Why we never set out to be normal

Date: 19 Aug 2019

Author: Chris Radley

It’s not always easy to take your own advice. We spend a lot of time suggesting to other businesses how they can improve the way they do things. After all, we’re paid for adding value to the solutions we implement for our customers through our expertise and knowledge.

But when we developed Jemini, we had to stop, take a look at our own processes, and do a total rethink on how we scope customer projects. Jemini is a very different HR and payroll solution, so it didn’t make sense to simply use the same-old, same-old discovery and scoping process. Thinking differently has to start at ground level. It has to start with us.


What’s the ‘normal’ approach (and why it’s not the Jemini approach)

In its most basic form, a traditional project has two components:

  1. A business that has needs to meet, problems to solve.
  2. A software solution that has the features and functions to support a business and drive process improvement, etc.

To get the two to connect, you sit down and ask a set of questions about (1) and then try and align (2) to meet the business requirements as best as possible. Sounds logical, right?

But the reality is that when it comes to HR and payroll, many businesses don’t know what they don’t know.

That’s because unless they regularly collaborate with other businesses they may find themselves operating in a vacuum, unaware of how to leverage technology to improve HR outcomes. A new solution normally requires a degree of expediency in deciding what the immediate business issues are, and asking, ‘how does the software solve these problems?’ And, defining those issues usually lies in the hands of a select representative group of individuals and stakeholders in the business. It’s not an inclusive process for a solution that delivers an inclusive outcome.

Additionally, this approach to solving known HR problems is somewhat like dealing with an iceberg. 10% of the obvious problems are above water but uncovering the other 90% requires some serious deep diving. That 90% might include valuable input from the guy in the warehouse through to the CEO. As they’re not important enough or too busy to be in your project group no-one’s asked them what they think. What would they like to be able to do? How do they want to be treated?

To top it off, once you go live, someone who was not involved will invariably put up their hand to point out shortcomings and request changes. And that’s when you find out exactly how flexible, or inflexible, your solution is, and how expensive it is to make changes when they are afterthoughts.


Turning the spotlight on ourselves

So, in starting again with Jemini, we took a good look at ourselves. After all, what better place to start?

And I’ll be honest. Changing how we think internally about discovery and scoping has been a massive challenge at our end. Like any workplace, our teams are diverse in age and experience, and opinions. It’s taken almost 3 years and many, many passionate and lively discussions for our team to forge an agreed path forward. But we did it, and Jemini DnA (Discovery & Advisory), is the outcome.

To start with, we asked ourselves what we’d do if we had the ultimate clean slate. How would we approach a customer to ensure that they got the benefits from Jemini that they think they want or need, as well as all the ones that aren’t as obvious (the bottom of the iceberg)?

Our ultimate aim was to devise a way to truly understand the business culture. To discover what’s important to all levels of people based on their experience, demographic, role – all the things that make them, and your business, unique. Our methodology had to both be engaging for all involved as well as solve the business problems in the right order, and in the right way.


The DnA difference

In designing our methodology, we decided to leave (2) – the solution - out of the equation and to instead focus on (1) – the business. That’s because with Jemini we aim to fit the solution to the customer, not the other way around. We’re not confined to what the software can and can’t do. If we understand the organisation inside out, we can manipulate the software. (Yes, Jemini is designed to enable innovative, modern best practice and approach, but it also readily adapts and changes right alongside an evolving business).

So, we go deep diving (that’s the Discovery part). We ask questions of everybody in the business to find out what’s truly important, and where the real problems are below the tip of the iceberg (which are, more often than not, quite different to what businesses think their problems or opportunities are). We take traditional business requirements gathering to another level by blending in design thinking, co-creation engagements and one-to-one interviews. We then deliver the outcomes as a mix of visually stunning experience maps, insights and innovative recommendations that will enable businesses to understand their people processes, problems and challenges.

Through Advisory, our team transforms the Discovery findings into a future state vision of what the organisation could look like, and maps this against potential solutions to show how the business can get there. We also present insights, recommendations and opportunities that can evolve the organisation for the future. Best of all – we build ROI into our recommendations, so our customers can be assured that the business case for transformation is solidly grounded in pursuing bottom line outcomes.

Sure, it’s a more time-intensive process, but it’s holistic (100% of the iceberg) and comprehensive – and delivers the ultimate engagement experience. And it forms a solid basis for a ground-up change for businesses truly ready to embrace a people-first approach.  

Our DnA is an evolution, not just a finish line. It also has a soft benefit – the process proves to staff that the business actually cares about them. And that’s a nice way to start your Jemini journey.

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