What to do when a large company hires its employees in the middle of a pandemic while adapting to remote work? That was a question from one of our customers.
Sensorama was hired to design the digital onboarding experience for employees at a large company. The objective was to give people more autonomy in their learning process about the company and to make them not feel “lost” in their first days of work in this remote reality.
As specialists in user experience and service design, we seek to understand the pain of users: the employees who were entering the company. To design a product that would provide all the necessary context to these people, we could not leave out its main stakeholders, managers and human resources team.
Our process throughout the project
Our first step was to talk to people who were just starting out with the company. Understand your pain, questions and fears in this very special moment — and full of news — which is to start a new job. This guided us to design a friendly experience that would help to alleviate the anguish of this initial period.
In parallel, we runned a quantitative survey with people who act as managers to also understand their discomfort at the time of integration and how they imagine we could give more autonomy to those who are entering.
After the research phase, we outline an opportunity diagnosis and then define the product concept. With that, we validated the content proposed for the onboarding, designed the screens, tested the prototype with newly hired people and made the necessary adjustments. Prototype testing was important to validate our idea, both the concept and the experience.
At the end, we define with the client the metrics that should be monitored at each stage of the product, as well as the roadmap for launching its features among user groups, from the least critical (operational assistance) to the most complex (top leadership) .
What did we find out from the research?
The onboarding process has several stages: study of the contents of the company and the function, familiarization with systems, integration with the team… This range of topics is comparable to the diversity of pains we have faced.
To name a few of them:
- Problems in accessing the fundamental systems of the new role, such as e-mail and intranet. Difficulty connecting with the culture of the new company
- Lack of visibility of areas and how they relate to new work
- Impaired learning by having to start immediately in the role
The people management team, on the other hand, faced problems in responding to the high demand for questions from new employees. This combination of factors ended up generating discomfort, both in those who were entering the company and in people in management positions, who were unable to provide the necessary attention.
After we have a more comprehensive view of the situation and map these and other pains, we asked ourselves:
How could onboarding on a digital platform improve the experience of those entering a new company?
We came to the conclusion that this platform, in addition to consolidating fundamental knowledge, should divide it in order to provide a smooth and organized absorption depending on the person’s moment and role in the company.
Definition of the product concept
Based on the project’s objectives and our findings, we defined the role of people who are joining the company on their journey of knowledge as the product concept, providing them with the necessary tools to learn about the company and their new role.
The product brings a gamified path, that is, we use typical game techniques to engage the user and make them achieve the learning objectives in four thematic phases. These phases are divided into days, totaling four macro steps with activities to be carried out.
On the first day, general guidelines for the company and finalization of registrations for services and benefits are given. Afterwards, the activities begin to be oriented towards the area of activity and the specific tools that each hired person will use.
Assumptions for the product experience
In general terms, we designed the product thinking about:
- Unified knowledge management in the onboarding period
- Modularization of the journey to meet the different areas of the company
- Journey with clear steps so that whoever is joining the company can build knowledge logically
- Consolidation and curation of knowledge so that it is in accordance with function and area
One of the pain points brought up by managers was the need to train new employees in something specific to the function. As a solution, we proposed a moment for the newcomer to attend an asynchronous training in order to prepare for the demands.
On the user’s side, one of the difficulties of the first days of work is the lack of time to resolve bureaucratic issues of the new company, such as signing a contract, for example. Thus, we brought a moment for people to solve general contracting issues without them having to sacrifice work time or content absorption.
Considering the schedule of the new employee and the people involved in the integration, activities could range from a meeting on specific topics, reading materials from the company’s areas or mandatory training.
Many of the materials were already ready and the virtual meetings with the team were already taking place. What we did, then, was to organize all this in the product so that the person consumed the necessary content and participated in the integration meetings in an organized way and according to their progress in the learning journey.
Product validation with users
After defining the concept and working within the premises, we built the screens and it was time to validate. For this, we counted on people who had recently joined the company, those who could bring us a fresh look at what they had lived through and the ideas we were proposing.
We took to the usability test the concept of knowledge curation and the division into stages with attention to the time dedicated to each of the learnings. Thus, the hypothesis we wanted to validate was:
The digital integration journey provides the necessary context to start in the company in a structured, assisted way and with low dependence on other people.
As the tests were completed with different profiles, the feedback and comments found a common thread: the experience entering the company would have been more fluid through the onboarding platform.
The result of this?
From the perspective of the people who tested the prototype, the product could solve the pain we raised in the research stage, because:
- New hires felt a greater presence of the company’s culture throughout the experience.
- Information on benefits and the company’s systems gained transparency.
- As there was an organized and accessible consolidation of the documents that answered possible questions about the processes, the company and the area of operation, the need to involve other people in case of questions was reduced.
- People found information to contextualize their new role and area of expertise before acting on demands and contacting stakeholders.
- People would know which channel to turn to if systems and access were not available.
We left the tests with the certainty that the objective with the product was achieved and with our hypothesis validated.
Along with the solution, we initially brought some improvement points raised during the tests, such as insights into the hierarchy of information, ideas for screen adjustments considering the specifics of desktop and mobile.
Once these adjustments have been made, we deliver a flowchart considering all the possibilities of events in the journey of users and we prepare a communication rule.
And what do we understand from this project?
Hiring new employees in the remote work format requires an organization of information and knowledge management so that these people can integrate smoothly into the company.
Otherwise, they may experience difficulties in perceiving the culture and building their sense of belonging. Thus, they may start already demotivated for not understanding the company or even opting for a job offer elsewhere: things that no company wants after a careful recruitment and selection process.
Therefore, it has a great impact to assess the structural needs of all the people involved in the integration in order to draw up a plan for the presentation of this new universe.
All so that new hires can feel the welcome and culture of the company present not only in the materials and meetings, but also in the attention to specific details of each function.
The digital onboarding product we designed does just that: it organizes the integration touchpoints so that people absorb knowledge in a practical and autonomous way, improving their well-being and their performance.
We deliver this project with the renewed certainty that work inspired by people is good work.