Internal Launch Series: Company-wide Onboarding

Catalant Internal Launch Series

Company-wide Software Onboarding across a Remote, Distributed Workforce

July 1, 2020
Preface

Onboarding is one of the most critical phases of a user journey, as it’s generally the first point of platform interaction for a user. That’s why it’s essential that the experience makes a great first impression. At Catalant, we took our employees through our client onboarding experience, launching the platform internally as we adjusted to working remotely while the coronavirus spread across the world. It was an important step to executing our strategic plan.

This gave our employees a front row seat to seeing the platform in action, and it gave our company a powerful way to provide real-time visibility that enables improved alignment between our business objectives, work, and the people doing the work.

In this post, we examine our process and timeline for onboarding our company’s entire employee base onto our own platform, along with practical learnings that we uncovered along the way. 

Co-written by

Cat Powell

Operations Business Partner
Internal Strategic PMO

Sarah deSilva

Customer Experience Manager
Customer-Facing Program Manager

In this series, Catalant’s internal program leads share our journey of deploying and using the Catalant core platform across our company to execute our strategic plan. Expect candid reflections, key learnings, helpful assets, and insights into the results generated from using our software and program design to execute our strategy and orchestrate work across a remote, distributed workforce.

Onboarding your own employees to your own product is an illuminating experience. On one hand, your users are familiar with the product — they built it, they sell it, they deliver it! On the other hand, your users are now in the end user’s position, which gives them a whole new level of empathy and understanding for customers. This perspective is invaluable. As a result, our onboarding process for our 200+ employees has served multiple purposes:

  1. Enable the company to execute on our Strategic Plan;
  2. Drive user adoption and employee engagement; and
  3. Create a feedback loop for identifying process and technology improvements.

Getting Started

Our CX team partnered with me to define an onboarding program that was tailored for our company. Onboarding our 200+ employees was relatively small compared to clients whose user bases we’ve scaled up to tens of thousands of users. Drawing on established best practices, we framed a program that was appropriate for our company’s size. We started with our standard implementation framework, which targets three areas for a successful launch:

  1. User Personas: Categorize different employees based on how they would leverage our software.
  2. Communication Plan: Leveraging existing templates that utilize best practices from working with our clients, and tailor them to customers.  
  3. Training Sequence: Sequence our rollout of training materials and touchpoints.

Step 1: Users Personas

Our first step was taking a closer look at the different types of user personas and the expected behavior of each group to determine which employees would receive a given part of the onboarding process. Let’s examine this further.

There are three key user personas that engage with our platform.

Step 2: Communication Plan

Driving adoption and engagement within the platform required setting the right foundation and expectations across our organization, even before sending out login credentials. Our approach focused on ensuring that each employee both understood the significance of their role and was properly trained in using our software.

The CX team helped me to tailor a communication plan that would be most impactful for our employees. As with any software launch — or company-wide initiative, for that matter — we knew that tone from the top was critical for setting expectations across the company. With this in mind, we kicked off with a presentation by Pat Petitti, our co-founder and co-CEO, to all employees. Here are a couple slides that outlines our communication plan timeline.

Step 3: Training and Onboarding

In parallel to launching our communication plan, we also assigned all of our employees to user groups within our platform. Employees could be placed into more than one user group, enabled with multiple layers of permissions. Although the three groups were onboarded at different times, each group received a similar overall onboarding experience, which included:

  1. An introductory training;
  2. A greeting email with his or her login credentials;
  3. Access to supporting materials, like FAQs and follow-up functional training videos on various aspects of the platform; and
  4. A goal to create and set up his or her user profile. 
 

Results

Our CX team measured the success of our onboarding by tracking and reviewing user activity metrics over time. These metrics include:

  • Logins: the average number of logins per user by a given persona type
  • Pageviews: the distinct ways that users interact with the platform
  • Session Duration: the amount of time users spend using the platform
  • Profile Completion Rate: the percentage of employees who complete their profiles to “All Star” status (i.e., fully complete his or her profile)

We used our platform’s tracking metrics to inform when we should provide friendly communication “nudges” such as email reminders, instant messages through Slack on our company-wide channel, and follow-up trainings, among others — tactics that the data indicate make a major difference.

Successfully onboarding all of our employees was a critical program milestone towards ensuring its success. We know that it’s critical to get users’ first interactions with the platform right; otherwise, you run the risk of low adoption. You never get a second chance to make a first impression which stresses the importance of ensuring that your users first interaction with a given tool is a positive one. We wanted all of our colleagues to experience the benefits of using our platform internally, and the benefits are far-reaching, as we’ve mentioned in previous posts. More specifically, using the Catalant Platform helps us:

  • Provide visibility and drive accountability into the most strategic work at Catalant;
  • Understand our employee capacity across the organization;
  • Drive employee engagement across the company;
  • Foster greater empathy for our customers, and proactively improve our product and delivery methods; and
  • Enable improvements in how we sell and deliver our product;

With our entire company onboarded, we now had full line of sight visibility into all elements of strategy to execution — work, people, and objectives.

Next up in the series, we’ll explore how we use our platform to organize our most important work.

Explore other posts in this blog series.

Read insights and best practices about governance and meeting structure, company-wide onboarding, and using the Catalant Platform.

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