How might we...
reduce the time to reliable independence and immerse quickly in our unique culture through an experiential onboarding?

Mozilla wanted to establish and pilot a cultural onboarding program, with the hopes of taking a recent hire after 90 days and settling them into their role. They aimed to get them through the onboarding experience to effective independence as quickly as possible. The program would move from the existing self-directed, ‘jumping into the deep end’ model of entry into the culture to an intentional, community-based onboarding experience.

The organization had developed the content, but wanted help with the structure — particularly how to make the process interactive. Together, we designed a four-day session that we would facilitate on behalf of Mozilla and piloted it three times.

How We Did It

We identified the core needs for creating a successful program, from fostering a sense of cohort to nurturing the participants’ ability to thrive in a consensus-based, collaborative environment. 

To match Mozilla’s commitment to their mission and values, we started by asking people why they joined. This allowed members of the cohort to see both how they’re unique and what they share, and then we began weaving the question of “how are you like a Mozilian?” into the conversation. 

With thousands of employees and contributors, it can feel challenging to find community and connection. That’s why we created a cohort model and allowed each one to have its own unique identity. One way we did this was to give each cohort 20 minutes to come up with a cohort name — with no additional input or direction from us. The way each group named themselves, and the name they chose, was distinct. At the end, every group got a ‘mission badge’ with their cohort name. This created a community of cross-functional teams.

We also know that sending out notes and slides at the end of this kind of workshop is a surefire way to create a lot of wasted paper. That’s why we incorporated graphic capture throughout the course of each session, visually representing the entire journey. On the last day, we asked each person to physically point to where they showed up on the artifact, ensuring that everyone’s voice was represented.

The results
Building a culture of trust and camaraderie.

The relationships forged in those cohorts continue to have staying power. Many participants have actively retained relationships with others in their cohort, via means such as Slack groups, email lists, and connecting at company all-hands meetings.

The pilot was so successful that Mozilla kept us on as facilitators for the program. The organization has seen both statistically measurable and qualitative increase in engagement via survey questions such as, “Am I seen?”, “Do I have access to leadership in the company?”, and “Does Mozilla take an interest in my growth and development?”

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