Building user-friendly workplace tech to win over your employees

James Akers, Director of Product Management

Smart consumer technologies are constantly being released, before we even know we need them. So it’s no surprise that employees – as consumers of the workplace – expect the same experience with their software at work. At last it looks as though the HR tech market is wising up. Which is a relief – as we know that well built and designed workplace technology is key to keeping employees engaged. Our latest research revealed that 50% of employers found that convenience had a high impact on whether employees were engaged with their benefits offering or not.

According to Gartner, the enterprise software market is projected to grow 9.5% – but generating ROI often depends on whether employees actually use it – and this is where user experience is key. So when deploying workplace software you need to focus on exceptional user experience in order to keep up with user demands and to future-proof your investment.

Groundwork is key
An attractive front end is only useful if the back end is able to deliver the speed and service users expect. This will only be possible if robust groundwork and automated end-to-end processes are put in place. For example, enrolling in private medical insurance (PMI) used to be cumbersome and time-consuming. Human error was also a huge concern as it could directly impact an employee’s health. However, by automating the process through technology, this risk is significantly reduced and the whole process is a lot simpler. Employees can log in to their benefits platform and enter all the information they need to apply for PMI, which is then automatically sent to the insurer to generate a policy. For employees, the system is easy, intuitive, and reliable. Furthermore, the resilience of automated back-end processes deliver on the promise of the quality experience found at the front end – key to a user experience that keeps employees engaged with their benefits programme.

Make your platform intuitive
Enterprise technology developers need to be aware of how employees interact with consumer technology daily, and consider how they can draw on this to make their own B2B products more intuitive.

To maximise your workplace software engagement, you need to think about the commonalities amongst popular consumer applications – drawing on common experience components and approaches to lower barriers to engagement. You can start by using well-known iconography such as the now-incongruous floppy disk for save or shopping carts for procurement of workplace benefits – this all helps to create a sense of familiarity for software users. This instantly reduces the learning curve and improves the overall experience for users.

Integration with other services
Siri and Alexa would serve little purpose if they weren’t able to communicate with the information sources and apps they rely on. In the same way, enterprise technology needs to be openly connected to other software services. As the number of applications increase, so does the need for consolidating and pulling sources together. This is something your benefits platform needs to consider as part of a wider HCM and business systems strategy.

Ensure your platform is fully embedded with any software your employees rely on to organize their lives, whether in or out of work. This will be key to ensure that there is no discrepancy between experiences offered. If users are offered the most intuitive access to their benefits programme, they are much more likely to engage with their benefits.

Involve ‘cool’ tech
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) offer exciting possibilities for how we engage with technology. These technologies are being used to create a more immersive and holistic experiences.

For instance, VR could be used to help illustrate the impact potential benefits decisions will have on individuals’ lives, such as showing younger employees how starting to save for retirement early can drastically improve quality of life in later years. Or why not bring AI into the equation and see how benefits software can carry out tasks without requiring a direct input or decision from employees. For example, adding new-born children to medical insurance when maternity or paternity leave is taken as either instructed from HR or if identified from an employee’s social media account in advance of then

It should be clear by now that to get maximum impact from your benefits platform you need to put the work in at the beginning and be confident that your chosen solution has the proven resilience to confidently carry out the choices your employees make. Have a clear plan of what you want, where you want to get to and ensure the solution you use has the foundations to deliver on your immediate ask and agility to evolve to your aspirations. Such software is most likely to meet yours and your employees’ demands, have a lower cost of ownership, deliver on promises and replicate the consumer experience we’ve become accustomed to in our everyday lives.