First impressions matter.
The first day of a new job can be daunting, especially in a post-2020 world.
Back in 2019, you might have asked yourself questions like: is this office going to be open-concept or a bunch of cubicles? Will I get to sit near a window with some natural light or are they going to stick me next to the bathroom?
Now new hires ponder questions like: what will my digital work environment look like? Will IT send me a new laptop, camera, and speakers? Will this be a camera-always-on type of company, or am I safe never having to properly dress the upper half of my body?
New hires have plenty of questions and demands that unfortunately, HR teams are not equipped to handle in this new age of work.
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Here are 3 onboarding mistakes we see corporate enterprises committing & how IT can help prevent them:
HR is the only one tracking the onboarding process – but what about IT?
If HR is the sole owner of your onboarding process, then you have a problem on your hands.
IT should at least be ‘co-captain’ during the onboarding process because employees care just as much about their hardware and software now as they do about employee culture or ‘swag’ from HR. Come to think of it: have you ever received ‘swag’ from IT? That should be a thing!
HR & IT should work off the same profile for each of their employees. IT should maintain a record for each employee’s digital setup and share that information with HR, and likewise, HR should have a profile for each employee to share with IT.
Why is this so important?
Both HR and IT need more context from employees today then they did back in 2019. It’s likely that employees brought into your company after spring 2020 barely know their colleagues, especially if they work in different departments. So for example, when interacting with ‘Doug from finance,’ IT & HR should access the same profile to understand whether Doug has any special keyboard configurations, network performance issues, application preferences, etc., plus any notes about his job role, recent feedback to HR, or comments regarding his colleagues, etc.
So often a discussion with HR can be tied to one’s tech environment:
New Hire – “I feel overwhelmed trying to keep track of my team’s different project calendars.”
HR – “Do you use any project tool, or are you an old school, lists-person?”
New Hire – “We use several tools, and IT keeps bugging me about some update, but to be honest, I don’t think that’s related!”
Conversations like these beg for more context. Why does this person think IT is “bugging” them? What version does this user have? Maybe the update could clear up possible performance issues, or maybe IT could serve up smarter training materials and a better way to engage with this person.
IT hands over hardware to a new hire, has one check-in, then disappears.
At best, you might receive two meetings with IT before you’re off and running, or better put: off and stumbling.
IT typically gives a new hire their device on their first day and lets them figure out the rest. If the new hire has an issue or request? Ticket, please.
Waiting for tickets to come in is one thing—a dreadfully flawed approach, yes—but what about unreported problems? We know that roughly half of all IT issues go unreported. It seems employees often tolerate that grainy video chat or that weekly reboot, instead of bothering to ask for help.
And that doesn’t make for a very good experience, not for new hires or grizzled vets.
Instead, IT should keep tabs on how employees experience their tech environment on Day-one, Week-one, Month-one, etc. By setting smart milestones, tracking digital experience metrics, and collecting employee feedback, IT can help new hires ramp up their tech skills and avoid any problems that disrupt their focus.
Asking new hires for feedback at the wrong time & in the wrong place.
HR and IT tend to ask new hires for feedback at the worst possible times. Back in the office, this was never a problem. You approach an employee’s desk, you see they’re in a serious-looking conversation with their boss or their posture gives off an obvious “please don’t interrupt me” vibe—no problem, you read the room, you can come back later.
Working remotely that’s no longer an option.
Or is it?
IT can actually refer to an employee’s computing context to help determine the appropriate time to ask a question and collect useful feedback. The right experience tools can quickly show IT if say, a remote user is having issues specific to Excel or their network connection, then suggest next steps.
The other issue that IT and HR encounter is that the surveys they send to employees usually wind up buried in the email box or require users to open up a browser.
By leveraging automated campaigns and simple messaging formats, IT can quickly collect useful feedback from employees without annoying them or taking significant time away from their workday.
IT onboarding & company onboarding are one in the same.
If IT can offer a new hire a smooth and personalized digital workplace in their first month, not only is that employee starting on the right foot, but IT can expect fewer issues and personal requests stemming from that user in the future. And by teaming up with HR, both teams can engage with employees with the right context and at the right time.
As I said in the beginning – first impressions matter.