How NZTE streamlined employee experience and boosted satisfaction 53%


Employee experience: Employees at work

A Maori proverb says, “What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.” At New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), a government-owned business development agency responsible for supporting exporters from more than 50 countries, we live by that proverb, keeping people at the center of everything we do.

Our aim is to promote a productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy in New Zealand and the world. To be able to dedicate the right resources to a geographically dispersed customer base, we set up strategically situated global offices.

The need for a people-centric mindset

According to our most recent company-wide survey, our employee engagement rate is 82%. We’re also leading the way in diversity with 47% of our leadership team represented by women. But we knew our employee experience had room for improvement.

We wanted to make people’s movements in, out, and around the business more meaningful and impactful. With lots of new hires and contractors, role changes, and people leaving to embark on their next challenge, the processes supporting the employee journey weren’t smooth at all.

The agency relied on old systems, bland interfaces, and unengaging copy. In fact, some of the system notifications were robotic and easy to ignore. It was a classic example of system-centric design, and it was crying out for a human touch.

Transforming the employee experience

When we assessed the challenge, we had four core requirements for our reboot:

  • A great employee experience for everyone—whether they used the system every day or only on the way in and out of the company

  • Transparency—guided steps, status updates, and accountability

  • Global capabilities across 53 countries, multiple languages, and regional differences

  • Personal, interactive, authentic system notifications that sounded human

Wanting to progress fast in our transformation, we mapped a short, sharp timeline between February and November 2020, starting with three months of design sprints. Next, we interviewed 10% of business users—new starters to leaders—from all over the world to find out their struggles and their ideal experience.

The results were surprising. New hires rated their experience as +5 on the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The leadership team, struggling with complex processes and limited visibility, rated the experience as -52.

With these insights, we created solutions on our platform of choice, ServiceNow HR Service Delivery, between July and August, which were ready to implement in September 2020. We launched two- to three-week releases between September and October.

"What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people." Maori proverb


Tailoring the experience for different scenarios

We developed bundles of collateral for each type of role change, specifically designed to address the challenge that had been identified during the discovery phase. That included new hires, switching teams, parental leave, contractors, leaders, and leavers.

Employees had a central hub with all the information they needed to navigate a role change, such as the tasks required on day one, week one, or in the weeks leading up to their departure.

To address leaders’ concerns about transparency and visibility, we created simple forms with a live, color-coded tracker at the top showing the status of the request.

For example, if a leader wanted to hire somebody new, they could send a request that clearly showed every step of the approval process at the top of the form. As each person reviewed the application, they could approve it (turning the box green) and pass it to the next person. Or, they could reject it (turning the box red) and end the workflow.

Simplifying the process

Smart search function has helped leaders easily find the right form at the right time. They can simply select the type of colleague they’re interested in hiring and follow a guided journey to submit the request.

For internal changes, such as secondments and parental leave, we beefed up our knowledge bank with articles and guides to mitigate confusion.

Language was an important part of the redesign process. We wanted to sound human, approachable, and supportive. The system also became more engaging, with blue-green color schemes, photography, and a cleaner design than our previous, text-heavy approach.

Increased employee satisfaction by 53%

Thanks to our truly amazing team—including experts from ServiceNow—the project was a huge success. With clearer processes and better access to information, new hire satisfaction has increased by 33.5%. Even better, our leaders’ satisfaction rating has soared by 53%.

Learn more about NTZE’s employee journey transformation in our on-demand Knowledge 2021 session. Registration is free.

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