How design-thinking helps HR.

In this episode of Working better, together, we chat to Melissa Hui from Context Leap on people + culture design.

Melissa Hui is educated in social sciences & anthropology, but has worked most of her career as a designer. With 15 years’ experience in the tech sector, she’s worked with major companies like Google, Microsoft and CapGemini, as well as startups, with her expertise in strategy, product-service innovation & operationalization, digital transformation and experience design.

She’s the founder of Context Leap, a people + culture consultancy in San Francisco that creates solutions for thriving workplace cultures, authentic leadership and empowered talent.

“Performance as a concept is very limited and narrow… Culture sets the cadence for everything.”

Melissa practices design-thinking in every aspect of her life; in finding solutions both for her own business and for clients. This comes with the belief that building a company is the same as building a product — and this is where design can help HR flourish.

Even though HR is the “logical home” for growing organisational culture, much better results are seen when cultural design is implemented on a consulting basis across many companies.

“For culture to be successful, it has to come from the top… there’s a huge responsibility on middle management, too.”

Companies are oftentimes prescriptive about their company culture, choosing the adjectives and values they think are “cool”, without really working on embodying these within the company. It’s very aspirational, but management need to focus more on continual feedback to understand what’s really going on. This will help them establish a more authentic culture.

“Performance follows when you have great culture.”

Enjoy! Hit play ▶️ above to watch the interview video.
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Timestamp notes:

0.16 — About Melissa and Context Leap.

1.57 — Why there is such a move from Design and Engineering to People Development?

3.45 — Who is responsible for culture in the company?

7.43 — What’s more important, culture or performance?

8.46 — Where companies go wrong with retaining culture.

10.36 — An average day for Melissa as a remote worker.

12.16 — Melissa on Ultra Working & design sprints.

13.00 — What is Melissa reading? Brené Brown, Adam Grant, Change Agent podcast by New York Times.

13.45 — Tools & Software she uses? Trello, pen and paper,

Want to reach out to Melissa? Find her on LinkedIN, her website or Twitter.

If you have any feedback, comments, ideas or suggestions, please get in contact with us on twitter @giveahi5 or email us on
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