UX Design Intern
Jun 2022
Jul 2022
Alex Bazan, Chloe Gillmar, Alex Del Taylor, Katie Bingham
Figma, Figjam, Zoom (for user interviews), Microsoft Word

H‑E‑B is one of the largest independent food retailers in the nation. Based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 340 stores throughout the U.S. state of Texas, as well as in northeast Mexico.

H-E-B's new squad, DesignOps looked for summer 2022 UX Design interns to solve essential work, how do we effectively onboard our designers? For 8 weeks, my team researched the onboarding process and visualized the journey through the service blueprint.


H-E-B Project Onboarding

Current onboarding processes for newly hired designers lack consistency across Design & User Experience (DUX), with hiring managers and squads spending a considerable amount of time and energy creating onboarding solutions.

DesignOps is a new team for H-E-B's DUX. DesignOps is a team in a design org, we are designers designing for our designers, internal facing, enterprise design.


  • Align DUX onboarding processes to create consistent new hire experiences. 
  • Instill a sense of belonging while increasing new hire efficacy. 
  • Remove unnecessary stress from new hires and hiring managers by automating onboarding tasks when possible.


The outline of the project process, each key step that allowed us to move onto the next.

Research Goals

Analyze current onboarding materials: Inform problem areas and assumptions around the onboarding experience.

Gain empathy for new hire & hiring manager: Find their onboarding experiences through interviews.

Gather key insights and themes: Inform archetype development, service blueprint and further DesignOps onboarding solutions.

Sweeps Week

Started understanding the onboarding process through information that came out of sweeps week, DUX's weeklong focus on organization and special project deep dives.

Key information pulled

Pulled info: onboarding process& touchpoints for new hires. Documents produced like checklists or templates, & how each squad has a very different onboarding process.

Assumptions and questions

From there we knew we needed more info and started to create assumptions to later validate during the interviews. Example: onboarding process vary on work location.

Learning From Sweeps Week:

  • Identified manager touchpoints with new hires.
  • Confirmed that onboarding processes vary depending on work location.
  • DUX partners are often discovering and creating best practices for tools and processes in silos.


Material audited, comparison of 20 onboarding documents, including 2 slides, 8 onboarding guides, 4 squad Confluence pages, 5 hiring manager checklists, and 1 DesignOps hiring checklists template.

Audit Learnings: We reviewed all the artifacts (presentations, documents, guides) our new hires are interacting with. Using existing guides as a starting point, we began simplifying and standardizing onboarding guides and manager templates.

Interviews… 17 in 1 Week

We interviewed 17 DUX Partners, including 8 new hires, 4 hiring managers, and 2 hiring managers/new hires. We gathered key takeaways from each of our interviewees with 5-6 questions in a 45-minute interview.

Raw Data Points to Themes

After each interview, we broke down our notes and clustered them into thematic groups, and once all the interviews were completed, synthesized them to discover insights. We found consistent  themes among those insights, and by organizing those, we finally identified overarching principles of the onboarding experience for both new hires and hiring managers.

Our User Insights

Out of the process: This process took days to complete, however, now we are informed about our users. Insights for our New Hires and Hiring Managers are articulated through principles and themes.

New Hire Principles

After grouping, we started to noticed themes from our 10 New Hires. We found New Hires seek culture and belonging, want to measure onboarding progress, and need clarity about accessing tools and resources.

1. Seeking Culture and Belonging: New hire's Sense of belonging is determined by relationships and communication.

  • New hire’s past experiences inform how they show up as their authentic selves.
  • There are no set communication standards within DUX, including how to speak with leadership.
  • There is little guidance to understanding DUX or its relationship to H-E-B.

2. Measuring Onboarding Progress: New hires try to build confidence in their roles while navigating organizational challenges.

  • New hires prioritize learning about their squad, project, or skillset over learning about DUX or Org as a whole.
  • Receiving feedback during onboarding reassures new hires that they are on the right track.
  • There is difficulty understanding the onboarding process and new hires’ place within it.

3. Accessing Tools and Resources: New hires require clarity around tools and resources to orient themselves during onboarding. 

