The move to allowing users to interact where they already are, be that chat, calendars or email is especially relevant to HR applications.
Like project management (Trello, Basecamp) and customer service tools (Intercom, Zendesk), HR tech has been part of the next wave of a hyper focus on user experience to create the next generation of applications.
HR applications have two distinct constituents: primary users like hiring and personnel teams, and the rest of the company’s employees who are generally irregular users. Perhaps when they’re booking leave or participating in an interview for a new team member.
This creates both friction and a training challenge for the second group to get the most out of applications. No matter how intuitive a UI is, a user still must switch mental context and understand the language and mechanics.
Mobile apps were the new revolution in enabling users to interact with applications and services. However, creating another dedicated interface for applications didn’t really solve this context switching problem. User’s just don’t download or use apps for services they user sporadically.
This is why we’re starting to see the next generation of UX innovation happen outside of dedicated applications.
Slack is the most high profile crucible for this kind of innovation in the enterprise world. Slack is an app that employees will install on the phone so they can use it wherever they are. They’re already in Slack both on desktop and mobile so there is minimal context switching. And it supports the kinds of ‘chat and click’ interactions that allow relatively complex features to be access with a guided user experience.
Applications like Lever are expanding the collaboration hiring functionality into Slack. Team members who are already in Slack can easily interact, comment and support the hiring process without switching to another application. GoCo provide absence reporting and management from within Slack.
Calendars are now revealing themselves as the next interface to enterprise applications, especially in HR. So much of HR workflow is schedule based that users can’t avoid taking decisions without referring to their own or their colleagues’ schedules. Use of calendar APIs rather than read-only ICS feeds turn calendars into real-time integration points rather than delayed reporting tools.
Anton Roe, CTO of MHR who have been delivering HR software for over 20 years, said: “We’re seeing a dramatic shift in focus away from HR departments and directly on the employees themselves. The consumerisation of enterprise software and the efficiencies gained from empowering employees to perform personal HR operations requires a new approach to building software.”
With recruitment platforms connected to employees calendars, prospective members of interview panels no longer have to maintain availability in an application. They just keep their calendar up to date and this is automatically reflected to the hiring manager or the candidate when an interview time is selected.
Booking holiday becomes as simple as an employee creating an event in their calendar. That’s where they’re making the decision about when they want to take holiday. Creating the required holiday can trigger the authorization flows so the manager can approve wherever they are, be that email or via a Slack interaction.
Performance management meetings can be automatically tracked, changes responded to and follow ups triggered. All by the HR application automatically monitoring users calendars, not relying on users to keep the application updated.
Roe goes on to say “HR systems today need to have the employee front and centre and must require minimal training. Leveraging chat systems and native interfaces like calendars provide people with natural user experiences that just work wherever they are.”
Chat and calendars represent the next vanguard of application interactions. They are native to computing be that mobile, desktop, car, smart home or otherwise and are already core to users’ workflows. The most successful applications of the next few years will leverage their pervasiveness and commonality to take computing where people are.
About the Author:
Adam Bird is Founder and CEO of Cronofy, the unified calendar API. He’s a highly technical and experienced technology entrepreneur with a passion for continuous improvement that pervades every aspect of his life.
Adam can be shortly described as a technical founder and problem solver with track record of success. Expert post rationaliser.
Entrepreneur and developer with previous success as co-founder of Esendex.
Husband, father & wannabe rock guitarist as time allows. A lover of cycling and craft beer but he never really got on with having a beard for that hipster hat-trick.