Beyond Tactical Onboarding: What Every Designer Needs to Know to Be Successful
Maria Pereda presented “Beyond Tactical Onboarding: What Every Designer Needs to Know to Be Successful” at Leadership By Design: Home Edition. Enjoy!
The following transcript may contain typographical errors. Please forgive any mistakes!
I’m gonna bring it back to a much more practical theme with geese how to make people successful from the get-go.
So design is very popular these days, have you noticed… We used to have our own conferences and we sat around and we say, Oh, design is important to what good companies do without us, we’re gonna change the world, and we just told each other how great we were at how companies just does not understand how we were saving them from their own due… But these days, it seems that companies have understood how we actually bring value, but the reality is that for this to happen, we had to make some changes, we needed to stop looking in words and we needed to learn a new language, we need to get past the desirability past of IT, or part of design, and understand what is the viability of these and what’s the feasibility of these and how do we combine all these things? And that was hard. I don’t know why it took us so many years, but we finally got there, so Lisa mentioned these strategic part of being a designer, like how do you become strategic, and it is all these things like understand the business, how you have a conversation with a product manager where you’re not just talking about it, these drug down is pretty or if it’s not, but what is the function that he’s supposed to have… You go out there and you see that McKinsey for instance, had these great reports, I think a year ago or a couple of years ago, everybody’s reading it, CEOS one design and things like that, so were there, we got the seat and the take more.
So I now, design leaders expect that their designers will be able to go and have these conversations and be able to move the business needle, but let’s take a step back and take a minute to understand how our onboarding or traditional onboarding in most companies, these… So you go to a new company and you get or valuable information, but it’s very general, you’re gonna be walked through a bunch of things like, what is the history of our company? What are the values of our company?
What are the departments that exist and who is who, you’ll probably forget 30 minutes after you’ve done the onboarding, like either you’re right and down, or you’re gonna have to hand that information and you’re going to get a walk-through of your product, maybe you’ll do an exercise like create a little store for your date, you’ll go do some sexual harassment course, for sure.
So a compliance training, some infant crane, you learn how to submit your expenses, you learn that maybe one that you have free lunches, and you learn that these are the Neuse and probably you won’t get the essential one that you need, and it’s gonna take you a whole month to get the provisions in order to get the license for the one that you really need to do your job, after that, you get kicked down to your department and your manager will say, Oh, let me on board you on to whatever I can… And for me, in the past, it’s been, let me onboard you to design, and I have to confess that my on-boarding has been tied of… Man, hasn’t been the best. I’ve been like, Okay, very busy series of these nine body, they’re gonna show you everything, here is a folder with everything, here is the research with DoD, let me walk you through who is who? Let me set up a couple of chats and you’re all saying, What happens that we have these high expectations for designers, but we don’t really articulate them, and what we get is designers that end up designing solutions based on that… Maybe an article they read, the limited knowledge that they have, the world view, or maybe some UX influencer they follow on Instagram these days.
So when I started my last job, I was like, how going… Not falling to these trap, how do I prepare my new designers to meet these expectations rather than hold that one day they will go on their own and learn of these and surprises me.
So I decided to run a different experiment this time, I was like, I’m actually going to spend some time designing an onboarding and being intentional about it, I want them to know how to do all these things, so what I actually would time aside where they can practice all these ahead of time and they understand the expectations and how to look for this information, so I created a new design on-boarding that takes two weeks, and I was like, I don’t know how the company is gonna react to these, but I’m just gonna go for it… So these on morning was much more for teaching, the goal was for the designer or designers, whoever was onboarding to spend one whole week focusing on what is the industry wearing, what’s the market, who is the competition, what is this competition doing, and what is happening out there how did they get there? And then the second week, maybe we can start looking inwards and really understand the company, not from that 30-minute presentation they had with a car the prayers week, but maybe understand, okay, what works, what doesn’t work, how are all these departments connected, who is who and who is not important because we all know there… It’s not very important people sometimes, so that was… I’m sorry. Everybody is important.
So I, Aeolian, the first week would be focused on understanding what are the forces that move us, and what affects our profitability?
Are we been profitable? Do we have a competitive advantage? What is the competitive advantage in relation to somebody else, how is easy to enter the market or to excite… If somebody wanted to set up shop tomorrow and come and complete with us, could they do it? And that helps take decisions, and when you have to make trade-offs, when you have to decide and how fast you need to build a picture versus how fast you need to launch, etcetera, etcetera.
