Fiveable Round 2
Erica "E" Weber Whitmore | She/Her
Content Project Management Candidate
Problem Solver Extraordinaire
Small/Mid Size Biz Dreamer + Doer
Known as: "E", "E Double Dubs", "Erica"
**I've used my quick web design skills for my response to this challenge. It is optimized for mobile, but built for a desktop experience. I recommend viewing on a desktop, if possible.
Case Study | Problem to Solve
We need to find a better way to screen content writer ("writers") applicants to avoid ghosts and manage the workflow. How would you go about solving this problem?
We want to understand how you think through complex problems and the reasons behind your solutions. This isn’t about coming up with the best idea, although we’d love to see your creativity. It’s about finding the right person to tackle our most pressing challenges.
STEP 1 | Assessing Root Cause
My first step is always to try to get as close to root cause analysis as is feasible. I'd talk with some Fiveable writers - those who deliver consistently and those who don't - along with the Fiveable team.
I'd also map a Fiveable partner Journey Map to find pain points in the writer experience. From there, I would work with the team to prioritize the high impact updates.
For any changes, I'd have a clear communication plan and change management plan to keep our writers with us every step of the way.
As I discussed Fiveable's model with a few teens and young adults throughout the week, we've ideated two potential root causes that we could imagine coming up in discussions with writers and Fiveable team members:
STEP 2 | Measure
As an organizational gardener, I see my work as a true art and science.
Let's get creative and also measure the impact of tweaking variables to achieve our clearly stated goals.
Baseline Measure |
# and % writers active after time span or mission quantity
Increase # and % of writers active after time span or mission quantity
Baseline Measure |
Writer Net Promoter Score (would they recommend working here to others)
Increase in Writer Net Promoter Score
Step 3 | Action
Root Cause 1 | Candidate Selection
Some Initiatives to Try Would Include
Using Vette.io for candidate screening
Fiveable Referral Program
Vette.io is an innovative hiring/screening tool that enables candidates to interview on the spot with a gig-worker anywhere across the US. Fiveable would craft the script/questionnaire, which would include questions about the time commitment each candidate would be able to commit to missions.
To have the hiring process include a gig-based model will give them a glimpse into the kind of work model they will be participating in. Vette.io screeners may be able to give the writers tips about working missions into their schedule - as they do the same.
This would be a way for writers who have completed 15 or more missions to refer friends as writers. After the new team member completes 7 missions (or the threshold we see in the stats that seems to be the drop off point), the referrer could receive a small bonus of $50 or "points" that would accrue towards bonuses.
Root Cause 2 | Writer Engagement
Some Initiatives to Try Would Include
Use No-Code Sign-up Tools with Automated Reminders
As fun as spreadsheets are - love them!- there are many inexpensive sign-up and scheduling tools with automated reminders and auto-campaigns that we can tap into.
Whether they are stand-alone or plugged into Wordpress, Wix, Square, or Slack, our writers can easily review and select the missions they'd like to work in the same way they schedule haircuts online. They would select a mission and pre-determine a time they are expecting to work on it.
I would set up these systems to easily add commitments to missions to your calendar, send text/email reminders, and even recognize when the mission has been submitted or if they no-showed to their agreed upon time. I have done this in Wix, Square, and Sharepoint for my teams, so I'm confident I can work within any systems you currently use. I'm a fast platform learner with an HTML5 background.
These systems would also enable the Fiveable team to see the current status of any mission - if it's open, assigned, in progress, date of expected completion, delayed, or complete.
As a solo mission-based writer, we tap heavily into self-motivation. We could also look at layering on a team component to encourage those motivated by team achievements as well.
We could onboard in cohorts and have shared experiences for each cohort as they achieve milestones (e.g. Jackbox competitions, Lego building, trivia, private channels on TikTok or Snapchat).
Participants who are particularly team oriented could sign up for team rankings and perks. As their team progressed through missions, they could win as a team.
I'd work with the Fiveable team to see how we could gamify our writer experience. By crafting a clear Journey Map, we can pin-point steps that can be more fun and exciting - tap into achievement thrill.
For example, writers may be able to unlock levels as they complete certain numbers of types of missions or complete missions a certain number of days in a row ("streaks"). This may give them exclusive access or perks - or even just a sense of achievement and pride to achieve a new "level". These levels could also be tied to dollar amounts given per mission.
We could also price high priority or short term missions with higher dollar amounts to encourage participation in strategic important content.
Fiveable could create a mascot of sorts - or a team of them (ala Salesforce.com) that could act as resources for writers. These would give tips about various themes. For example:
Cheetah would give tips about working efficiently
Elephant would give reminders
Ant would give encouragement
Bee would share the expectation for each mission
Sloth would give tips about rest
When I implemented Salesforce.com for pharmaceutical reps, we tied the rollout to a "May the Force be with You" theme. For the generation and motivators of these sellers, it was a highly engaging program that made the rollout feel more like a Star Wars experience than a corporate tool.
When I sold to building owners a higher upfront cost of construction, but a lower cost of lifetime ownership of the building, we played "The Game of Lifecycle" (nod to The Game of Life). It got them laughing, talking about building needs (for us to include in the RFP), and building trust within the team.
Work is such a large part of our lives - let's make it NOT BORING.
I've managed self-directed remote teams for 8 years now and have built the remote leadership muscle. I'm always here to support my team. I would make sure to login at various times of day/night when our writers have indicated they will be working on a mission. Whether in Slack, Google, or any system we use to collaborate with our writers, I would be present and message them to thank them for working on a mission. I'd offer myself as a resource if they need anything.
If a top performer was online and interacting with me, I might ask if I could send them a pizza delivery using DoorDash gift. They can select the date/time that is best for them. It's a small $15 gesture that can build commitment and organizational stickiness. Or after a particularly challenging mission, I might have the CEO or a Fiveable leader contact the writer directly to thank them for their work.
When onboarding, I would identify motivators and ways each writer prefers to be recognized. Tapping into those throughout their work experience will help support engagement.
I would be sure to send a short message from Fiveable leadership at least every 2 weeks around a particular value, theme, or activism to keep them tied to leadership and the vision of the company.
Step 4 | Act. Study. Iterate. Repeat.
Not every idea is a great idea.
But every idea is connected to another one.
When I facilitate ideation and facilitate prioritization or continuous improvement or operational improvement efforts, I ask participants to think big and not limit ideation by layering feasibility upon it too quickly.
We will start small. Crawl, walk, then run. This will enable us to go far together. We will move forward, iterate, assess, and repeat.
Feedback loops are essential along with healthy communication channels.
We will celebrate wins as a team while also being willing to try and fail - learning every step of the way.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit my thoughts and musings for round 2.
I truly believe in the power that Fiveable has as both a platform for support for students and teachers AND as an experience for young people to be employed as a content contributor. What Fiveable offers can be a transformative self-directed, mission-oriented, supportive work experience for a diverse team. We can be the spark that fuels success in so many dimensions. I'm excited to learn more about the good we can do together. Thank you for considering me for the Content Project Manager role.