User experience (UX) is everywhere around us whether you notice it or not.
Consider the apps you love and use every day — every icon, swipe, color and action promotes a positive reaction and keeps you coming back. Think of your favorite store, the way your journey in that store is designed to highlight certain products, the distinct scent of the place that captures you when you walk in, the music you hear, these are all elements in the user experience, which essentially has one purpose – connecting you to the brand. Fact is that UX is a force in product development and product marketing and one to be reckoned with.
UX is part of a discipline known as human centered design, where empathy is king. Knowing what customers care about and how they behave, means that brands can understand how to best serve them.
UX is no longer limited to CX. Organizations are also taking UX to the workplace, through the physical workspace or technology and tools they provide. A good start, but here too, UX design can encompass the entire user journey design. If UX is about enchanting your customers to create that connection with the brand, we have a huge opportunity as HR to optimize the EX journeys for our employees if we apply UX principles, to enchant employees as our internal customers.
By using proven principles of UX we are able to deeply understand employees as people with distinct needs and create experiences that woo them at every step in that journey.
Here is how you can do it.
Start with the first principle of UX: Research
Getting intel about today’s landscape to understand what the employee experience currently looks like. Interview your business leaders; conduct focus groups with employees; and review organization health and employee engagement scores and other data.
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Create employee personas
Now that you have a better understanding of today, envision different types of employees within the company as part of the process of creating employee “personas.” Personas represent the different user types that might use your service, product, site, or brand in a similar way. Creating personas will help you to understand your users’ needs, experiences, behaviors and goals. To the business, personas refer to customers, whereas in organizational terms, personas are your internal customers, your employees. Creating employees’ personas will help you identify what’s most important to your employees and how best to engage them and engage with them.
Develop an employee journey map
Just as business does with customers when mapping out the buying process of each of their customer personas for example, you can highlight how your employee personas would work in different scenarios, at various touchpoints in the overall EX journey and map this out. This map will guide you through what matters most to employees. It will also help you see the gap between what is happening today and your aspirations, showing you the gaps that are most important to employees to address. Once priorities are identified, get started with prototyping.
Tim Brown of IDEO often refers to prototyping as “building to think.” Prototyping is a powerful tool used today by the most innovative HR leaders. By making the intangible tangible, you liven up the solution, which then can be tested with your employees. Then gather feedback through interviews and observation and use it to refine your ideas before investments are made in HR program pilots. Personally, I am a big fan of prototyping. it brings the conceptual ideas to life and allows one to experience impact before big investments are made.
Hopefully the above puts UX in context of EX, and provides you a high level approach how to apply core UX principles to the design of compelling experiences that will delight your employees.