Articles, Digital Workplaces, Internal Communications, Intranet

Seven tips for creating better employee experiences at your digital workplace

A strong user experience is key for the success of every digital workplace strategy. If you always wanted to know, how to set you on the path to a better experience for your digital workplace solution, Christian Rohr, Senior UX consultant at digital agency ]init[ can give you some hints.

1. User experience is a capability in your team – not a role or a method

The launch or overhaul of an Intranet is typically a large project with a variety of different roles and stakeholders. An important factor when you are designing for user experience is to build a common user-centred mindset for the whole team. In such a team everybody has a deep understanding of the employees, their key tasks and their experiences. Adding this capability to the existing business knowledge, creates a shared understanding of the problem and the decisions made. External consultancy from agencies can help to kick start and facilitate this thinking in your organisation and help to develop expertise.

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(Image Source: ]init[/Viviane Wild)

2. Know your users – and especially their jobs to be done

To establish a shared understanding of the users you are designing the digital workplace solution for, personas are often created. In these deliverables employees are described archetypally with common characteristics, such as information needs and motivations. However in many projects too much emphasis is placed on the people profile than on their goals. That´s were more goal-orientated personas, a top tasks analysis, or the Jobs-to-be-Done methodology comes in place. Focusing on the employees you will learn their perspective on the digital workplace. They simply have jobs that need to be done and are ‘hiring’ your solution to do it.

3. Define the success – and then measure and measure again

Organisations often have a hard time when it comes to defining indicators for a successful Intranet, even if the vision and goals are clearly formulated. Goals are mostly forged from a stakeholder perspective and it is difficult to say when expectations are met from an employee’s point of view. Following a user-centred strategy, indicators, such as user satisfaction or productivity for key tasks need to be defined, collected and analysed. To assess these indicators, data from the existing Intranet can be taken as baseline or the first data after the launch serves as baseline for future improvements. For continuous improvement, a transparent reporting and promotion approach, e.g. on a central page in the Intranet is recommended.

init_employee experiences
(Image Source: ]init[/Viviane Wild)

4. Reduce the waste in your design process

In a traditional set-up the objective of the concept phase is to ensure that the specifications are as detailed as possible and are based on an extensive requirements analysis upfront. By switching to a more iterative process with early involvement of employees for finding solutions and including them in frequent evaluation, you are ensuring that you are building the right workplace solution for your colleagues. With a leaner approach you start with assumptions and hypotheses as basis for your evaluation. Overall you will have lighter deliverables and fewer handoffs.

5. Consider your Intranet more as product than as a project

A project as defined in the project management realm has a fixed start date and an end date. And probably a big list of features. On the contrary, a product is something that lives and evolves in your organisation for a long period of time and is continuously improved by addressing the user needs. When looking at the Intranet and digital workplace plans in your organisation it is obvious, that these will benefit from a shift to a product focused approach. Having less ‘big bangs’ but optimising the product iteratively will lead to a more employee facing solution.

init_employee experiences
(Image Source: ]init[/Viviane Wild)

6. Think about content as part of the user experience

A primary purpose of Intranets is to provide information for your employees. The majority of content is often created and edited by a large group of editors instead of a centralised editorial unit. To guarantee a good user experience for your content, your editorial team needs to be guided and motivated. Help them by evolving a supportive community of editors and by adoption of the corporate content strategy. With mechanisms for feedback of content quality they will develop the expertise of writing stronger content.

7. Design for the user onboarding experience

An effective onboarding process can help your employees to become more proficient and to identify the value of your digital workplace solutions more rapidly. Whenever new functionality or improvements of the interface are introduced, users need to be trained, guided and the benefits need to be conveyed. Often these activities are not kept in mind in the context of the concept and development phase, but are designed subsequent to the implementation. Accompanying the introduction with a set of trainings, default and empty states that encourages your employees to administrate their content, or a series of ‘Did you know?’ articles will help your colleagues to pass the struggle of change.
Feel free to contact Christian Rohr for any question or a brainstorming about your Intranets future: christian.rohr@init.de.

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