6 december 2019

You can’t think in terms of your target group, because you aren’t your own target group. Still, you want to provide a good employee experience. How do you unite the two? Design thinking is the answer you’re looking for, says Valérie Bourdeau, service design consultant at Waai.  


Why employee experience? A good employee experience is the first step to a better customer experience. The reason is simple: “you can only achieve a better customer experience by putting your employees first, not your customers" says Valérie. Only happy employees can make customers happy. 

Why design thinking? Design thinking guarantees greater success because it’s based on facts, feedback and numbers. If you apply the design thinking process, you can’t assume how your employees experience a situation. You need to ask your employees how they experience a situation. 

Design thinking also guarantees greater support: your employees are your ambassadors because they explain the problem to you, design the solution with you and ultimately approve it too. Human resources can rest assured: there will be no resistance once the solution is implemented. 


Design thinking invites you to take a look at every moment in the employee journey, to ask yourself: how do our applicants experience our job interview? How do our co-workers experience our weekly meetings? Are we delivering them the experience they want to have? Yes or no? 

To know the answer, you have to go through five steps. Each step is equally important. Each step challenges you to think about your target group, with your target group, beginning by just asking a question. 

  1. Empathise: ask your employees why they’re experiencing a problem. 
  2. Define: define the problem and the causes with your employees. 
  3. Brainstorm: think about solutions with the employees who are experiencing the problem. 
  4. Prototype: create a solution with your employees. 
  5. Test: test your solution and collect feedback from your employees. 

With these 5 steps, HR can design 3 types of moments, touch points, throughout the employee journey, says Valérie. You can design specific moments (first day at work),ongoing moments (how you organise meetings, give feedback or start projects) and created moments (team buildings, learning visits). 


Having a bad employee experience can have a serious impact. Amazon learned it the hard way. The company recently received bad publicity and now seeks to improve its employee experience by ensuring that employees know what is expected of them.

Amazon has 14 main principles and we want you to be right, a lot’ is one of them. On its website, Amazon says: 'Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.' Amazon’s employees know that they need to consider different perspectives to receive positive feedback. 

To deliver an exceptional employee experience, Amazon even focuses on the last phase of the employee journey. The company retrains 100,000 employees to reboot their careers. The interesting part: Amazon retrains them to pursue a new career inside or even outside the company. Amazon knows that, by helping its employees, they will always be ambassadors for Amazon. They’ll always remember: ‘Even in the end, Amazon supported me.’

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Written by

Maxim Schelstraete

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

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