By Mark Grady, Lead UX Designer, GFT
The forward-thinking business consistently strives for better work processes and a more positive working environment for its employees. HR departments have traditionally focused on various consumer-based benefits, out-of-office team building activities and in-office facilities like gyms and quiet rooms. Efforts during and post-pandemic have concentrated on flexible-working, equipment that facilitates working from home, and online team-building exercises.
Whilst these benefits have been likely to improve employee satisfaction, businesses may still misunderstand the efficiency / satisfaction equation, oblivious to the fact that internal user experience (UX) design, or the lack of it, is the primary detriment to workplace efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Businesses utilise a whole host of internal and external programmes, software, and other applications on a day-to-day basis, but many are often inappropriate, ineffective, or overly complex. Businesses must continue to check if defunct software and working practices are negatively affecting job satisfaction as this has a direct impact on employee performance and, ultimately, the success of your business.
The prevalence of poor UX design
The most damaging aspect of poor user experience design is that it goes largely undiagnosed. A business can have an experienced C-suite, highly skilled employees and a fantastic product, but if the inner systems are not optimised, operations will slow, employees will become frustrated, and the business will suffer in the medium to longer term.
The prevalence of poor UX design in business occurs when programmes and software are built for use at many different companies in multiple sectors and not tailored or fully suited to the specific goals of your individual business. However, when something is designed specifically for your business, it can be difficult to maintain and can quickly become outdated as your company evolves. Battling against error-prone and task-lengthening software design can have a detrimental effect on operational efficiency and employee satisfaction, but is unfortunately all too common, even in the most modern of operations.
Secondly, there is an unhelpful expectancy in many companies that workflow systems are acceptably unoptimised, particularly ones that have been designed internally by the business, for the business. The issue with this sentiment is that whilst companies strive for high standards in every other department, software is deemed too technical or too complex to change, thus standards fall by the wayside. This is exacerbated when each department concentrates on its area of expertise, with no one responsible for gaining a holistic view of entire work processes. Without a dedicated UX team, there is a lack of analysis and responsibility for making business systems as reliable, ergonomic, and effective as possible.
What does a UX team do to solve experience design issues?
A dedicated UX team employs its expertise in nearly all sectors of a business to fine-tune operations and help them become fully optimised. Businesses are always evolving, often due to continued growth, software upgrades, mergers, acquisitions, new locations, or a myriad of other reasons. Having a specialist UX team on hand to oversee these changes as part of the ‘bigger picture’ will ensure the company is always efficient and fighting fit.
Improving time-to-market is incredibly valuable in terms of market competitiveness, profit-building, and driving market share. It also positively influences customer satisfaction. This is an overarching theme across UX implementations, with improved operational efficiency and higher employee satisfaction creating positive impacts on customer satisfaction, with faster and higher quality service being delivered. Although dependent on a variety of external factors, a key study in this area showed that happy employees were up to 12% more productive in undertaking their day-to-day work tasks.
Easier onboarding and better workflows not only improve process effectiveness, they also work to reduce labour time and therefore enable a strong long-term cost-saving potential. However, these benefits can prove problematic, since implementing a specialised UX team can prove costly in the short term.
When implemented at the grassroots level, UX teams influence the entire business operation for the better; making processes slicker and more refined and allowing employees to produce their best work, free from the failures of ailing software. The long-term benefits of a UX team stand to reduce overall costs whilst also improving processes that create stronger satisfaction from employees. Happier employees are more likely to realise their full potential, based on quality, task-appropriate software, and increased performance as a result of an overall better system of work system processes and user interaction.