Burda has the best teams working together to achieve great things. In our "Team of the Month" series, we present such departments on the intranet. Today: The nebenan.de foundation.
"We have the opportunity to reinvent one of the biggest internet brands in Germany. And that, of course, motivates us," explains Kacper Potega, Senior Vice President Product & UX at Xing. In an interview for the "Team of the Month" series, he talks about how the team is structured, how they work together in the context of the transformation, and what makes the job platform so special.
Maybe I'll start by breaking down the acronym: 'UX' stands for 'User Experience', and that's actually a pretty good description of what the team takes care of on a day-to-day basis. Our goal is to create the best possible user experience on our platform, both in the apps and on the website. We look at Xing as a product and define its components, such as the homepage, your profile, news and jobs, its layout and new features.
As soon as it is clear what new features are to be added to the product, this is translated into a detailed concept. This includes a proper design of the functionality. Even though this is still in the development stage, it shows how the feature will work later. The concept is then passed to the development team for final implementation, and this is where the actual programming takes place.
We want as many people as possible to find their perfect job. It's important to understand that the job search process involves an incredible amount of stress and anxiety. It starts with the very first step and the questions: Do I even want to change jobs, and if so, what do I want to do? Is this the right company? What is the culture like, will I fit in, and are the others on the same wavelength as me? And if I apply, what salary should I expect? Every step of the way, you ask yourself a lot of questions and have a lot of worries and concerns. As Xing, we want to design the experience in such a way that we provide users with answers to their questions at every step of this journey. That would be the best possible user experience: they don't feel worried at any moment, they feel like a question they didn't even know they wanted to ask has just been answered. That is the real magic of Xing.
We may not be able to do that everywhere today. But we have been around for 20 years, we have around 22 million profiles of people, some of whom have been on the platform since the beginning. Together with information on corporate culture from the employer rating platform kununu, which, like Xing, belongs to New Work SE, we have an enormous treasure trove of data with which we can achieve a lot.
We are basically turning the whole product inside out: It's a huge transformation where we're moving from a business network to a job network. We want everyone to be able to find the right job for them. That's why we're putting much more emphasis on finding jobs and being “found by the right job” - by fundamentally redesigning the architecture of the application. In other words, we are redesigning the entire user journey.
But of course, it's not just the product, it's the whole business: marketing and PR are also heavily involved and we're all working together to meet our KPIs. It's an incredibly intense period, but it's worth it. As an employee, you see things changing every day and we are getting closer and closer to our vision. It's a great feeling and something quite unique: we have the opportunity to reinvent one of the biggest internet brands in Germany. And that, of course, is a source of motivation.
Our team is mainly made up of product managers and product designers. The product managers are the main people responsible for the success of the product and define what we are working on and how it fits into the overall business strategy. They don't define a big bang release of a big feature, but they are responsible for making sure that the ideas are well received and used by the user. Product designers are then the ones who turn an idea into something tangible. They also design and define how users interact with the platform. Finally, the engineering team, as a separate unit, is responsible for the final implementation – completing the trio. In total, we have more than 20 product managers and designers – we are more than 29 teams set up along the user's journey through the application: From initial registration to profile creation, to messaging, to viewing an ad.
One of our mantras at New Work SE is "consumer obsession". We believe that if we create the best possible solution for the user, we will have enthusiastic users on the platform. We are in a labour market where talent is the most valuable asset, and we cater to its needs. This is also part of the corporate culture that we live by at New Work SE and which is naturally reflected in the way we communicate in our teams – transparently and at eye level, even when we work together across several hierarchical levels. For me as a manager, this means that I am allowed to simply have an opinion and contribute to the discussion without it being immediately perceived as a directive. At the same time, no one has to hold back their feedback or an opinion. This makes us very effective as a team.
A bit of a luxury – and a challenge – is that both the product managers and the designers are incredibly creative people. We certainly won´t ever have the problem that we run out of ideas. Our challenge is to think about which one has the most potential – which one out of the big bunch of ideas will be implemented.
From weekly company meetings where teams can share their small successes with the whole group, to smaller team parties in and out of the office, to big summer or Christmas parties. We have a very unusual office here at the New Harbour in Hamburg, with our own neighbourhood pub, which of course is ideal for team events. But even so, we probably don't celebrate success enough: when you're in the middle of the day-to-day business, it's easy to focus too much on the challenges. Especially with something as big as the platform transformation, there is still a long way to go. It is important to reflect, pause and celebrate the intermediate stages.
I think the most important thing is that everyone who visits our Xing platform in the next few months immediately understands what Xing stands for: The job network. Where 'finding jobs' and 'being found by the right job' are much more important than they are today. And my personal goal in this context is that if I ask someone at a party where they found their job, they will say Xing. That would make me the happiest of all.
Another topic that is very much on our minds is, of course, AI. Here, too, we work very closely with our Burda Tech colleagues and exchange ideas – we are very excited about what will come out of the Burda universe. Because I am convinced that it will also turn various business models upside down. AI will also help us transform Xing to make it even better for the user.
Since 18 October, the new Xing homepage has been available to all interested parties free of charge at https://www.xing.com/und in the Xing app: here, the transformation of Xing into a jobs network becomes visually visible.
Funnel organisation within the Product & UX team at Xing:
Nils Neubauer – Talent Acquisition (Logged-Out Experience, CV Editor)
Serkan Baydin – Jobs Matching (Job search and recommendation)
Kevin Prasse - Jobs Interactions (application sprocess)
Christina Schreck – Talent Interactions (user profil)
Torben Bursinski – Talent Response (messaging and notifications)
Jan Schwitters - Talent Revenues (Netzwork and monetisation)
Jens Walther - Plattform
--- central positions ---
Sonja Bylov - Design Strategy
Jan-Patrick Schulz - User Insights