Design Thinking

How to transform the employee experience in the era of hybrid work

In the past two years, the global pandemic has completely upended the business world, and companies have had to overcome a number of hurdles in order to adapt. The crisis exacerbated pre-existing issues and also caused new ones to emerge. Now more than ever before, organizations have to be resilient if they want to stay competitive. This means adapting to:

How to get employees back in the office

In the past two years, work-as-we-know-it has undergone an unprecedented level of technological change.

To keep things up and running during the pandemic, companies had no choice but to adjust their ways of doing business and equip their employees for remote work. Now, some employees view going back to the office (and in-person contact) as a blessing, while others see this return-to-the-before-times as difficult, if not downright unthinkable. Many people have come to appreciate the benefits of working from home, including all the time and money saved on commuting (gas, parking) and childcare. Without a doubt, the hybrid model is a new work norm that organizations must adapt to.

However, it is also clear that hybrid work is a significant adjustment for businesses and comes with its own challenges that can be tricky to address. On the one hand, we have seen that employees are more productive and more focused at home because they have fewer interruptions. On the other, it can be hard to schedule a last-minute meeting, encourage team bonding and buy-in and successfully integrate new managers. Employees who work from home are also more apt to fall into a siloed mindset. The lack of informal interactions between members of different teams hurts an organization’s ability to tackle and solve complex problems, like thinking through innovative projects. All of this can lead to decreased performance.

That said, labour shortages and the demands of the new generation of workers are forcing organizations to rethink the work conditions they offer employees. If companies want to retain talented people, they have to provide a compelling employee value proposition and a positive employee experience. And if this involves hybrid work, so be it. In order to survive and thrive, organizations have to redefine the employee experience. Like we said: Resilience is key!

Redefine the employee experience with Design Thinking

How can I improve the employee experience? How can I increase employee buy-in and bonding? How do I optimize the hiring process? How do I retain top talent?

Design Thinking is a creative problem solving process that focuses on identifying a company’s main organizational issue and then moving through different phases to solve it. Design Thinking synthesizes intuitive and analytical thinking. Its core philosophy is to make users the focus of the thinking process.

Design Thinking has 5 phases:

Empathize, Design Thinking, Icon, phase 1

Empathize: Understand the user

Depending on the situation, the user may be a client/customer or an employee. This phase involves devising a methodical research approach to identify and understand the user’s needs, yes, but also what they think, how they think and why they think it. One you’ve made this the core of your mindset, it will be much easier to move on to step 2.

Define the problem, Design Thinking, phase 2

Define the problem

This key step will help you determine the company’s real issue. For example: “Why are employees quitting their jobs during their first year?”, “How can we make employees more productive, happier and less stressed?” The entire team comes together to define the problem.

Ideate, Design Thinking, phase 3


In this step, you compile all of the ideas and identify long-term, lasting solutions that keep empathy front and centre. Putting yourself in the user’s shoes will help you find ways to meet both their needs and expectations and the company’s.

Prototype, Design Thinking

Prototype the solution

This involves exploring the various proposals from the previous step’s brainstorming sessions. During this stage, you will select and test the different solutions.

Test, Design Thinking


The testing step is the opportunity to make sure that all of the proposed ideas can actually solve the users’ problem. It involves:

  1. Presenting the solutions to users
  2. Having the users test them
  3. Gathering user feedback

After testing, you can verify that the prototypes are indeed the right solutions. If they are, you can refine, improve and simplify them to make them even better.

In other words, Design Thinking takes into account the user’s situation in order to come up with meaningful solutions. The goal should always be to understand what users want and what they expect from their employer and company. In order to meet your employee’s needs and wants and set yourself apart from other companies, you have to identify the right issues and build a viable value proposition that also considers all the company’s stakeholders (HR, employees, IT for integrating changes, managers, etc.)

How to get your teams Design Thinking

Companies that foster a positive, collaborative environment quickly see the positive outcomes at every level:

  • Save a lot of time
  • Boost profits
  • Better execute daily tasks

You will optimize your organization’s performance and see an almost instant return on your investment. Design Thinking is a true win-win!

Download Talsom’s Design Thinking toolkit for your team meetings

Understanding the real problems before you try to implement solutions will save you precious time, money and energy. Design Thinking is an innovative and proven approach to organizational issues that minimizes failure, increases team work and innovation and improves employee well-being in order to retain your valuable employees.

As a people-first company, Talsom has gathered a team of Design Thinking experts to address all of your organization’s questions and needs

Published on 16.09.2022