So for some of these exercises, it’s like, Let’s go to the good Amba practices and what they teach you in business school. So we brought in, I brought in so abrogated enter sizes to do like Porters, Five horses Ocean Strategy, which was completely unheard of even in my company or for designers, and I said, Every day you’re gonna spend the whole day just doing these… Like it doesn’t have to be completed, but you have to have an idea of what’s going… One anchor size that I found especially helpful was a competitor analysis, the reason I like these exercises because traditionally, when designers have done competitor analysis, they’ve done it on the interface, maybe on some features, they compare one to one and they say, Well, this is slick, or This works this way, but they’ve never done it from the business going to be or the product point of the… Like postage, user. When was this founded? And what is their business model?
Do they have a premium or they… A subscription service, are they… Whatever model they’re using, who’s their user base?
How is the profitability?
And you might think, Wow, where are you going with this? But all this gives a lot of context to decisions we’re taking, for instance, at Ron monk when I was working on… Where I’m working until the end of next week.
We entered the market in 2013, and one would say that a high is that were competitors, but if you start looking at how long they’ve been established, and if you look at it and the their target population, which is enterprise versus us, targeting small and medium businesses and once you start comparing their features one to one, it doesn’t make much sense because we’re targeting politely different industries, so this was a very interesting exercise because one of the things I tell the design nerses, you don’t have to start from scratch, these information… Maybe not all of it, but some of it exist in the company, so go find it, talk to people and figure out what you can get. And in this one specifically, I think every single designer has come back and said, Hey, I found a competitive analysis from sells, it says we’re the best at everything, and that’s the one where I’m like, that’s… I don’t know, do you think it’s biased? So I send them on their own to do their own analysis and they come back and they’re like, Oh, guess what, we’re not the best at everything.
So it’s a very big open… If you’re wondering where I send them for information for these… The internet is full of it, there is state, there’s crunch-based, you can go to Facebook for reviews, you can go to last or you can go to LinkedIn, like The world is your research.
The second week, we look inward, we look at the company, we look at the product and we look at the people, and what I mean is we don’t go straight to the product, but I sent them to talk to people and to understand how a port and is interconnected with each other, what’s happening in marketing, what is their strategy? How does marketing work with customer success, how do the leads for marketing bonuses, what the sales do with their leads and… Do they do cold calls, do they have a PR department? What happens with big deals versus small deals were defiant, widow, and how do they hand over to sex, so all these things start giving an idea of how our systems internally are working and if those are affecting our customers and their experience that our customers are having even before they get to the product, the second thing they do is they ask each department, what do you think are the top issues we’re having, and what would you ask to fix if you own product and IT department will give their issues and surprise surprise. Most of the time, they’re different, so I… Then the designer has to do their own evaluation of the product, here they say on what they’ve heard from the department and waving would they learn from the market and from the competitors, and they have to put their own recommendations forward of what both their priorities because… So I’m gonna share an example. Thank you, Ross, five minutes.
So I’m gonna share an example of an internal assessment, somebody on my team be… And what’s very interesting is that this assessment came with not only issues on the product from features and UX, but we’ve seen performance, pricing, availability, so it was a great exercise for this person to understand how Nothing lives in isolation, each company and each product. It’s part of a bigger system.
And just fixing one thing, you have to understand how it will affect every single thing that is connected to it, so you… I wonder, Wait, how can they do this in two weeks?
So one thing I do is always reach for the designer that of course, it will not be 100% correct, you can’t call me two weeks and figure out the entire company, you cannot get the answers right, but what it does is it gets them much more comfortable starting to sink that information, starting to establish those connections and starting to understand the environment that they are going to be operating in.
So how does this work out?
I’m think, okay. Overall, one, because they are able to deliver value much faster, just because the expectations have been set on what being a designer needs and what is expected of them, what I’ve been noticing is that there’s a strong relation of success between the on-boarding and the day-to-day work, and they have established this connections earlier on that are gonna help them be successful moving forward, the questions I still have open are like, Wow, how do I bring these to the hiring process so I…
I can evaluate people before I hire them, I don’t know, obviously, I’m not gonna put anybody through a two-week enter size… Actually, I don’t do it. Your sizes for hiring. But definitely, it’s something that I want a tween move forward. I’m moving on to a new job in a couple of weeks, we have a couple openings there on the job posting, but I would definitely continue to tweak these and establish it at the next part.