Innovating the Candidate Journey

Customer centric innovation is a common practice in design research today, and employee centric innovation can be seen as an evolution of that. Thinking of organisations’ employees as customers who require services, enables organisations to ensure their mission is executed in the best way possible. Because in most cases: a happy employee leads to a happy customer. 

VodafoneZiggo asked STBY to help them improve their employee experience by exploring their ‘Candidate Journey’; the experience of recently hired employees from the moment they respond to a VodafoneZiggo vacancy to their first day at work. The improvement of the Candidate Journey was part of a larger HR program for innovating the overall employee experience of VodafoneZiggo.

Learning from perspectives of new employees

The weeks or months leading up to the first day at work present a golden opportunity for VodafoneZiggo to create a smooth transition into onboarding, and sustain the excitement and enthusiasm of candidates. Therefor, the focus of the research was to get a good sense of what the Candidate Journey looks like from the perspective of recent VodafoneZiggo hires. Exploring their needs, identifying their pain points and delights, and defining opportunities to improve their Candidate Journey. Not just with the aim to patch glitches in the current process, but also to make it a delightful and exciting process that sets solid foundations and expectations for the engagement of new employees at VodafoneZiggo.

The scope of the research focused on the initial stages of the Triple Diamond of Design Driven Business Innovation: Explore, Define and Create. Based on the results of this research we developed opportunities and ideas for future service innovations, which we prioritised together with the client team. The findings and recommendations were used to further develop new HR instruments that can be tested and implemented.

Collecting experiences to map the Candidate Journey

Candidates on a journey for a new position and newly hired employees experience all sorts of emotional and logistical ups and downs. What are the questions and concerns at this early stage of establishing a relationship between a new hire and the organisation? What are critical moments candidates experience along the road?

Interviews with recent VodafoneZiggo hires, recruiters, HR managers and hiring managers helped us explore these questions. From the interviews we got a good sense of how people experience the current Candidate Journey from discovering a vacancy at VodafoneZiggo, to eventually joining the company. Together with the interviewees we mapped out their recent journeys, gained a deeper understanding of which moments delighted, frustrated or surprised them, and identified where and how things could be improved.

Analysing these conversations led us to create a collated Candidate Journey Map with the most important pain points and delights expressed by the interviewees. This visual overview helped to prioritise and communicate where in the process candidates were feeling the most uncertain or frustrated.

Creating a journey blueprint to strengthen internal alignments

As some of the recommendations for improvement would be ‘front stage’ implementations, and others ‘back stage’ implementations, we expressed the outcomes of the research in a Journey Blueprint, based on the ‘service blueprint’ tool. Similar to the ‘Customer Journey’, this is a well known, tested and proven tool in the field of Service Design. It includes not only all the actions, touchpoints and experiences between the candidate and the organisation (front stage interactions), but also the internal alignments needed between the stakeholders involved (back stage interactions) that allow for a smooth experience by the candidate. With this extension of  the Candidate Journey  we were able to go a bit deeper and look at all the internal procedures and instruments that support the interactions with the candidate.

Storytelling in video for internal communication

For the client team at VodafoneZiggo, this project provide a successful example of the employee centric innovation approach. To support their internal communication about this way of working and share the findings of the project internally, we made a short video about it. This video helped the client team to advocate for more attention to the emotional experience of people as a starting point for HR innovation.