Many associate the task of onboarding with HR departments and hiring managers. Sure, these groups are involved at the very early stages of vetting and assessing talent fit, but the instant that the new employee is expected to produce valued work, IT’s role takes the spotlight. The next immediate priority is outfitting the new employee with the tools they need to do their job, and further, the IT support they will need to ensure that their workflow is unencumbered.
According to Talya Bauer, a successful onboarding is designed to address what she calls the 4-C’s: Compliance, Clarification, Culture and Connection. The IT Support’s role is integral to all of these components.
Start with the Knowledge Base
When onboarding a new employee, it is the perfect time to place a high value on accessing the company knowledge base. This forms early habits that lean toward self-service and employee independence.
Learn from prior knowledge gaps (FAQs)
Every time you onboard a new employee, you will learn something new. When knowledge gaps occur, its important to recognize the patterns and populate the KB with answers the FAQs that arise in similar onboarding situations.
Provide answers upfront with “flows”
Even with a robust knowledge base made available its not always possible to provide some level of detail. It helps greatly if you have the technology to provide automated flows (sometimes delivered through a platform like Slack). Flows will vary, but a good start might include:
- Org structure and teammates
- Preferred communication methods
- Account setup – email, Slack, other cloud-based software
- Local information (food, commuting, tips, benefits, perks)
- The list goes on and on…
Collaborate on hardware and software
The onboarding process is the perfect time to work with the new employee on creating a work platform that THEY feel comfortable using. If possible flex with their preferences (Mac vs PC vs. Linux, standing vs sitting desk, etc) and meet in the middle so that they can feel that they are as productive as possible from day one.
Remote or office-based work
Given the recent trends toward more flexible working arrangements, IT has to prepare for an expanded set of options available to new employees that suit their available options. This might include preparations for:
- VPN and other security software
- Teleconferencing solutions
- Collaboration software
Deflect support ticket issues with audits
Nothing is worse than trying to get an employee off to the races and finding out that they’re blocked by an IT issue. It handcuffs the employee and creates unnecessary work for the support team. Take time to review and audit the onboarding process and keep track of issues that arise so that they can be deflected the next time a new member joins.
As you can see, IT has an integral role in the successful onboarding of new employees. Onboarding can be made easier, less error prone and pleasant for new employees and their teammates by the IT support team in partnership with HR and hiring managers.