Remote, On-site, Hybrid, Oh My! The future work experience is under fire, and leaders are stuck in the middle trying to figure out how to retain their staff. And whether or not you buy into the concept of the Great Resignation, there’s no arguing that turnover is real and fixing what’s broken is urgent. In fact, the recent Microsoft Work Trend Index estimates that 41% of employees are considering leaving their jobs this year.

Not only does turnover impact productivity and morale, it creates more work for leaders in today’s highly competitive job market, where job seekers are in the…


The trends are clear: Brands are taking more and more creative and advertising capabilities in-house, and what used to be centralized teams are now dispersed — and likely to remain that way. But as in-house creative teams undergo radical change, two things are certain: 1) change will continue, and 2) we need more incredible operations leaders to make sense of it. While there are many operations roles out there, let’s hone in on the fabulous role of the Creative Operations leader on an in-house design team.

I’ve been in creative staffing for over 20 years, but it wasn’t until I…


I’ve facilitated over 100 roundtable discussions with senior design leaders from high-profile brands–many of which occurred during the pandemic that forced their teams to work remotely. As you can imagine, our topics have been variations on the “virtual world of work” theme. So it’s no surprise that as the world begins to open back up, leaders everywhere are trying to figure out what “Return to Work” will look like.

There are hundreds of articles on the topic, from very tactical ones that provide checklists for physical space considerations to endless survey results that generally end with “Hey, people want to…


Consider this scenario: Rebecca is Head of Design at a global organization. Over the past year, her company has gone through a radical business transformation, forced to seek creative ways to reach customers and launch services that deliver new revenue streams. It’s hard enough to keep up with changing business priorities, but she has another problem: She leads a team of 48 people who have to keep up, too.

Every day the team is being asked to do things they’ve never done before. Yet they’re all at different places in their careers and dealing with widely varying personal situations. And…


Taupe background with single line drawing in black of two people pushing a large ball forward together.
Taupe background with single line drawing in black of two people pushing a large ball forward together.

The culture of a design team is its heartbeat. In the best groups, it’s reliable, palpable, and energizing. In troubled ones, it’s inconsistent, weak, and debilitating. This pandemic has challenged even the heartiest of workplace cultures, with the demands of remote collaboration taking their toll. Now that all the effort spent recreating organic social connections through incessant happy hours has slowed, many leaders find themselves wondering what to do next to keep teams connected.

But there’s hope! The fearless leaders in our InsideOut Design Leader Community gathered to explore ways to breathe new life into their work environments and press…


Orange background, single line drawing in white of lightbulb filled with gears
Orange background, single line drawing in white of lightbulb filled with gears

Though the concept of design thinking has been around for decades, not every organization has embraced the value of design in solving complex business problems. Meanwhile, every design leader knows that when companies embrace design concepts, they develop strategies that outproduce those of their peers.

Not convinced? Trusted sources like McKinsey and InVision have published highly regarded white papers on the topic; yet, leaders today still face the challenge of convincing partners throughout their organizations that design plays a critical role in the success of the business itself.

So it’s no surprise that our InsideOut Design Leader Community chose to…


line drawing in orange on cream background with worker at desk, head in hand, in front of computer
line drawing in orange on cream background with worker at desk, head in hand, in front of computer

Near the end of this summer, while everyone was interested in finding the “New Normal,” our Chicago InsideOut Design Leader Community had the brilliant idea of exploring the dark side of remote work. Much has happened since then–and the New Normal remains a mystery–but their insights are too good not to share.

At this point, design teams are getting used to a virtual world, and most are interested in a future that includes a remote component and flexible work arrangements. No one seems to agree on exactly what that looks like, but as long as asynchronous schedules are around, the…


black background with orange line drawing of 4 light bulbs hanging from strings with the 4th one lit up to represent idea
black background with orange line drawing of 4 light bulbs hanging from strings with the 4th one lit up to represent idea

It’s true. Collaborating online is just NOT the same. During the pandemic, design leaders have been working hard to cobble together ways to recreate the magic, many hoping that collaboration will be back in person soon. Given our current state, that future seems bright but certainly not immediate. In the meantime, 2021 planning sessions are underway, design sprints continue, and unifying teams to deliver great work is paramount to success.

Not to worry, our InsideOut Design Leader Community is on the case! Over the past few months we’ve hosted three roundtables to share creative ways to make remote workshops work…


Given the challenges of this extraordinary year, you can be certain that your creative team wants to be recognized for their extraordinary efforts. While they may not be expecting huge raises and promotions in the midst of a continuing pandemic, they most certainly are watching to see if their hard work was valued.

Our InsideOut Design Leader Community gathered over the past few weeks to share how they are getting creative to make sure their teams feel recognized, despite the challenges of screen fatigue, incredible economic uncertainty, and a heck of a lot to get done. Since budgets and team…


Long before there was a pandemic, lots of articles were published with statistics directly linking a positive onboarding experience to employee success, engagement and retention. Then along came that pandemic, with a fully remote workforce that broke most new hire processes immediately.

Companies with robust programs have gone back to the drawing board to rework their best practices, and firms without strong systems have had to start from behind. That’s why our InsideOut Design Leader Community got together to explore and share ways for creative leaders to set new hires up for success, remotely.

Rethink the Ramp-up Plan

Whatever your typical ramp-up time was…

Susie Hall

I connect design, experience & ops leaders through live roundtables that build networks & solve real-world problems faster. Join us: aquent.com/insideout

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