woman in a laboratory, wearing gloves and looking into a computer screen

Case study: Shaping employee experience at Bayer

July 19, 2023

In this case study Francis Chay, Global Employee Experience Lead at Bayer, shares how he and his team are optimizing employee experience and making it easy to keep an overview on the manifold platforms and processes used throughout the company.

The challenge

Everything started with research data showing that there was a significant need for optimizing the employee experience of workflows/processes and systems used. 

With a large pool of qualitative and quantitative data, the Global Employee Experience Team could start their project by idendifying the experince gaps and mapping the user story end to end (users in this case include both managers and employees)

The result of this process was a clear understanding of the main user pain points:

1 – Navigating platforms

Along the employee journey, people need to navigate via many different platforms inorder to complete different tasks, follow ever-changing processes and find tools for specific tasks from the fields of data analysis, performance managment, learning platforms, hiring and many more. This becomes especially relevant and time-sensitive at the beginning of each year, when there are many things happening at once. And one minute the employee spend on navigating throught the process is a minute too long 

This leads to the next point.

2 – Too many tasks at once

Many people turned out to be overwhelmed by annual tasks especially at the beginning of the year. Especially managers struggled to keep the overview of planning and setting goals, performance development dialogues, check-ins and adjusting bonuses – everything happens around the same time, during the first quarter of the year.

3 – Naming conventions

Many users were confused by terms and naming conventions. For example: year-end conversation, Q4 Check-in, year-end review, … many terms that sounded similar but have different meanings.

The goal

The goal was to provide an integrated experience to all different groups of people – talent, employees and leadership – and manage the transformation from process view towards user journeys.

Project phases

The entire project goes through different phases:

Phase 0 is about using data to understand the experience and pain points of users, get an overview of their tasks and understand how they prioritize the key tasks they want to complete. 

Phase 1 is about bringing low-hanging fruit to life. For example, provide users with guidance on what their main responsibilities are along the year, especially in the first quarter. For example, what check-ins are to be expected in and prepared for February?

Phase 2 aims at restructuring the entire backend content and classifying all the different types of content in some way. For example, if a leader wants to provide an incentive to one of the team members – where would they find information about how to proceed?

Phase 3 is all about personalization. Where you are, who you are, what kind of content you need – all this is valuable information that can be used to optimize the experience.

We started on a product level: identifying issues, designing and launching MVP solutions to clearly defined pain points. The next step is going from a product to a business perspective, for example: how might we ensure governance?
Francis Chay, Global Employee Experience Lead

Tools and methods

Many different tools and methods have been employed to come up with EX-friendly solutions – here is a short glimpse into a few of them:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research (for example, ethnographic interviews, discovery workshops)
  • User journey mapping (with Smaply)
  • Co-creative workshops (also in a hybrid form)
  • Designing mockups 
  • User testing (for example, the new interfaces’ navigation)

Solution and initiatives

By summer 2023, the company is about to launch phase 2.

Until then, the main solutions were:

Solution to phase 1 (the low-hanging fruit): 

My HR calendar

The yearly calendar provides an overview of the main happenings they had to expect or plan for. There are dedicated calendars for people leaders and employees that also give guidance around the when, the why and how in getting their different HR prioities complete.

Phase 2 (restructuring platforms according to user journeys): 

A one-start-shop for all important resources

The solution to the problem was found in a one-start-shop that included links to resources and people: HR Calendar, job board, learning platforms, organization chart – all these resources were now to be found in one easily accessible hub, making it easy for people to quickly search and find what they need.


In the fist two phases of their project, the Global EX team at Bayer managed to enormously simplify the process of navigating tools and resources along the year. An upcoming phase is intended to personalize the experience of people based on a few key characteristics, e.g. their role or where they’re based.