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2 February 2021

New year, new job, first 2021 blog…


“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.” [Simon Sinek]

Starting with a new organisation when you have been out of work for several months can feel daunting, nerve-wracking or even scary in ‘normal times’ but with a backdrop of a new Covid-19 variant, a third lockdown and adding home-schooling into the mix, anxiety levels can be heightened and self-doubt may kick in.

Not me, I was excited, I was starting with an organisation [hippo] which believed in me, my values and my purpose. Finding an organisation aligned to all of these is hard to come by. Many claim that they are design-led, user-led or customer-centric, but when you drill down to the heart of them it’s just words on a company website.

Hippo is different, they believe that good digital services enrich and improve people’s lives, and are passionate about communication, critical thinking and problem-solving.

As a User Researcher I love finding out about people: why do people do what they do, think the way they do? Act the way they do? What motivates them to get up in the morning and truly make a difference? I get a real buzz from it, so not being in the same room with my new team when starting in a new organisation could be difficult, but not impossible.

We all like to be introduced to people, to smile nervously and politely and to be assured that ‘if you need anything there is always someone in the team that can help’, because that’s how we start to build lasting and trusted relationships.

Onboarding remotely could have been tricky. Thankfully it wasn’t due to the operations team at Hippo being fantastic; from the initial phone call to discussing joining the team, my equipment arriving a day after it was ordered, meetings, onboarding tasks and activities already in my diary, through to actual day one was seamless. The team clearly has a handle on all things service design, making me happy and confident I had landed an awesome role.

Starting any new role is never easy. There is so much to learn about the new organisation, getting the balance right for new starters so they don’t feel overwhelmed but just enough to spark their curiosity to want to learn more.

Understanding the systems, the processes, the culture, the structure, who’s who and what to reveal on your first Zoom call when in a full team meeting can all seem overwhelming, but knowing that you have been employed because of your expertise and knowledge of your discipline, and because you would fit into the Hippo pod, everything else can be learnt over time.

I feel confident that I have made the right decision to become a Hippo, and hopefully, these feelings of excitement will continue. Project work will start to take hold, if I did have any feelings of anxiety or self-doubt these have definitely subsided as everyone has made me feel welcome and sent kind messages, and I can’t wait to meet team members in the flesh in Coventry and Leeds. Until then, I will ensure I connect with as many Hippos as I can online, continue to be curious and ask many, many questions….

Roll on week 2.