Maintaining our healthy company culture is a deeply held commitment for us at XPLANE, and we see onboarding as a critical part of that effort. Onboarding is more than ensuring people have the physical tools they need to do their work. They also need the social and emotional tools to feel empowered, supported and excited for their new chapter.
In support of this commitment, we are trying a new-to-us tool for welcoming new team members – an onboarding journal. The journal is effectively a diary, kept by new team member’s for their first 60 days, that uses a simple but effective Plus / Delta framework.
Pluses are positive things which should be kept or continued in the future
Deltas are things that should be reconsidered or done differently in the future
“Things” here can be anything new team members observe or experience: behaviors, tools, practices, processes, and so on. Here are some examples from a recent hire’s journal (shared with his permission).
Warm welcome, everyone willing to be helpful
The “Designer Confessionals” video was good to watch for perspective on the designer / consultant relationship
Description of company service offering history (1.0 to 2.0)
General background on how xTeams work on projects together and the overall process
Designer overview with tips/tricks for live drawing in client workshop sessions
Need a glossary of company jargon & acronyms
Wish I could do more self-onboarding by reading or watching videos while I’m still not busy
I get why we use Skype but recommend Hipchat
Wish there was a shared collection of brushes/core assets that other designers use
More client-work shadowing opportunities
Better roadmap of when/which client projects I will work on and a way to ramp up on them
You can see the list ranges from small to bigger things; some are well known, others are eye-opening. But the point is information is flowing and engagement is happening. Based on results so far our hope is the onboarding journals will bring short- and long-term benefits for both the company and new team members.
Benefits to the Company
Fresh perspective on our company with each new hire
An ongoing record and helps us identify trends and outliers in people’s experiences
Surfacing best practices from previous employers for us to consider
Rapid insights into new team members; how they think and how they are doing in their first 60 days
Benefits to the new team member
A general mindfulness during their onboarding experience
An opportunity to contribute to the company from day one and see and feel that their opinions are valued
An outlet for the negative or confusing experiences that can be common in joining a new company
Orientation to our plus / delta culture, which is solutions- vs. complaint-oriented – and sets an expectation and practice of positive contribution to company culture
Have you tried or experienced anything like it? What onboarding practices have you found effective?
Youngme Moon of the Harvard Business School collaborated with XPLANE to create this video introducing her new book, DIFFERENT, an intimately drawn meditation on the meaning of business differentiation.
In case you missed it, last month we sent out our 2009/2010 holiday greeting. Actually, it was more “greeting” than “holiday” — and maybe more “beating” than “greeting!” Why? because we went ahead and poked some fun at a lot of those empty business clichés that get thrown around in meetings, emails and corporate conversations.
So go ahead and download it, hang it up by the water cooler, leave it on someone’s desk…
Later this month we’ll be sending out an interactive PDF with all of the clichés identified and defined. Sign up for our email newsletter if you’d like to get a copy.
For the second time in recent months XPLANE has partnered with The Economist to create a compelling video on a topic of global importance. After working together on â€œDid You Know? 4.0â€, The Economist enlisted XPLANE\'s visual communication expertise to develop â€œThe Carbon Economyâ€ about the growing importance of climate change and green technologies and solutions.
â€œThe Carbon Economyâ€ will be shown at The Economist\'s upcoming Carbon Economy Summit on November 17 and 18, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The video is three minutes in length and includes simple visuals and a moving soundtrack to clearly convey the troubled state of global climate change and what steps must be taken to reach a positive outcome. The production was created using Apple\'s Keynote software.
The David Allen Company: “If you ever feel like you need to get more in control or regain your focus, here is the ultimate guide for getting and staying on your game. The set of productivity best practices which David Allen has researched and synthesized over the last three decades are brought all together into one stunning visual display — the GTD Workflow Map. It’s a rich compilation of the key steps for gathering, clarifying, organizing, and reviewing everything you need to track and manage, as well as an explanation of all of the factors that you must take into account in determining priorities.”
“I spent more than two years crafting and fine-tuning the map, ensuring that it would thoroughly and accurately describe the essential elements of time- and self-management,” says David, “It’s as simple as I could get it, while still embodying the subtleties and complexities that have to be factored in, to make it real and useful. And the visual representation we’ve come up with I think is a highly effective way to make something this meaningful really clear.”
The poster was created by XPLANE, the visual thinking company. Visit www.xplane.com to learn more about how XPLANE clarifies complex business issues through visual collaboration.
XPLANE is happy to present Did You Know 4.0 â€” another official update to the original “Shift Happens” video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist.
The Designer’s Desk By Drew Crowley, XPLANE designer
This is the first in a series of tips, tricks and recipes for designers, artists and other visual thinkers working in meetings and other sessions where large amounts of complex information need to be collected and visualized. It’s a peek into how XPLANE approaches discovery and uses visual thinking to communicate key ideas.
Why we do it:
Live sketching gets people engaged in the discovery process and leads to ideas that may not have presented themselves via normal note-taking. The response to visuals being created before a clients’ or colleagues’ eyes is energetic, and that leads to a natural desire to fill in the picture, completely. The result: Understanding and alignment, quickly.
Materials you’ll need:
Whiteboard or giant stickies
Variety of small, colorful stickies
How to do it:
GET STARTED | Start drawing as soon as you can. The earlier you start drawing in a session the better. It will get the momentum going in the room, the energy level will jump and you’ll start getting real content.
VISUAL NOTES | The key to live sketching is understanding that it isn’t “drawing” in the traditional sense. It’s visual note-taking. Instead of writing “there was a room with a couch and a lamp,” you draw a couch and a lamp and label it with the word “room.” This simple distinction between drawing and note-taking helps alleviate the fear of drawing in front of people.
MESSY IS OK | Yes, sloppy is good. The sketches don’t have to be pristine. The sketchier they are the better. By keeping things fast and loose you’re subconsciously telling the audience that these are just notes and not final images. What’s drawn in session isn’t necessarily going to show up in a final XPLANATiON or another visual communication piece. Keeping things sketchy will help drive that point home, and allow everyone to feel like they can add to the pictures themselves.
ASK | Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or detail. If things are moving too fast, and you aren’t catching everything, let your partner — or the group — know. If the description doesn’t make sense, ask more questions. If you’re not sure whether you’ve captured something correctly, ask your client or colleague. It’s better to ask and be sure, than to assume you’ve got it and have to fix things later.
LABEL | Remember that you’re the one that will have to make sense of these notes after the fact, so annotate/sketch/label in a way that makes sense to you. Label people, label scenes, label arrows, label labels! Live sketching can be fast and sloppy, as mentioned above, and the squiggle you draw in a session might make complete sense to you at the time — but two days later it will just be a squiggle. Labels make the difference between a “centralized supply chain database that everyone has access to” and a bunch of mysterious boxes, lines and stick figures.
When you’re done, document everything with a digital camera being careful to avoid window and flash glare on the whiteboards. It’s a good idea to organize and annotate all of the relevant captured info soon after the session.
Live sketching can be done remotely too, using software like Webex or Adobe Acrobat Connect — but that’s a whole other article.
XPLANE, in collaboration with Nitin Nohria, Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration, and Co-Chair of the Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School, has created â€œImagine Leadership,â€ an inspiring and thought-provoking video on the theme of global leadership. Nohria, working with Amanda Pepper, also a member of the Leadership Initiative, sought the support of XPLANE to create a visually appealing, provocative piece that would inspire viewers to take action, get involved and be motivated to lead.