Software User Experience (UX) Matters for HR Service Providers and SMBs: UX Experts Explain Why

By PrismHR

We recently sat down with PrismHR User Experience (UX) experts–Senior UX Designer Danielle Walker and UX Designer Renard Richie –to learn more about software user experience. Read the discussion below to learn what UX actually means, why it matters, and what constitutes a quality user experience for HR service providers and their clients.

Why does User Experience matter to HR service providers?

Danielle: As an HR service provider, you are in the service business. You require highly usable systems that allow you to quickly and accurately complete employee payroll and other HR tasks so you can focus on what you do best – serving your customers. If your applications are difficult to learn or use, provide inaccurate data, or don’t do a good job preventing errors, then service levels are impacted, and a small or medium sized business (SMB) might be unhappy or lose confidence in your abilities. Likewise, a system that helps you proactively identify issues and respond quickly to SMB requests will help your clients run more effectively.

Your worksite managers and SMB employees also require thoughtfully designed, easy-to-use technology, so they can complete employee tasks and get back to their day jobs. If the tools used to manage PTO, enroll in benefits, or update employee information are confusing or lack guardrails, they may enter incorrect data into the system, causing downstream issues and rework for you as the service provider.

Renard: The easier the software is to use, the faster you, as an HR service provider, can do your job. A bad software user experience can create extra hours that you have to dedicate to an employee or to a client. A bad user experience can turn minutes into hours and hours into days when setting up or managing clients. Efficiency and ease-of-use in managing or setting up clients can reduce your overall operating cost and provide more time for investing in their business growth.

Why does UX matter to SMBs?

Danielle: Overall job satisfaction can be impacted by how easy or difficult it is to access employee tools or complete tasks related to one’s employment. For example, the PrismHR Employee HR Portal may be one of an employee’s first interactions with a new employer. They are also encountering the site during a time when they want to appear especially capable and confident. Having to ask for help or being unable to complete a new hire task on time can embarrass or frustrate the employee, and they may view the employer in a negative light for not providing a better experience.

Conversely, if an employee is able to quickly and easily complete their new hire tasks, and the application helps them to get acquainted with the company, it can help the overall new hire process seem positive and welcoming. Going forward, ease of use is especially important, as is a user interface that guides the employee through complex tasks they don’t perform very often. A modern and appealing visual design can help the employer to appear progressive and forward thinking as well.

How do you define User Experience (UX)?

Danielle: User Experience, or UX, “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products.” In a nutshell, it’s how a particular experience makes a person feel. If done effectively, the user will be able to quickly and easily accomplish their tasks and possibly find delight in doing so. This is a “positive user experience” – and what we continuously strive to deliver.

UX includes a number of components, such as:

  • Usability – how easy and enjoyable it is for the user to complete tasks and how well the system supports the user’s intentions.
  • Visual appeal – this is often equated with usability, in that many users will perceive a site or application to be less usable than it is if they find the look and feel unappealing.
  • User interface or “UI” – This is sometimes used interchangeably with UX, but is actually only a subset of the larger UX concept. UI includes all of the components – navigation elements, fields, buttons, icons and images – that a user encounters on the screen when using an application or website. These are arranged in specific ways based on an interpretation of the user’s goals and level of understanding.

What does a positive Service Provider User Experience look like?

Renard: I think of HR service provider users as the “power users” of PrismHR. You require access to more details and actions, and you need the ability to view all of your clients and employees. A good experience for you means having the ability to easily and efficiently manage and change everything relating to all the HR services that you offer to your clients.

Your UX priorities are an easy setup process for a new client onboarding, an easy-to-use universal search, the ability to make bulk updates, and the ability to easily export reporting data. And it’s important that the solution minimize the amount of steps necessary to perform any given function.

What does a positive SMB and Employee User Experience look like?

Renard: Mobile has overtaken desktop as the primary source of access online¹. Creating an employee portal or employee onboarding software that can be accessed from any device, anywhere, with an intuitive user experience based on research and testing, is the key element to a positive user experience for SMBs and their employees. Example scenarios would be a manager approving a PTO request while at the airport or existing employees easily uploading required life events documentation.

Tell us about your background in Software User Experience.

Danielle: I graduated with a Visual Design degree and completed the Human Factors in Information Design graduate program at Bentley University. My studies included courses in human behavior, user research, design thinking, usability testing and statistics. Throughout my 18-year career, I’ve helped drive functional design processes and created elegant solutions to understand complex data sets at companies like Pfizer, Fidelity and MathWorks.

Renard: On my career journey of 11 years from Visual Designer to ultimately UX Designer, I have worked for various business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies, including Titleist, Netgear, Boston Children’s Museum, Progressive, Geico, Dell, and EMC.

Thanks to Danielle and Renard for their time and thoughtful insight. Does what they shared resonate with your own user experience and that of your clients and employees? Have you been thinking about how your clients are experiencing the HR software through which you offer your HR services? Clearly, it’s an important aspect to a quality HR service provider offering, and taking a closer look at UX in your organization could be a significant benefit to your bottom line. To see the PrismHR User Experience in action, check out the Employee Portal demo.