The days of paper timecards and printed schedules hanging in the breakroom are gone; now everything is done electronically. And even the technology that we use for time tracking and scheduling has come a long way. At the risk of dating myself with this I ask, remember the days when logging onto the internet was a noisy affair and phones were only capable of making phone calls?  Well, if you don’t I promise it’s true –  Google it. Now everyone has a smartphone and can perform almost any task using it, including reviewing timecards and schedules. Because of our need for instant gratification and working on the go we have come to expect a very quick and easy way to do anything from buying a car to swapping shifts with a colleague. It is this very expectation that is making its way into business technology, making the concept of user experience prevalent when designing human capital management technology.

You might be asking, what is user experience (UX) design anyway? The goal of user experience design is to create a product that is meaningful and relevant to the user. In order to do this, UX designers really need to put themselves in the user’s shoes and consider all aspects of the product’s use. This diagram from the Interaction Design Foundation captures the essence of UX design’s principle to really understanding the user’s perspective and needs in order to create an optimal user experience. It is important to note that this is an iterative process because needs change with time, so the design needs to adapt to those changing needs otherwise it will become obsolete.

UX design diagram from Interaction Design Foundation

Makes sense, doesn’t it? This is not just putting lipstick on the proverbial pig and making a pretty interface. If the person creating a product doesn’t understand what need it will fill or how it will be used, can you imagine what a mess the product would be? Here are some fun examples of just that. So, what does all of this have to do with scheduling, you ask? Everything.

Where good UX and scheduling processes meet

Going back to the growing necessity for instant gratification, people are always on the go and they need a way to plan their day, week, and month - that is where scheduling comes in. Employees are demanding the ability to not only view, but also make changes to their schedule so they can balance work and personal commitments, avoiding burnout. Empowering employees to take the lead on things like this has a positive impact on managers too. Think about it, if employees are able to manage their own shift swaps and coverage requests with managers only having to approve them versus not only having to take the time to manage but also figure out how to accommodate and enter the changes, this will save them a ton of time and stress. It’s really a win-win. 

Let’s be honest, if you've had to convince employees to use a solution that is clunky or not intuitive you know that it's like pulling teeth to get them to use it, even if the process will ultimately save them time. That's exactly why it is so important to have a solution that not only delivers powerful features, but also provides an engaging, intuitive experience so that it’s easy to perform important tasks and employees will use it. This can lead to greater employee empowerment and engagement for your organization which can make a big impact on productivity, employee retention, and ultimately your bottom line.

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2019