Day 3 – Why Your Design Team Is Quitting, And How To Fix It

Time is the most precious asset — during the pandemic — how we work, whether it fulfills us, how we collaborate and build trust? Initially challenging, but more empathetic to the working conditions of the entire team.

The Great Resignation (the great re-evaluation):

  • You made a change? Congratulations!
  • During times of change, what keeps us grounded?
    • In a team, at a company…
  • As manager, focussed on — R and R: Results and Retention
    • Keep the team around to get the work done!

Investing in UX

Business value, but the team is looking for a comfortable home. 

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose — Drive, Daniel H. Pink; Org Design for Design Orgs; The Making of a Manager;

Beginning of pandemic

A third of the UX team left; took a detailed survey.

Skills Matrix: lives within a northstar of practice — 

  • Why?
    • Team purpose and statement
    • Principles the team manifests
  • How?
    • Design research and operations
    • Career ladder and skills matrix
    • Organizational structure
  • What?
    • Portfolio, case studies
    • Measuring success
    • Thought leadership
    • Cultural rituals

Voting time!

Purpose Statement Template — We __(what)__, by __(how)__, so that __(why)__.

We create valuable digital experiences by empathizing with human needs in order to improve well-being of all Canadians.

Laying the foundation —

Career development framework [don’t leave the HR team behind – essential partners]: 

  • Evaluating all the roles (Sr Designer, Design Lead, Design Director, etc)
  • Using tools like
  • Hard skills (technical) 
    • “What you do”
    • Measurable, take courses to learn it
    • Tasks and tactics, results oriented
  • Soft skills (professional)
    • “How you do”
    • Harder to measure, professional traits
    • Universal, often a multiplier to hard skills
  • Good at technical skills, but not able to communicate about the process of it — meh!
    • Soft skills are centered

Ideate & Create —

Research, versions, got team together across roles and levels, created competency skills:

  • Get cross-functional feedback
  • Iterate on several weeks, incredible vast miro boards
  • Arrived at big picture categories for soft skills: culture, courage, influence, growth, leadership
  • Tested the skills matrix within teams, beta for three months, and then, a retrospective session

By October 2021: Engagement Rating increased by +15%, and Leadership Effectiveness Rating by +9%.