HR Tech

Why HR Software Design Matters

March 22, 2021
June 23, 2022
Andy Przystanski
Lattice Team

Employees are core to your People strategy. They should be core to your software, too.

Implementing HR technology built with employees and managers in mind empowers everyone to achieve more. Well-designed tools can turn managers into career coaches, foster cultures of recognition, and transform HR leaders into data scientists. In a tech-enabled workplace, employee experience and user experience are synonymous.

To mark the launch of Lattice’s Elevated Design, we asked People leaders to share why they prioritize UX when evaluating HR software.

1. It turns managers into leaders. 

Management is both rewarding and challenging — especially the latter if you’re new to it. But besides offering training videos and coaching classes, HR teams haven’t had meaningful, tech-based ways to support managers on an ongoing basis. Software providers that design their products with HR teams, managers, and employees in mind can go a long way in righting that.

Christine Millette, HR Manager at Mintz + Hoke, recently implemented Lattice’s performance management suite. For her, the most significant benefit of making the switch wasn’t necessarily the platform’s ease of use, but how it rewired the way her managers worked. Bringing feedback, goals, growth plans, feedback, and one-on-one agendas together on the same dashboard made them more cognizant of employee needs and better equipped to address them.

“Peers and managers are no longer wracking their brains to remember yearly project wins, as all the data is seamlessly there,” Millette said. Offering praise and constructive feedback is a lighter lift when showing the “receipts” doesn’t involve opening five separate windows. “Because agendas, next steps, and feedback are all stored in one place, our managers are able to provide solid examples that promote transparency and drive better performance.”

2. Good design empowers self-service (and HR).

HR teams do a lot for their employees, much of it behind the scenes. From pulling performance review scorecards to processing home address changes, routine requests can bog down your team and prevent it from tackling more strategic work. That’s because legacy HR software was usually built with one end user in mind: HR professionals. Bad design doesn’t just create a bottleneck, it perpetuates the misconception that Human Resources is simply an administrative function.

“When employees have to go to their managers or the HR department for every small change or clarification, it’s a waste of time for both managers and employees,” said Harriet Chan, co-founder of CocoFinder.

Since upgrading her HR tech stack, Chan found that one-off requests slowed to a trickle, giving her People team the bandwidth to tackle meaningful projects. She’s also able to spend more time analyzing engagement survey results and making data-backed recommendations. “Using automated HR tools, especially ones that include an employee portal, just makes everyone’s lives easier,” she said.

“Employees use digital tools in their everyday life outside of work...If a work-based tool can replicate that experience, employees are more likely to engage with [it].”

3. Driving employee adoption is easier.

It’s a classic HR lament: Even when you have the bandwidth to launch game-changing initiatives, getting employees to bite is the real challenge. Whether it’s open enrollment, mid-year performance reviews, or an employee engagement survey, your People team’s success depends on participation. After spending months evaluating and purchasing HR software, the last thing you want is to end up with a tool people seldom use.

Jenna Carson, HR Director at Music Grotto, didn’t just make employee user experience a consideration in her recent search for an HR information system (HRIS) — she made it a top-three priority. Right or wrong, she knew her team would be judged on the tool’s aesthetics. “Employees use digital tools in their everyday life outside of work, and if a work-based tool can replicate that experience, employees are more likely to engage with that system,” Carson said.

She knew that tools that replicated even an ounce of the usability of apps like Instagram or LinkedIn would both help drive adoption and make her more successful. “The best tools also allow for interaction between employees anywhere in the world, which is great for building culture between staff in different time zones,” she said. Implementing HR software that had a mobile app and could integrate with communication tools like Slack enabled her to do just that.  

4. Great design puts everyone’s work in context. 

It’s hard to find meaning in your day-to-day if you can’t connect it with the company’s mission. According to a Robert Half Management Resources study, just 47% of workers understand how their work contributes to their organizations’ success. Objectives and key results (OKRs), cascading goals, and other goal-setting frameworks can help, but only if they’re top of mind year-round. In the absence of tech, that responsibility falls on managers, who might have difficulty articulating goals themselves.

“When I ask managers what their vision for their team is, or what they expect from the team, I often get a quizzical look as the response,” said Irial O'Farrell, a learning and development consultant at Evolution Consulting. Even the best goals collect dust when their left to languish in spreadsheets or two-dozen clicks away. “Lack of clarity makes setting objectives or giving feedback very difficult and uncomfortable,” O’Farrell said.

Employee-centric product design connects the dots. Tools that bring personal, team, and company goals together in one dashboard make it easier to see how your work contributes to the bigger picture. We built Lattice to integrate goals into everything teams do, resulting in more productive one-on-ones, targeted feedback, and more motivated teams. Our new Elevated Design ties these even closer together, making it easier for your people to align personal, team, department, and company goals in the same view.

Great design isn’t about ease of use, it’s about empowerment. We built Lattice to help HR leaders, managers, and employees create high-performing cultures and make work meaningful. Read about Lattice’s Elevated Design to learn how our platform does just that.