Future Friday: Is your HR department designed with humans in mind?


I came across an article titled Do people really matter when we design workplaces? Written by Steve Maslin it is directed toward architects and designers. He says that often the first reaction to that question is “of course” and to some it is indeed, but to others Maslin says that often he has found that the concern for people is not there. He says “I would suggest that the belief that people really matter when some designers design workplaces for them is quite frankly all too often skin deep.” He statement got me thinking about HR and HR design and processes and I asked the same question.

Employee experience

Today many companies are saying they are concerned about the “employee experience.” Some of them, like AirBnB have done something about it by combining traditional HR with other departments into a department of employee experience. They are responsible for how the employee touches the company which includes the processes, the building, the work space and even the food program. Not everyone in the HR space is like that however. I wonder how many processes are designed not for the ease of the employee or prospective employee but rather for the HR department.

Have you looked recently?

When was the last time you looked at your HR process? Have you had an outsider look at it and give you and unbiased opinion? Have you polled new hires to see what they liked and didn’t like about applying, getting interviewed and getting onboarded? Have you talked to long-time employees and find out from them about the quality of their interactions with HR?

If “employee experience” is going to be the differentiator in the future for people deciding if they want to work for you then it is something that needs to be addressed today. Perhaps having an HR department is not the solution. Perhaps you need to take a cue from Maslin when he writes:

“Much of the problem has been caused by the way we were trained and how this then impacts the way we now practice our design professions. It is very difficult for example, with some exceptions, to find evidence of sociological and human factors being evident in how architecture, interior design and landscape students are taught.  Those with the knowledge are too often side-lined.  However, for product designers, human factors can be found to be a key element of their curriculum. Within information architecture and design one also sees much greater interest in human factors and attention such considerations as diverse user experience and “customer journeys.” Wouldn’t it be good to learn from other disciplines?”

I like this last line. Wouldn’t it be good to learn from other disciplines? If architecture is considering human factors shouldn’t the Human Resources department be doing the same thing?


Origianlly published on Omega HR Solutions blog.



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