Designing Learning Technology for the Workforce Versus HR

Solution providers have been developing HR technology for generations. First, there were custom-built solutions. Then vendors developed mainframe and mini-computer-based packaged applications. Next, client/server applications arrived on the scene. Today, we have software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. The common thread for all of these generations is that they were designed for automating HR processes.

Fortunately, that has started to change, largely because modern SaaS applications start from a different design point of view, with employees and managers at the center, to deliver what HR needs as a byproduct of that experience. The thing is, anyone can say they do that. But it’s easier said than done. What really matters isn’t whether a feature exists—it’s how those features work. And that’s determined by who they’re designed for.

Here are three tips for identifying solutions designed for the workforce instead of HR:

Is the Solution Solving Specific Problems/Issues for Employees and Managers?

Almost everyone who has worked in an enterprise has used traditional HR applications. The initial packaged applications largely used relational databases to store data. The primary user was an HR administrator who needed to accurately track and report on employee data. And the user interface reflected that.

Real workforce-centric applications start with a different approach. They start with the employee and manager at the center of the experience. Then, capturing useful HR data is a byproduct of that.

Does the Solution Use Data to Personalize the Experience?

Another important reason why adoption of these platforms is so poor is that they are so generic. It was about automating and scaling the process, not delivering value to the workers. When that is the goal, you get a pretty generic employee experience.

The good news from a vendor perspective is that it is generic enough that it can work for all learners. The bad news is that it does not really engage the learner well. If you start from the perspective of the learner, you can start to make it relevant to them personally by leveraging data. The system can make recommendations that are relevant to them. There is no entering data into forms but rather learners are presented with learning opportunities to act on, or even contribute to.

Does the Solution Guide the Employee and Manager?

This is not to say that there is no data entry or workflow required. Sometimes there still is, but it is just secondary. It is in support of meeting the worker where they are at. The task that the person may need to perform is not always one they do all the time. For example, they may not request to do a stretch assignment very frequently. So, the system should make it as easy as possible to do that task without needing further assistance.

This is still “self-service.” There is still data entry. There is still workflow and approvals. Those do not go away, but the employee feels like there is value to them—that is the difference. And better experiences drive greater adoption because they deliver value to employees and managers. So, when your organization is looking at new solutions, use these three tips to make sure you select a modern application that will deliver a great workforce experience. In our next blog post, we will tackle how you design experiences for the workforce that are enabled by modern applications.

For more information on choosing the right talent development platform for your organization, download our guide here!

This piece was developed in partnership with Leapgen

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