Venture Stories

How the Pandemic Inspired a New Human-Centered HR Solution


Key Takeaways:

  1. Defining human-centered design.
  2. Find inspiration from personal experiences.
  3. How to design for products using human-centered design. 


What does human-centered design look like when creating a new product? The Harvard Business School defines human-centered design as “a problem-solving technique that puts real people at the center of the development process, enabling you to create products and services that resonate and are tailored to your audience’s needs.” At Moon Creative Lab, we believe that human-centered design is a key component to our success, especially within HR.

The past two years have had its fair share of ups and downs for just about everyone, especially when having to navigate a pandemic for the first time and adapting to a new way of working together. We were isolated and forced to work alone. The physical distance caused strains on human connection and a sense of personal belonging, and led to questions of self-worth after being used to working in group settings. Our team noticed all of these shifts in Moon Mates which led us to critically examine our current employee experiences, the main one being employee onboarding. We really wanted to make sure that whether a Moon Mate was just hired or had worked at Moon for years, everyone felt important, valued, and heard by evoking a better sense of belonging and inclusion.

Without the in-person experience, but with building a human-centered culture as our North star, the challenge for our team became, “How might we better establish human connection and build trust in a virtual workplace using human-centered design?”


Use Your Personal Experiences To Spark Inspiration

The onboarding process is one of the most crucial and important parts of an employee's journey at our company. We believe that setting up every new hire for success at the beginning directly correlates with how they will feel later on at our company – not only with their peers, but with the satisfaction of the work they will do.

When we first started taking a deeper look at our onboarding process and those of other companies, we noticed a common theme. Onboarding processes were simple one-pagers full of checklists. If you complete these 20 items on the checklist, then you will have completed the onboarding. This felt very flat, boring, and not aligned with our value of being human-centered at all. From the outside looking in, it seemed as if we were putting the company’s needs first before better understanding the person’s experience and needs.

Noticing this sparked inspiration for us.

We felt motivated to rethink the entire onboarding process by making it more fun, interactive, and thoughtful while still making sure individuals felt up to speed with all of the information about our company and the role they would be fulfilling. Traditionally as HR professionals, our first thought isn’t to consider building a tool ourselves when there wasn’t one we could use already on the market. However, Moon Creative Lab is a unique place with a unique position. Since Moon is an incubator for new, bold ideas, we felt inclined to explore this idea further, simply because we could!

How We Reimagined Our Product Using Human-Centered Design 

Now, two years after the onset of the pandemic, we have taken on one of our greatest challenges: building our first, one-of-a-kind onboarding tool specifically for Moon, which we call Ascend.

Ascend is an onboarding experience that greets a new hire two weeks before they start and leads them through their first 90 days by providing them with all the information about Moon, our parent company, past and present projects, our values, and more! This allows for new Moon Mates to digest information and meet fellow Moon Mates at their own pace. We really wanted the platform to feel as customized to them as possible. We believe that if someone feels instantly welcomed to a new team and acclimates to a new role as quickly and seamlessly as possible, they will feel valued and confident from their first day. Our hope is that with a human-centered approach and experience is pursued, it will result in overall better work performance and employee satisfaction. This is why we strongly believe reimagining the onboarding process using human-centered design is so critical. 

While building anything from scratch is a huge undertaking, we urge anyone that is looking to solve a problem to first think of the human-centered approach. Use that as your North Star. When a solution resonates with a person’s needs, the problem at hand can become way less daunting and more attainable. This helped us a lot on our journey towards building Ascend.

Be sure to follow us here to read more progress of Ascend!

Monique Riley 
HR Business Partner

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