HR x UX: Crafting Better Employee Experiences

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Amber Mallett

Director of Employee Experience

Amber Mallett

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With the digital revolution and remote work steadily reshaping the corporate landscape, it’s become pretty clear that every function in an organization needs to adapt and evolve—and Human Resources is no exception. But, how exactly does HR evolve? Well, one compelling way is by incorporating User Experience (UX) principles.

Just as UX designers craft optimal experiences for users, we in HR are in the business of designing optimal experiences for our internal users: our employees.


The intersection of HR and UX is a fascinating space where empathy, design thinking, and strategic planning come together to shape the employee journey. By integrating UX approaches into HR practices, companies can gain invaluable insights into the employee perspective and craft policies, programs, and environments that are truly employee-centric.

UX is all about understanding users’ needs and delivering solutions that provide meaningful experiences. It’s a human-first way of designing products. Now, replace ‘users’ with ‘employees’, and you’ll see that UX principles align almost perfectly with HR’s objectives.

For example, by mapping the onboarding journey from the employee perspective, HR might uncover lengthy paperwork and disconnected processes as pain points. Addressing those through UX-inspired streamlining and coordination improves the onboarding experience.

So, how can we apply UX principles to HR? Let’s look at a few key UX strategies and how they translate to the HR realm:

User Research

In UX, understanding the user is paramount. Similarly, HR should strive to understand the needs, motivations, and pain points of employees. Regular surveys, feedback sessions, and open communication channels can provide valuable insights.

Take this hypothetical example: Software Agency Inc.’s HR team notices a drop in Employee Engagement scores. Instead of making assumptions, HR decides to send three short, anonymous pulse surveys and conduct employee feedback sessions to gather insights. They discover that employees working on client projects feel disconnected from their peers. Armed with this insight, Leadership & HR introduced “Agency Fridays,” leading to a significant improvement in engagement scores by creating connections among employees.


UX designers often create personas to represent different user types. In HR, we can create employee personas to better understand and cater to the diverse needs of our workforce.

For example, HR might identify personas like “Rookie Rachel” who values mentorship, “Manager Max” who seeks leadership training, and “Seasoned Sara” who values recognition. Tailoring programs to these personas ensures the unique needs of each group are addressed.

Usability Testing

In the UX world, designers test product usability to identify and fix issues. Similarly, HR can ‘test’ policies, programs, and initiatives with a small group of leaders or employees before a company-wide rollout.

For example, say HR introduced a new feedback tool to a pilot group, who offered feedback that the tool lacked integration with the company’s main software. HR can then ensure that integration is in place before the company-wide rollout so the tool receives appreciation for its ease of use.


UX design is an iterative process, with continual improvements based on user feedback. HR should also be prepared to iterate and evolve policies and programs based on employee feedback.

Going back to our hypothetical Software Agency Inc., HR might refine the “Agency Friday” policy after feedback revealed confusion about “core tasks.” The updated policy ensured smoother team collaboration while still offering flexibility.

Curating the Journey

Human Resources isn’t just about hiring and firing. It’s about curating an employee’s journey from the moment they see a job posting to the day they retire or move on. This journey includes recruitment, onboarding, career development, and offboarding. Each of these touchpoints, much like in UX, can be optimized to ensure that the employee feels valued, understood, and motivated.

Integrating UX methodology allows HR teams to gain meaningful insights into the employee perspective. Techniques like user interviews, journey mapping, and usability testing help identify pain points and areas for optimization. HR can then design comprehensive initiatives, informed by employee needs and motivations. This empathetic approach leads to improved satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and retention.

As HR professionals, our goal is to attract, retain, and nurture talent. By adopting a UX mindset, we can design employee experiences that not only meet functional needs but also create a positive emotional connection to the workplace.

In the end, the intersection of HR and UX is all about people. Whether we’re designing for customers or employees, our success lies in understanding and meeting their needs. After all, our employees aren’t just workers—they’re the users of the company experience we provide. As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of the modern workplace, let’s take a page from the UX playbook and design with empathy, intention, and a people-first approach.


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