Why HR Should Care About User Experience

You know that feeling – when you’re pulling your hair out over what should be a simple task on your computer or mobile device? It’s rare to go through the day without some kind of technological interaction, and when the tech doesn’t work or it’s not easy to navigate, we eventually wash our hands of it. And for a company to invest in something – only to have it be a failure in the eyes of the user – is a colossal waste of resources. So naturally, there’s been a huge focus on user experience (UX), i.e. how the user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service.

Designers (working with programmers and developers) are mainly responsible for the UX design process – that’s part of where my team comes in when we help our clients customize employee benefits portals and enrollment solutions. Human resources (HR) leaders need to know how the user experience affects its employees’ satisfaction – and ultimately the success of the HR team’s efforts. UX plays a critical part from administration to communication of the company’s benefits program.

I’d say “keep it simple” is the first rule of thumb with any project. If your employee visits a clunky non-mobile website on their phone there are already a few strikes against the whole experience. On top of that ­– let’s say things aren’t organized the same way as the desktop site or the login process is different or difficult – chances are they won’t be using it again. What makes a successful benefits portal is well-organized information that’s easy to find, simple to access, and translates seamlessly from desktop to mobile format. And a smooth UX with your portal means more satisfaction and higher user adoption – a key goal for your benefits program.

Here are some portal basics to consider: 

  • Include simple navigation and avoid clutter – make it easy for employees to make their benefit selections
  • Provide info on-the-go – use a responsive design that works on mobile devices
  • Address the multiple generations accessing the portal
  • Personalize the experience
  • Allow employees’ voices to be heard – use feedback through surveys or other tools

And don’t forget these general UX tips: 

  • Know your workforce and audience – let them speak for themselves through surveys, DO NOT project what you think they need or want unless you can validate it
  • Find out and consider how they communicate and what they value
  • Assess their unique needs
  • Tailor an enrollment and benefits experience that addresses these points head on!
  • Acknowledge the importance of ensuring a high rate of engagement among employees

Give employees the right tools to make better benefits decisions and let them shop. It’s up to you to make sure it’s a positive experience. 

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