Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, many companies have had to onboard remote employees for the first time. Many articles have been written about remote onboarding recently. However, most of them focus on the human resources perspective of remote onboarding. In this post, we’ll provide IT teams with the checklist they need to remotely and securely onboard new employees into the company’s network and device infrastructure.
As Soon as They Are Hired
Ideally, there should be a process in place at your organization that alerts IT whenever a new job offer has been accepted. The earlier IT knows about a new employee, the better, since it takes time to acquire and provision new devices.
At a minimum, the IT team will need:
- The new hire’s name, address, and email
- Their department within the company, job title, and supervisor
- Start date
- Any hardware and software requirements for the new hire to do their job
The IT team should also have a clear process in place for who is in charge of acquiring and provisioning devices for new hires. That process should include clear expectations and communication for the new hire and hiring manager around when and how they’ll receive any new devices.
Before the New Hire’s First Day
If the period between hiring and first day is very short, the IT team may not have enough time to provision everything the new hire needs. Make sure both the hiring manager and the new employee know if some device or software will not be available by their start date.
Before the new hire starts work the IT team will need to allocate physical equipment for them:
- Order new equipment or locate and wipe existing equipment for the new hire
- Laptop or desktop
- Keyboard / Mouse
- Any cables they’ll need
- Check in with the new hire about internet connectivity - is it fast enough and consistent?
- Some companies pay for their employees’ internet or cell coverage; if so, set that up
- Add all new equipment to the list of IT assets
The IT team also needs to acquire software licenses and any access rights the new hire needs:
- Add any device monitoring and security tools to the new machine
- Make sure system settings are up to date and configured per your company policies
- Install a VPN client if your company uses a VPN
- Along those lines, add anti-virus, anti-phishing, firewalls, and other security software
- Add a password/identity manager (e.g. 1Password, Okta) and give access to any passwords the new hire will need
- Provision a company email and internal messaging account (e.g. Slack or Teams)
- Buy licenses and install software the user might need for work:
- Microsoft Office products
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Any other proprietary software for the new hire’s work
- Invite users to join online corporate accounts:
- Productivity tools (Trello, Jira, Basecamp, Asana)
- Analytics (Tableau, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, CloudWatch)
- CRM & Sales (Salesforce, Pipedrive, Hubspot)
- Documents & Wikis - share any online folders or links the user might need
- Email the new hire with instructions on how to set these accounts up before their first day
On the New Hire’s First Day
Hopefully, by this point we’ve frontloaded most of the effort and the new hire can get straight to work without needing anything else from IT. That said the first day and week often require some support. Here’s what to do preemptively to make sure everything goes smoothly:
- Check that all equipment has arrived for the new hire - and let the new hire know about any expected delivery delays
- Provide setup guidelines for all accounts the new hire is a part of
- Have the new hire sign any data privacy and security agreements
- Go over your company’s policies regarding data handling and access
- Tell them who and how to contact IT should they have trouble setting up their devices or accounts
Within the First Month
Once the new hire has had a chance to settle in, you’ll want to provide more in-depth training and follow-up support to make sure everything is running smoothly. This is important from a security perspective, but also helps preempt later support requests by identifying issues early.
During the first month IT teams should:
- Make sure there haven’t been any issues with devices, installation, or accounts
- Check that all security software is installed and running (VPN, anti-virus, etc)
- Provide a longer training on security policies and best practices
- Revisit the policies around accessing and sharing sensitive data
- Where does sensitive data get stored (and where not to)?
- What channels can you use to share sensitive data?
- Share any helpful hints, tricks, or ideas for how to get the most out of new devices and software
- Go over the procedure for opening a formal support request with IT at any point in the future
Onboarding Remote Employees for IT Success
Having a clear onboarding process for your IT department will save tons of headache down the road. When everyone in the company has received consistent devices, software, and trainings, it allows your IT team to work from a common baseline when diagnosing issues. It also means that employees can help one another troubleshoot issues and share best practices on their own before approaching the IT team.
Most importantly, a clear IT onboarding checklist for remote employees ensures that everyone has a secure, up-to-date device and has received the trainings needed to protect data privacy. For complex processes, like onboarding new remote employees, a checklist is essential to make sure every step along the way was addressed. Feel free to use and update this checklist however you like customizing it to your company’s needs, to make sure that new hires have the devices, training, and support they need to do work efficiently and securely.
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