Picture this: You’ve found the perfect hire for your organization. The hiring process went smoothly, you’re excited for them to join the team, and they’re excited to get started.
Their start date rolls around and their company laptop is still in transit. They have to fumble to access onboarding materials and software applications with their personal computer.
When they do get their laptop, it’s missing key software. You’ve provided a docking station and additional monitors for their space at your office, but they’ll only be working there 2 days a week. They have to request a duplicate setup for their home office, which then needs to be ordered and shipped.
They get a 5-minute Slack tutorial but are otherwise on their own to figure out the company’s core communication and collaboration platform, the one they’ll be expected to use day in and day out.
They are willing to grant you patience during a hectic first two weeks, but now they wrestle with serious doubts about the value you place on their time and the expectations you have for their productivity. They may even question your capabilities as an organization. “If they can’t even get this right…”
IT and First Impressions
While your HR team will take the lead with new hires, the most successful employee onboardings involve thoughtful coordination with your IT team. In other words, even the most carefully laid plans will be undercut by a sloppy technology experience.
This is why we as IT service providers take new employee onboardings so seriously; our performance is a reflection of your organization’s priorities and shapes that employee’s perception in a big way.
To help give your new hires an overwhelmingly positive start to their employment we’ve compiled 6 tips gathered over our three decades in technology service and support:
1 – It’s never “too soon” to plan an onboarding.
Any equipment you don’t have on-hand will need to be ordered, shipped, set up, and possibly shipped again. Resources need to be allocated for that setup and for orientation. The more notice you can provide, the better.
2 – Equipment setups are not one-size-fits-all.
An individual’s equipment needs depend on what they’ll be working on and from where. Consider:
- Physical location(s). Are they working from the office, their home, local client sites, global project sites, or a combination?
- Available infrastructure. What sort of internet, firewall, peripherals, and furniture do those locations provide, and what do you need to supplement?
- Computing power. Are they going to do heavy data or graphics work on their local machine, connect up to cloud-based applications, or both?
Enable them to be as productive as you will expect them to be.
3 – IT needs to touch every machine first.
Whether the machine is brand new or repurposed it needs to be configured by an IT professional before the employee starts using it. IT will apply the right settings (screen locking, sleeping, etc.), deploy security and management software, apply software licensing, and download applications needed for their role.
4 – Too much access is worse than not enough.
As far as access to accounts and data is concerned, stick with the “rule of least privilege,” or providing only what you know is critical to that person’s role. Their having to request additional access is a minor inconvenience, but that is far preferable to what could become a security breach.
5 – Clear policies will provide comfort.
Many organizations will have formal policies regarding passwords, acceptable equipment use, and file management that spell out parameters employees are required to follow. The sooner you share these policies with new hires the more clarity they’ll have around boundaries and the less guesswork they’ll need to spend their energy on.
6 – Your partners are an extension of you.
Even if you outsource your technology support, the partners you choose are still a reflection of your organization. If the IT team provides an orientation, what impression does that experience leave on the new hire? If they need support for an inevitable hiccup, how quickly will they get help and how effective will that help be?
Want a deeper dive into employee onboarding?
We’re hosting a live webinar on this very topic—including a bonus tip or two, plus some specific equipment recommendations—March 6th at 1PM ET. Join us for a more in-depth discussion, the ability to ask questions directly of Optimal experts, and CAE credit through UST Education. Register here!