The Employer of Choice for Great Designers

Your ability to harness the talent of great designers is critical to the success of your business. It’s a fact.

Design doesn’t just matter. Design is critical. Not just good design, but great design.

Certainly, for the makers of consumer products and apps, it’s become obvious that intuitive and attractive designs must engage and inspire users, but design is critical for all things, in all businesses.

At the Waterloo Innovation Summit last week, a theme emerged in many conversations around creativity, imagination, simplicity and beauty. The experts all agree that the next wave of technological and business advancement would be propelled by design, and our ability to connect the power of technology to designs that deliver meaning and value.

When design is key to success, talented designers are your secret weapon.

Earlier this week, I was excited and honoured to kick off a week of events for Fluxible. Together with the incredible Amandah Wood of Ways We Work, I led a conversation with top designers and leaders of companies to answer the question of How to be the Employer of Choice for Great Designers.

Here are the highlights:

Demonstrate that you really, truly care about design.

Not surprisingly design professionals want to work for a company that has a strong design culture or that has an authentic desire to build one. What does this mean, you ask?

  • Make design a priority at all stages of product development.
  • Give your designers a voice early in the product development process, and get them involved in timelines and other key decisions

Offer important work and an inspiring vision

This is true for most roles, but great designers need to know that they are working on solutions that matter. You don’t need to be changing the world in a monumental way, but you must show how their work will make a difference to users and to the success of the company.

Ensure that customer interaction is part of the job

A great customer experience starts with knowing the customer. So of course, your organization needs to find lots of opportunity for the design team to interact with users. Shutting them in a room with some tools and the mandate to make a mostly finished product look pretty is not ok – but it is still a reality in many companies. You must be better than this.

The team matters

All of our designers wanted to work with peers and mentors who are at the top of their game. This again speaks to creating a design culture that values the work and the voice of the designers.

It is NOT all about your funky office space

Our designers shared that they were not really impressed with expensive or hip office decor. If the styling of your space is all about show and not really functional, it will fail to impress. What matters is a workspace that reflects the culture of the team and effectively fosters collaboration and focused effort.

Tools are Important

Letting every designer use their favourite tools is nice, but not a practical solution for growing teams that need to collaborate. What is important is that you are leveraging current tools that enable design iterations and efficient development of ideas.

We know it’s daunting to many technical and business leaders, to lead a team of creatives. But a culture that encourages communication and values design, is good for all employees, customers and mostly for the bottom line.