Deputy's incentive-based onboarding

December 14, 2018
User onboarding

It's an unavoidable fact that the larger a business becomes, the more time it takes to manage shift schedules, time cards, wages, and a host of other staffing demands. Rather than focusing on growing the business, founders eventually end up spending more time administering their employees than strategically growing the business.

It's a painful problem that workforce-management solution Deputy aims to solve. Launched by cofounders Steve Shelley and Ashik Ahmed in 2008, the Australian company has grown quickly to become one of the leading shift-scheduling solutions on the market, working with over 90,000 Deputy users around the world. Their cloud-based software platform makes short work of scheduling employee shifts, submitting time cards, facilitatng workplace communication, and handling payroll.

Because of the wide-ranging feature set and the need to simplify it for employees of all levels, effective onboarding for Deputy users is particularly important, and they've come up with a novel solution. Each new business account receives a seven-day free trial, and users can extend their free trial by completing certain onboarding tasks. This approach teaches users how to effectively utilize the software and, at the same time, incentivizes users to complete the entire onboarding process.

After signing up, new users are shown a persistent onboarding bar at the top of the screen, listing the onboarding tasks to complete and showing how many free days remain in the free trial.

Clicking on the list of tasks brings up a modal dialog where users can quickly jump between tasks that must be completed. Each tab includes a short description of the task, along with how many free days the user will earn for completing the task.

As users complete each task, that task icon turns green in the top bar, and the count showing the number of free days updates to match.

Deputy also makes effective use of video within the modal dialog, using short, embedded screen recordings to quickly demonstrate how users can complete that particular task.

Given that Deputy becomes useful only when employees also begin using the software, the onboarding checklist includes tasks that employees must accomplish, such as downloading the Deputy app and connecting to the service. The onboarding modal gives users a quick link to send employees an SMS message with a link to download the app, saving even more time.

The final step in the onboarding process is a call to action to choose a plan in advance of the free trial ending, a task that adds even more free days to the user's trial period.


Why this is Really Good UX:

  • Deputy incentivizes users to complete their onboarding process by extending their free trial. This encourages users to complete the entire onboarding process, increasing the chances that they'll convert to a paid account at the end of their free trial.
  • The persistent onboarding bar at the top of each screen emphasizes the list of onboarding tasks users have yet to complete, taking advantage of the Zeigarnik Effect to drive users to complete the onboarding process.
  • The modal-based onboarding flow can be closed or reopened at any time, giving users the opportunity to jump in and out of the software as needed, without interrupting their workflow and adding unnecessary friction. The short videos and screencasts embedded in the modal make it easy for users to understand how to complete each task.


Screenshots captured on 12/14/18