I hired a new UX Designer who is in the process of learning about the company. It got me thinking about how many people go through this same process. I am sure there is a bell curve of people who have ample time to learn and others who are thrown into the deep end on day 1 before they ever finish their paperwork.
A new employee needs time to adjust to the new culture, people, processes, technology and a myriad of other factors. How could they possibly know the little quirks of your organization? How will they know the TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) that people use without realizing they are confusing new people? Are we just hazing them? Putting them through torture to ultimately bond with them? It seems counter-productive to me.
Looking at the situation, I gave a checklist and process to the new UX Designer. I said that each day for the whole month should be filled with the following:
- Watch every video created by the company. Education, promotional, usability, whatever.
- Shadow sales reps as they work an opportunity. Notice materials, techniques, process.
- Shadow sales consultants when they demo the product. Notice the stories they tell including analogies and metaphors.
- Shadow a support rep as they solve a customers problems. Notice the tools they use and the UX issues you could glean from the customer.
- Shadow a training consultant as they teach a customer how to use the product. Watch how the customer learns (or doesn’t) at each step of the process.
- Shadow the account management folks to see how they deal with strategic accounts. How do they turn frowns upside-down? How do they create happiness?
- Shadow the engineers and product managers as they meet to talk about the product and make decisions.
- Daily checkins to talk about what you learned and UX
- And of course, use the product yourself.
Is it reasonable to ask this of every employee who joins the company? I imagine that it would create alot of shadowing. The truth is: Hardly anyone does any of this. Everyone is thrown into the deep end and it’s “sink or swim”. I don’t think this is optimal, but certainly it is the way things usually work. Employees try to learn as they go and not look stupid at any point.
This experiment with the new hire, who will be doing the list above for several weeks will be informative. My hope is that she will be able to produce higher quality work at the end of the first month than she would if I started asking for designs after just a few days of learning.
Do you wish you were given more time when you started at your job? How will you train the next person you hire? It’s always worth thinking about, even if you don’t change the process.