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11 Apr. 2013 | Comments (0)

The company I then worked for had organized the annual jamboree at Disneyland. After being locked up for the full day in a conference we were all tired and waited eagerly to go for the famous tour of the film studios. That was to be followed by dinner at a restaurant in town we were told. We were all awestruck as we walked through the sets where the scenes of so many famous movies had been shot. The open bus of the studio drove us past a set of a mountain where a jeep was getting “blown up” by dynamite and we narrowly escaped getting caught in an artificially created earthquake. There were some permanent structures like schools and neighborhoods that all of us recognized from all the film and TV serials we had seen them in.

Just then our bus developed engine trouble. We waited patiently while our driver tried hard to fix it. We may have even started dozing a bit when we were woken up by the holler of a man who emerged from one of the houses armed with a gun. “Take that bus away or I will shoot. I will count to ten.” None of us were prepared for this. Someone from our team took the lead and tried to reason with the man, but he was adamant. The commotion must have woken up the neighborhood. The windows opened and had curious neighbors trying to figure out what was going on. Some walked out of the homes. A lady appeared carrying a child in her arms and tried to speak to the man with the gun. Some college kids stepped out trying to lay a table for dinner party they were having later that evening. We tried to earn goodwill by helping them carry the food. It was much later that we realized that all this was just a set up and the inhabitants were dressed in character to create this experience for us. It turned a routine dinner with office colleagues into an experience I still recall vividly after so many years.

An experience evokes emotions that turn an ordinary humdrum routine process into something people cannot forget. The little simulation or game used in a classroom can turn a routine lecture into a powerful learning experience. Every process can be designed to be an experience. All it needs is a little imagination and the ability to look at the process from the eyes of the user. Would it create the feeling of wonder, pride and amazement we have to ask.

Take the new hire induction process and design it as an experience designed to generate pride in the employee. In most companies, the process is handled most unimaginatively. It has a single goal: to give all the information that the employee would ever need in the shortest possible time. If the process of inducting or onboarding a new employee were to be redesigned as an experience, the approach would be very different. It would go far beyond the process of completing the transactions and dumping the new employee with loads of information and acronyms.

Going through an experience generates feelings. Processes do not affect us emotionally. A process outlines the logical sequence of steps needed to complete a task. Every process that we create can be looked at as an opportunity to design it as an experience.

For the new hire, the first day is full of anticipation. He or she wants to be reassured that joining this employer is the best decision to take. This is their first opportunity to love and be inspired by the employer brand they have so far only seen from a distance. They need to feel a sense of pride based on what they see and hear. They need to go back home and tell stories about the people, the place and the culture of the new organization. This has to be designed to be an experience that will never be forgotten. The information has to be conveyed in the form of stories that are easy to recall and narrate. HR team could then become a designer of employee experiences. Google is famous for using data to design everything from cafeteria counters and tables to the office rules to make the workplace a happy experience.

Think about it.


This blog first appeared on Abhijit Bhaduri's blog on 04/07/2013.

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  • About the Author: Abhijit Bhaduri

    Abhijit Bhaduri

    Abhijit Bhaduri works as the Chief Learning Officer for the Wipro Group. Prior to this role, he led HR teams at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Colgate and Tata Steel and worked in India, SE Asia a…

    Full Bio | More from Abhijit Bhaduri


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