Don’t Be Greedy: An Argument for User-Centric Design in HR

Kylie Quetell ATS, candidate experience, Career Advice, Employee Communications, Employee Development, HR, HR Tech, HR Technology, T+D, Talent Acquisition

Imagine a company that puts its needs before that of their customers. Consider what the shelf life of that organization would be. Picture, if you can, the number of good things that would be said about that organization.

Zero – the answer is zero.

That’s because no one would choose to work with a company that doesn’t put their users first. And yet, over and over again, I see talent, recruiting, training, benefits, and other HR teams considering their needs before that of their clients. We think to ourselves, “Why do employees complain about HR so much, don’t they know how much we do for them?” The answer is no. They do not know. They will never know. Welcome to HR. We are people first, which means we are employee first.

Potential and current employees are our customers.

Enter user-centric design. In short, it means considering the needs of your users. What should it mean to you? Putting the needs of your users first.

It drives me crazy when I sit in a meeting discussing what platform we are going to purchase to make our lives easier, and then asking the question as to what it will feel like for our employees. That logic is backwards. Instead, we should search for the interface that makes it easiest for our users and secondly consider how our HR teams will work with the system. Every time we try to solve a problem the first thing we should consider is our client base. Employees don’t give a shit about how tedious something was for you to complete; they just want it to be complete.

We live in an impatient world with faster answers, fewer clicks, and quicker solutions. Below are some suggestions for you to improve your deliverables and wow your client:

  • Easy Apply. Pay the extra money to let job hunters apply to your postings with one click on a job posting site such as LinkedIn. It makes your job a little harder because you’ll have to dig through unqualified candidates. The win is a friction-free job application processes.
  • Current openings on your homepage. Don’t make job hunters search. They found your organization, which is a huge win for you in today’s low unemployment job market. Don’t lose the applicant by making it hard to find your current openings.
  • Tell them what they need to know so they stop worrying. If your employees have to search for their mandatory trainings, or click on 7 buttons to start a training exercise, you’ve ruined your reputation as a training leader.
  • Do not waste their time. Adults hate to have their time wasted. If something is mandatory, get it to them quickly and let them know why. If you can’t really say why it’s mandatory then it probably isn’t. If employees are not completing your mandatory exercises on time, the exercises probably suck.
  • Meet them where they are. If your employees spend their time at their computer, get info in front of them via computer. However, still consider other popular locations for content distribution as well – lunchrooms, bathroom stalls, elevators, coffee pots. All these are opportunities for bite-size information consumption.
  • Make it all easy to find. Training manuals, benefit-cost breakdowns, pay schedules, contact information, etc. Don’t send your employees on a scavenger hunt. I like the number 3 as a goal. If someone can’t find something in three clicks, then it’s too hard to find. Pick a number that you are happy with and test it against your systems.

Our industry is moving towards a world of super systems, large software solutions, and enterprise-wide platforms. Quite frankly, it sometimes appears that HR leaders are paying for a 7 bedroom house when all you need is a bungalow for you and your cat. If your mansion has too many hallways, your clients are going to get lost.

Putting their needs first will prove that you understand who your client truly is.

Maybe instead of user-centric, we should call it user-firstric? User-primetric? User-foremostric? I’ll work on it.