User experience (UX) is everywhere around us—whether we notice it or not.
Consider the apps you love and use every day. Every icon, swipe, color and action promotes a positive reaction and keeps you coming back.
Think of your favorite store. Your journey in that store is designed to highlight certain products. The distinct scent of the place that captures you when you walk in, the music you hear—these are all elements in the user experience, which essentially has one purpose: to connect you to the brand. UX is a force in product development and product marketing, and it’s one to be reckoned with.
UX is part of a discipline known as human centered design, where empathy is king. Knowing what customers care about and how they behave means that brands can understand how to best serve them.
Organizations are also taking UX to the workplace through the physical workspace or the technology and tools they provide. It’s a good start, but here too, UX design can encompass the entire user journey. If UX is about enchanting your customers to create a connection with your brand, we have a huge opportunity in HR to optimize the journeys for our employees if we apply UX principles, and enchant employees as our internal customers.
By using proven principles of UX, we are able to deeply understand employees as people with distinct needs and create experiences that woo them at every step in that journey.
Here is how you can do it:
Start with the first principle of UX: research.
Gather intel about today’s landscape to understand what the employee experience currently looks like. Interview your business leaders, conduct focus groups with employees and review organizational health and employee engagement scores along with other data.
Create employee personas.
Envision different types of employees within your organization as part of the process of creating employee “personas.” Personas represent the different user types who might use your service, product, site or brand in a similar way. Creating personas will help you to understand your users’ needs, experiences, behaviors and goals. In the business world, personas refer to customers, whereas in organizational terms, personas are your internal customers—your employees. Creating employee personas will help you identify what’s most important to your employees and how best to engage them and engage with them.
Develop an employee journey map.
Just as a business maps out the buying process of each of their customer personas, you can highlight how your employee personas would work in different scenarios and at various touchpoints in the overall EX journey and map this out. This map will guide you through what matters most to employees. It will also help you see the gap between what is happening today and your aspirations for tomorrow, showing you the gaps that are most important to employees to address.
Tim Brown of IDEO refers to prototyping as “building to think.” By making the intangible tangible, you liven up the solution, which then can be tested with your employees.
Gather feedback through interviews and observation, and use employee sentiment to refine your ideas before making investments in program pilots. Bring conceptual ideas to life, and adjust your programs based on employee feedback.
Whatever you do, make sure every project or program is designed to create compelling experiences that will delight your employees.
A version of this post first appeared on TLNT.