Consider for a minute, your favorite apps i.e. UX; the ones you use time and time again.
What is it that makes them so appealing?
Generally, it’s a seamless and enjoyable user experience (UX). A good app’s ease of use and function is no accident. Every aspect of it is tested, from inside and outside, adjusted, and improved until the end result is an absolutely seamless and thoroughly enjoyable user experience.
But it’s not just software where UX matters; it’s a primary consideration for brick and mortar businesses, and in-person experiences as well. As Mark Miller, Vice President of Client Strategy at TMP Worldwide writes, everything from the scent that wafts through the mall, luring you to the Cinnabon shop, to the type of music that’s played in Starbucks is all designed to create a certain experience, and elicit some sort of response, helping you to form a connection with that brand.
When it comes to winning the battle for the customer, ease of use and ensuring that expectations are met is key. Consider, for example, Netflix, who has all but put movie rental companies out of business thanks to its ease of use and ability to appeal to their customers’ need for instant video on demand.
Andrew Kucheriavy, founder, and CEO of Intechnic, recently made a strong case for UX in a recent article on Forbes, arguing that for businesses, UX isn’t just a good idea –it’s necessary for survival.
“Increasingly, there’s a huge gap between businesses that embrace UX strategies and those that don’t,” writes Kycheriavy. “In fact, it can be the difference between surviving or drowning. Just ask MySpace. Facebook trumped MySpace with its superior innovation and user-friendly service, the same user-friendly service that other brands like Google, Amazon, and Airbnb have used to propel them towards global success.”
Kucheriavy goes on to reference research from Forrester, showing that on average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 in return, or an ROI of 9,900%.
The Case for UX for Employees
Even though there’s a great deal of focus today on improving UX for customers, this level of care and attention hasn’t quite arrived in the workplace yet.
For employees, user experience has given a second thought today – no matter how archaic or inefficient the tools and systems that they’re left to work with might be.
This, sadly, is a tragic mistake. With the employee, motivation is complex, there’s often a direct correlation between lack of motivation, and not having the right tools to do the job.
Forcing employees to operate in less-than-optimal conditions working with outdated methods, could be a recipe for instant demotivation, lower levels of engagement, and eventually, even higher rates of employee resignations.
For companies, today, paying attention to employee experience and looking to create a work environment that not only encourages productivity, but also makes it possible through the right employee management tools, is an excellent approach, and a great way to boost employee engagement and productivity.
How can Companies Create a Better UX for Employees?
The verdict is clear: UX matters. And companies today should be looking to incorporate it into their operations.
While there are many ways to improve UX for employees, let’s take a look at a few ideas that you can get started with, and see how you can go about creating a work culture that rewards and enables your team to reach their full potential.
Not only does poor communication cause tremendous frustration, it can also contribute to a culture of mistrust, causing friction and quarrels among your employees. If you are looking to improve your employee UX, then work to improve communication. Ask for feedback and opinions from your team, and take them into consideration. Likewise, try to keep your employees updated on important updates and changes that will affect them. No one likes to be kept in the dark, so make sure your team is well-informed.
Update Your Software and Technology
One of the best ways to improve your employee experience is by ensuring that your tools are up-to-date. Lack of tools that are required to do their job properly is a common cause of frustration among employees, and you should strive to equip your team with the resources that they need to complete their work efficiently and to a high standard. You should also be sure to communicate with your employees so that you can understand which areas are causing them frustration and see if there is anything you can do to help improve their experience.
Much like you should aim to provide a consistent service for your customers, consistency with your workforce is important as well. Your guidelines and requirements should be the same for each team member, and you should always hold everyone accountable to the same standard. Likewise, what you and a manager say should be the same as well, so make sure you’re on the same page as far as your systems and policies go.
Provide Proper Training
When your employees don’t receive proper training to do their job it can cause stress, frustration, and a lack of motivation. This frustration can spill over into your employee’s interactions with customers as well. For example, an improperly trained employee could provide a customer with incorrect information, or may lack the confidence to serve a customer properly. Empower your team to do their jobs well, and make sure you provide them with the right training.
Refine Your Procedures
Just as large companies test, retest, and refine their product and designs before making them available to the general public, you too, should test, evaluate, and refine the procedures that you implement for your employees. Start by placing yourself in your employee’s shoes for a minute. Which aspects of their job do you feel would be the most frustrating? What would you change? How would you improve the experience? Emphasize with your employees, understand where they are coming from and why they are frustrated, and then take steps to make improvements. You will be surprised at just how far this can go when it comes to employee satisfaction.
Just as you should look too perfect systems and procedures that are in place, it’s also important to address and eliminate any hurdles to your team’s productivity. This includes both roadblocks that come in the form of outdated software, as well as issues with unwarranted distractions.
As Jim Ross, principal user experience architect at Infragistics, says in a recent article for UX Matters magazine, “It’s almost always better to solve usability problems than to train people to work around them.”
For many managers today, that means updating outdated software to ensure that your team has the version that’s less buggy. For others, that could mean acting as a gatekeeper, or go-between upper management and your team.
Deal With Conflict Effectively
Conflicts within your company can be devastating. Not only can it cause chaos within, it can seep out and impact your customers as well. When two employees have a conflict with each other, don’t ignore it. Instead, take active measures to ensure that it is resolved effectively and satisfactorily. It’s also important to look to create a workplace environment that encourages team-building and relationships. A positive workplace will have less conflict and far better teamwork.
Get to Know Your People
Take the time to know your team and encourage your managers to do that as well, it can go a long way towards improving your employee UX. If you know your employees, you will know when one is struggling with something and how you can help. Do they need a lighter workload? Some time off? A different position for a time? Getting to know your team shows that you care and are doing what you can to make their job easier.
Stay Agile in Your Efforts
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your employee experience won’t be either. It’s important to remember that employee UX is a gradual and continual process, not a one-time event, and you’ll need to constantly evaluate and adjust your strategies to keep up with your employees’ changing needs.
Hire a Professional
If you find improving your UX for employees to be a challenge you don’t have time to embark upon, you might consider hiring a professional who not only understands the concept of UX for employees but also knows how to work with and manage multiple personalities with different perspectives. Your UX specialist will be able to provide you with solutions and tips; helping you to improve your work environment and overall UX for employees.
No company is perfect, but looking for ways to improve your employee experience is an excellent step. Implementing the above UX for employees tips, while being open and honest with your team and looking to involve them will help to build their connection with your company as well as improve their overall experience.