For a designer at whatever level, from junior to director of product, starting a new job is always a challenge and a crucial moment. We attempt to be at ease inside a consolidated structure, philosophy, and industry, which makes it a delicate and occasionally difficult scenario. In this instance, our emotions are a poisonous mixture of fear, worry, and expectations.
Creating a successful onboarding process is essential to boosting self-assurance and ensuring satisfaction during the initial phase of a new professional path. Regretfully, most businesses fall short in this regard.
You need to make sure the onboarding process goes well if you want employees to love their new jobs from the first day. Since remote workers are not entitled to the same benefits as employees who work in-house, it is much more crucial to ensure their comfort. Furthermore, onboarding might entail more than merely providing assignments and a business email address to new hires.
You’re happy that someone will now handle UX design after investing the time to recruit a skilled designer. Even with their experience, though, this person still needs thorough onboarding before they can begin working. The employee will be more valuable to the business in the long run if you spend more time onboarding them over the initial few weeks.
Read on if you want to know how we onboard our new employees.
1. Schedule regular Q&A and checkups
You should not only be ready for tons of questions from a new designer or even more, but you should also dedicate some time to asking these questions, apart from answering all the ongoing ones. The calls don’t need to be long, often 15 minutes will do. Having regular short calls also helps newcomers not feel abandoned in all the mass of new info that they need to process.
Asking many questions does not mean that the designer doesn’t know well enough how to do their work. Even when you hire a seasoned professional, there’s still so much that they need to know about your product that only you know.
2. Give access to all the info designers need (and more)
There’s nothing new about the fact that you have to give access to profiles and team workspaces on different apps. Yet, there is a common problem when product managers only provide the most basic information about the product.
Naturally, you don’t want to share all the internal documentation with a person who is still on a probationary period. On the other hand, the designer’s work process can benefit a lot from having that extra information.
3. Introduce newbies to the communication channels
Whilst new employees working in the office get introduced to company culture as soon as they come and almost automatically, doing that remotely is trickier. First of all, company culture is less clear in online communication. And what’s present is more subtle. You can just call it communication style instead of the heavy term “company culture”.
Here is an example. So many teams use Slack for internal messaging. The functionality of the app is the same, but the ways people communicate on it are endless. Some teams would spam group chats with memes, while others prefer personal messages and avoid emojis (by the way, Eleken designers believe that the use of emojis in Slack is a key to establish good communication with new team members).
Read Also: What Are 5 Things Graphic Designers do?
Even though most of these differences are unspoken, I’m sure there are a few rules of your internal communication manners that you can explain to the newcomer to help them avoid awkward situations. It can be talked through during a call, but if you notice that there are quite some rules in your company, consider writing them down in your onboarding guide.
4. Do not limit communication to one person
Product managers or senior designers are likely to be the ones who do the most of the onboarding work. Dedicating lots of time to questions and checkups doesn’t mean that newbies shouldn’t ask questions to other colleagues.
Give your newcomers tips on who they can refer to with different questions: developers, marketing director, HR manager, and so on. This way a designer would get to know more team members and avoid feeling awkward bombarding you with questions all the time.
5. Foster personal communication between team members
This is one of the trickiest things about integrating remote employees into the company. If you have ever been to a corporate online party, you probably know they suck. Well, at least 95% of them.
So how do you compensate for the lack of office kitchen chit-chats? They seemed so pointless before, but turned out to be a missing link between team members when the world has shifted to remote work. For new employees, it was a natural addition to the onboarding process — informal, yet very helpful.
To make up for that, you have to get creative. Depending on the kind of relations you have between the team members, the solution can be different. For example, “donut” meetings. All the people have to be matched into couples randomly. Each couple has to schedule a video call where they can talk informally about anything (better not work-related). That way workers get to know people from the company that they may not have been in contact with otherwise.
6. Don’t stop after the first days or weeks
After the discovery onboarding phase, a designer is ready to work on actual tasks. That is when many product managers exhale and let designers to themselves. Here is an argument that can make you inhale again.
