Ernst & Young is a consulting giant. With over 270,000 employees working in 150 countries, team building, networking, and collaboration across silos is a monumental challenge.
As a part of SVA's Interaction Design MFA program, I had the opportunity to work with EY's Digital Transformation Unit on a semester-long design competition to "create a more unified and connected EY workforce."Our goal was to rethink the way EY aggregates, stores, and shares employee data to:
The result of the exercise produced a consolidated employee profile and networking platform appropriately titled, OneEY.
To kick off the project, we set up a stakeholder meeting with our EY sponsors to gain a deeper understanding of the current situation and to frame the problem space in specific terms that we could investigate.
During the meeting, we agreed upon a set of constraints that would serve as a guiding light in the design process. The most crucial being not to create a standalone product. Our sponsors wanted us to optimize current processes and platforms to leverage employee data that currently exists within EY's internal systems.
Before heading out into the field, we synthesized our contextual research and stakeholder insights to establish our primary research goals.
After reviewing the goals with our sponsors, we identified four target interview participant profiles.
To understand their current process and pain points in evaluating employees to determine engagement fit.
To understand their current process and pain points in evaluating employee performance.
To learn how they network, what channels they use and if it is currently possible to discover colleagues based on engagement experience and skills.
To understand the feasibility of integrating data from multiple internal systems.
In collaboration with our sponsors, we translated our current understanding of EY's processes and user goals into interview scripts for each participant segment. In total, we interviewed 9 participants:
Our overarching strategy was to promote storytelling and to ask the same questions to different user groups -- revealing crucial differences in motivation and understanding.
After coding, clustering, and creating empathy maps for each of our participants, we built the following three documents to communicate our insights to the EY stakeholders.
In our interviews with employees, managers, and directors, we discovered a variety of motivations for networking. To focus our design process, we ranked each motivation and channel from most common to least common.
We were surprised to find that employees hardly use the internal networking tool (EY Discover) and rely on their personal networks to obtain documents and knowledge -- which contradicts management's initiative to create a more connected global workforce.
During the interview stage, we concurrently developed an EY tool landscape map to highlight the platforms and processes that:
Through this exercise, we discovered the three primary sources of employee data and a flaw in the current system -- Experience managers' only source of skills and engagement data is the CV, which employees rarely update.
Contrary to our sponsor's belief, disorganized employee data was not the real problem. The core issue was that the vast majority of the skills and experience data employees and experience managers desired did not exist.
To create a more unified and connected EY workforce, we would need to re-engineer internal processes, institute new policies, and tear down regulatory barriers.
In addition to presenting our overview of the problem to our sponsors, we created an affinity map to communicate the four problem themes.
We designated "employee usability issues" and"guidance/management" as the two areas prime for design intervention because they would require the least amount of regulatory changes and provide the most amount of value to all four user groups.
Upon review of our research findings, our sponsors revised the constraints and developed a new series of operating principles:
In response, we adopted a blue-sky mindset and set out to create an internal networking tool that satisfied all 4 of our user archetype's needs.
How might we make the process of updating CV's less time consuming?
How can we integrate contextual engagement information (experiences) & skills into one easy to use networking platform?
How might we speed up the process of resourcing employees based on their skills and experiences?
In designing the site map, our goal was to create a framework that mirrored the mental model of how EY employees network offline.
We researched analogous products and adapted the "groups" framework from Facebook and LinkedIn. In our product, "Business Unit" and "Engagement" pages would go on to serve as virtual hubs where users could execute focused people and document searches.
A single search query could mean many different things. For example, the term "UX design " could be a skill, a engagement deliverable, or a role within a business unit.
Our goal was to create a search engine that could interpret the context of a query and offer employee, business unit, and engagement profile suggestions to the user. To achieve this, we created an indexing system that defined the relationship of each attribute to the three profile page types.
To test our indexing model and the ranking of our search filters, we developed a scenario-driven co-design exercise for EY's Digital Transformation Unit.
We created 4 prompts inspired by our field research:
Each participant was directed to read the prompt and place stickers on the three search filters that would most likely help them discover the individual or asset they were seeking.
What We Learned
Of the 14 people who participated, 66% of the filters selected fell under the categories of engagement experience and skills, which are currently not searchable on Discover EY -- validating the desirability of our new platform.
In our redesign of the profile page, we wanted to create a scannable and visual layout that caters to the needs of both Experience Managers and employees.
We chose to adopt the principle "less is more" and design for the average user -- hiding the granular experience-data under the fold.
One EY’s simple and intuitive search engine helps bridge the gap between organizational silos. Search and filter by skills, experience and business unit to discover new connections in seconds.
One EY's visual employee profiles provides context for each of your colleagues. Helping everyone understand what they do, what they know and how to reach them.
One EY pulls from existing databases, so employee's profiles are automatically updated when an engagement closes. The new "CV maintenance" flow reduces the steps to completion from 9 to 4 and no longer requires employees to upload a word document to their profile -- eliminating the duplication of work.
With engagement and employee data all in one place, staying up to date with your units capabilities is a breeze. Managers can tap into service lines secret talents to ramp up the speed of business at every level.
Working with Ernst & Young for a semester reinforced my belief that technology alone cannot solve institutional problems. More often than not, introducing new software or systems without a proper strategy only makes matters worse.
To create real, organizational-wide change, you must first examine the business as a whole through the lens of design to discover the root of the problem. Only then can you optimize internal and custom-facing processes to support the implementation of technology.