It's been a couple of weeks since we released our Job Board out into the wild. We learned some valuable lessons on hiring product designers from it. And we continue to learn more as we go. We mentioned during our launch that we did a survey asking designers what they did not want in a job. Today, we want to share our final findings.
We've worked with many designers over the past 15 years, learning what drove them. But we dug deeper whilst putting together our Job Board. We did an initial survey on what they were exactly looking for in a job and found the following made them happy:
- Passionate co-workers.
- The type of projects they worked on.
- A strong company culture.
- A flexible work schedule.
- A company with vision and goals.
We followed up with another survey of 80 designers. And they gave us what turned them off in a job. Here's what we they said.
1. Designers Don't Want to Be Micromanaged
41% of designers said they don't like meddling mangers. We've found over the years that designers like some autonomy in decision making, the ability to solve problems on their own. They like to have breathing room to make mistakes, to fail fast, so they can quickly achieve wins. It gives them a sense of ownership about their work. Too much bureaucracy can kill passion for a project. But this doesn't mean that designers should be left adrift, rudderless in a sea of work.
Designers need feedback in order to become successful. What's needed isn't a tyrant telling them what they did wrong, but a coach who asks questions and challenges assumptions. A micromanager is the opposite, someone who gets their hands on everything because they don't have a clear sense of objective. A good coach can rally a designer far better than a dictator by providing clarity on expectations.
2. Designers Want to Avoid Places with Dispassionate Workers
Another 41% of designers wanted to avoid jobs where their co-workers were apathetic to their work. It probably goes without saying, but might be worth repeating, designers like to be engaged with their work and those they work with. Dispassionate co-workers can quickly poison morale, their attitude spreading like a zombie virus.
No one wants to work anywhere where there's no clear vision, no shared goal. Everyone wants something to muster behind. Without that, companies can falter and bled away any passion in their workers, much like Yahoo during Brad Garlinghouse's tenure when he wrote his Peanut Butter memo. A focused, cohesive vision can be preventative medicine for apathy.
3. Designers Don't Like Cold, Sterile Workplaces
40% of designers disliked bland, corporate environments. Collaboration and creativity can evaporate in the shackles that come with cubical dwelling. Designers, and other workers, would much prefer environments where they contribute to a community, which allows them to act naturally. And that's a boon for creativity.
Our own offices are open with large windows that allow natural light to flow through. It encourages collaboration because we aren't separated by artificial barriers. Chance conversations can lead to solutions to complicated design problems. But those can't happen in environments lacking any personality.
4. Designers Don't Care for Office Politics
39% of designers despised politicking at the office. We avoid this by having a frictionless environment with a flat-structure where everyone can contribute and aren't bound by bureaucracy or overrun by middle management. And that also boils down to ...
Having a Strong Culture
Our culture is our glue. It's what binds us and allows us to be willing to have each others backs. Each of us are T-shaped with strong core skills but able to work across the business to help solve difficult problems and achieve wins for one another. These four pitfalls can be avoided by creating and sustaining a strong culture. One that allows for autonomy, for passion to be expressed, for collaboration to happen and for everyone to work as a solid team. Create that and awesome things will emerge.