How Service Design Empowers Your Employees to do Their Best Work

As a CEO, you’re probably prone to ask some of these same questions – what’s the budget? What return are we expecting to get out of this? What’s the business justification of this? In that vein, when you’re thinking about building teams, you don’t just want people who will come to you with ideas; you want people you can let run with these ideas and do their best work while asking those same questions. As executives, we’re taught to gauge whether an investment is good and if something is successful. But are we empowering our employees to do the same?

“Make no mistake; organizations have entered a new era. That era is fuelled by people’s expectations of their employers.”

While this shouldn’t come as news to any CEO out there who is paying attention, I read this line in a recent article in Forbes about a “scathing” open letter employees at Apple wrote to their executive team in response to being called back into the office.

The article made me wonder who, exactly, at Apple made that decision and how they came about it. Did executives make it based on a spreadsheet, or was it based on more holistic knowledge? Were they at all worried about the pitfalls with this decision? Given they make and market products designed to enable people to be productive from anywhere, and are now requiring their own employees to come back to the office, the letter didn’t surprise me. 

At Studio Science, we recently embarked on the creation of a white paper that explores how we can deliver better experiences not just for customers (CX), but our employees (EX), as well, by making sure the two are aligned. By taking a service design approach, organizations can map out how the two impact each other’s experience by focusing on the customer’s expectations and the technical and human capabilities needed to make the intended experience possible.

With this in mind, as a leader, do you demand or expect your teams to have the toolsets to connect the dots between the employee experience and customer experience? When was the last time, as a CEO, you asked to see something like the service blueprint to better the experience of both employees and customers (as is used in service design)? 

On the flip side, as the CEO, you’re given information in tiny little chunks, so what are the techniques you can use to make sure you’re looking at things in a holistic way?

The letter from Apple employees appropriately calls on a sentiment from their late founder, Steve Jobs: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” They go on to say, “Here we are, the smart people that you hired, and we are telling you what to do. Please get out of our way, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, let us decide how we work best, and let us do the best work of our lives.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 

If you don’t want to face a rebellion from employees like Apple, are interested in seeing how you can help bring alignment to employees and customers by using human-centered design, or you’d like to talk more about all of the above, please reach out at I’d welcome a candid chat.

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