BottomUp - Skills for Innovators

Discover how Airbnb uses design thinking to create belonging with employees.

Show Notes

Hello, and welcome to the modem up skills podcast. I might pass since the chief executive officer at QualityNet and here we are, we're on our third part into a 14 part series on design thinking, one of my absolute favorites and talking about favorites. Let's talk about Airbnb because. We are now going to look at how Airbnb uses design thinking with employees in the previous show, we covered how, uh, Airbnb uses design thinking with customers.

Let's have a look at how they do it with employees and let's see what inspiration, what tips and tricks we can take from Airbnb. When it comes to designing the. World of an employee. Now there's a couple of cool things that I want to focus on here. A mixture of structural and tactical, and to look at some of the, the results that it garnered, but perhaps the first, most fundamental thing that Airbnb did is they re-imagined, uh, human resources, you know, human resources.

Was often, you know, right next door to the accounting and finance and perhaps the legal team in a traditional office and, um, was sorta hidden in the back corner. Well, you know, what's really interesting about Airbnb. They put them front and center and rather than calling. The whole team human resources.

They became the employee experience team. And actually the chief HR officer now is the chief employee experience officer. And by making such a fundamental organizational change and reframing the expectations from. Human resources to employee experience. They really unlocked a world of magic. And what's so elegant about this is that this is a company that is so famous for customer experience.

Obviously it was so damn straightforward to continue thinking about user journeys, user insights. Customer experience and just merely mirroring that on the inside with employee experience. So they have it. This is the first fundamental step. When you think about using design, thinking on the inside is shift away from just human resources and redefine the role of what was your HR team to own the employee experience simple, but yet just so powerful.

So. Let's break down what this meant, not just in name, but let's have a look at the roles, the responsibilities, what was the, uh, the mission for the now the employee experience team? And I want to start by just explaining. What a normal HR team would take care of. They'd go out and recruit a new employees.

They would manage, develop and support the talent already in the organization. And you know, the big one, it makes sure we would all get paid to payroll and benefits. Uh, maybe throw in a bit of health insurance alone. For the bride, this is the traditional HR remit, but let's have a look at what Airbnb added, uh, to the traditional HR, uh, mandate and how they increased it by more than double.

And what we'll do in a moment is we'll have a look at some of the results that got so. We've got recruitment. We've got talent payroll and benefits, the cornerstones of human resources. Well, check this out. They added four new responsibilities to the employee experience team. Number one, ground control all about celebrating culture, all of the facilities.

So essentially the spaces and all the different modalities that they have to cater for. Food very important. And lastly citizenship, and that was all about how Airbnb contributed, uh, in the communities, in which it worked. So there you go. You've got the big four, let's break them down and look at how they really shaped the organization.

The big one in my mind, it depends if I'm thinking about lunch or not, but. The big one in my mind is ground control. This is all about culture. This is about defining, celebrating, showcasing, and essentially turbocharging the culture inside of the organization. And their whole culture is based around belonging, uh, which is really powerful because they also propose that on the outside as well.

So ground control is a group. It's a team of people inside of the organization and their job is to celebrate. Showcase culture. And what's really interesting is we'll see that come back in some of the. Uh, some of the outputs are a little later on facilities, if you've ever had the chance to go to an Airbnb.

You'll know what I mean by these offices are absolutely wonderful. Rich, diverse. Interesting. I could. I'd never get bored. Uh, working from different spots throughout, uh, the Airbnb office, they've done a wonderful job. It's all themed they've even, uh, had this great idea that, uh, different rooms are actually based on the rooms that their hosts have all around the world, which is really, really neat.

When it comes to food, uh, I can assure you, I've actually had some lunch there, uh, uh, at eight, eight Brandon in San Francisco. And I can tell you the food is wonderful and you've got a ton of different options, but it's really great because it's part of your, uh, employment, the, uh, great food and dining experience comes with it.

It really reinforces belonging. And frankly, you can eat really, really well. And you don't have the hassle of having to leave the office. And lastly, there's the citizenship team and this one's really important because. You know, the company really needs a connection between what's happening on the outside.

In the end. They're not without controversy and challenge. A lot of cities attribute a rise in rental prices to Airbnb. So it's so important that Airbnb works together with the communities that they are active in to better understand them and to work together, to get better outcomes. So that's the citizenship team.

So look at those big four. On top of the standard recruiting talent and payroll responsibilities, this dramatically changes how you think about the use of design thinking because not only did we see that they've successfully built trust to consumers, they're created a place where employees can belong to.

And this all came from this powerful insight, which is total. Pure design thinking, which is, don't think about this as human resources define it as the employee experience team. So this is so good because this has opened up all of these new ideas. It's opened up a whole new mandate for what was the human resources team and is now the employee experience team.

Let's take a quick moment just to, to have a look at some of the results that this is. Actually achieved for the business. Um, uh, just over a year or two ago, um, they, uh, the company advertised that they had 900 open positions in the organization, 904 that they received 180,000 CVS in applications. 900 positions, 180,000 applicants.

Pretty impressive stuff, particularly in a knowledge economy where talent is so scarce. Now I did a little bit of a study on Glassdoor and indeed, and I tend to do this with all of my case studies. And I have to say the numbers are really good for Airbnb. And I recently updated them and they even got better post COVID and Brian Chesky was actually, um, Acknowledged as being one of the better leaders throughout the covert, uh, process.

So kudos to Brian, but let's have a look at the numbers. 91%. Of the people reviewing. These are their employees that are reviewing, uh, the company. And just so you know, over a thousand employees have actually reviewed on gloss, stole 91% approval of the CEO. That's extremely high. So just so you know, uh, better than Revolut, better way better than, than we work and right up there with zoom.

Where they're also very, very strong is that 81% would recommend working at Airbnb to a friend. Um, and okay. Really interesting thing. The deliberate things that I just described to you are exactly the most mentioned things that people say are the positives about Airbnb in 57 different reviews. People actually specifically referenced the food.

Done by the employee experience team. The second thing is great company culture. They've got a culture team, great benefits, 53 reviews. So now you actually see some hard numbers behind this success. They have a very good work life balance. There's a lot of. Uh, breakdowns on both Benjamin and culture. They even do a really good job, uh, on supporting, uh, the roles of women.

And they score very well there in terms of family support in particular. So they have, uh, Airbnb has used design thinking to reimagine the role of HR to reinvent it. As employee experience, they've done a bunch of things in order to really transform the traditional hidden in the corner payroll team.

It's now the employee experience team that directly builds the culture and the numbers just don't lie. Uh, exceedingly well reviewed by the employees themselves. So there you have it. This is how design thinking has permeated not only on the outside, but on the inside of Airbnb as well. If you'd like to go a bit deeper into design thinking, jump over to bottom, where you can actually take our free.

Design thinking master class. I really encourage you to jump in there. Tell us what you think. Give us some feedback were all about giving entrepreneurs, the skills they need to design build, create great products and services. Maybe even businesses too. Alright, that's a wrap.

What is BottomUp - Skills for Innovators?

The volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world we now live in makes it impossible to innovate from the top down. We must now take an empathic, experimental, and emergent approach to innovate from the BottomUp.

Mike Parsons breaks down all the components of what it takes to discover, build, test, and launch radical new products, services, and cultures. You'll get in-depth instruction on the most effective methodologies, interviews with experts, and case studies. All in under 15 minutes.