UX Design and HR – What Do The Two Have in Common?

During my time in HR, I was most curious about what influences employee behaviour, motivation and overall satisfaction. I was getting all excited about people and everything to do with them. After more than two years in the profession, I realised that I wanted to broaden my horizons and gain knowledge in a completely different field. It wasn’t due to professional burnout, I just felt I had space for something new. Digging through the Internet, I found a course on Design Thinking by chance. The description sounded enticing – interaction with people, creative approach, innovative solutions. However, I still had doubts about whether I would find my place in it. In the end, I decided to go for it! As they say, he who takes no risks, drinks no champagne 😉.

The training course that was the start of a new passion

The course was so engaging that I was totally eager for more after it ended. I felt I had discovered the world full of creative solutions, that was very different from the corporate HR. Following the blow, I went one step further and enrolled in a postgraduate course to continue the adventure. Already during the first semester, I realised that my fears about my lack of experience in IT were completely unfounded. On the contrary, my HR competences have proved to be a huge asset. They allowed me to focus on the needs and expectations of users in the context of their experience with digital systems and applications. This short article is dedicated to all those who also wish to develop in a new professional direction, even if it seems far away from their current career path. Continue reading to find out how UX became my second love.

First and foremost – people

Both fields focus on people, and more specifically on empathy, understanding, research, experience, communication, commitment and teamwork. As I worked on my portfolio for a year, I noticed that there was even more in common – in-depth interviews, public speaking, making informed decisions, compromises, solving problems, creating reports – you’ll think well okay cool, but so what? It was a great combination of HR skills and adding new value by working with users! It was the soft skills gained from working with people that allowed me to understand their needs even better and design an application that interested them.

Experience design

In HR, there is an approach such as Employee Experience (EX). For those of you who are not familiar with the idea, it is generally about focusing on positive employee experiences at every stage of their relationship with the organisation. As an HR professional, I take care of them from the recruitment process, through the day-to-day work until they leave the company. The same is true of UX – this is where you create products that are intuitive, usable and enjoyable for users. In other words – both areas strive to improve comfort and employee/user satisfaction. For me, this is the most rewarding and joyful moment!

Research and data analysis

In my work as an HR professional, I have repeatedly carried out labour market analysis, making the analysis of competitive digital solutions a piece of cake! It was a moment when my previous experience came in handy and I even managed to create an innovative product. Analysis is a very important element in both fields and I was glad to be able to look at it from different points of view. Can you imagine what would happen if we lost the opinions of our employees or if we did not know the opinion of our customers? It’s like losing your compass in a dense forest where every tree seems identical.

Working with a team

When the leader informed us (the students) that from a certain point onwards we would be working in teams of five, we froze. But what do you mean? After all, everyone had totally different visions for the interfaces and functionalities in our projects. At the time I thought to myself, okay maybe it won’t be so bad, after all, I have been working in a team for years. As life has shown, it was not easy at all, as it was no longer a question of procedures or labour law, but of creative solutions. Thanks to my design work my decision-making is now better informed and data-driven, I gained expertise in the areas of fault-finding and making compromises.

Summary

In summary, the similarities between HR and UX-Design are deeper than they might appear at first glance. Although it is sometimes very hard to leave our comfortable comfort zone, opening up to new challenges can do a lot of good, like discovering a new talent or an extraordinary adventure. My story shows that even if you think your past experiences don’t fit with a new direction, they can provide a valuable foundation to ‘build’ new skills on, so my advice is – do it even if you feel the fear, take on the challenge and you won’t regret it 😉.

text written by:

Ewelina Partyka, People & Culture Specialist