Why Candidate Experience is More Than Process Maps
by Adriana Bokel Herde January 24 2018
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Have you ever participated in a new process design session and left the meeting with the sensation of “mission completed,” only to be surprised several months (if not years) later that the process, which was so nicely designed with a bunch of smart people in a room, doesn’t really reflect the experience the user actually has?
If your answer is “yes," you probably share my pain. I’ve been lucky to have worked in different countries and in different roles, which has taught me, sometimes the hard way, the importance of having the employee at the heart of everything we do in HR—especially in every process, system or technology we implement. However, until last year, I still thought that the core of a good implementation or new process was a well-designed process map.
One of the most complex, yet critical, processes that I feel passionate about is the pre-boarding process. This is because there is a strong relationship between the perception of a good onboarding experience and employee retention—and the cost of turnover is high for companies, especially in the first 12 months. Moreover, since most of the HR people that participate in a process re-design have been working for years in the same company, they often don’t remember the details of their own experience. Putting ourselves in the new hire's shoes is complicated further because our own experiences also likely happened when the company had a different HRIS and different processes.
For all these reasons, I was thrilled at the end of last year to have the opportunity to experience the new hire process from the outside-in at Biogen. I was challenged to “go, see and experience” by two great MIT professors, Nelson Reppening and Don Kieffer, who are passionate about having leaders, independent of their level in the organization, experience the process they are responsible for—instead of sitting behind a desk! They were so right about that!
To cut the long story short, I re-hired myself (after 5 years in the company) and went through the process as a new-hire, from contract acceptance to the day before Day 1. I also sat in with our HR Operations team to see their part of the process. It was quite an eye-opening, if not excruciating, experience to see the lengthy process and multiple steps our pre-hires had to go through. This experience made me even more passionate about our responsibility as HR professionals to impact every candidate, employee and manager experience through the services we offer.
Going through the process made me realize the importance of focusing on the new-hire persona from beginning to end and truly experiencing the process as a user—instead of focusing on the perfect process map. Luckily, with a committed team, we were able make considerable changes to improve the new-hire experience (in addition to the manager and HR4HR experience!).
Well-done process design sessions are still needed when looking to create a new process or to improve current processes, but I would highly recommend that companies add this step during the design process: “go, see and experience” independently of your role or level in the organization. This ensures that the intended experience becomes a reality for the user and not another piece of paper in the HR folder.
Adriana Bokel Herde
Adriana is an accomplished Senior Executive with more than 20 years of global success spanning human resources with a focus on pharmaceuticals, biotech, and technology, and digitization companies. Leveraging her extensive experience in digital HR transformation through technology, she is a valuable asset for diverse companies seeking or encountering rapid growth, international market penetration and expansion, and people development and management programs and systems. Her broad areas of expertise include combination of business and business strategy, talent recruitment and development, change management, leadership development, operations, innovation and employee experience.
Throughout her executive career, Adriana has held leadership positions at healthcare companies including MediGene, PAREXEL and Biogen. She is currently the Chief Evangelist Officer and Chief People Officer at PeopleDoc, Inc., HR technology company. She has been responsible for helping clients operationalize their HR transformation vision and drive change through technology to increase efficiency and improve user experience. Previously she has managed Global HR Shared Services Organizations, Global Mobility Programs and Operations, Talent Acquisition and People Development Programs, HR Technology, HR Vendor Management, and Non-Employee Programs at Biogen. Additionally, Adriana has served as the lead HR Business Partner to the Corporate Functions organizations when she led a large HR team as well as served as the main point of contact for the Chief Finance Officer, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Information Officer. She led key company change initiatives. At PAREXEL, among others, she build a centralized European recruitment team and worked with the business and development team on M&A deals.
Adriana holds an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MA in Adult Educational Psychology & Educational Psychology from Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, in addition to a Clinical Psychology dual-degree from UCLA and Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Rio de Janeiro. In addition to her executive career, she is a member of MIT Women Alumni Leadership team and participated in the Biogen Women Leadership Program and the Women Innovation Network.