Why HR Should Care About User Experience

Guest Contributorby Evelyn Watts | Posted | Industry Buzz

Why HR Should Care About User Experience

Do you ever wonder how much user experience (UX) has to do with software adoption - and in the interest of people management - talent management software adoption, specifically?

Well, we do. All the time.

Because a great user experience can promote software adoption. There's no sense developing "amazing features" for your software if they're clunky or difficult to use. Further, a great user experience can help to standardize and improve common business processes. Oh say for example, HR processes like performance management, policy sign-offs and more.

The UX team at Halogen understands the business value behind delivering a great user experience, and I asked a member of the team, Daniel, a few questions about why it matters so much - and why HR should care.

Who are you and what does your team do?

I'm Daniel Bianchi, one of the User Experience Specialists working for the User Experience team at Halogen.

The Halogen UX team is a group of seven well-experienced individuals with a solid knowledge of design, software development, user research, usability, content strategy and user experience. Our team is a unit inside the Product Development department, but our work often intersects with other teams such as Marketing, Sales, and Customer Support.

As a team, our mission is to make a visible and positive impact on users of our software in order to help them be more collaborative, more efficient and more engaged in how they manage performance.

We are evangelists for user experience, making decisions informed by market and user research at every stage of the development process.

Here's a photo of the UX team:

halogen ux team
L. to R.: Shari, Daniel Bianchi, Roy Wilson, Steve Lipstein, Lesley Grignon, Diane Jauvin; not pictured: Laura Olac

What is UX design and why does it matter?

User experience design is about shaping the experiences people have when interacting with technology. The main objective of user experience is to understand people's needs when using a product or service and to enable experiences that fulfill those needs.

Nowadays, technology is so integrated into people's lives that it is nearly impossible to think about someone going through an ordinary day without interacting with any computer application or a device.

When technology is so pervasive, people's expectations towards technology are much higher.

Furthermore, people want to feel good about using technology, and they want to feel that it can help them to get better at whatever they are trying to do. We want our customers to feel this same way about using the Halogen TalentSpace suite.

All of these reasons are why user experience matters. It bridges the gap between what people want or need and what technology can do for them.

What are the most important things you consider when designing the Halogen TalentSpace suite?

From a user experience perspective, one of the most important things to consider is what problem we are trying to solve. Also, it's important to make sure that our suite is addressing business and market requirements that created the demand for this software in the first place.

For example, we know that managers who meet with their employees regularly are three times more likely to be engaged, but it's important that when they meet, they talk about the things that matter (e.g. development, goals, feedback).

Making it easier to facilitate those conversations is critical to an organization's success. So it's important to us too. We collaborate with our Product Management and Product Development colleagues to ensure our software facilitates those conversations.

Take Halogen 1:1 Exchange. The tool is designed to make it easy for managers to keep conversations moving in the right direction, talk about ongoing performance activities (e.g. goals, feedback, career development, etc.), and give employees the ability to add to the agenda so they can talk about what matters to them and contribute to the conversation.

As a result, it's easier for both managers and employees to discuss what's important now and what will be important in the future.

Here's a screenshot of Halogen 1:1 Exchange to demonstrate how it can help managers and employees focus on what's important:

ux halogen 11 exchange

Why should HR care about user experience?

One of the first things to consider when selecting talent management software is who the different users are who will interact with the technology.

Very often organizations will have at least three categories of users: the HR team, people managers and employees - across multiple generations who all have different expectations and needs.

HR needs the system to be easy to administer (i.e. set up processes and track and gain insight into their workforce). People managers and employees need the system to support them in managing performance (i.e. stay aligned, engaged and focused on results).

For example, we know managers often struggle with coaching and developing their people and ensuring their teams are aligned and continuously focused on outcomes. Giving them coaching and feedback tools via a user experience that is intuitive and easy to adopt means coaching and development becomes an ongoing, intrinsic part of the culture.

This is an example of how technology can enable people.

And that's the reason user experience should be important to HR. When selecting talent management software, HR professionals should be thinking about the processes the software needs to enable and whether the experience will help or hinder people from doing their work.

There have been significant UX improvements in the latest release of the Halogen TalentSpace suite. Why did you make these changes and what's the benefit to our users?

Most of the updates in the latest release of our suite focus on improving the interface. We've increased the font size, introduced a new set of icons and changed the interface colors to more neutral shades.

We've also incorporated some of the latest trends in design such as rounded pictures and flat graphic elements such as buttons and icons. More than that, some of the improvements like the neutral colors, for example, allow for our customers' brand to stand out more.

The new set of icons is consistent across the suite making it easier to learn how to use it. The larger font also helps users to access and to locate relevant information faster.

When you have a product that is easy to learn and easy to use, it greatly reduces barriers to adoption, and our new UI supports this principle.

Want to learn more? Watch this quick product tour

If you're a Halogen customer and you want to learn more about upgrading to the latest version of the Halogen TalentSpace suite, contact your account manager or contact our Customer Support team.

If you're interested in learning how the Halogen TalentSpace suite can support your business needs, we invite you to request a demo.

Thanks to Daniel and the UX team for sharing insights into how user experience informs software design!

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