How important is User experience (UX) in your HR Tech decision

How important is User experience (UX) in your HR Tech decision?
Its one thing to make a decision to move your HR systems of record from simple spreadsheets to a
digital workflow, but selecting the right digital technology partner to do this with you is a completely
different ball game. Many times; when existing spreadsheet based systems are to be moved, price
becomes a key consideration as typically companies believe that the spreadsheet based systems were
not costing them anything. While one can identify the hidden costs and lost efficiency in the existing
systems to justify the cost of a digitized, cloud based HR system, price is not the only consideration in
the decision making.
Features available or not available in a particular HR technology solution are often the next aspect that
many organizations look at while making a decision. Typically HR buyers are likely to sit through product
demos focusing on available features and discussing how those features would be useful in their
environment. Many a times HR buyers may also create a list of features based on their existing
processes that they would compare across vendors.
Typically HR buyers would consider vendors who meet the above 2 parameters as a good set of partners
in their HR digitization journey. However we believe at this stage the battle is not even half won. Unlike
most other organizational technology decisions where the selected technology tool may impact only a
part of the organization or certain employees within a function, HR technology impacts each and every
employee in the organization. This means that once the technology is bought and deployed, HR has to
ensure that each and every employee uses the technology tools made available for the implementation
to be successful. And that has long been the Achilles hills for many HR technology implementations.
While digital technologies have been around for a while, usage of digital technologies for business and
its adoption by intended users has been a topic of discussion ever since. As per Mckinsey report more
than 75% digital transformation efforts have failed to deliver the intended ROI and many a times the
lack of intuitive user interface in the software has been blamed for that. While we believe that the entire
blame can’t be put on the software alone as there are other aspects of business processes, skills, culture
and employee behavior that impact adoption. For this article however we would focus on the user
interface and how it can impact the user adoption.
Intuitive Design
A simple user design means that the software interface does not look very different from how
employees are used to conducting the tasks in non-software environments. It could also mean that
while the exact way in which the task being completed has changed, the user interface is easy to
understand with a shorter learning curve required to understand various aspects of the same. This
ensures that users don’t break their head on finding what is where and this simplicity of the interface
ensures higher adoption.
One of the typical changes in the way things are done post implementation of a HR technology solution
is the solution offers a lot of self-service options to both employees and managers. A well designed user
interface considers this as a fundamental change. A better UX is thus created by being empathetic
towards the end users and ensuring the information is presented to them in a simple, easy to
understand manner, thus further facilitating user adoption.
The Mobile Experience
Today India is world’s second largest smart phone market place in the world with an estimated 275
million subscribers. With a gradual reduction in data tariffs and growing availability of affordable smart
phones the mobile broadband connection base is forecast to reach more than 670 million by 2020. With
this it become imperative for HR technology solution to have similar user experience over mobile as the
user would have it via computer or laptop. Being able to provide a consumer grade user experience
while on the move enables productivity, while also improving solution adoption.
A good user experience shapes a positive and enjoyable experience around the technologically enabled
processes. It is done by clearly understanding needs of different users - typically employees, managers
and system administrators. Depending on the specific role, the user experience should be positive and
should enable the user complete the intended tasks with utmost ease and comfort. A great user
experience is tuned to multiple use cases and scenarios in which the different users are likely to use the
technology thus creating a positive experience at every transaction and via every device.
In your HR technology decision apart from Price, Functionalities or features, user experience has to be
given equal if not more consideration. In our experience and opinion if you compromise on user
experience in order to meet any of the other 2 criteria, you are likely to experience higher costs through
your implementation process by way of lower adoption or higher change management efforts. Great
user experience does not just happen by accident and it needs a careful process of design and evolution
over a period of time. Give UX its rightful due in your decision making process to ensure your HR
technology investments provide you with the necessary ROI.
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