Stacey Seronick

research, design, strategy, art & fashion

design and development of content, sites, apps, experiences, logos, what-have-you

Creating a team member onboarding program for employees and managers within a large, matrixed environment

Highlighted Skills Used:
Information Architecture
Process Design/Business Strategy
Learning Objective and Path Design
Achieving Buy-In

Generative and Formative Research 

Context:

  • A rapidly growing content team within a 75-person B2B UX team, which was part of a larger ~275,000-person corporation

  • No onboarding program established, tailored to the content or larger B2B UX team

  • ”Current experience” included a few emails sent from manager which contained long lists of copied and pasted Very Important Links, which may not become direly needed for weeks or months, and some suggestions on who may have the time and availability to train you in which systems and processes

  • Anecdotally, it was widely accepted that it takes new hires about six months to adjust to their new role, taking up a lot of time on the part of the manager and trainers (existing team members)

  • I was overwhelmed to realize the volume of inputs required and lack of guidance available

The Challenge:

  • Create an onboarding program for the UX Content team which teaches new hires how to use the tools they’ll be using and how they are expected to format their deliverables, as well as all of the HR-related information and tasks.

  • A content team of three FTEs lost a manager, promoted a new one, and then needed to hire ~10 people within a 10-month time period - a good solution needed to be scalable and needed to start rolling out soon.

  • Ensure the process is easy to replicate, scale, and maintain, and that saves the manager and trainer(s) time when a new hire starts.

Research Gathered/Methods Used:

  • I used myself as first “user” to base initial prototype for, using my own pain points with the onboarding process.

  • Performed semi-structured interviews with my team mates and manager to understand pain points from the point of view of those who are onboarding new hires.

  • Performed structured interviews and ethnographic observation with new team mates who used the new process and learning projects.

  • Performed an abridged cognitive walkthrough of intranet before release to first new hire after me.

Design Process:

  • While being trained in the processes used by my new team, I took detailed procedural notes, which could more easily be turned into learning projects.

  • The team intranet and the learning projects it contained were used with the first and each successive new hire after me; this afforded me a new “user” to get feedback from in a structured interview and iterate for the next new hire.

  • Working with a remote senior team member, I led us through three design/research iterations to expose most and the largest of the issues with the process, site, and projects.

Results:

  • Since no baseline time had ever been scientifically established around onboarding time, the anecdotal “6 months” was shortened to about 6 weeks before new team members reported feeling they had a solid understanding of their role.

  • The team manager’s time was so freed up that she was able to take on several new, high-profile responsibilities and projects, earning herself a VP title.

  • The process and projects were so successful that they were replicated by/for the Visual Design team.

  • The intranet site was so useful that it became the first stop for all team members looking for any and all of the team’s procedures, processes, and other important information.

Measurements of Success:

  • Used semi-structured interviews with existing team manager and members before (baseline) and after process and site implementation to gauge whether new process was relatively fast and painless.

  • Time-on-task tracking was performed and self-reported by the team manager before and after process implementation. This is acknowledged to be potentially flawed data as it was self-reported, but the intent behind this task was for a person swayed more by logic than by emotion - the team manager - to see “proof in the numbers” that she was saving herself time.

  • Process architecture and design must be modular enough so as to be replicable by other teams within the larger UX team, without the need for me to explain how to translate that process design for their own department.