Humanizing the employee onboarding experience with

R/GA X

R/GA X Instagram

Overview

Type: Experience Design (Internship)
Role: User Research, Experience Strategy, Branding
R/GA is an established advertising agency that has many offices across the globe. I had the privilege of interning at their Los Angeles office where I worked on improving their new hire onboarding experience. The onboarding process is a rite of passage into a new job and is often overlooked as an important aspect of employee satisfaction and retainment. Understanding this, R/GA Los Angeles asked my team of 5 interns to rethink the experience of their onboarding process.

The Problem

R/GA Los Angeles’ onboarding experience is a disjointed to-do list that fails to bridge relationships between new and existing employees.

The Approach

Our goal was to build a cohesive and branded social ecosystem that focused on showcasing the unique personalities of each employee at R/GA Los Angeles.
R/GA LA employees
R/GA Los Angeles employees celebrating an office initiative

What Is The Existing Experience?

By conducting user interviews of new and old hires, we learned that the onboarding process can be broken down into four phases: committing, learning, acclimating, and evolving. Each of these phases comes with unique pain points that influenced our opportunity space.
View experience map
01 COMMITTING
Committing to a new job is the first step to onboarding. During this time, we found that new hires are eager to be proactive about next steps. However, R/GA's only touchpoint here is a brief welcome email that fails to be informational about next steps and first day expectations.
New hire reading welcome email
02 LEARNING
People felt naturally inclined to find out about who they would be working with as well as what the office culture was like. Between the point of acceptance to the first day, R/GA had no available information to answer these questions.
Google search on R/GA LA culture
03 ACCLIMATING
The first week was a chaotic to-do list of onboarding tasks, consisting of meeting new people and learning about the company. New hires often felt the list was so disjointed that there was no onboarding process at all.
First week schedule
04 EVOLVING
Once people have acclimated to the office, they have to grow as people of R/GA. An important aspect of growth is to get plugged into the community and culture of R/GA. However, employees struggled to pinpoint the culture as it hasn’t been showcased or defined.
New hire's evolution

Key Insights

BE HUMAN
New hires felt anxious as the new kid in school. They didn’t know anyone, and no one knew them. We learned the most important value for people was to learn about each other as human beings rather than as employees.
BE COHESIVE
New hires called the onboarding experience a disjointed to-do list rather than a cohesive program. We learned people valued an organized and informative system because it was a tangible rite of passage into a new job.
First Day Kit
Welcome to R/GA X First Day Kit

What Is R/GA X?

R/GA X is a branded social ecosystem aimed at humanizing the onboarding experience and building culture at R/GA Los Angeles. Between digital and physical touch points, R/GA X’s ecosystem offers new and current employees a cohesive system to engage with each other.

The Brand

We branded our ecosystem to create an experience that was tangible and cohesive. People would recognize the brand and immediately know what that refers to. That brand is what we call R/GA X.
R/GA X logo
Rooted in the Bauhaus Movement, R/GA believes innovative work starts with a diversity of personalities and disciplines. They are an intersection for all things advertising, which includes designers, producers, strategists, and more. We found the concept of intersectionality to be welcoming of all new hires and created ‘X’ as a symbol of that intersection.
R/GA X red logo
R/GA X white logo

The Ecosystem

Rather than asking employees to learn new platforms, we wanted to consider touch points that employees were familiar with. Mixed between physical and digital, we curated five touch points that employees interact with daily.
Welcome Email
Welcome Email
User journey
The post-acceptance welcome email is designed to be the first point of contact with a new hire. It provides context on what R/GA X is, info about the first day, and a Q & A form to collect content for R/GA X’s Instagram. While in the committing and learning phase, it's important to keep new hires informed about next steps.
View Welcome Email
First Day Kit
User journey
We created a first day kit to tangibly welcome the new hire into the R/GA X onboarding experience.  An info booklet, name card, T-shirt, office guidelines, notebook, and branded stickers are what come inside. As the new hire learns about and acclimates to the office, the kit aims to be a friendly and informational greeting from the LA team.
First Day Kit
First day kit booklet
First day kit stickers
First Day Kit box
R/GA X Instagram
User journey
The R/GA X Instagram is the first social point of contact with the office. Its purpose is to inform new hires of the company culture through highlighted employee profiles and company events.
R/GA X Instagram
People Profiles
We wanted Instagram to be an accessible collection of people’s personalities. Each employee would have a unique profile post that would showcase their individuality and character outside of work. We wanted to focus on the person, not the employee.
people profile
employee Q&A
employee playlist
people profile
employee Q&A
Employee skateboarding
Bulletin Board
The people profiles are complemented by posts that capture the office experience. These posts consist of office events, volunteer opportunities, and employee takeovers. As employees evolve at R/GA Los Angeles, Instagram would be an accessible bulletin board to get plugged into the culture.
Bulletin Board Instagram
Music monday Story
Tat Tuesday Story
Story Highlights
Story highlights would be used to collect and organize fun and memorable moments in the office. Content would cover ideas like Music Mondays and Tat-Tuesdays. Using stories is a great way to engage with the office on a daily basis.
Physical Space
User journey
In addition to digital media, employees spend most of their day within the physical spaces of an office. To create a truly immersive experience, we saw the physical space of the office as an opportunity to sensibly expand the social ecosystem. The multiple tv screens located around the office would become an extension of the R/GA X Instagram and display people’s profiles, call attention to upcoming events, and recognize outstanding work by individual employees.
Physical space of R/GA LA
TV screen for R/GA X Instagram
Slackbot
User journey
As the most-used touchpoint in the office, Slack provided a resourceful opportunity for R/GA X. We programmed Slackbot as a one stop shop for all things R/GA X, whether it be a social or informational inquiry. We called it R/GA X Bot and tailored it to both new and existing employees.
New hire slackbot
New Employees
For new hires, the bot provides helpful information in bite-sized pieces. The focus is on the acclimating stage where new hires are primarily concerned with discovering their workplace, peers, office culture, and first week schedules.
View
Existing employee slackbot
Existing Employees
Slackbot aims to connect and update existing employees with new hires, company events, and an exhaustive list of office FAQs.
View
Intern Presentation
R/GA X Presentation Day

Reflection

At the end of our internship program, we presented our project to the office. The pitch was received very well and R/GA Los Angeles decided to develop the social ecosystem. To conclude our project, we prepared a roll out plan as well as templates for the Instagram content.

From this project, I learned about the value of experience design beyond the scope of web and mobile products. R/GA X combines the use of digital and physical touch points, which required solutions different from traditional product design. However, the philosophy of experience design remained intact. Discovering the narrative of our use base and mapping the experience journey was the core of our design process. It was engaging to explore how design thinking can be applied to just about any type of problem scenario.

Intern Team
Jason Yun - Experience Design
Daniel Tak - Experience Design
Meghan Lai - Copywriter
Emmaline Terry - Art Director
Tony Kim - Visual Designer