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October 09, 2017
Human Design for Human Resources
By: Traci Cuthbertson

When was the last time you looked in a user manual to figure out how to use a website?

Today’s digital experiences have set the standard: technology designed specifically for individual human behavior. Even in the realm of enterprise support systems, the imperative to adapt technology to people has become apparent, with disruptive, cloud-based vendors redefining expectations.

This key trend from the 2017 Accenture Technology Vision highlights how human-centered design will empower people to invent more and achieve more in the era of the intelligent enterprise. This year’s overarching theme, “Amplify You,” illustrates that human empowerment is at the heart of the digital revolution. Rapid advances have created a people-centric technology environment—giving individuals the power to shape technology as they see fit.


Tech Vision 2017 Trend: Design for Humans – Inspire New Behaviors

Human-centered design—accounting for unique human behavior—not only improves the quality of the experience, but also the effectiveness of technology solutions. When technology works with people, they will embrace it. When it doesn’t, they’ll abandon or ignore it.

Take, for instance, security policies. Organizations have struggled for years to impose safe computing standards and tools upon their people, yet people remain the biggest source of security breaches. This stands as a reminder to all disciplines that technical functionality alone is not enough. Businesses need to account for human behavior to change human behavior.

Like most business functions, HR has used technology for many years to perform a variety of tasks, from human capital management to payroll to learning and development. Workday is an example of a new breed of cloud-based vendors that are designing their software with people at the center. The design imperative is to create HR applications that employees love.

Take Workday Learning, for example, which facilitates how people want to learn by adopting the best design and capabilities available:

  • Workday Learning provides a frictionless experience across any device and multiple media formats. Videos can be highly interactive with short quizzes and the ability to embed notes into the content to engage learners and ensure they clearly understand the material.

  • With easy-to-use search functionality, there is no need to browse through hierarchies of topics and sub-topics. The learner just types in what they need and they find it.

  • Workday Learning enables the creation of a more personalized learning experience, with the use of machine learning to recommend relevant content.

  • Workday Learning appeals to employees because it provides social capabilities that are familiar to the learner, including likes, ratings, comments and the ability to upload your own (user-generated) content.

  • The application also makes it easy for learners to view their history and personal library to see what has already been completed and what they need to do next.


Every organization has a different learning strategy, and because of that they will face different policies and governance issues. For example, a typical corporate user might find that consuming videos at their own pace is the most effective way to learn, whereas a different approach might be used for a retail client whose employees need to be informed up to the minute on their customer’s needs onsite. Thanks to Workday Learning’s mobile-first user experience, just-in-time videos can be enabled through mobile, allowing retail employees to learn about new products on the fly and save more time for customers.

Additionally, the application improves the ability for leaders to track and respond to learning experiences. Consider the example of Sylvia, a new team leader who has just completed a ‘Path to Leadership’ course offered by her company. Workday Learning can push videos to her mobile device daily, to reinforce what Sylvia learned in the course. She can share her thoughts and past experiences with the rest of her class through comments. Janice, Sylvia’s manager, can see from her dashboard that Sylvia is nearing completion of the course and makes a note to follow up with her. Later, Janice provides feedback directly in Workday on the course and Sylvia’s performance, and she makes some recommendations to Sylvia for additional training.

By considering and responding to human behavior, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to transform their relationships with people, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the design of Workday Learning. Employees will be drawn to the rich learning experiences provided to them, and leaders can choose to build on the insights available from usage, continuing to make learning the personal experience that today’s workforce expects. 
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