Through Berkeley Innovation in the Spring 2018 semester,
I worked on a redesign of Olark's internal employee feedback system.
I worked with
on this project. We were mentored by
is a live chat software system aimed at making businesses human again by supporting
their client’s live chats with sales, marketing, and customer support. The caveat?
They all work remotely! Our team collaborated with Olark’s Director of People Ops and Director
of Product Design to redesign their feedback evaluation system.
Previously, the evaluation process occured on an annual basis.
Their Google Form format was reported to be lengthy, tedious, and cumbersome.
In a remote-first work setting, how do employees accurately gauge their work performance from their team members and manager?
The scope of the project was to explore the needs of Olark employees in order
to design an evaluation system that would elicit constructive feedback in a seamless manner.
Areas we wanted to investigate: frequency of feedback, questions to include, and medium for giving and receiving feedback.
We conducted extensive research in order to better understand the experiences and needs of
Olark’s employees by engaging in a variety of research methods:
Desktop Research - We familiarized ourselves with best practices
regarding feedback design. We explored systems of feedback from other remote-based companies.
Internal Interviews - We conducted internal interviews with 12 Olark employees to
better understand their experiences within the company and filling out evaluations.
External Interviews - To gain further insights into remote working conditions,
we interviewed three employees from different remote companies.
Whiteboarding high-level insights with my team.
Olark’s company culture can sometimes feel overly positive, which hinders the ability to receive actionable, constructive feedback.
Due to the evaluation’s annual timing, peers don’t often know what to comment in addition to running into recency bias.
User Pain Points
Difficult to give feedback to peers outside of this annual evaluation form.
Process of consolidating feedback for managers is heavy-weight and time-consuming.
Many Olarkers do not reflect upon their feedback and lack actionable next steps to implement growth opportunity areas.
My team members and I consolidating and grouping user research.
We then identified three key needs of Olark employees that we wanted to make sure to address in our solution.
Achievement - Olarkers need to feel accomplished and look back at the end of the day and be proud of and happy with their work.
Progress + Personal Development - Olarkers want to know that they’re improving as employees and are on the right track for what’s next.
Affiliation - Olarkers thrive on a sense of belonging to the company and others.
Three consolidated user personas.
In order to best design for the needs of multiple employees, we created a journey map to
visualize the feedback journey from start to finish. We noted the actions employees might take,
emotions that might arise, and pain points.
Journey mapping the current user experience.
Brainstorm ideas for a new evaluation system that address the key needs of Olark’s employees
Rapid ideation session, Figure 8
Creating a feedback dashboard
Channels to promote frequent feedback
Forms to create actionable plans
Low-fidelity sketches and rapid ideation.
Create a dashboard for Olarks evaluation system that would address their three key needs
Content and copywriting
Dashboard design and layout
Throughout usability testing, a few key roadblocks became apparent:
Unclear ExpectationsEmployees had trouble understanding why they had to complete an action. How was this relevant and how would it help them?
Question FormatOur initial assumption was that Olarkers wanted solely
free response questions. However, we learned that this was hard to quantify when compiling the data or looking at trends over time.
Confusing Use Cases
We initially dedicated a huge portion of our prototype to a concept that incorporated meeting agendas with user goals. However, as we
progressed through our user testing, we quickly saw that this format of combining user goals with meeting agendas didn't make
much sense to Olarkers, so we had to scrap this idea. We ended up deciding to keep the goals accessible and personalizable to users.
We used this feedback to quickly pivot in the right direction and continued iterating on our designs.