Working in Design - A Research Study

Working in Design - A Research Study


Here at Robin AI, the design team is afforded the autonomy to define its own processes.

A large part of that is conducting and using research to inform everything that we do. At Robin AI, we look at recruitment and scaling as design problems.

Our goal is to explore what values are important to designers within their work environment.

Is enjoying your job important to you?

💡 97% of those asked felt that enjoying their job was important to them.

Whether or not your employees find their work personally fulfilling has a major impact on your organisation. Simply put, when employees enjoy their jobs, it leads to good outcomes all around.

By enjoying their job, they feel invested in what they do each day and can channel that passion into high-quality work. This allows for their enthusiasm to spread to coworkers and affects the mood of the culture overall.On the flip side, if your people don't find much meaning or purpose in their jobs, it can be damaging. This contributes to productivity and morale sink, and talented people are quick to leave for something better.

Rank the following based on their importance to you when considering a new role

We conducted a card sort exercise with members of the designer community to better understand their perspectives and the core principles they find most important in their work.The card-sorting approach helped us understand values in an unbiased, data-driven way. Participants organised a series of values/principles statements into categories that made sense to them.

Through analysing the results, we were able to objectively see which values the community rates highest, how those values cluster together, and how perspectives differ.Some of the findings confirm what we already know anecdotally, but the card sort provides concrete data and evidence around those assumptions. The outcome gives us a robust framework to have more nuanced conversations about what motivates and matters most to designers.

Overall, the card sort allowed us to give the design community a voice and then listen to understand their diverse perspectives through an open, unfiltered method. The results will help shape how we build tools and learning experiences, advocate for designers, and support individuals in developing their craft.

Where would you place yourself on your professional design journey?

We wanted the results from this to be reflective of the design community as a whole, as opposed to just those with a particular level of experience. Here is the breakdown of contributors and their levels.

33% - I have considerable professional experience

25% - I manage the design journeys of others

22% - I have experience in a professional capacity

7% - I'm just starting out on my journey

7% - I don't have any interest in design

4% - I'm looking to break into the design profession

What do you feel would you need in order to break into a design role?

For the individual who mentioned that they were looking to break into the design industry, we prompted them to offer some suggestions on what they would need in order to break into a design role. They would appreciate:

“Some hands-on practical skills to learn what it is for each part of the creative field and the roles. Like a training/mentorship.”

Which of the following do you see as 'being successful'?

Whether it's career progression, work-life balance, making an impact, or constant learning, your people have their own views on what a win looks like.

When you appreciate those unique measures of achievement, you'll know just how to set better goals together, give the right kind of props and feedback, and help everyone feel like they're contributing in the way that counts most to them.

The percentage value denotes the number of people who selected the statement when provided with a multiple-choice list e.g. 77% of those asked selected ‘Having a healthy work/life balance’ as one of their interpretations of being successful.

  1. Having a healthy work/life balance (77%)
  2. Feeling valued (73%)
  3. Seeing my work making a difference (68%)
  4. A sense of achievement (68%)
  5. Learning and growing (64%)
  6. Being a role model to others (59%)
  7. Earning more money than I did previously (45%)
  8. Sticking to your core values (41%)
  9. Feeling part of a community/team (36%)
  10. Completing all the tasks I’m given (32%)
  11. Hitting company results and metrics (27%)
  12. Finding things easier than you did before 27%)

How supported do you feel at work?

When employees feel supported at work, they report greater well-being, higher motivation and productivity, as well as an increased ability to adapt to changes.

💡 Of those asked, 44% felt supported at work.

For those who didn’t feel supported or were neutral, we prompted them to say what would make them feel more supported. Here is a sample of the responses:

“Supportive peers, understanding the business goal of the organisation”
“Team spirit, Greater Communication, Check-ins, Openness”
"Seeing a pro-active approach to issues raised and seeing recommendations acted upon to make better work processes"
"Making sure everyone is treated equally no matter of background/status. And if it’s a “hard mental day” to make sure you have the support to get through instead of dread."
"Being appreciated and valued by my line manager. When I have an issue it would be nicer if my line manager took time to help me develop or learn how to deal with it rather than shrugging it off"
"Seeing results after discussing important topics. Not having to chase people for answers whilst on parental leave. Not worrying whether my working circumstances (remote) will be expected to change upon my return."
"Recognition for my contributions. Much fairer raises across the whole team instead of singled out employees."
"Mutual trust, transparency, consistency"

We did the same for those who did feel supported to highlight the things that are done well.

