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How Design Thinking Energized Our New Hire Experience

When you mix the right talent with an empathetic approach to problem-solving, magic happens.  

This belief touches all of our client solutions. It’s also how we approach our own internal challenges. One of the best examples? The creation of You. AMPLIFIED., KSMC’s new employer brand, and the reimagining of our entire recruitment process. 

Why Create an Employer Brand? 

As a people-centric organization, we look to hire people that deeply align with “the why” of our work 

 This alignment is especially important during periods of high-growth. Mis-hires are painful for any organization and when the pace of hiring is elevated, culture and team effectiveness can be dramatically affected  and quickly  so bringing on people who connect with our mission is exceptionally importantAdditionally, the organization needed to quickly scale, and a process that chooses quickly and correctly allows early success and relief for highly effective teams. 

 As our growth accelerated, our story needed to match the experience of what happens inside KSMC so people could better imagine themselves here, or quickly recognize the culture wasn’t right for themGiving potential employees the opportunity to really understand what it’s really like to work at KSMC so they can select in – or out – is beneficial for everyone involved.   

KSMC needed a defined employer brand to help preserve the culture that our current team members thrive in while finding new team members who will be happy and also thrive  

Start with empathy. 

Following Design Thinking methodology, the first step in the process was to empathize with both our current employees and future KSMCers.    

Our team went to work gathering the perspectives of individuals all across the organization through interviews and surveys. The theme that surfaced, again and again, was, “It’s not just that we work with fun, cool people. It’s that we have people who inspire each other and help everyone be better. What you do can be bigger and greater because of the people with whom you surround yourself.”  

Journey Map the New Employee Experience. 

Next, we sought to understand the path of prospective employees as they moved through all stages of the recruitment process, from the very initial awareness of KSMC to onboarding as a new hire. To do so, we built a journey map of the common new hire experience. This let us visualize the recruitment process and get more in touch with the thoughts and feelings of candidates during each touchpoint. It included everything from, “Wow, this is a growing company with good people!” at the awareness phase to “That was a great interview, I wonder when I’ll hear back from them?” to ”Now that I’m an employee, where’s the best place to park?“  

The process of journey mapping highlighted opportunities for us to apply the level of communication and experience that we apply to our clients to our potential and new employees. Ensuring the KSMC experience was woven throughout the process became an obvious opportunity.  

 Ideation and innovation 

Armed with the information we had gathered and the understanding that we needed to build better alignment between marketing and talent acquisition, we created KSMC’s new employer brand, “You. AMPLIFIED.,” a story that puts our people front and centershares their passion for their work and coworkers, and tells the story of how KSMC helps employees grow and expand their impact  

With the new brand in place, it was time to transform the recruitment process to better meet the needs of talent based on our journey map observations. We created communications that would help people feel more comfortable during every stage of the process and provide them with the information they wanted when we thought they could handle it. During this process we: 

  • Developed an email series that delivers the company’s story through the words of current employees. Through these stories and videos, prospective talent is given the opportunity to get an inside look at who we are and the people they could eventually be working alongside. 
  • Condensed and changed the job description language to better reflect the day-to-day job and the company culture. 
  • Created an internal team of recruitment champions to advocate for the company because our employees are best positioned to excite potential employees about KSMC. This select group advocates for the company and meets potential talent at networking and development events. 
  • Improved the onboarding experience to include an email series over a new employee’s first three months at KSMC. This series provides an inside scoop on tribal knowledge, company etiquette, and other information, all geared to help these team members feel a part of the team faster. 
  • Designed key marketing pieces such as social media posts, postcards, and “perfect pair” sock(pictured above) that weave You. AMPLIFIED. throughout each step of the candidate journey.  

What’s Next? 

By using empathy to examine and rebuild our recruitment process, we’ve been able to meet our candidates where they are at each step of their KSMC journey. We’ve also put our people—their potential future co-workers—front and center in the experience. 

But the work isn’t done! We continue to test and iterate, talking with new hires after they’ve settled in for feedback on their candidate journey and gaining an understanding of how to ensure that they are Amplified at KSMC from day one.  

 This experience was recently shared at the 2019 Centric Day of Innovation, where Mary Catharine Grau, KSMC Director of Marketing, and Louonna Kachur, KSMC Director of Talent, presented Journey Mapping and Employer Brand. During this presentation, they gave a peek at our design thinking approach and how we infused empathy into our candidate experience. 

Interested in building your career with the KSMC team? Check out our open positions or sign up for our careers newsletter to learn how you can become You. AMPLIFIED.