Process Redesign: A Selection and Implementation Mini Case Study

Streamlining processes through improved tech tools doesn’t always have to be an intimidating process: a lesson in simple integration. 

Of course, when you’re selecting or implementing a core part of your tech stack—your Grants Management System, Constituent Relationship Management system, or your Financial Management system—a great deal of thought and care should be taken. But for processes that are not as core or are used less frequently, most organizations will have quite a few peripheral tools that can be leveraged to satisfy these needs. 

Using a straightforward process, Grantbook completed a mini-sprint to evaluate, select, and implement a streamlined job application process for candidates—all within a week and a half. We’re sharing this mini case study to illustrate the benefits of continuously evaluating and iterating on tools and processes, and to demonstrate how quickly you can make improvements when you have the right digital mindset. 

The Problem: 

Our previous form didn’t provide a great candidate experience. We were using Google Forms, which meant that candidates had to sign into a Google account to complete the form and upload their application materials. While our form was well integrated with other parts of our tech ecosystem (linked to Slack, Google Drive, and Asana), we wanted to eliminate unnecessary barriers to entering into our process, and reduce digital friction for both our hiring team and those who applied. 

The Approach: 

  1. To redesign our process, we looked to our values and design principles. We knew we needed a solution that would: make it easy, make it beautiful, and make it organized. This was key to making implementation designs and selecting the right-sized tools.
  2. To reduce complexity, we looked at tools that were already within our tech ecosystem, in order to help integrate the process with existing workflows. Grantbook highly values transparency across the team, so we wanted to ensure our tools would be organized well for members of the hiring team, and create visibility and access for the whole team. 
  3. After looking for tools to help meet these principles, we also focused on improving the in-take form flow, reducing redundant middleware use, and segmenting/consolidating workflows into fewer tools. 

The Results: 

A service blueprint that shows Grantbook's updated hiring workflow, using Typeform, Airtalbe, Slack, and Asana.
A service blueprint that illustrates Grantbook's updated hiring workflow, including Application Intake, Evaluation, and Tracking.

We decided to use Typeform for application intake, Airtable for candidate evaluation and material collection, and Asana for activity tracking. Typeform and Airtable have a native integration that is easily configured. We used Zapier to notify the hiring team when applications come in on Slack, and to create an Asana task on our hiring board for better activity tracking. 

Reflecting on Our Progress: 

This mini-sprint to pick and integrate tools into what was previously a stale and static intake process allowed our brand to breathe and remove operational barriers within our hiring process. Through the course of this round of hiring, we’ll continue to evaluate and iterate, to ensure that our process is aligned with our values, easy for candidates, and operationally effective. We’re a small and nimble organization, so this kind of process won’t work for everyone—but we hope it will serve as an example of how tool selection and implementation can be a light-weight, enjoyable process. 

Reflecting on this sprint, we realized that we didn’t centre accessibility as much as we could have. As we continue to refine our tools and hiring process, we are designing with diversity, equity and inclusion at top of mind. In the interest of transparency, we wanted to share this one stop on a long journey to create delightful digital experiences—in prioritizing operational efficiency, we recognize that we designed this solution for our own ease of use, and will continue to listen, learn, and upgrade our tools.

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James Law's headshot

James Law

Director, Design & Foresight

Director, Design & Foresight

James Law has worked for 10 years in the social finance and social sectors, designing, exploring, and implementing technologies to help organizations activate mission and achieve impact.

He began working in lean non-profits, employing databases and constituent relationship management tools (CRM) to help track and aggregate data for land conservation and environmental protection. Moving into social finance, he managed the development of an application to administer community bonds and equity.

Moving to Grantbook in 2015, James dove head first into helping foundations—of all types—align on digital values, explore technology options, and select the best path forward. From there, he continued to explore solutions architecture and integrations, connecting best-in-class tools to meet the ideal needs of grantmakers, grantees, and all stakeholders. 

More recently James is investing in Grantbook’s use of service design tools—from personas to service blueprints—to increase resilience and reduce the risk of technology planning and adoption via human-centred thinking. He also helps rally and co-ordinate Grantbook’s new ideas and opportunities as philanthropy and technology change.