  • New hires are often confused about how to access and use existing DUX tools.
  • When given a new resource, new hires value context for how it relates to their role.

Hiring Manager Principles

After grouping, we started to noticed themes from our 6 Hiring Managers, we found Hiring Managers utilizing a variety of tools and resources, rely on dux to introduce the culture, and have different ways of measuring progress.

1. Utilizing Manager Resources: Managers use a variety of tools to onboard new hires, sometimes creating their own.

  • Managers use onboarding buddies differently, with varying perceptions of success.
  • Managers often create their own methods to track and prepare new hire onboarding.

2. Introducing the Culture: Managers rely on DUX relationships to provide info and create a sense of belonging for new hires.

  • Managers often feel that their relationship with new hires is crucial to a successful onboarding experience.
  • Mangers advise new hires to attend 1:1s to gain an understanding of DUX and their place within it.
  • Managers create onboarding experiences that are unique to their squad or team or management style.

3. Measuring New Hire Progress : Managers rely on DUX relationships to provide info and create a sense of belonging for new hires.

  • Managers develop their own metrics for new hire onboarding success.
  • Managers often feel like they don’t have adequate time to prepare for new hires.

Research Recap

Analyze current onboarding materials: From Sweeps week and auditing materials, we have quantitative about documents being used.

Gain empathy for new hire & hiring manager: Through interviews we now know themes that reveal empathize with our user.

Gather key insights and themes: Qualitative data such as insights like principles inform next steps.

Data Visualization

We looked for ways to visualize our data to be actionable, and tangible, our team set out to create a service blueprint and archetypes, both being worked on at the same time, and the archetypes will be mapped on the service blueprint.


Archetypes represent behavioral patterns found among our interview participants, showing distinct values, tendencies, and challenges around the onboarding process. (Unlike personas, they do not include individual biographical data, and aren't meant to be seen as specific people.) 

Behavior Spectrums

After synthesizing our research, we noticed that new hires and hiring managers made distinct choices while facing similar challenges. We mapped these choices out along spectrums from one behavioral extreme to another.

Archetype Development

We then combined the participants, with new hires on one scale and hiring managers on another. Patterns emerged from combining, and we started grouping participants with similar behaviors.

5 New Hire Archetypes

4 Hiring Manager Archetypes

Archetypes and Service Blueprint?

Our archetypes were put onto a service blueprint to see how each archetype interacts with pain points or situation in our service blueprint. 

Service Blueprint

A diagram that visualizes the relationships across all processes in an experience: people, technology, tools, resources, etc. The goal for the diagram is to showcase all touchpoints in the user journey.

Blueprint Process

To create our service blueprint, we pulled in information previously gathered during sweeps week, audits of existing onboarding documents, and findings from hiring manager and new hire interviews.

Blueprint Lanes (The Rows of the Blueprint):

Each lane shows a category of the items in the blueprint. All actions or events are displayed at once showing the different connections between items.

  • Artifacts: Physical& digital touchpoints our new hire experiences.
  • New Hire (NH) Actions: Journey of new hire as they become self-sufficient.
  • Front Stage: Actions that occur that new hires can view or interact with.
  • Back Stage: Behind the scenes action that supports front stage or the new hire.
Blueprint Columns (The timeline of the Blueprint):

The scale used is from the Day 1 to month 6. Each timestamp shows all significant events in that time.

Blueprint Example:

This is how an example on a very small scale of the service blueprint

Here's the real thing... get ready...

The Service Blueprint

Yes! It is a lot of info... Let's stick to the small scale...

Blueprint + Archetypes:

Here's how the Archetypes interact with the service blueprint to inform our ideation.


We are currently assessing these areas to inform the future of our onboarding efforts.

Our archetypes and service blueprint help us better understand the DUX onboarding experience. These tools will inform future DesignOps onboarding projects, helping to create a more welcoming and efficient process for new hires and their managers. 

Thank you!

Jon Rodz Star

Putting The Spark Into Good Design

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I imagine a world where people wake up feeling thoughtful and end the day trusting in themselves and the community they're in.

I express that through design.
I design thoughtfully to create trust.

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