with creative programs and solutions. We often talk about putting the human back into human resources, and Design Thinking is a natural progression for doing just that.

Connect with Dorothy Mankey.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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