According to research by Deloitte University Press, the more a company focuses on User Experience, the faster it grows. Since HR is an essential part of the business you have to make sure you pay attention to User Experience.
People are overwhelmed with information and technology on a day to day basis. We use various softwares packages, handy applications and different mobile devices to get our work done. Most of us accept the ways things are done, meaning that we don’t always look for ways to improve how we perform a certain task.
We rarely realize how much time we spend on repetitive tasks, struggling with a bad interface or slow computer.
As a UX company, we have worked and continue to work with several HR teams and corporations to help them optimize their workflow, saving them an immense amount of precious work time and boosting employees’ engagement.
From what I can see, HR is in desperate need of UX. That’s because HR processes require different instruments, which are driven by complex software, interactions, lots of repetitive tasks and, above all, humans. It’s important to remember that UX is about understanding people, users, employees and then designing something with them in mind.
In this article, we are going to cover the following:
Why is UX essential in HR? (it’s key, trust me!)
The fields in HR that crave a helping of UX
One of our case studies: How we designed a better ATS for ERICSSON which saved them a lot of time and made their recruiters very happy workers
Why is UX essential in HR?
Great UX saves everyone a lot of time
You might ask yourself: How can we measure User Experience? Well, one visual metric is time. That’s because, if the product has a great UX, it will save everyone a decent amount of time. Here's how:
great UX simplifies the workflow
it creates easy to learn products
optimized for devices (taps instead of clicks!)
easy to navigate
UX makes your product easy to use
Have you ever set up an iPhone before? Anyone can do it because it's easy to do so and the device guides you through the process, step-by-step. You don't need any training, you don’t have to read any long, boring articles and you don’t even have to ask a colleague to help you out.
The easier it is to use a product, the less you spend on things like onboarding, training or supporting the users.
Great UX also means you can quickly navigate your way through the product, finding the information that you need and making everything easily accessible.
UX simplifies the workflow and helps employees to be more productive
UX is about finding the simplest way to solve a problem. How could we simplify the workflow? Do we need these additional steps? UX forces you to focus and to prioritize things based on your business goals.
Everything nowadays is about being productive. UX helps you to build products that save you time, that are easy to use, and which your employees can engage with. At the end of the day, this means they can make better use their time, focusing on what's important and cutting out those repetitive and unimportant tasks, which have little value to your business.
Engage with users and make them happy
If something is easy to use, has a great design, allows you to find the information you want and helps to be more productive in your job, then it will allow you to be more engaged with the product and ultimately, a much happier worker. If you love to use something, you’ll want to use it again and again, spending more time on it.
Wouldn't it be great if your product had that kind of allure?
If you love to use something, you’ll want to use it again and again, spending more time on it.
Not just for digital products
Most of the time, when you hear about UX, it’s usually in the context of designing great software package or innovative apps. But UX is so much more than that! It's about focusing on a problem and solving it, whilst keeping the user in mind. This method could be used for creating non-digital solutions too.
UX could be used to design better documents, videos, workflows, and to uncover obstacles that make your employee's life more difficult.
But UX is so much more than that! It's about focusing on a problem and solving it, whilst keeping the user in mind. This method could be used for creating non-digital solutions too.
Fields in HR that crave for UX
Let's see a few practical examples where UX could be of great help in HR:
The job search experience and the applicant experience
It's vital to provide job seekers with a great user experience so that they can:
quickly find the information that they are looking for
quickly filter out irrelevant positions (so recruiters don't have to deal with misplaced or irrelevant candidates)
have a clear understanding of your company and of the position itself
stay in the loop, should another position come along later on
UX can help you create an enhanced experience which will result in better applications, more efficient recruiting and even happier recruiters!
The onboarding experience
The onboarding of a candidate is a bit like when you first log into an application. Everything is new; you have to learn how to do your work, where and how to find information and who to ask for help. The same applies to the onboarding process. The whole experience should be carefully designed to make the system more efficient.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Recruiters use ATS day in and day out to handle and manage potential candidates. This is a complex process that involves heaps and heaps of data. Some recruiters use spreadsheets, but more and more recruiters rely on innovative digital solutions (SAP's Success Factors, Taleo, etc.).
We helped multiple recruitment teams by designing a better ATS for them. The main problems we faced were:
Too much data - difficult to manage
The corporate software is difficultto use
The software didn't suit the recruitment team's needs
Lots of time spent on recurring, repetitive tasks that were impossible to solve with the current system
One of the core elements of UX is research. We work together with users and test every design to find the perfect solution. In this case, the only way to design a better ATS is to observe how the recruiters work and then check the solution regularly until they are satisfied with the final product.
Forms are one of the key areas where you need great UX. A good online form will:
only ask for the key information
only ask for the key information
break down complex information into more manageable morsels
always tell you how to fill it in and should help you with intuitive hints
People spend a great deal of time filling in forms. You have to make sure that it's easy and clear for your users.
