How might we help Hr and culture professionals better understand what is happening in the emotional landscape of their office workplace culture?
Hazel is a workplace culture engagement platform aimed to help HR and Culture Professionals better understand and respond to what is happening in the emotional landscape of their office. Hazel’s employee focused interface, easy to ready data and actionable suggestions help create a fun and healthy feedback loop to prevent breakdowns in workplace culture.
Pantea Parsa & Felix Ho
User Research, UX strategy, Concept Ideation, Prototyping, Content Development.
As Millennials and Gen-z become the majority population of the workforce, we see a shift in values, with greater importance being placed on workplace culture. An appealing workplace culture is crucial for hiring and retaining the best talent, productivity levels and employee engagement. This makes workplace culture the most important piece in competitive environments and the future success of a company.
While workplace culture is critical, it is also incredibly nuanced and difficult to navigate because at the end of the day, workplace culture boils down to humans and human emotions because. Work is emotional.
Culture break downs can happen quickly and are crucial to avoid as their impacts can be far reaching, long lasting and carry serious business repercussions. But so much can be happening in the emotional landscape of a company without anyone in senior leadership positions knowing. That’s where Hazel comes in.
Hazel’s employee focused interface, easy to ready data and actionable suggestions help create a fun and healthy feedback loop to prevent breakdowns in workplace culture and improve future culture growth.
A strong workplace culture, aligned with overall business strategy is a company’s most competitive asset.
How it works
Hazel is a friendly hedgehog desktop assistant that prompts employees into a culture “pulse check” conversation every two weeks. These bi-weekly questions focus around team dynamics, workload, work-life balance and communication.
The basis for these questions are rooted in the insights the team formed during our research and interviews. The questions differentiate Hazel from other workplace engagement platforms in the market because it focuses its questions on the feelings of the employees.
At the end of each biweekly survey, employees are rewarded by earning points towards local perks.
During our user look sessions it became clear to us that, although our main users would be HR and Culture Professionals, that this platform needed to be incredibly employee centered. Employees often felt that, while engagement survey’s were important, there was a lack of truthful engagement with them because they felt that employers “never actually did anything” with the information. We felt that it was important to design a platform that was employee focused, recognizing that individuals are are the heart of workplace culture and that creating a platform that would most promote authentic engagement would benefit all stakeholders. That’s when we were inspired to create the employee facing data visualization component, so that employees became more aware and engaged in what was happening in their workplace culture and could see how or how not, senior management was addressing any issues that came up.
The employee’s survey responses generate a hedgehog avatar representing the overall emotional state of the employee. Each of those avatars are represented in Hazelville, showing the overall mood regarding workplace culture. This virtual representation acts as a tool for providing transparency and honesty to employees about how other coworkers are feeling and the results of the survey. This transparency is important in building camaraderie among employees and also holds HR and Culture Professionals accountable for timely response to the survey results.
Culture professionals, or culture officers, receive results of the bi-weekly survey via email. Hazel aggregates the information into easy to read visuals that highlight overall trends and potential problem areas. This data focuses on general themes about how employees are feeling about communication, office mood, collaboration and workload. Hazel pairs the results with actionable suggestions for how to address any areas of concern. These actions are suggestions for more short-term fixes to immediate issues that have arisen in the workplace culture.
While helping Culture professionals deal with more immediate workplace culture needs, the Hazel platform also helps companies address more substantive workplace culture areas such as longterm employee development, engagement, management styles and perception of company values. This is done through quarterly, biannual and annual survey questions that are relayed to HR team members. The HR team receives emails less frequently but with more in-depth analysis of the overall trends. These can be broken down by month, department and team level. The data sent to HR is paired with more substantive workplace culture coaching that relates to more institutional changes that a company would need to address such as reconfiguring management styles or investing in employee development.
Our team interviewed eight individuals who’s combined work experiences covered a spectrum of creative industries, experience levels and company sizes including small, self-funded start ups to workplace culture industry leaders like Facebook, Nike, WeWork and Glossier.
We focused our line of conversations around defining what workplace culture was and why it was important. We found ourselves engulfed in honest, personal and emotional conversations about work, workplace culture and how the intangible, emotional environment of a workplace impacted the success, retention, loyalty and emotional state of employees.