by Scott Jack
Content Contributor, E-N Computers
7+ years experience in healthcare IT and tech support.
Your new employee has arrived but there’s no desktop computer for her, so you put her in a guest office. Then she has no login information, so you talk to your outsourced IT company to find out where it is. Then she logs in and can’t get access to any of the files she needs. She’s standing outside your office door, looking decidedly underwhelmed by her first day at work.
Your well-planned onboarding procedure just fell short again. Meanwhile, you find out that the angry employee who just left your company still has access to your data. And now your manager is standing outside your door wanting to know what went wrong.
How do you solve bad employee onboarding and offboarding with your IT company? Or avoid it in the first place?
An outsourced IT service can onboard new employees quickly when the roles for new users are outlined in advance and by using an online portal that walks a client through the necessary steps with a few clicks of a mouse.
Onboarding (and offboarding) matters
Effective onboarding improves employee retention and help employees become engaged and productive more quickly. However, according to Gallup, “only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.”
Effective onboarding and offboarding also keeps your data secure. If you work in a regulated industry, specific onboarding and offboarding processes may be required. If the process isn’t done right, you could lose contracts or face fines.
Effective onboarding includes more than just IT, although IT is a big part of it. An onboarding plan should include each step needed and who is responsible for it. You can run into problems when a managed service provider (MSP) doesn’t follow established procedures, doesn’t sufficiently train their technicians, or doesn’t regularly review and improve processes. Or you may be part of the problem. The onboarding processes you’ve been requiring of your MSP may be out of date or overly complicated.
Here are steps you can take to overcome these challenges when you and your MSP are both committed to a successful partnership.
How to develop your IT onboarding process
You might already have an onboarding process but now your MSP needs to be included in it. Some companies want to shoehorn a new MSP into their existing process. Or you may not have a process at all and want the MSP to establish one. We recommend collaborating with your MSP on a process that works for both of you.
As an IT managed services provider, we have found that using a standard process that we have refined over time gives the best support. When your company starts working with us, we go through an onboarding project with your company as a whole. Part of that project includes asking about and documenting how you want to onboard your individual users to your company.
For organizations that don’t have well-defined user roles, we have a general form that you fill out for new users that walks through the expectations for the new person. For companies who have developed roles, we create a checklist for each role. For example, if your company has 10 dispatchers and every dispatcher needs access to the same files and resources, we can develop a dispatcher checklist that specifically describes how you want that role set up.
Improve systems to improve onboarding
You can help with the process by getting rid of complex or outdated systems.
Paperwork. So many papers need to be given out, filled out, and signed when a new employee begins – benefit booklets, your employee handbook, the job description, direct deposit information, confidentiality agreements, employment forms, and more. If you’re compiling hard copies of these to hand to the person on their first day, you’re wasting time. Technologies like employee portals and Adobe Sign make it possible for your new hires to receive and fill out everything prior to their start date. This way, they can begin training and work more quickly, which improves your staff’s workflow. This also allows you to work with remote employees via virtual onboarding.
Login Credentials. Many business applications support single sign-on so that your staff only need one password to access most, if not all, of your systems. Though each account will still need to be set up, your new employee will save time setting up their password and multi-factor authentication.
Equipment. When equipment isn’t ready for a new employee on their first day, it delays their training and work, and makes you look bad. Thinking about needed equipment in advance makes a good impression and makes it more likely you can retain your new employee.
Role-based account privileges. Think in terms of roles rather than individual employees. Successful onboarding on the IT side involves having a repeatable template – an employee in this role should have these rights. Onboarding gets complicated when there aren’t any roles or too many exceptions are made to those roles.
Tips for IT Onboarding
- Have standard-issue equipment for each role.
- Use role-based account privileges that can be consistently applied by IT.
- Work with IT to define a reasonable minimum timeframe needed to prepare all resources for a new hire.
- Work with HR to notify IT of new hires as soon as possible — for example, when the written offer is accepted.
- Keep spare equipment available to avoid supply delays.
Our onboarding process
As an E-N Computers client, you can submit a request for an employee to be added or removed from your company’s systems using our online service wizard.
In three clicks, you are directed to a questionnaire that walks you through the following:
- Company name and requestor name
- Employee name, start date and date account is needed (if different from the start date) and best contact number for the new employee
- Whether the new employee needs an email account
- Whether the employee needs a workstation and whether it will be new or existing and whether it will be provided by us or by you
- Whether there is an existing role we can copy for the new employee’s access to resources
- If you require a new role, we ask about file shares and applications you’d like the new user to access
- Whether the user needs Microsoft 365 or other Microsoft licenses
- Whether the new employee needs the company wi-fi password
- And whether the employee will be working remotely and what tool you prefer for them to use to connect.