We know that the beginning of work is not the most productive period for most people. However, a thorough onboarding can improve that. The more inputs a product manager gives, the more efficient the work of a designer will be. The newcomer may spend lots of time doing research when they could get the same info from a manager in a few minutes. That is why explaining the product roadmap, existing user flow, and technical tasks for future designs is so important.
What is The Onboarding Process of Brand Design?
The process of acquainting a new client with your offerings, guidelines, timetable, and other pertinent information in order to ensure a positive and successful working relationship is known as onboarding. It can also be employed as a means of establishing the overall project’s tone.
A successful experience for all parties involved is ensured by a seamless, stress-free onboarding process that sets expectations and provides informative information to the customer.
We spend a lot of time acquiring clients and attempting to persuade them to take on projects as designers and business owners. To do this, we have a unique website that is well-structured, user-friendly, and highlights our finest work. That high calibre of work and organisation must continue once your client signs on.
It’s important to fulfil every demand made by your clients. Client dissatisfaction and a negative image of your company will result from a careless or chaotic onboarding procedure.
You’ve put all the hard work in, optimized your website for search engines, created a gorgeous portfolio, and you’re rocking it on social media. This all leads to a potential lead coming to your site and filling out your contact form.
Your website needs to have a contact form that collects necessary information from the client. This is the main point of contact and the basis of your first conversation with this potential client, so take the time to build it out to capture all of the information you need.
From here, you’ll want to connect your contact form with the CRM you use for your business (if you have one). A couple common CRMs for designers are Dubsado and 17Hats.
Once you’ve scanned the inquiry for red flags and think it may be a good fit, it’s time to reply to their submission and schedule a sales call.
On the sales call, you want to talk about what the client is struggling with and how you can help solve their problem with your design solutions. You’ll also want to talk about the timelines, the scope of their project, and further evaluate if they will be a good fit to work with you.
We typically give a high ballpark quote to the client, and then let them know that they’ll get a proposal that outlines the scope of their project details. It’s always nice to set the quote a little higher, and then they are pleasantly surprised when they receive the proposal and see that the price is a little lower than they thought it would be.
Your proposal should include some of the goals you talked about with the lead and what they hope to achieve by working with you.
It also needs to include the scope of the project. For example, if you offer branding, you can break it down into what branding means for this project – brand strategy, brand identity, collateral items, etc. Get really specific about what you’re offering to the client.
If you know a rough timeline for the project, you can include this in the proposal to give the client an overview of what to expect. You should also include pricing, payment structure, and terms of the payment.
Once the proposal is complete, email it to the client within 24 hours of the sales call. Ask them to review it and get back to you within 48 hours. Be sure to follow up with a friendly nudge if you don’t hear from them!
If the client decides to move forward, it’s time to send them a contract. This should further outline the scope as well as any policies or copyright terms. I highly recommend consulting a lawyer or purchase a contract from an industry specific website, like The Contract Shop.
You can send contracts via 17Hats (a CRM tool), so the client can seamlessly review and sign the contract all online.
Once the contract is signed, you’ll send the client an invoice. CRM tools are also really great for invoicing because they take out the need to manually follow up and keep track of what invoices have and haven’t been paid.
Tip: Never start the project without the contract signed and invoice paid.
Once the contract is signed and invoice is paid, it’s time to move to the final phase of onboarding: the welcome packet! A welcome packet can be a webpage or PDF that you send to the client. It should outline anything your client may need to know about working with you that you haven’t already covered in the proposal.
A few things to consider including in your welcome packet:
- Educational videos
- More detailed timeline
- Project management tool
- Contact information and available hours
- Revisions policy
One last optional step is a small welcome gift. This can be as simple as a $5 Starbucks gift card or an elaborate welcome basket! This will let them know that you’re thankful for their business and excited to work with them.
As you’re creating your onboarding process, keep in mind that you want it to work for your specific needs, as well as provide a seamless experience to your clients that makes them excited about their project. This not only gives them confidence about working with you, but will lead to happy clients that may refer other businesses to you in the future!
Ensure the new designer has contact with the rest of the organization. Introduce them to all the stakeholders and points-of-contact they’ll be working with throughout the organization. This ensures that (a) they’ll be familiar with the people they’ll be talking to, and (b) makes them more approachable to sales, engineering, customer success, and other teams throughout the company.