In consumer businesses, UX (user experience) is traditionally viewed as a way to analyze and produce experiences that drive consumers toward an end goal. The focus of UX is largely external. The motivation for investing in UX is conversion, and, ultimately, the bottom line.
Let’s flip UX on its traditional head. I believe that managers can significantly benefit by viewing UX as an internal measure.
At Internet Week New York, I attended a presentation by Sarah Blecher of Digital Pulp, who presented a more advanced definition (based on crowdsourcing) of UX:
It’s the moment when content, design, and interaction come together and how the user feels about it.
Imagine that—users have feelings, and businesses need to pay attention to them.
The same is true for your employees.
Here’s how you can use the three core principles of UX—content, design, and interaction—to transform your team’s experience in the workplace to achieve higher productivity, enhanced morale, and accelerated conversion of talent to profit.
In UX, content typically refers to the text, image and video elements on a site. When you’re dealing with the experience of your organizational teams, the content pieces are the task at hand and the available resources.
If you want to set up your teams to optimize employees’ creative capital, you need to make sure their experience is as seamless as possible. When charging a team with a task, make sure that all of the information members needed to complete the task are in a central location.
Communicate the output expectations clearly, and present, up front, the resources available.
Alex Khurgin, director of learning and creative at Grovo, and a leader in the microlearning movement, developed an internal learning culture at Grovo by facilitating a program for professional development and self-directed learning for all employees. Khurgin believes that alignment of content for employee development is essential: “Learning serves performance, development, and engagement. If you focus on alignment with the employee’s goals and the organization’s goals, you create opportunities for growth.”
In my book, this is internal UX to the letter.
When most think of UX, they think immediately of design. Design, however, is only a part of the equation. In organizations, employee design is all about the environment—physical, social and emotional.
If you want to maximize human capital, provide an environment that is conducive to the needs and personalities of your team members. This is where a high amount of EQ (emotional intelligence) comes into play.
As a manager, you need to know the fears, stresses, and motivations of your team members so that you may design environments where human experience is valued over productivity.
By paying attention to the feelings of your employees, and recognizing individual and collective needs, productivity rises organically in a way that is sustainable and not forced.
“Create an environment where employees seek to learn for themselves the things that they want to be better at, and you’ll create a more successful workforce,” says Khurgin. When employees feel valued, empowered, and comfortable (not fearful of) presenting ideas that could fail, you’ve set up an environment to maximize talent conversion.
Related: 3 Steps to Defining Your Space
The last piece of the UX equation is interaction—how the user interacts or engages with your content, within your design. When developers study patterns of interaction, they get feedback that they use to modify or solidify content and design.
Managing others and leading teams involves recognizing how each individual works, and providing the necessary feedback so the employee can develop the necessary skills to perform at a higher level. Especially with the growing millennial workforce, feedback—and the frequency of providing feedback—is increasingly important.
In looking at how people learn, studies show that one of the key factors in performance and knowledge retention is the interaction between the student and the instructor. The same parallel is true for the workplace.
Employees who have better relationships—better interactions—with their managers have higher rates of productivity, workplace satisfaction, and an increased desire to perform well.
Analyzing UX should not just be viewed as a consideration when it comes to analyzing consumer behavior. Retaining top talent IS based on “user” experience.
Make sure your leaders are creating experiences that will keep these key players on your team.