How Salesforce design has kept their onboarding experience human (even in the midst of a pandemic)

Full article from InVision can be read here.

Onboarding new employees is a crucial, yet delicate process. The checklist of hiring managers is long, from the administrative to the intangible but, when that process is designed well, it can lead to big payoffs like higher performance and talent retention.

So often overlooked in the onboarding process, though, is a focus on the human experience. And if creating the perfect blend of business needs and human-centricity wasn’t challenging enough, let’s throw a pandemic into the mix.

Currently working through this challenge is a newer team dedicated to unifying and elevating design at Salesforce, internally referred to as Salesforce Experience. Back in 2018, Justin Maguire III, Chief Design Officer, and Teddy Zmrhal, Global Vice President of design and innovation, partnered to integrate the company’s design capability. After a year spent building a new program that would break down silos between design teams, evangelize the business and social value of the work within the organization, and scale the mindset across the ecosystem, the Salesforce Experience team was set to bring on its new hires in March and start the hard work that lay ahead.

But then the COVID-19 crisis struck. Rather than holding off until things had settled, knowing that “settled” was an uncertain future, the team put on their design thinking caps to dig deeper and refashion how everything-their work, their design, etc.- fit into the new world order.

The Salesforce Experience team is focused on what they can control: How they connect with each other as people, and how that can reverberate through culture, product, and external influence. The most high-impact opportunity started with onboarding their new employees.

While work processes and projects were important, it was clear that collaboration and relationship/culture-building were top priorities. This led the team to take a deep breath and think about how they could more intentionally engage and align with their vision, an approach that echoed Salesforce’s overall thoughtful and relationship-centered approach during the crisis.

The implementation of the new onboarding strategy appeared in fun ways: a shared Spotify playlist for everyone on the team to add new songs weekly, a virtual coffee catch up each morning and a happy hour on Thursday nights. Team members schedule video-chat dates to check in and see how the new hires are doing, and encourage goofy backgrounds/filters to help bring levity, humor, and a sense of fun and play. Team members are also encouraged to take calls while walking so that they’re getting out and moving their bodies.

Just as these things help the team bond, the team’s leaders acknowledge that everyone responds differently during a crisis. Many are looking to their jobs as a way to take control amidst the uncontrollable. The team has prioritized a few large, meaty projects that offer new and existing team members a different way to bond.

The Salesforce Experience team’s mission is to bring more humanity into technology and business. While they’re still focused on supporting companies in building great customer relationships, the team’s intentional process for bringing on new team members at this moment offers a new approach to not just onboarding, but culture-building overall. They’re applying human-centeredness inwards, realizing that the uncertainty that’s gripped the world demands that individuals find new ways to be nimble and flexible without letting go of what matters most: building trust, strengthening relationships, and using design as a means to do both of those things.

Read the full article here.

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