Where your request goes next depends on whether a computer needs set up or reconfigured for the user. If the request is only for a new user account, it goes directly to user management. If a computer needs to be purchased, the request goes to an account manager to provide you with a quote and schedule a time for setup. If a computer needs to be reconfigured, it goes to the projects team to make the changes.
You can expect a computer configuration to take about three hours. It takes about an hour to add a user. We don’t just create a user account and hope all is well. We contact the user and assist her with logging in and changing her password, and we have her verify that she can access everything she needs. If the new user isn’t onboarded yet with your company, we work with the user’s direct manager.
For clients who have established user and computer roles, we consult our documentation software, IT Glue, to see how the user should be set up. For example, all your finance users may need access to Sage. All your managers may need access to resources for a managerial role. If you have a new accounting manager, we know to provide that user with Sage and with managerial resources.
Using roles saves our clients time and money. It’s easy to forget a step or a detail when requesting a new user. If a step must be added later, the extra time might get billed back to you. Having all the steps documented up front avoids the added cost. Using roles also avoids having new employees delayed from starting their job.
The video below will give you a visual of this process.
Our onboarding process
Our offboarding process
A fast and thorough offboarding process is a necessity these days. You can make a request to disable a user account through the same online service wizard. The request is sent to a private ticketing queue in case it involves a sensitive issue like an employee termination. You are prompted to decide what to do with the user’s email account, email license and any folders, and you tell us when you want the account disabled.
Unfortunately, at times an employee’s exit may require a quick response when it comes to cutting off access to company files. If you have a rushed request to disable an employee’s account for security reasons, we will bend over backwards to make that happen in as little as 10 minutes.
Our offboarding process
Pick the right outsourced IT provider
For your onboarding to work well, you and your outsourced IT partner need to have a good process. But it also helps if you are aligned in three key areas: technology stack, standards, and culture.
Technology Stack. Your technology stack is the combination of tech products and services you use in your environment. Many IT support companies use and support specific hardware and software. Make sure that the technologies they support are largely the same as the ones you use — or that you’re open to using what they use.
Here are a few of our major partners:
- Microsoft, including Windows, Azure, and 365 products
- Dell, for hardware, including servers, workstations, and laptops
- Cisco Meraki, for networking hardware and software solutions
More of our partners are listed on our About > Partners page.
Standards. Any decent IT vendor should be able to implement basic settings and policies that protect the security and stability of your computer network. If your industry has stricter security requirements — such as healthcare, engineering and manufacturing, or education — you should look for a vendor that has experience with similar clients.
Take HIPAA for example. Your new dispatcher should not have access to sensitive employee health information. If you are trying to reach CMMC certification, your accountant probably shouldn’t have access to controlled unclassified information from the Department of Defense.
ENC has worked with schools, libraries, medical offices, and engineering and manufacturing firms for decades on just such compliance issues.
Culture and Values. Onboarding and offboarding is just one of many services that should be running smoothly between you and your IT provider. You want little to no disruption of your operations. When there is a technical problem, you want it fixed promptly and permanently. Does your IT vendor share those values? Paying attention to their fee structure may give you a clue. Many basic “break/fix” IT vendors charge an hourly rate or a monthly fee for a set number of hours. Because of their fee structure, some will run the clock so they can charge more. Others lock you into a long-term contract and are slow to correct issues.
At ENC, we take a proactive approach to IT that keeps your team productive. We charge a fixed monthly fee based on how many users you have, so you won’t run up the clock by asking for support; this also motivates us to find a permanent solution the first time around. And we don’t lock you into a long-term contract, so we’re committed to earning your business every month. Your success is important to us, and we strive to make sure our pricing reflects that.
For more resources on hiring a managed IT services provider, see our seven-step checklist for choosing a good one.
Keep communication channels open
Because IT is essential to running your business, you need to have a strong partnership and open communication with your MSP. Regularly talk with your account manager about problems you’re facing, hiring goals, current lead times for equipment procurement, and process changes. At ENC, we schedule monthly on-site visits and regular check-ins between you and your account manager so that goals, changes, and problems can be addressed, and we can set realistic expectations around what can be accomplished within a certain timeframe.
A streamlined onboarding process makes for a great first impression and is one area where IT can fulfill your organization’s needs. There are plenty of other ways IT can contribute to your success, though. Use our IT Maturity Evaluation to find out where your IT stack is working and where it can be improved. Then schedule a free strategy session to discuss your results. We look forward to hearing from you!
Is your business ready to weather changes, including employee turnover? Find out by taking our IT maturity assessment.
You’ll get personalized action items that you can use to make improvements right away. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to book a FREE IT strategy session to get even more insights into your IT needs.