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Reimagining the employee experience

How Bridgewater and Genpact are putting people first

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Bridgewater Associates is the largest and most successful hedge fund in the world. As a professional services firm, its people are its most important asset. Providing employees with a working environment that boosts their performance and supports their ongoing development is a top priority.

To meet this objective, Bridgewater, like many companies, knew it had to improve its legacy shared services processes, many of which were time-intensive and fragmented. It wanted to explore how redesigning processes with emerging digital technologies could transform the employee experience.

Partnering for success

Bridgewater's co-CEO Eileen Murray recognized that rather than pursuing this objective alone, partnering with an expert would allow the business to realize better ways of working more quickly. After extensive exploration, Bridgewater chose to work with Genpact to redesign employee experiences across its shared services functions, specifically HR, finance, and facilities. Together, Bridgewater and Genpact have embarked on a multi-year transformation project that will:

  1. Improve the quality of services delivered to employees and clients
  2. Provide better development and career opportunities for shared-services employees
  3. Empower employees and management to spend more time on their core responsibilities
  4. Enable Bridgewater to spend money more wisely

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Today, Genpact and Bridgewater are working together in a state-of-the-art service center to reimagine, design, build, and deploy employee experiences supported by emerging technologies such as conversational AI, robotic process automation, and analytics.

If you're looking to rethink the employee experience in your business, following the example set by Bridgewater is a great place to start.

Begin with service design

Service design is a key first step for any experience-led transformation. It's a structured, interdisciplinary discovery process that helps organizations imagine new ways of working. It starts by understanding employees' needs and uses a variety of disciplines, including design thinking, ideation workshops, qualitative and quantitative research, personas, journey maps, and rapid prototyping.

This was the start of Genpact's work with Bridgewater. Multiple stakeholders from different areas of the business met for service design workshops to address the needs of client-facing employees and shared-services professionals.

Using the workshops' findings, Genpact then created a service design blueprint for paving the way toward an experience-led future, identifying where to make changes and connections across people, processes, and technologies.

Avoid one-size-fits-all

Before building new experiences, validate your workshop suggestions with user research. Although leadership teams often believe they thoroughly understand their employees and clients, the right research can uncover hidden issues.

Through research, it becomes clear that because each employee experience is unique, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. Initially, Genpact identified more than 100 Bridgewater employee experiences as potential candidates for transformation through qualitative and quantitative research. Using rigorous evaluation, Bridgewater and Genpact selected 15 pivotal journeys that can set an example for positive change at scale. Next, Genpact will use digital technologies to make these journeys a reality, meeting the needs of the individual to avoid pushing all employees through the same process.

For example, in many organizations, onboarding a new employee is an experience that's often riddled with inefficient handoffs between siloed functions and manual processes. This impacts employee productivity, satisfaction, and the length of time it takes a new hire to feel settled. It can also cause frustration for the hiring manager. Often, HR, IT, finance, recruitment, security, and the hiring manager contact new employees separately, causing delays and miscommunication.

Introduce new ways of working

Freeing up employees to focus on where they can provide the most value is critical for any transformation initiative. To do just that, Bridgewater is looking at processes differently.

By building a front-door portal backed by digital technologies, the company is creating a single-entry point that will drive consistent employee experiences. But it will be more than just a portal – it will bring together people and technology to augment the experience and ultimately predict what users want and need. For example, the portal can suggest services to employees – like booking a conference room – based on historical interactions and preferences.

Supporting the portal will be service desks with smart assistants. They will provide a digital view of the end-to-end journey of an internal request and remove the need for employees to waste time trying to find out how their request is progressing. Over time, employees will receive the same level of service from a digital channel as they would from a person.

For complex requests like coordinating shared services support for a company-wide initiative, ensuring that you're involving the right people is important. Having a direct line to subject matter experts will help employees break from traditional workflows if necessary. Plus, senior relationship advisors will act as employee advocates by aligning teams and flagging issues before they become problems.

Innovate and measure

Of course, digital transformation doesn't happen overnight. It's a journey of continuous innovation that requires dynamic feedback loops to manage improvements and adjustments as the needs of the business, employees, and clients evolve. At Bridgewater, Genpact is building advanced analytics solutions to continually measure and improve performance.

In addition, many transformations fail due to a lack of measurement. At the start of the project, Genpact worked closely with Bridgewater to define success criteria and measurement. Over time, managers will be able to track employee performance and assess the effectiveness of these new experiences and journeys based on these KPIs.

Ultimately, successful experience-led transformation requires industry knowledge combined with digital expertise. It's this approach that's allowing Bridgewater and Genpact to reimagine employee experiences to support the firm's goal of delivering great portfolios and building strategic relationships with its institutional clients today and into the future.

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