Photo: Rob Suisted
A case study about turning employment legalese into a plain English DIY tool for small businesses — with an interactive introduction to the role of design thinking in writing with clarity.
We’ll look beneath the hood of the government’s Employment Agreement Builder, which recently transformed from an unwieldy online tool into something employers could use with confidence.
To revamp it, business design studio Empathy went beyond switching "emolument" to "fees". We delved into what tripped employers up when hiring staff and explored ways a new tool could nip mistakes in the bud. This process is called design thinking, a technique for finding human-centred solutions to complex problems.
We then worked with employment lawyers, labour inspectors and policy advisors to dig into legal requirements, best practice and common mistakes. The latter was a key feature of our content, as user testing and past projects showed the appetite for this among small businesses.
Throughout, the writing team pushed and pulled the content into everyday language. Pushing and pulling continued during sign-off, but the lawyers delighted in how we balanced clarity with capturing the spirit of the law.
Since launch, users consistently rank it 4 or 5 stars out of 5.