Designing New Employee Onboarding with Service Diorama

We use UX to improve customer onboarding experience. Customer onboarding is big deal for user acquisition and retention. Why not use experience design approach to improve new employee onboarding then?

Making experience design easy for normal people

Part of reason why companies do not apply design approach to improve onboarding experience is that it is difficult. Creating persona for new employee, understanding onboarding journey of new employee using customer journey map and etc. Those design tools are fantastic, but it requires practices to master.

So I created a tool for non designer to take design approach — Service Diorama. Let’s see how business can use Service Diorama to visualize the ecosystem of new employee onboarding.

Service Diorama

We use three kinds of cards to describe what’s going on with new employee onboarding. 1) People, 2) Item and 3) Place. We use color coding to visually differentiate groups. Use cards and colors to visualize what people do with what items and place the action is happening.

You can use the Service Diorama through out innovation process from Discovery, Ideation to Prototype (Iteration). Let’s see step by stem.

Join Service Diorama community in Slack

Choose colors for group

The first step is to choose color for each group. I use different colors of paper stands as prototype. But you can use different colors of PostIt. You can also use different colors of clothe pins. You can join Service Diorama community in Slack to understand more. You can also download the latest prototype in the Slack community. It’s free to join, free to download, free to use.

Start with User (New Employee) — Discovery Stage

You may want to start with user. In this case, new employee. Use people card for new employee with Orange color.

Place You and Draw a Line between User and You

Let’s suppose you are in HR department responsible for recruiting. Blue represent company who provide onboarding “service” to new employee.

Place Different Stakeholders

Continue placing different stakeholders who play roles in the onboarding process. The new employee may be assigned to marketing department. They will probably need various training and there will be someone in charge of training in your company. The new employee will also need to receive their work PC from Help Desk. The list goes one.

At this stage, map looks very similar to stakeholder map.

Use Place and Item to describe where and how people are connected

After mapping stakeholders, you may want to use Place Card to describe where the communication is happening and Item Card to describe how the communication is happening.

You may want to let the new employee know how to get to the office. You send email to the new employee describing how to get to the office. Your company has employee portal to describe what to do after the new employee come to the office.

This is what is happening on surface. How do we know we are just scratching the surface? You have only one Orange. Other cards are all Blue. Visual representation of stakeholder and color mapping help you understand what are possibly missing.

Go Deeper

If you have employee portal, there will be people who are managing the contents. If you have training to new employees, there are people developing the contents and deliver the training.

Some building requires extra procedure to enter. Security plays critical role to help new employee enter the building. Who communicate with security and how?

Some of these players are external party who provide service to you. So we use Green to differentiate between new employee and company.

You also need to understand there are many stakeholders that belong to Orange which represent new employee. Family, friends and peer new employees! The communication can happen outside the company. In this case we know that new employees are using WhatsApp group to communicate and help each other.

Learning Points

Learning from Service Diorama mapping is usually very intuitive. In this scenario, there are a few things that is obvious.

  1. WhatsApp communication plays big role

2. Too many lines concentrated to New Employee

These two stand out, don’t they? When I do this at a government organization, HR director came in and saw the map. With just a first glance, she said “I don’t know what is this, but I don’t want to be this person” pointing out the new employee card.

What Do We Do? — Ideation Stage

There are so many lessons to learn from Service Diorama as you go deeper. My recommendation is to pick one learning points. Work one by one. Why don’t we pick “1. WhatsApp communication plays big role”?

Your Service Diorama exercise uncover that you new employees like using WhatsApp. One approach you can take is embrace it. You can even create company WhatsApp group and invite all new employees.

This will also help you and new employee with stuck at security gate issue. New employees can just use WhatsApp group to let you know they need pick up at the security gate.

If chat is how people want to communicate, why not use it at work? It is quite important new employees are quickly adopted to new work environment. There are many chat solution for corporate. Why not then use Slack to further improve group communication and accelerate onboarding?

Use Service Diorama to Test Hypotheses — Prototyping Stage

These are just idea that requires validation. But your idea is already visualized with Service Diorama. You can use this to test your idea with different stakeholders. Invite as many stakeholders as possible and have join the iteration of idea using Service Diorama.

Service Diorama is visual representation of your user experience. The simple and visual representation help your stakeholder quickly dive into the process.

Service Diorama in Real Life

Paper Prototype of Service Diorama

This is the third iteration of Service Diorama. You can join Service Diorama community in Slack to download printable PDF file for free.

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