A small team is running a design marathon at Solvay’s Digital Lab in Paris site to create new ways for employees to interact with the Group and manage their careers. Bruce Fecheyr-Lippens, Head of Digital Human Resources & People Analytics, explains. 
HR-Startup-Style-2Take a dozen skilled people, put them in an office space that has been refurbished to spur creativity and give them 12 weeks to imagine a new employee-centric application for Human Resources.
In the “Studio 25” digital lab created by Solvay in Paris a multidisciplinary team are inventing tools to “create employee experience instead of processes,” says Bruce. This includes the development of a new, device-agnostic application intended  to replace Solvay’s existing (and rather clunky, let’s admit it)  intranet system for the annual evaluation of employee performance. 

Some Solvay managers and employees actually dread the yearly evaluation season. They have no doubt about their performance, but the whole thing is just so… complex. The Studio 25’s mission is to come up with a simpler, smoother and more engaging solution. Through their future digital dashboard, employees will be able to interact with colleagues and get feedback in real time. The app would also propose trainings best suited to the employee’s individual objectives, instead of him/her having to skim through long standard lists. Also, it would flash specific job openings that match one’s career aspirations. The underlying intention is a culture change to empower employees to own and drive their career and development.

As they are developed, the solutions invented at Studio 25 are tested every week by a group of 50 diverse employees who act as as sounding board and give their feedback. “We’re baking this cake together instead of buying it off the shelf,” says Bruce. “So we hope it will taste better and be better suited to the needs of Solvay colleagues.” Quick feedback and the start-up style setup are allowing the team to work about five-times faster than with traditional methods, for one fifth of the cost. 

If the development is successful, phased implementation could start in the first quarter of 2018, with a first set of solutions that are meant to be improved over time, on the basis of employee feedback.