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Service design, meet talent management

Can design thinking reshape how government attracts, develops and retains talent?

Government needs to be digital to meet their customers’ expectations, but they can’t do it if they’re not digital enough to meet their workers’ expectations. And the workers of the future—they are digital; they are 21st century; they’ve arrived.

Here’s how we deploy people in many organizations: They show up for the first day of work. We take them to their cubicle. We have them fill out all their requisite forms, and that’s it. They sink or swim. That’s our current design.

Now imagine that your real purpose is to onboard people successfully, get them engaged immediately and put them in a position to be successful as quickly as possible—so that they are part of you from the very beginning. They’re making a contribution. And they’ll stay longer.

Design thinking is fundamentally saying, “OK, what do they need?” Let’s go ask them. “What would they want?” Let’s go ask them. How do we organize this deployment process from the point of view of the person being deployed, on the one hand, and the receiving organization on the other?

I can imagine a fabulous Fjord-like process in which we take newly hired employees, understand about their experience, what was it like for them, what worked, what didn’t work… We need to do that with all the turnover that’s going to take place—especially with millennials coming onboard who have different expectations.

We’re going to need to change, and design thinking is the way to design that change.

“Design thinking is saying, ‘OK what do [new employees] need?’ Let’s go ask them. ‘What would they want?’ Let’s go ask them.”

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