UX is about more than just customers and screens – it’s about your employees too!

I love my job!
It doesn’t matter how much extra they would pay me – I wouldn’t leave here.
You go home – I’ll finish this up tonight and get it to the client this weekend. Have a great time away!

These are the types of things you hear in a great organization. The type of organization where people only want to come to work, they love coming to work!

It’s actually not a hard thing to build. A great organization that is, where people want to come to work. The issue though – is it takes intention. You have to want to build a great place to work. and, you need to work with the people who work with you – your colleagues and employees – to do it!

You often hear people talk about “how things around here have changed. It doesn’t feel like the same place anymore.” You see this a lot as Start Ups grow or after there has been a leadership change or a major shift in more established organizations – such as a merger or an acquisition. When this happens, although it’s hard to initially quantify, huge amounts of value are being lost.

While these types of shifts do not usually impact immediately on top-line or bottom-line revenue – they do begin to impact more and more over time. This ‘feeling’ that things aren’t quite the same anymore generally leads to behavioral shifts that impact on productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. The most dramatic behavioral shift is often that people leave!

The costs in losing staff – particularly highly skilled staff in a hot economy – can be huge. The immediate loss of productivity through the loss of their work for the organization, plus costs in recruiting, plus costs in training, and so on mount up quickly. Combined, this can add up to very large amounts of money after not very long.

Often when we talk of these issues we use the term culture to describe what’s happening.

There’s been a shift in culture.

This is true but isn’t necessarily very helpful.

As a simple definition, culture is:

the systems of interactions and relationships between people and objects that provides meaning and structure to their lives.

If we look at this closely though we see that many aspects of what people talk about when they talk about culture look very similar to what we see when people talk about User Experience (UX). While UX isn’t an organization’s culture it is an important tool to help build an organization’s culture with intent and purpose.

Put simply:

User Experience (UX) is the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system.

Your organization (be it a private company, a public company, a non-profit or a government agency) is a system.

Your organization creates experiences not only for those that ‘consume’ it’s services/products (those are customers/consumers) but also those who work to create those same services/products (those are your employees/volunteers/contractors).

Huge amounts of money are spent by organizations every year ensuring that our customer’s user experience is as good as we can make it. But the same isn’t generally true for our employee’s user experience.

And this isn’t a good thing!

Usability is a major driver of employee engagement and productivity. And usability is a key driver for UX which is just about designing experiences for the user. By using simple design principles and usability engineering techniques you can easily deliver experiences that are simple, effective and enjoyable for your employees.

But you need to want to do it.

We all know that happy and engaged employees matter, as engagement leads to increased levels of loyalty, retention and overall productivity. Done well, UX helps people to not only perform the task at hand successfully, but also helps them to enjoy the process as well. Actively working to design experiences that enable the simplification of people’s work lives will both renew and increase engagement levels at work.

And, you can do it.

User Experience Design is well a established body of practice (both digital and analog) for collecting, integrating, interpreting and applying user research in order to test the elements of a system to influence and affect users of a system in a measured and predictable way. And, you can do this according to your own user’s criteria for success and happiness – this means help your employees help themselves to have a better experience at work!!  

User experience is a vital part of all business activity nowadays. But it’s not just about screens. And, it’s not just the customer either.

Your employees are users too! Their experience matters.

Happy and satisfied employees contribute to both bottom-line and top-line revenue. Make sure that your employees have a great user experience – at the very least you’ll save yourself money but there are far more important reasons than just that.