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Using journey mapping to design and manage employee experience

Using Journey Mapping to Design and Manage Employee Experience in Change

As businesses transform to adapt and redirect their focus to maintain revenue streams in the wake of disruption, executives are grappling with how to rapidly change their business operating models and align their workforce to remain competitive. In large enterprises, strategy is usually assigned to executives, with the assistance of a strategy team – internal or external – to the organisation. Disruption has brought a new paradigm: rethinking the old and reinventing to create the new. Uncertainty, in the new world order brings an additional layer of complexity, and risk.

As digital becomes a critical consideration of future focused strategies, business transformation is largely driven by IT, followed by operations tasked with reorganising systems, processes and people. However, as IT and business owners work together to determine the implications of technology, business leaders are confronted with the reality that transforming an operating model is much more complex in implementation than anticipated, given that decision makers face uncertainty about what will and won’t work.

Designing and developing an organisation that aligns to strategy and enables the business operating model to deliver, while taking into consideration that it is likely to change every two-three years, is without doubt, a complex undertaking. It goes without saying, that people are the determinant factor in effecting change and transforming a business. We know too well that people are resistant to change, but without their ability to adapt to the new, the organisation will not successfully transform to become “fit for future purpose”.

Organisation design can play an important role in assisting strategy and operations teams to transition people to the new, while ensuring stability for business as usual.  Organisation design is more than the masterful management of an organogram. Essentially, it is the rigorous analysis, determination and mapping of all the components of an operating environment to create a ‘puzzle’ of an entire organisational system with all the pieces that fit together to build capability that delivers on a business strategy. As such, organisation design is largely analytical in its problem solving approach (systems, process and people, including identifying core competencies, roles, work, etc), and is an iterative process, understanding people in terms of values, ethics, culture, climate, and ensuring that the right approach is taken to transition people in the redesign is a critical success factor of organisational transformation.

Design journeys are a very useful mechanism to enable OD and change practitioners to develop an employee-centric approach to change. Typically applied to User and Customer Experience (UX and CX) management to determine how to better customise and personalise product and service experience to boost marketing and sales, the same principles can be applied to internal “customers” being employees in curating a new organisation. Essentially, employees need to become change champions and brand ambassadors, and if they can’t correlate the change proposition to enhancing their productivity, performance, recognition, reward and/or career progression, then they won’t buy into it.

However, in using the journey mapping approach, organisation designers and change managers can use data analytics to obtain information on what employees think and feel about their working and professional development experience with the company, and use the insight and understanding to determine the negative and positive motivation drivers in planning, implementing and evaluating engagement and change. In using insight and the journey mapping approach, not only can organisational change-design team develop more effective research tools and content, but are also able to plan the and positively manage the employee change experience for different group of stakeholders across the value chain from before the change starts right through to employees owning the new value proposition for the business.

Getting this right takes a lot of time in planning, innovative thinking, and a compatible group of diverse people to come together to form an employee experience task team and translate the theory into execution. Further, these teams need to be lead by exceptional people who have experience in managing ‘creative collective’ teams from concept to outcome. Most importantly, without executive and project management sponsorship, this approach won’t succeed. It takes bold and courageous leadership to explore and invest in this highly innovative approach… but the returns could yield tremendous value for the business.


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