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5 UX Best Practices HR Should Be Using

5 UX Best Practices HR Should Be Using
Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 by Kimberly Dunwoody

Annual benefits enrollment can be a daunting task for both employees and HR managers alike. The process can be overwhelming, confusing, and time-consuming. But if we boil benefits down to its very basic parts, we find that it’s all about experience and the people the benefits are for.  

Technology is the foundation for many of today’s experiences, from shopping to entertainment to health and wellbeing. As technology advances, though, so do consumers’ expectations—70% of employees want to see personalized messaging in their benefits experience. But with over 85% of these same employees saying they’re confused about their benefits, it makes sense to take a beat and go back to some of the basics in the overall user experience.  

User experience, or UX, can help you simplify and enhance employee engagement by leaning on industry standards for usability. This includes creating intuitive digital experiences, taking the jargon out of benefits language, and digging into where employees are getting stuck—and figuring out a solution to keep them engaged with their benefits. 

UX is rooted in empathy, as the experience designer seeks to put themselves in the user’s “shoes.” So, we’ll put on our empathetic enrollment employee shoes to see how to walk through the experience with employees in mind. 

Here are five UX best-practices you can use to enhance your benefits strategy and employee experience. 

  1. Understand your employees’ needs 

Design thinking is a systematic approach to designing a solution that meets a user’s needs. HR managers can use this process to understand what their employees find important in their benefits package.  

Design thinking involves empathizing with employees by using surveys, interviews, and focus groups to discover pain points and better understand their needs. HR managers can use these insights to create a benefits package that is personalized, purposeful, and easy to navigate. 

Some examples of using design thinking in your current benefits strategy include: 

  • Reviewing participation and enrollment data. Are you seeing low numbers when you expected higher results? This might indicate a lack of awareness or visibility of that particular benefit. You can use that data to look at how you’re promoting benefits overall and identify areas where your strategy isn’t performing as expected. 
  • Surveying employees for their feedback. Benefits should benefit your employees. But if your current benefits experience isn’t serving their needs, that’s a problem! Employee feedback is a critical insight into what employees want and need out of their benefits.  
  • Conducting focus groups to find the gaps. Sometimes, employees just aren’t aware of what’s available and/or how it could help them. Gather a focus group or advisory council representing various divisions or a diverse set of employees to ask questions and find out more about what they need and their overall awareness. 

2. Simplify the benefits enrollment process 

The enrollment process should be easy to complete. Nothing discourages employees more than a complex process. Employing UX principles can help simplify things for employees.  

HR managers can create a user-friendly interface, design intuitive navigation, and use a visual language that is easy to understand. To prevent confusion or misunderstandings, use clear and concise language, simple graphics, and minimal text. If you’re using a technology solution, be sure to test and complete the flow yourself to see if it makes sense and functions well. 

3. Personalization and diversity are key 

Every employee has unique requirements and preferences. First, HR managers must consider each person’s needs when designing a benefits package for them. This may seem like a daunting task, especially when you have a wide range of ages, stages, or needs. But using your data and survey results can help you identify and prioritize the areas of greatest need. 

Second, personalizing the benefits enrollment experience for each employee helps to increase the overall engagement level. Personalization can involve tailoring information, guidance, and assistance to meet an employee’s specific needs. Designing an intuitive, unique, and personalized user experience can help employees feel valued.  

4. Navigation is crucial 

Benefits enrollment is process-driven, and navigating to complete it can be tricky. HR managers should employ as many navigation cues as possible to guide employees through the process. Navigation should highlight the journey’s completion and give employees a clear indication of how much progress they’ve made. Meanwhile, illustrations and animations can break down complex concepts, making them easier to understand.  

To take it two steps further, consider the order of how the benefits options are presented. Does the order make sense? Is the member selecting their health plan before their savings or spending account option? Should they choose their dental plan before voluntary benefits? Map out the flow to maximize understanding throughout the process. 

5. Always test and improve 

UX is dynamic. Therefore, HR managers who wish to achieve a seamless, stress-free benefits enrollment process must continuously test, gather feedback analyze data and make necessary improvements. Regular testing can not only help identify potential improvements but also become an integral part of the corporation’s human resources management strategy. 

UX is an innovative approach that can significantly impact the annual benefits enrollment experience for both HR managers and employees. Utilizing design thinking, simplifying the enrollment process, personalizing the experience, and focusing on navigation can immensely improve how employees perceive their benefits package. HR managers must always remember that testing and making improvements will continue to play a vital role in achieving success in annual enrollment benefits.