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The Context Of Design Thinking And Its Application In Employee Skill Training

Design thinking is a crucial pillar in today’s problem-solving imperatives. In fact, it is being pursued as a unit course in various institutions across the globe, thus underlying its importance in aiding objective human thinking. It’s not a specific property for designers. Far from it, it has emerged as an innovative solution-seeking tool for all great inventors and innovators.
 
By description, it is a design methodology used for tackling complex problems that are virtually unknown or ill-defined, through a careful evaluation of the human needs involved, understandably restructuring the problem, by brainstorming to create many solutions, and by adopting a direct approach in testing and prototyping. It helps us come up with creative ways to solve nagging problems that stem from us and especially in the workplace setting.
 
The ‘overwhelmed/overburdened employee’ is a common term in HR offices across many organizations in the world. Employees are faced with a huge challenge in regards to coping with fast-paced technological and office changes in the working environment. This had led to a massive stagnation in productivity, prompting HR heads to look for new ways to reduce their employees’ stress and workload.
 
While evaluating many options, this model of thinking has posed as a helpful tool for HR managers when dealing with their vexed employees. IT training, in particular, has helped shape the productive realms of many companies out there.
 
Let’s explore how this thinking domain can be used to plan employee skill training:
 
Empathize
If you want to show concern for your employees, first empathize with their situation. Seek to understand the needs of the employees deeply, what they lack, what they need, and the challenges that they are likely facing. This will act as the basis of plotting the problem and working on the next phase of solving it.
 
You can collect data in this phase through empathy maps and journey maps. In the latter, you endeavor to steadily track the day-to-day activities and tasks of employees. This is achieved through observations or structured interviews. In turn, it aids in elevating the thinking process.
 
Through empathy maps, you ponder on collected findings and synthesize them keenly. Here, you seek to establish how an employee is thinking, their feelings, and insights into the probable root cause of the problem.
 
Define the Problem
After a comprehensive analysis of the collected data; the problem definition phase should follow. The idea here is to locate the underlying root of the problem concisely. HR should seek to utilize an analysis framework to help address problems affecting the holistic being of all employees. Therefore, each issue would require a list of underlying causes: lack of motivation, lack of knowledge/understanding, or just lack of skill.
 
Once the root cause(s) are clearly defined, a clear problem statement should be drawn up alongside performance goals that are firmly based on actual drivers. 
 
Think Solely About Employee-Based Solutions (iterative learning)
Conventionally, customers are at the heart of every organization’s dealings. They inspire and drive the company’s objectives because they are crucial in profit making. However, employees have greatly suffered while working ‘behind the scenes.’ Such situations have led to employees feeling discontent and work under immense pressure, which inevitably leads to underperformance. To avoid this, the experimental learning concept can be utilized by HR offices to engage employees more by creating solutions that directly suit the situations they encounter daily.
 
Here, trainers are removed as the center of focus. An iterative ‘reflection’ cycle is established to tap continuous employee feedback in a bid to sharpen their skills. This method helps employees adapt to new technology through a well established IT consulting network. In the long run, employees don’t forget how they handled a particular problem, and this effectively raises a firm’s productivity.
 
Support Employee Tasks with Simple Technology (Ideate)
The simplest way to support employee-working experience is by not sidelining them unprepared with changing technology processes. As an HR Manager, fully engage your employees when transitioning to new tech by making use of effective training or consulting services. Specific training needs can be assessed and addressed within the organization or with a third party industry expert. 
 
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report, design thinking was isolated as crucial in crafting the employee experience. 79% of those interviewed identified it as imperative. However, almost a similar percentage agreed that a lot of compliance programs and training are still based on outdated modes of meetings and processes.
 
The report also recommended the need to put necessary consideration on employees through proper IT training for far colossal efficiency. One way to make this work is by drawing a connected roadmap of skills and information needed at certain work intervals. Shedding off overwhelming and irrelevant amounts of data for new employees is vital in retaining their concentration and output. What’s more, a customizable app can help employees undertake appropriate tasks at the specified time, thus resulting in higher revenue for the long term.
 
Implementing an Intuitive Tech Learning Approach (Ideate)
The basis of this argument is that not every employee is the same. All of them are differently gifted and shouldn’t be forced to use one inflexible technology or system that doesn’t cater to their individual needs in a buzzing work environment. This mode of critical thinking brings to life personas such that fictive employees representing a defined group of external employees are drawn up. In this set-up, the personas should be able to learn and work efficiently within their own small environment while quickly utilizing their own skill set and the required information to make things work.
 
An HR manager can replicate this working scenario through the use of role-plays. This can be achieved by conducting short-term soft skills training sessions to sharpen their ability to handle similar situations. In the case of new technology, video-replays on how to use it in a one-on-one customer scenario can help relieve the pressure and spur the employee to be more productive.
 
Prototype and Testing
Here, the HR Manager should run a couple of tests to ensure whether the desired model of skill training is working. One way to get started is by crafting a simple prototype of the technology required, probably as a single module to establish its viability.
 
The new technology should be vigorously tested during prototyping to pinpoint any leaks, disjoints, or performance issues. Structured walkthroughs can be implemented to help employees navigate the solution through proper IT training sessions.
 
What’s more, HR should conduct sessions to get the employees’ views, emotions, or feelings regarding the new solution. In case of any cause for concern, the prototype should be improved until it meets the intermediate needs of its users.
 
Iterations are also a common occurrence in this phase. Refinements and alterations are curved out to make sure that the final thing suits every employee in some understandable capacity.
 
