Companies Need to Adopt New Best Practices to Attract Today’s Game-Changing UX Talent

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Start with an Engaged Team to Build a Product that Engages Users, says Harris Allied

When design has a voice within an organization, that organization is better positioned to not only develop the best user experiences but also to better attract and retain top design talent that is responsible for creating those experiences.

Today, the “consumerization of technology” has shifted the emphasis from building a technological infrastructure to a keen focus on the user interface and engaging customers. At the center of this seismic shift in all realms of business and industry is the critical role of designers in creating the user experience.

“The success of products like the iPhone has raised expectations for technology users. People increasingly expect consumer-grade experiences from software products. This has created a huge demand for user experience (UX) designers. UX designers are the people who can make or break our experience of using a product – and can be the ones responsible for preventing us from throwing our cell phones across the room in frustration,” says Josh Seiden, a designer and co-author of "Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience."

According to experts at Harris Allied (, an executive recruiting firm based in New York City, there are currently 150,000 open UX positions in the U.S. due to the implosion of demand, companies’ need to push products out faster than ever before, and the lag in design education which is not turning out designers fast enough. “Employers are facing enormous pressures to attract the right talent and build engaged cross-functional teams in order to turn out the kind of products that engage customers,” says Kathy Harris, managing director of Harris Allied.

Harris and Seiden offer the following best practices for employers to change up their organization in an effort to attract and build up their pool of game-changing UX talent:

  • Give design a seat at the table. Innovative companies today are often making the Head of Creative a report of the CEO or COO. When design has a voice within an organization, that organization is better positioned to not only develop the best user experiences but also to better attract and retain top design talent that is responsible for creating those experiences.
  • Break down the silos. Create multidisciplinary teams to encourage cross-functional input. Allow team members to contribute in any disciplines in which they have expertise or interest to create a more productive, engaged team. Team members will also quite simply enjoy working together more and will produce better work.
  • Create collaborative workspaces. Break down the physical barriers that prevent collaboration so that everyone is visible and accessible. Some teams even put their desks on wheels so that team members can relocate their workspace near other team members with whom they need to collaborate at any given point in time.
  • Allow UX designers to open up the design process and facilitate design as a team process. Create a culture for design.
  • Create smaller teams that can operate in a more disciplined way to produce.
  • Commit to continuous improvement throughout the design process. Involve your users in the creation process and test your products continuously as you develop them. Commit to learning from your users through the development process.
  • Give UX designers opportunities to broaden their skill-sets and even become multi-skilled. A commitment to learning is an important consideration for the UX professional.
  • Afford your designers’ contact with the end-user. This kind of regular interaction and feedback from the customer/end-user offers valuable input and perspective to the UX professional. It’s also the kind of scenario that UX professionals look for when considering a position because they appreciate the inherent value of that kind of exposure.

“It’s a logical sequence of events: Create the kind of workplace that attracts the kind of talent, and cultivate teams that deliver the kinds of user experiences that keep companies competitive today,” Harris explains.

About Harris Allied
Harris Allied provides premier executive search, technology and quant analyst placement services to the financial services, professional services, consumer goods, digital media and tech industries. The firm represents clients who are at a variety of growth stages: from tech start-ups to established industry leaders. Harris Allied’s client-centric approach allows the firm to objectively assess the strengths of qualified candidates and thoughtfully match them with the right opportunities. For more information visit To view Harris Allied’s corporate video, “For Each of Us, It Starts with a Moment,” visit

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Nina Dietrich
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