Guidea specializes in helping companies in the most challenging industries innovate and launch products by delivering results-driven product design and strategy. The product design process is accelerated, with discovery, design and research in weeks or months. Team members have to be adaptive and have a broad range of UX and research skills while providing consistent quality and delivery.
Guidea frequently engaged contractors and junior designers to supplement staffing and bring in new ideas and skills. New team members frequently struggled with expectations, scope, quality and delivery which produced delays, inflated budgets and quality control issues. The consultancy needed a consistent onboarding process to acclimate new team members, and give them tools to successfully understand and act on expectations.
Product design services
Project time
2 months
My role
Design practice manager
Project scope
As the design practice manager, I wanted to create an onboarding experience to improve the ramp-up, consistency and quality for new design practice members, along with making them feel welcome and supported.
To do this, I gathered feedback from the team and leaders to:
•  Define the key values and impressions to surface through the experience
•  Create the team member’s engagement journey
•  Gather and organize the supporting tools, resources and documents
What I learned
Through internal research conducted with team members, it was discovered that new team members were left with a lot of questions unanswered when engaging on a project for the first time. Most reported feeling lost, under qualified, and stressed since expectations weren’t clearly defined at the start. Over time, these feelings diminished as individuals had successes on project but it left a lasting impression.
Onboarding - whether its operationalized or formal - is one of the first impressions team members have of the organization, and a bad onboarding experience can have long-term impacts on how new team members perceive their role and the company itself.
I prioritized opportunities in the onboarding experience that set expectations, provided positive feedback, and allowed new team members actively contributing in a comfortable setting prior to starting a project.
A new onboarding experience was rolled out that included a visual, day-by-day journey. The journey provided links and access to supporting tools and documentation so team members had a centralized location to explore resources. New team members ere paired with an “onboarding buddy” to help guide them through their orientation and be a resource and personal connection from day one.
The process helped us increase the consistency of delivery with new clients, and allowed us to accelerate project timelines from 6-8 weeks down to 3-5.
The work
I started by gathering inspiration for the onboarding experience in and outside the product design community, and gathered insights from team members experienced in onboarding processes. These examples helped me work through the key values I wanted to surface in our experience.

Gathering resources, ideas and notes in a Miro board.

Next, I outlined an en to end journey so I could capture the entire experience a team member might have with our agency. Outlining a team member’s entire experience with the organization. With much of my support staff rolling on and off the bench based on the project pipelines, this helped visualize the need for a comfortable off boarding.

Creating an end-to-end journey to visualize the timeline,  steps and resources needed for both the new team member and the person onboarding them. 

To make sure the onboarding experience wasn't overwhelming, I used a Miro board to present the flow. With this method, I could provide transparency to the process and keep it collaborative between the new team member and their onboarding buddy. Users could capture notes and refer back to the board later, and it included links to supporting resources.
The onboarding Miro board, with a separate page for the different stages.
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