6 weeks from concept to delivery
Everything. Concept, Business Model, Competitive Analysis, Market Research, User Interviews, Ideation, Product Strategy, Problem Definition, Persona, Storyboarding, Experience Mapping, Task Flow, Wireframing, UI, UX, Mockups, Prototyping, Visual Design, Branding
Employee turnover at restaurants is at an all-time high.
In 2016, the annual employee turnover rate in the restaurants and accommodations sector was a whopping 73%.
To put this in perspective, if a restaurant started 2018 with 100 employees, 73 of the original 100 employees will be gone by years end and (hopefully) replaced with someone new. Employee turnover is not only an operational nightmare, it’s a hefty financial burden that restaurants can’t afford to shoulder.
I began with exploratory interviews and wanted to find out how might we create work environments that employees didn’t want to leave?
Phase 1: User Interviews
I needed to find why restaurant employees were leaving their jobs at such a high rate. I started by interviewing 8 restaurant employees from a all the different positions (managers, front-of-house, and back-of-house) to make sure I had a clear picture.
From hundreds of data points, I identified the biggest pain points and grouped them into the following themes:
- Lack of recognition & appreciation from colleagues & management.
- Morale is constantly low.
- Perks help them feel appreciated.
Looking at the themes above, the underlying cause becomes apparent: the corporate culture is lacking in most establishments, and it directly affects the unhappiness of the employees.
Phase 2: User Needs & Behaviour
Restaurant employees unanimously voiced their lack of job satisfaction on a deeper, psychological level, not a material level. I began researching human needs & behavior in order to find the ideal way to cultivate job satisfaction and happiness.
Insight 1: Employees Feel Unfulfilled
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a five-tier model of human needs, depicted as hierarchies within a pyramid. It states that people are motivated to achieve certain needs over others, and one can only proceed to the next level when the previous is fulfilled.
When comparing Maslow’s needs to the themes from our user interviews, we see that the Love & Belonging needs are lacking, and the Esteem needs (recognition, respect, status) have not been addressed at all. Therefore, we can make an educated assumption that the lack of fulfillment of the Esteem needs within a restaurants culture directly leads to a drop in job satisfaction and happiness.
Insight 2: Millennials Need Purpose to Thrive
Restaurant employees are mostly compromised of millennials as the shift work allows them flexibility and typically higher pay. Though millennials have been criticized for their lack of work ethic, studies have shown that they actually have lots of hustle but need to believe in the work that they do. They are looking for meaning beyond a paycheque.
“Millennials are constantly seeking purpose in what they do for a living…. they long to be part of something bigger than themselves… They want to be fulfilled at home and happy on the job – money is somewhat secondary”
Insight 3: Employees Need to Feel Valued
Traditional employment focuses more on short-term paycheques than long-term growth. This bird-in-the-hand approach is still the default position for most restaurants today. After all, in the cutthroat service industry where profits are slim, making money today is more important than making money tomorrow.
Shift workers are more valuable over time than when viewed as a temporary body. Employees have aspirations beyond getting a paycheque. Above all, employees (particularly millennials) need a strong culture to give their work meaning. They want to work in places that values them as people and avoid companies that see them as disposable.
“Creating a strong corporate culture creates a flywheel effect that can drive a business’s success for years. It creates an intangible and inherent strategic advantage for their employees: loyalty.”
– The Brand Flip
Hypothesis: I believe that creating a strong corporate culture in restaurants will increase the shift workers fulfillment in their jobs and will increase their happiness. I will know this is true when I see shift workers looking forward to their job, staying at their job longer, and build deeper relationships with each other.
In order to empathize further, I created a persona and experience map to vividly paint a portrait of our ideal user. This way, I can accurately build a solution that solves their pain points and works with lifestyle.
Throughout this entire process, I had a few How Might We statements that helped guide the course of my research. But after crafting the persona and experience map, user stories and epics, it was absolutely clear what the main problem I was trying to solve was and what the direction I needed to take:
How might we allow shift workers to feel fulfilled at their job?
(Fulfillment is defined as: Appreciation, Opportunity, Respect, Contribution, and Engagement.)
Tribe is the Solution!
Tribe is an all-in-one application that restaurants can use to communicate and manage their employees, while simultaneously offloading a major part of the management struggle: creating a strong corporate culture. Modern tribes are connected through technology, and Tribe will be the central hub of all communication in the restaurant.
Since all the managers we spoke with wanted fewer things to manage, we will replace or integrate many of their existing tools. Shift workers and managers will be able to use this app to manage schedules, chat with each other, and most importantly, recognize one another for a job well done.
Each recognition given or received will earn employees a predetermined amount of Kudos Points, which will accumulate over time and then be redeemed for a perk of their choice: free lunches, gift cards, vacations, health rewards (such as massages), mentorship opportunities, paid-for staff parties, or anything else that the restaurant determines. Once we scale, we are also able to use data mining to see which perks are most conducive to creating a strong culture.
- Shift workers want to be happy in their work environment.
- Adding a positive feedback loop to the internal conversation will help create more meaning to their work.
- My initial users will be shift workers at a restaurant that hire 100 people total.
- The #1 value a user wants to get from my product or service is recognition, feedback, and ease-of-use.
- We also assume that workplaces have the budget for additional perks. In the future, this can be pooled from other areas such as hiring where we increase efficiency.
Primary Product Strategy
- Tribe encourages restaurant employees to send each other thank you notes in exchange for Kudos Points.
- Kudos Points will accumulate and can be redeemed for a reward of their choice. The more points they have, the larger the reward they can redeem.
- Managers and employees alike wanted one app that does recognition management, scheduling, on-boarding, and communication. So Tribe will grow to include all those services to compete with all other apps. However, the core will be redefining the corporate culture, so the perk flow will be prioritized.
- We will have to canvass restaurants and convince them to switch to Tribe. Once implemented, the employees will have to download it to see their schedule, and they will have access to all the other features too.
- Each establishment will be charged a per-user fee and/or subscription.
- The cost of perks for establishments will be approximately $100 for each full-time high-performing staff.
- Tribe will cultivate a collection of perks that will generate commission and affiliate revenue for us (such as gift cards), but we will also allow establishments to pick their own prizes to customize the system to their brand, staff, and city.
- The primary competition includes other restaurant scheduling apps as well as Achievers, a reward platform that targets enterprises but not shift workers. Even though Achievers is not in Tribe’s market, it can be an easy pivot for them.
- The biggest risk is restaurant managers not caring about culture or worried about adding responsibilities to their role. We will solve this by showing them the benefits of having a strong corporate culture and how our solution reduces their responsibilities in the long-term so they can focus on more important things.
- Tribe will beat any perceived competition because we are hyper-targeted and focused on reinventing culture through feedback and perks, including scheduling and on-boarding. Tribe also has a first-mover advantage in this space.
Prototyping & User Testing
Now that we have the solution laid out and we know how it will work, it’s time to prototype! You’ve waited long enough, so I’ll spare you my pages upon pages of hand-drawn work and go right to the wireframes.
Along with all the changes noted below, I cut down on shadows on the text, reduced the vibrancy of the header, added shows on the buttons, fixed the disabled button state, added a checkbox to allow sending to management, changed the copy, and fixed the tab bar on the bottom to abide by Apple’s HID standards.