"Trust and autonomy"
"Maternity leave, accounting around childcare, career development"
"Being given opportunities to carry out the work I’ve said I’d like to do/try"
"I feel empowered to push the boundaries of what we do as a team"

How comfortable do you feel being able to give feedback?

Feedback fosters performance, relationships, motivation and growth.

A culture where frequent, considerate feedback is the norm tends to be a highly productive one. Employees appreciate the guidance and are themselves more likely to provide helpful feedback to customers, stakeholders and each other. This culture of continuous learning and progress benefits the organisation.

💡 An impressive 87% of those asked felt comfortable giving feedback.

Those who didn’t feel comfortable giving feedback, they were prompted to provide feedback on how that could be made easier. One of the standout suggestions was:

"Making it a regular part of work routine, also being able to feed back upwards without any stigma"

Importantly, it was useful to share some of the great advice that was provided to those who struggled to leave feedback. There were some incredible answers but here are a few of our favourites:

"Feedback when constructive and delivered with kindness is essential to supporting and coaching others to grow. Once you understand that giving feedback is helping the recipient, then it becomes easier to have challenging conversations."
"Try to give a balanced perspective and focus on getting the best result from the situation. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or learn"
"Imagine you are talking to yourself. Or even that you are talking to someone you want to help/teach. Just be yourself and give decent feedback."

How comfortable do you feel receiving feedback?

Feedback provides us with an opportunity to learn and improve. By openly listening to both positive and constructive feedback, we can gain valuable insights into how others perceive us and our work. This allows us to build on our strengths and address our weaknesses. However, receiving feedback can be uncomfortable as it can reveal truths that challenge our self-perceptions.

Developing comfort with feedback takes practice and an open mindset. With time and experience, we can improve our ability to accept feedback without discomfort or defensiveness. This is key to continuous learning and growth.

💡 86% of those asked felt comfortable receiving feedback.

For those who didn’t feel comfortable, this quote was reflective of the sentiment around how to feel more comfortable:

"Knowing that the person giving the feedback has good, honest intentions to help me grow."

We asked those who felt comfortable with receiving feedback for some advice on handling feedback. Here are some of the best quotes:

"Keep an open mind, the feedback isn't necessarily personal, keep in mind that people have good intentions with their feedback and see the positive side to learning and growing as a professional."
"Everyone needs constructive feedback in order to grow and improve, and it allows us to see how our behaviour and actions impact others. Being able to accept feedback helps with you personal development, building relationships, increases your knowledge and can help how things are done in the workplace."
"Look to seek feedback early and often, it helps reduce the attachment to work or ideas and allows the space for growth"

Is there a company that you aspire to work for one day?

As part of trying to position Robin AI as a company that people aspire to work for, we wanted to get an understanding of companies that designers would like to work for today.

💡 57% of those asked had a company in mind that they aspired to work for.

For those who did have a company in mind, we wanted to encourage the participants to reflect and think about the reasons why they wanted to work there. Here is a sample of our favourite reasons why:

"Bumble. Their company ethos and values are second to none!"
"Looking for companies who have a big social impact and have a clear and public focus on diversity"
"I often find medical technology companies very inspiring. To design/develop online products that help with health. Something trustworthy enough patients / by into. Taken the pressure of existing services and actually have a positive impact on people’s lives and wellbeing"
"A company that embraces new ideas, promotes test and learn, not be frightened to fail/change. A company that truly leads and develops products based on research and data. An area that really interests me recently is that if ‘service design’"
"Lego. Absolutely love the products but I also admire their ethos! As a parent now I can see first hand how important it is to learn through play, and I think a lot of adults could gain a lot from it too."
"I want to work for a company that has a high UX maturity and they want to get even better at it. User data determines what types of projects should be funded, and UX research helps determine the company's direction and priorities."
"Monzo. They have disrupted the fintech with their youthful approach to finance/banking. Their tone of voice is authentic and transparent and I believe this is reflected in everything they do. They have strong values that align to my own so I think it would be a good fit."

For a final question, we were keen to see where designers go to find their next opportunity, with the results skewing largely towards LinkedIn.

  1. LinkedIn (57%)
  2. The website of a company I want to work for (26%)
  3. Otta (9%)
  4. Indeed (4%)
  5. Reed, Glassdoor, Other (0%)

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