Reflecting on 2021: Building a Research and Service Design Team in a Pandemic
It seems like yesterday when I walked off the elevator on the 29th floor at One Penn Plaza and looked out the window to see all of downtown Manhattan smiling back at me. With sweeping views south from Madison Square Garden to the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty, I felt a sense of relief that I had made the right decision to join Valley Bank to build a team of researchers, designers and strategists from the ground up.
Then, I walked into my office to discover a desktop computer, desk phone and massive banker desk.
As Carrie Bradshaw would say, ”I couldn’t help but think, were these sweeping views just a distraction from what I might discover as I literally start to open up drawers and look in the physical and digital corners of this place or should I just embrace my new banker status.”
From that day forward, I’ve been able to put aside my fears [even though there are definitely scary things in the corners] because I’ve witnessed a cultural, organizational and structural transformation right in front of me at Valley Bank.
This past year, as the Research and Service Design team moved into our new space, we were able to celebrate having a physical space that represents the creative culture and freedom we not only want, but need to thrive. We were also able to celebrate the growth of the UX Research, UX Design and Experience Strategy disciplines within Valley Bank and the impact we were having throughout the organization.
Growing this team, learning about each and every person that joins and seeing the impact they have made, has truly been a highlight of my career and a bright light during this pandemic.
Last year the team, which was mostly hired and onboarded during 2021:
- Developed a design system for internal and external desktop applications so that the team could unite around a single source of truth as it grows, maximize the time the team spends on design and our colleagues spend coding, as well as, transform existing applications to modern, intuitive design.
- Researched, designed and developed a digital Customer Playbook that describes our small business customers, introducing small business archetypes to the company, in addition to describing ways teams can use the archetypes to drive decision making, or customer “plays.”
- Built the foundation and began rolling out quantitative and qualitative listening programs across all key buyer and customer journeys allowing us to grow the number of people we heard from by 7 times, or 35,359 listening moments.
- Redesigned and re-platformed the core account opening experience, setting the stage for a future state where all account opening can be digital with an intuitive user experience and reducing the time it takes to open an account from 30 minutes to less than five.
- Established a unique onboarding process for researchers and designers that allows us to welcome new hires with efficiency and excellence so that everyone feels prepared and ready to make an impact on day one.
If you are still listening and this sounds at all appealing to you, I have good news. The team is still growing! If you enjoy diving right into transformative cultures and love working alongside curious, creative, research-obsessed teams, we would love to hear from you.
On day one, you might join a team working to innovate in the payments space by developing a single platform for all cannabis-related businesses to use for customer payment and rewards programs. Or, you might join a team optimizing our mobile and desktop solutions for small businesses so that the thousands of new small business customers we onboarded during the pandemic can automate management of their day-to-day in order that they have more time to focus on being an entrepreneur serving our local communities.
To make things user-friendly — I’ve listed all jobs descriptions and links to apply here. You can also find specific roles below. Please let me know if you are interested in any of the below roles or have questions by sending a message to me on LinkedIn. Resumes and portfolios are great to see in that initial hello. All roles are based in NYC with a hybrid work schedule.
Sr. UI/UX Designer [APPLY]
Sr. UX Researcher [APPLY]
UX Research Lead [Send Resume to Laura Cochran]
Experience Strategy Lead [HIRED]