Approaching Personal and Organizational Motivation as Experience Design
What if we could use the concepts in web user experience (UX) design to rethink how we motivate ourselves and our employees?
Background: My business is online marketing and web design. It’s not just a job – it’s something I care about. Prior to founding my company exceler8 I worked in corporate America for over twenty years and interfaced with HR as a job seeker, hiring manager, and even a stint where I worked for HR in corporate training. In every role I’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of HR.
One specialty of web design is called user experience design (UX for short). UX designers create websites that appeal to the motivation of the user by enabling certain experiences.
When combined with marketing fundamentals, creativity and other areas of web design like web usability, UX produces positive user experiences and better results for the website owner. A great example of this is Google’s search engine. Google combined a strikingly simple user interface with uncluttered, fast loading results pages full of highly relevant results. Google’s experience connected searchers with easy, fast and good. We wanted more.
You can find many non-web examples of user experience design in company practices and products. Think about Nike, BMW, or Apple. Apple took the graphic user interface and mouse developed at Xerox PARC and created an experience that changed computing forever. Apple was successful when Xerox’s effort stalled because Apple focused on making the complete experience of using their computers more intuitive. It wasn’t about the piece parts of using a mouse or a pointer. What Xerox created was cool and what Apple created was useful.
Apple’s UX focus lives on today in their similarly successful iPhone interface. Steve Jobs has admitted that the iPhone interface actually sprung out of a project to make an intuitive touch-based tablet computer, not a phone. Apple’s culture of user experience design is no coincidence. The person often called the father of user experience is a former Apple employee Don Norman (recent interview).
The UX model is a great one to use as a template for better marketing, sales, product creation and HR. As HR leaders, you’re challenged with figuring out how to get your people to create and do more. And enjoy it! And stay with you longer! Many times though, HR leaders get stuck in their own paradigms and forget about the fundamental human element that is the basis for their very function. You’re only human after all.
Opportunities to create better experiences permeate every part of the HR organization from recruiting and onboarding to leadership and compensation programs. The trick is to focus on the whole, not the piece parts. Your onboarding process may seem great but it won’t deliver a positive experience if you haven’t prepared the hiring manager to continue the transition. And you know all to well that the hiring manager is going to ignore HR altogether unless you’ve established a relationship of value.
- Julian, contributing editor HRExaminer.com