I hope you now have a better sense of how UX can improve HR processes. Let's look at a practical example, a case study of how we handled UX and HR challenges for one of our clients.
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Case study: How we designed a better ATS for ERICSSON which saved them a lot of time and made recruiters happy
We had a great project with the recruitment team of ERICSSON. The goal was to design an ATS software that was tailor-made to suit their needs. We only knew that the current way how they solve the task was slow, time-consuming and difficult to use. It's tempting to just design something fresh, something new based on the input from the client. But first, we had to dig a little deeper.
"It's not the customer's job to know
what they want"
Remember that quote from Steve Jobs: "It's not the customer's job to know what they want"? People are (mostly) aware of their problems and could have solutions in mind, but they are too involved in other matters to actually solve the issue at hand. Furthermore, some excellent solutions might have been overlooked. Another inspiring quote, this time from Henry Ford, states: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
The solution is observation. We asked the recruitment team to show us how they perform certain tasks, so that we could see what the process looked like.
Lessons learned from our observations:
They needed a cloud-based solution that supported multiple roles (recruiters, managers, observers)
There were lots of unnecessary, obsolete steps and redundant data in the process which could be simplified or left out
We had to come up with a new idea for handling candidates that was more convenient for collaboration
There was an urgent need to oversee the whole process, so that key decision makers could easily create reports and manage the whole affair
"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
We worked together closely with the recruitment team. At first, we had to collect all the data and understand their workflow. After that, we came up with viable ideas and solutions. Every design then was tested and refined until it was perfectly tailored to meet the team’s needs.
The aim was to prioritize features and the interface based on usage. When you design a product, you don't design interfaces but rather stories and flows.
Here's a design story for the use of the search engine:
Another design story helped us to realize that different processes required different workspaces. There was a lot of information stored on the system, but for a certain task (for example looking for new candidates) recruiters didn't need all the data just to be able to fill in the relevant fields.
That's why we designed a feature that enables recruiters to create presets in the application for the different steps in their workflow. This way, the user has a dedicated workspace for each step in the process, and they don't have to wade through all the unnecessary information.
Test, test, test!
To get the final results, we had to test the designs on a weekly basis. It was also important to start the testing a few weeks after the initial kick-off. We had only created a few wireframes, basically just the concept of the new interface.
This way we got feedback early on about our designs and we were able to try out various ideas. There's no UX without testing! Most of the time, you will find the best solution (or a viable solution) after a few tests and some simple re-adjustments - think of it as a bit of refinement. The best you can do is to start learning about the users and how they interact with the product early on!
This way we got feedback early on about our designs and we were able to try out various ideas. There's no UX without testing!
HR employees are real people so treat them that way
Since we are talking about corporate software, it's easy to forget about the real users. In this case: the recruiters. But they are real people - at Ericsson, mostly lovely women in their twenties and thirties. When we worked together, it turned out that they were fed up with ugly, lackluster screens. Since they were looking at this application all day long, they wanted something visually pleasing, with lively colors to brighten things up.
To make it a bit more human and personalized, we designed a profile for recruiters with their own profile images and a customized welcome message that they would see when logging in to the application.
We thought "OK, let's see. If they don't want to upload pictures or, if they don't like the welcome screen we can remove it later on." But guess what? It turned out to be a huge success! They said were blown away. One worker said, "Wow, this application greets me in the morning! I love it!". It was just a little personal touch that was needed to save them from the boring, uninspiring and downright ugly world of corporate software.
User Experience is now the new battleground for HR. More and more companies are now aware that they can grow faster if they pay attention to the experience of not only their customers but also their employees.
These principles and the way in which UX works is not useful only for HR. Marketing teams, sales teams and support teams could all benefit from applying a healthy helping of User Experience. You see, UX is about designing better products, solving problems in a better way, making people more efficient and helping them achieve their goals.
We love HR
The team at Webabstract loves working on HR projects and with HR teams. We have experience in ATS systems, talent management, and people analytics. If you think we could help you supercharge your HR product or help your team become even more efficient, drop us a line!
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My life has been organized around the marriage between strategical thinking and visuality. That's what makes me a UX Architect. As just with real architects, both the function and the aesthetics are my domains. If you are curious, check out my articles on our blog, or meet me at varios lectures and presentations I deliver.
SEVEN STEP UX: The Cookbook for Creating Great Products
Our co-founder and UX expert, Csaba, wrote a hands-on, down-to-earth approach to UX design that provides a complete overview of the Seven Step UX product design process that we use every day at Webabstract. This book is a practical, step-by-step guide that will take you through all of the steps and teach you all of the methods you need to know for UX work from planning an app or website to wireframing, research, and design. It is a must-read for understanding user experience design.