Actionable insights into employee leave balances
Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company, partnered with Pivotal to build their first internal tool using agile development, UX design & research, and cloud-based tools. We worked with Telstra's HR and accounting teams to identify large accrued leave balances (such as vacation and sick time) as an issue- both from a financial perspective (large liability being carried over year after year) and an employee perspective (forgoing leave can lead to burn-out and mental health issues). We then created a web-based tool allowing managers to monitor their reports' leave balances and facilitate planning and conversations around vacation, sick time and parental leave.
Role / Research, Interaction & Visual Designer
Company / TeLStra
We were tasked with creating a web product that would help reduce the Telstra's financial liability that was a result of employees accumulating leave year after year. Our product needed to align with a new company culture that encouraged work-life balance and regular vacations.
Our biggest challenge was creating an intuitive navigation and layout that worked well for individual contributors and first line managers all the way up to the CEO.
Telstra had a pre-existing mobile app that allowed employees to view their own leave balances; we needed to differentiate and create a web app that focused on viewing team member balances.
THE SOLUTION & Impact
We designed and built HR Insights, a tool that showed leave balances at both individual and team levels. Managers could see aggregate leave balances for their team(s) to help them understand how they were tracking towards new accrued leave KPIs while also looking at specific leave balances for individual employees.
Leave visualizations allowed managers to see past and planned leave. This helped surface leave patterns on teams and made job coverage easier to plan.
Consistent navigation and iconography allowed managers to drill down as far as they wanted into their teams and reports without allowing access to data from other teams.
Accrued leave usage at Telstra went up 10% in the year following our MVP product release.
All of our research was conducted remotely with Telstra employees in Australia. We focused initial generative research on manager's problems with team and individual leave. Since many stakeholders were also in Australia, communicating our ideas via storyboards and sketches was very efficient. We updated our storyboards to reflect our improved understanding of Sharon as new research findings emerged.
MAPPING User FlowS & NEEDS
Journey mapping, service blueprinting and feature mapping helped us figure out how employees at different seniority levels would use our product and feature prioritization. We realized that there was very little difference in the needs of managers regardless of their level or team size.
IDEATION, Navigation & visual exploration
Intuitive navigation ended up being our biggest design challenge. Early explorations using a tabbed navigation didn't make sense to users . After rounds of exploration and usability testing, we landed on a paradigm that worked for all employees regardless of level; An employee could always see individual leave data by clicking on user's face or team data by clicking on a team icon. Faces and team icons were both round and the same size in most places so drilling down in either direction felt consistent.
Final Designs- MVP
We designed for the persona Sharon, who is a mid-level manager at Telstra. Sharon is a "2-up", meaning she manages two levels up with her direct reports managing teams of individual contributors. Sharon needs to be able to talk to her direct reports about their own leave balances and also talk to them about how they're managing the leave balances of their teams. Lastly, she'd like to be able to see her leave too, so she can manage leave all in one place.
Final Designs - v1
MVP usability testing and interviews led to us expanding on our calendar features in a 2nd release. User feedback indicated that the calendar area was critical in helping managers take action to schedule leave with employees during or after leave conversations. Scheduling concerns and problems were one of the biggest deterrents to employees taking leave and more detailed calendars and visualizations allowed managers to help their employees choose a good time to plan leave.