User central

Standing alongside company aims as one of the drivers for HR tech projects will be the user experience – how and when will people engage with the technology, how it can facilitate/how they know to get involved and how they deliver.  Here are some considerations from observing and participating in HR tech project implementations.

Leave the user profiles in draft.

Technology projects often include user profiling as the project team way of assigning anticipated profiles based on the employee population and expected interaction with the system. Most commonly user profiling includes a bias element based on what is observed or surfaced of people in their work and/or the stories told of (in this case) technical capability and then assigning people to a type of user or a set of anticipated technology skills.  Considering the person who would be classified as  “not technical” … Is that because their job does not require it of them i.e. technical capability is just not seen in the workplace? Or could that be because time or other pressures have been applied? Or perhaps previous tech initiatives have been focused too much on the technology rather than the expected outcome and their role in it?

Aim to understand your employee population and to establish a baseline however focusing future actions on enablement can mean you play a part in facilitating a paradigm shift in your organisational uptake of and attitudes towards tech.

Use every opportunity to test and re-test look, feel and function.

Vendor delivery of system iterations or updates can often come with the tagline (from the vendor) “have a play”. This concept however does not align with the aim of the game at the time of delivering system functionality. While there can be merit in accessing the system to become familiar with general operating, navigation basics and confirming the overall look and feel, confirming the function of even the simplest set up requires a more targeted and multi-pronged approach. If delivery of an iteration does not include a detailed plan for review and testing from the vendor, and there is an expectation of confirming some details before the next iteration is delivered or another key stage, create one. Ask the vendor for clarity on the exact things they are asking you to confirm then work to confirm these exact things. Target testing based on roles, responsibilities, and workflow (new, not existing) and consider your UX testing too.  The play part tends to evolve from this as the flow of or ease of the application and how it efficiently and accurately supports people to do their job.

Tear down the user experience.

Further to the above and alongside your functional testing, test the user experience from a ‘take it down’ perspective. Consider how the technology really works for a Leader or Employee or HRBP who engages periodically and for who this is one part of their job – from log in to accessing key actions and information, what helps and what hinders? Is the latter system or process related? If system, can the vendor provide suggestions? If process, can you revisit the process or rejog something to simplify and make it more meaningful? There are lots of questions to ask and answer here and relating to how and why things get done. Testing system interaction points from the different roles and responsibilities can help put a bit of perspective on the technology piece and help your company review and refine your processes and the support available to promote enablement and success.

Bridging the gap between the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ can be an ongoing challenge however planning for this up front is crucial to allow you to weave your approach through your project delivery plan and transfer to your approach ongoing.

Kate, HR Technology Consultant.