Wrapping Up
Design thinking is crucial in any organizational setting in making sure that employees sync properly with the technology in place. This will go a long way in improving their productivity.

The line between IT consulting and management consulting is quite often blurred, with overlaps between the two fields habitually happening. Worse still, most people do not understand who an IT consultant really is, or what he/she does. There are those who think the job entails fixing computers, others – selling computers and associated accessories. This is misleading though.

In a nutshell, IT consultants are professionals who aid businesses in deciding what computer tools and technologies are best placed to grow and sustain a profitable business. They work hand in hand with clients to help integrate IT systems into the latter’s business. They show clients how to use technology more efficiently, and in so doing, the client is able to get a higher return on their technology investments, and ultimately, increase the bottom-line.

IT consultants, or IT advisories, could work independently or for a consulting firm, with their clientele spread across all sorts of businesses and industries. Companies hire or contract the consulting firm to come in and analyze their IT systems and structure.

The job itself is not short of challenges, however, and the path to becoming a successful IT consultant is fraught with its fair share of ups and downs. But hey, which job isn’t? Experience is the best teacher they say, and only after you’ve worked as a consultant for a number of years will you finally gain invaluable understanding of what is expected of you. Learning from the experiences of those who’ve been in this business for long is a good starting point for those who decide to venture into the world of IT consultancy.

I’ve been a technical recruiter for several years, let’s just say a long time.  I’ll never forget how my first deal went bad and the lesson I learned from that experience.  I was new to recruiting but had been a very good sales person in my previous position. I was about to place my first contractor on an assignment.  I thought everything was fine.  I nurtured and guided my candidate through the interview process with constant communication throughout.  The candidate was very responsive throughout the process.  From my initial contact with him, to the phone interview all went well and now he was completing his onsite interview with the hiring manager. 

Shortly thereafter, I received the call from the hiring manager that my candidate was the chosen one for the contract position, I was thrilled.  All my hard work had paid off.  I was going to be a success at this new game!  The entire office was thrilled for me, including my co-workers and my bosses.  I made a good win-win deal.  It was good pay for my candidate and a good margin for my recruiting firm. Everyone was happy. 

I left a voicemail message for my candidate so I could deliver the good news. He had agreed to call me immediately after the interview so I could get his assessment of how well it went.  Although, I heard from the hiring manager, there was no word from him.  While waiting for his call back, I received a call from a Mercedes dealership to verify his employment for a car he was trying to lease. Technically he wasn’t working for us as he had not signed the contract yet…. nor, had he discussed this topic with me.   I told the Mercedes office that I would get back to them.  Still not having heard back from the candidate, I left him another message and mentioned the call I just received.  Eventually he called back.  He wanted more money. 

I told him that would be impossible as he and I had previously agreed on his hourly rate and it was fine with him.  I asked him what had changed since that agreement.  He said he made had made much more money in doing the same thing when he lived in California.  I reminded him this is a less costly marketplace than where he was living in California.  I told him if he signed the deal I would be able to call the car dealership back and confirm that he was employed with us.  He agreed to sign the deal. 

Higher IT Job EarningsIT jobs are without a doubt some of the highest paying jobs with information architects, data-security analysts and UX designers taking home $100,000 or more a year. But then again, these are high demand; high expertise jobs so don’t jump with joy as yet. But like every job and IT industry to be specific, not everyone commands such higher salaries. There are a large number of IT professionals who at some point of their career feel that their salaries have hit a standstill. Even if you are an IT professional and a great one at that, your technical expertise alone may not help you exceed the IT earning barrier. To continuously exceed your salaries, you need to work hard and smart. Here is how you can exceed the earning barrier in IT.

·         Gain Business Knowledge and Move Up The Management Ladder: IT departments for the most part are considered a part of “back office” operations. What this means is that despite being a core part of the business, IT professionals do not often get enough say in revenue generating components of the business and as a result seldom have a chance to take up senior management roles.  So if you do not want to stay content with a project manager or senior project management salary, invest time and money in gaining business knowledge. It could be through a formal business degree, online training courses or just by keeping your eyes and ears open while in the organization. Having the technical experience with business knowledge will instantly make you stand apart and open the doors for you to draw senior management salaries. For example, a survey conducted highlighted that CIOs were the biggest salary winners which clearly demonstrates the value of technical and business knowledge

·         Gain expertise on the “Hot” Technologies and Keep Learning: Say you are an expert in Java and draw a respectable salary in the industry. However, someone with less years of experience than you joins the organization and draws a higher salary than you! Why you ask. It could very well be because he/she is an expert in say big data technology such as Hadoop. Information Technology is one of the most dynamic industries with new technologies and languages coming up every now and then. When a new technology comes to the foray and gains traction, there is an instant demand-supply gap created which means that those with the specific skill sets are in a position to demand high salaries. If you have to break the IT earning barrier, always be ready to reinvent yourself by learning new technologies and this way you will be well positioned to jump on the high paying opportunities in the IT industry

·         Work On Your Own Side Projects: This one might seem controversial but let me clarify that I do not mean doing freelance work because even though your organization may never find out, it is ethically in breach of contract with your contract. If you have been lucky enough to be trained in some web based technologies such as Java, .NET or even HTML etc. spare sometime after office to build your own side projects. They could be very small projects tackling some problem that only you might have but there are multiple benefits of developing side projects. Worst case scenario, you will improve your technical skills. On the up side, you might end up creating your own business. A lot of technology start-ups were actually side projects the founders tinkered on with while they were employed full-time. You may not always succeed but there is no downside to the same

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Germany since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Ajax programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Ajax experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Ajax programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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