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Saturday, September 20, 2014

How About UX For The Employees?

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch, 1895 via Wikipedia

A thing isn't a thing until it's got a fancy technology acronym. Preferably one with an X.
And so the simple idea that users should own the experience has one: UX.
Briefly, it's the art and science (mostly science, they like to say) of optimizing the customer's interaction with your digital properties.
But I have to wonder:
  1. Why must we limit UX to a website? Or a mobile app?
  2. Why is it only bounded by your brand, as it inhabits the virtual?
  3. Why can't we expand the UX concept so that employees become a primary target audience?
Any leader will tell you that the most important stakeholder of any organization is the employee, not the customer. Because if employees are happy, understand their jobs, and are resourced and empowered to deliver, they will do that with joy. 
That means 87% of the salary you're paying is garbage. 
That means for all of the emotional customer service you claim to provide and all the intellectual knowledge production and collaboration you say you offer...you don't.
Want to maximize ROI? 
Set up a workplace that makes logical sense to the staff, and consider only secondarily the biased views of executives - who mostly interact with each other.
  • Organize departments to facilitate collaboration and not stovepipes
  • Display KPIs prominently on a TV screen in a public place, one that includes both mission performance indicators and leadership feedback scores
  • Make projects responsive to a dedicated PMO (project management office), and not to a functional lead
  • Establish an employee communications council staffed from every department in the company
  • Make the physical layout easily navigable
  • Establish places and spaces to socialize, and to retreat
  • Have walk-in counseling, mentoring and training
  • Establish on-site daycare
  • Yes, offer free food and drinks
Again, it's just so basic: Workplaces cannot be robotized, virtualized, or dehumanized. They are enterprises of people. And people work well when their experience of the workplace is positive.
The premise of UX is that control is removed from the mind of the designer, the architect, the party formally "in charge." This person or group may be well-trained, an expert and have the best intentions. But that does not mean they know what the people want or need.
The job of a designer is only to follow the lead of the user. No matter what kind of user they are.
If you want the organization to be well-run, let the employees themselves run it.
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Painting: "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, 1895 via WikipediaDisclaimer: This blog is written by Dannielle Blumenthal in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed here are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the National Archives and Records Administration, or the United States government.