Dear IT Director,
I’m getting pressure for my team to turn around new employee requests faster. Our service level says five days, but often requests come inside that window. How can I get them respect the window?

Hopeful in Hoboken

Dear Hopeful,
Sorry, I don’t have good news for you. I’m afraid that your 5 day window is a relic of the past. You and your team are the ones that need to change, not the rest of the organization. Let’s look at why and what you can do.

Finding employees (including contractors and consultants) is a tough job, especially in today’s labor market. When a good candidate is identified, the organization will want them to start as soon as possible. Hiring good people fast is an important part of an organization’s speed.

The hiring process takes time, especially if your organization does background and drug checks. These happen after the offer has been made and accepted, and can take a couple of days. Coupled with the rise of no-shows (don’t get me started, that’s a whole ‘nother post!), HR can’t official notify IT until closer to the start date. If the organization has to choose between starting a new employee quickly and your response time, guess which is better.

It isn’t all bad news. Let’s look at a few ways you can reduce that window.

Fortunately, many of today’s systems have automation you can leverage to reduce manual effort. Look into scripts to create accounts, manage settings, create directories/folders, and other tasks that happen for all employees. There are lots of examples on the web.

Integrate with your hiring system
Most organizations have an job application system where candidates apply online. As you know, manual data entry is a source of errors and delay. The candidate, however, is motivated to enter their data correctly. By exporting data from the candidate systems into your scripts, you can remove a manual step and better data.

Role-based Templates
Create a small number of role definitions. Focus on the setup, not the job they will have. For example, customer service may have extra systems they need access to. Build those roles into your scripts. Avoid overcomplicating with too many roles.

Hardware can be a problem, especially if you don’t keep an inventory of computers on hand. The best technique I’ve come across is weekly updates with HR about what positions are close to an offer. You may not know a name, but you can learn that, for example, a salesperson is about to get an offer, so you need a laptop. You can always monitor the Careers portion of your organization’s website to see what positions are being hired.

One last thing: if there is a desk involved, have the computer gear setup two days in advance. It gives the manager and others the comfort of knowing that everything is ready for that all-important first impression. You can have everything configured except the accounts and you can do that remotely.

Good Luck Hopeful,
The IT Director

Header Photo by John Bredesen

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