Context

Workforce Orchestrator is an HR SaaS platform that handles messaging, feedback, and task management to improve employee engagement. I was one of the early team members that built this product from 0 to 1. Using this tool, our customer saw a 30% increase in first-month engagement, 27% increase 90-day retention, and 43% decrease in first-day no-shows.

Challenge

A particular challenge I worked on was to enable messages to be sent at “one-off” scheduled times. The existing product only allowed the messages to be sent at a time that is relative to the employee's start date. For example, as a manager, you can schedule a message to be sent 3 days before an employee starts, or 5 days after she starts. The product was designed this way because of the nature of hiring: when creating an onboarding plan, companies don’t always know when new employees are starting. Providing a “relative” send day allows for flexibility and scalability.

However, as I received more feedback from customers, it became clear that the relative scheduling isn’t enough. There’s scenarios when you want to send messages at a specific time:

<aside> ⏺️ Holiday’s Greeting

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<aside> ⏺️ Emergency Alert

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<aside> ⏺️ Live Events Messaging

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The need for advanced messaging became more urgent as the world entered “Lockdown” mode and people started working from home, wherever that might be.

At first glance, the problem and solution felt clear-cut enough: just develop a date and time-picker to enable users to specify when to send a message, right? Not quite so.

When we talk about “One-off” scheduling, there’s 2 cases:

<aside> 1️⃣ Send a message immediately (e.g. Emergency)

</aside>

<aside> 2️⃣ Send a message some time in the future (Holiday’s Greeting)

</aside>

Case 1 is straightforward. Imagine, it’s currently 1pm, May 1 pacific time, and Fox 🦊 (Pacific Time) wants to send an emergency message “now”, the recipients Monkey 🐵 (Eastern Time), Tiger 🐯(Beijing Time), Hamster 🐹(New Zealand Time) would all receive it immediately, regardless of where they’re located.

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