Generating real change from the results of your usability study

Generating real change from the results of your usability study

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1515

Apologies if you have heard the Machiavelli quote before but no apologies for its timeless truth. It seems especially true if you’re trying to change your intranet or digital workplace to be more efficient and effective for employees, perhaps using techniques like the Task Performance Indicator developed by Gerry McGovern and his Customer Carewords partnership.

A major theme of this year’s Customer Carewords partner gathering in Lisbon was how to move beyond just measuring or reporting on poor employee experience, to projects which resulted in real organisational change. Needless to say there were more questions than answers but here are three insights that emerged over the course of our 24 hour get together.

Connect with existing current measures of organisation performance

Usability and employees experience professionals who want to support change must connect their studies with organisation KPIs; so far so obvious. But with a focus on measuring ‘task completion’ and ‘employees time taken’, Task Performance Indicator projects can lose or understate the connection with employee behaviours that drive revenue or reduce costs.

To create lasting change, projects must draw an explicit link between leading indicators like task completion and increased employee performance, in areas like sales or service delivery – in other words more revenue or reduced costs.

Hypothesising explicit links between employees’ experience and organisation performance

Every usability project, like a Task Performance Indicator project, should hypothesise 3 to 5 links between the measures they are making and positive changes in employees performance.

An example hypotheses might be – “If employees find it easier to contact service engineers and make changes to service call schedules then customer complaints for this product area will fall”.

The project measures the tasks; contacting service engineers and changing service call schedules but links these explicitly to changes in the lagging indicator (customer complaints). Ideally, measures are published side by side in a dashboard showing success rates for the employees tasks alongside the rate of customer complaints.

Getting the right internal customers for you project

“…the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1515

The continuation of Machiavelli’s quote is rather depressing if you are attempting to change things, but the germ of success is contained within it. It’s those “defenders” who you really need no matter how ‘lukewarm’ Niccolo found them. You’re looking for people who care about the lagging indicators, like customer complaints in our example, and who buy into the connection you have made between them and the tasks you are measuring. Not got any of those? Time to think again because without a motivated sponsor or ‘customer’ for your results then there won’t be any change.

I’ve been working with Gerry McGovern for 14 years, and he’s got a knack for highlighting organisational failure to change, and bringing the necessary tools to bear. Hear Gerry talk about how top organisations drive change in the digital workspace and how you can build task based intranets that delight employees and management. Full day workshop, London.

Gerry McGovern workshop
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About Brian Lamb

I'm the co-founder of Intranet Now.

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