A much debated topic surrounds a quote from Peter Drucker who implied that ”culture eats strategy for breakfast”. The inclination being that a great culture internally at your company will trounce any strategising or vision / mission / or yadayada planning. Most successful leaders certainly seem to acknowledge that happy staff will do a better job, which leads to better business.

So how can it be in 2016 that so many companies treat their staff to absolutely horrendous levels of user experience?

bad-userinterface
Why should your staff have to put up with lousy user experience when using your internal tools?

 

It terrifies me that so many companies still have an out-dated, old-fashioned IT infrastructure; sleep inducing intranets; lousy web apps; atrocious time-reporting tools; CRM’s; and that staff are just expected to suck it up and use it daily!
Meanwhile the very same staff members are building their free-time projects in tools like Slack, or monitoring their personal banking and finances with stunning apps like Tink.

An old expression holds true to this day: time is money. Many tasks that your employees carry out day by day, week by week, month by month are overly time consuming. I’ve seen so many of these cumbersome tools (even in the last year or so) that it’s like traveling back to the 80’s.

Let’s take Sharepoint as an example. Large companies use Sharepoint as an intranet – it has good features such as reporting, asset management, blogs etc, and it’s an out-the-box solution. If any changes are made in Sharepoint it’s usually in the functionality, maybe the implementation of other systems or apps.

Unfortunately for Sharepoint most changes that are made are usually made by technicians with no focus whatsoever on User Experience! As long as that XML file is editable via the intranet then… ”I’m alright Jack! That’s what the spec requirement asked me to do…”

How many hours are you going to allow your employees to waste on internal IT systems rather than focusing on your core business, and using their key skills effectively?

Even though the benefit of streamlining these tools (and saving the time/money wasted by these ageing processes) is a no-brainer, alas it’s often overlooked. It slides between the cracks. It’s not a ”sexy” marketing project. It’s not a process that will win glitzy awards. However for a senior manager or smart CEO it should be a top priority to attain concrete change and cost-savings.

 

Didn’t you get the memo? Internal communication is for your own good!

Studies show that well-informed employees (thanks to better internal communication) are more up to date with product information and better equipped to support end-consumers.

But how often have you heard this kind of dialogue at your company?

Staff: – ”It’s tough for us to improve our support satisfaction rates because we don’t have enough product knowledge?”

Management: – ”But it’s all there on the intranet!”

So how come staff are not reading your information? The answer is likely to be poor user experience. Dull user experience. Boring user experience. Old-fashioned user experience. So how do you get started fixing this problem?

 

7 Top Tips on how to improve your internal digital experience

  1. Analyze the current situation of existing internal communication at your company. This can be a complicated and in-depth analysis, or super-simple simple – as simple as a small focus group with 10-15 employees. Task them and monitor the tasks performed. Online recording tools like Silverback or Mouseflow can help here. Or you can check out JP Zhang’s good article about screen recording.
  1. Whatever tools you have, get a good content strategy. Relevant content, to the right people, at the right time. Content people love (and can use to improve their lives) is exactly the same for your staff as it is your end-consumers.
  1. Set the goals. Just like any external corporate website or e-commerce site you need to measure goals for your internal communications. If you continue to post stuff that no one reads then it’s a lot like putting up an advert in the middle of a desert. So set goals for your internal communication just like you would your external and get measuring those crunch rates and bounce rates!
  1. Reward the adopters! As with most (online) projects the early adopters, the people who are ”pro” whatever your project is, are the people to be rewarded. Intangible rewards are perfect! Think how many people hunt for intangible “likes” for their social media activity in their personal lives… can you reward with similar mechanisms? Can you reward the people most engaged with your internal content in some way?
  1. UX is paramount. User Experience for your tools is incredibly important. As I touched upon earlier, your staff are used to comfortable online experiences in their private lives. Think for example of the effortless process to open and start using an Instagram account. User Experience so good you don’t even notice it. Treat your employees to similar experiences and watch the rewards!
  1. Put your employees before your infrastructure! It’s 2016. Anything can be changed. We KNOW you still have that CRM license running until 2075… We know that you are used to your out-the-box solution and the IT guys will hate you if you try to change it. We KNOW it’s hard work to introduce a new internal system. I mean you’ll need to invest some time and education into your staff! Imagine! The horror!!
  1. Be Brave. Drive through this change. Don’t let the idea of hard work stop you. Rewarding your staff with a modern user experience for their day-to-day tools is something you can’t afford not to do.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this! If you’d like to meet up and talk about how to maximize your business you can email me at stefan.jakobsson@brave.se or call me +46-707-550 496