HRMS User Experience: The Importance of Interface

Let’s be honest, choosing an HRMS is a headache – defining your requirements (not just now but for the next several years), searching the market, wading through the marketing hype, selecting the system that is right for your organisation… then there’s the installation and implementation. Until finally, one bright sunny morn, it’s ready to go live. Everybody can log in and start enjoying state of the art automated HR support. Headache over, right? Not exactly.

All too often, what pleases the organisation doesn’t please the user and sometimes the user experience of the shiny, new, up-and-running HRMS software doesn’t quite come up to scratch; to put it bluntly, it… sucks.

Forewarned is Forearmed

There are a number of possible reasons for this and, as always in business, forewarned is forearmed. If you know what could go wrong, you can neatly sidestep yet another HR technology pitfall: user disengagement. To start with, let’s consider the frontline of user interaction: the HRMS user interface.

A word that’s bandied about a lot, especially by vendors, is “intuitive”. The more intuitive an HRMS user interface is, the easier it is to use and the more widespread the use will be. It follows that a “non-intuitive” interface is going to contribute to the downfall of an HRMS. But what do we mean by intuitive?

Simplicity is Key

Well, in essence, when software is “intuitive”, the user knows (or can guess) how to use it without being told. In other words, the more intuitive your HRMS is, the less formal instruction you need to offer to users.

Sounds good, right? But what does it mean in practice? It means that it must look familiar, be simple, and avoid anything that creates frustration. From this, we can conclude that it should look reasonably similar to the applications and software we use on a day-to-day basis.

“Simplicity is key. Tailored dashboards that only feature the HRMS functions each user needs or has access to, a minimum of steps to access those functions, and a single login”

You can dislike the Microsoft hegemony all you want, but the reality is that the vast majority of the world are familiar with the Windows OS and Microsoft Office: fields, dropdown menus, keyboard shortcuts, tabs, right-clicking, and well, windows, are what we know and when we see them, we feel comfortable. What’s more, we feel confident and able to work out how to accomplish system tasks with little formal training (or to put it another way, our familiarity with the HRMS user interface encourages us to guess).

Simplicity is key. Tailored dashboards that only feature the HRMS functions each user needs or has access to, a minimum of steps to access those functions, and a single login; nothing frustrates more than having to input multiple passwords.

Finally, configurability is a key feature for a successful HRMS. The dashboards, the user interface, and the system as a whole (especially the reporting and analytics) should be capable of being configured to the needs of your organisation and the individuals within it.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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