Do you remember your first day on the job?
I learned long ago that the experience I had on my first day of work at my very first job in the IT industry (though this applies to any industry) was fairly unique.
When I showed up to work at 7am my first day (after my 2-week training course), I was given the obligatory office tour, handed my access badge, introduced to the key players on my team, shown the lunch room, and received a very warm welcome. Once it was time to get to work, I was shown where my desk was; on the desk was a branded tin box with a mouse keychain, flash drive, pen (all branded), a box of business cards with my name spelled correctly (I didn’t appreciate this at the time but I do now) and a polo shirt in my size.
On my desk was a large envelope with the following inside:
- My usernames and temporary passwords for my PC and all company applications
- A letter welcoming me to the team and wishing me success within the organization
- A contact list for all the departments and key players I might need to get in touch with
- A laminated card with information on how and when I could get ahold of the Service Desk should I need to
I read through all of the materials and I was off to the races within a few minutes. From that point forward I knew who to email for anything I needed, call for support, and where to send just about any kind of request. Asking for support within the organization was easy and there was never any doubt that what was needed would get handled and handled in a timely fashion. I didn’t think much about it at the time to be perfectly honest and being my first job, I subconsciously assumed this was just how employee orientation and onboardings were handled everywhere, but I could not have been more wrong! This was in 2006 and thinking back, is pretty impressive for the time.
Years later, I was flown into a new city for an interview and subsequently accepted a 1-year assignment with this new organization. The first impression I had on my first day was vastly different than the story described previously. My laptop hadn’t arrived yet, so I used my personal laptop for a week and a half; I had no idea who to call to get logged in to company applications; it also turned out that the person who I was supposed to report to had been relocated to a different division — I had no boss?! That was a first. It took me at least a week and a half to get access to all company applications, all my logins to various platforms, and finally a company laptop. A few weeks later my business cards arrived with my email address spelled incorrectly so those became scrap paper (in reality they became tiny paper airplanes — I think I still have some laying around).
While I enjoyed my time and the challenge of that project, in hindsight, my “orientation” and onboarding experience was indicative of things to come and unfortunately it set the tone for the bulk of the subsequent work my team and I had. Sadly, the experience became a bit of an internally accepted joke.
Since then, my career has shifted more towards the service delivery aspect of the IT industry and luckily, I was able to retain both of those experiences and apply my experiences from both sides of the coin. I now know what is possible and learned valuable lessons from both experiences.
Today, overseeing ITSM practices for an MSP comes with a new set of challenges in this area. We work with thousands of users from hundreds of different partner organizations and these organizations span many different sectors. Each organization maintains different leadership styles at each helm. I firmly believe that the relationship and confidence in our service all starts from an employee’s very first day and from the very first time an end user logs in to their company computer.
In my current role, I often ask myself questions such as:
- What will their first experience with IT and their new employer be like?
- Will they know how to get ahold of our service desk for support?
- Will they know what software and systems we support?
- Do we have processes in place to make the technology aspects of their job as seamless as possible?
- How do we make sure they know we truly care and want to support their needs?
How do we do it today?
As part of continual service improvement, below are a few steps we have taken and questions our team must review on a regular basis to make sure we are creating the best possible first impression for our own new employees as well as those of our partner organizations.
- Creating unique onboarding forms for each of our partner organizations, accessed via our ticketing portal. Upon submission, each form generates a series of service tasks that gets assigned directly to our onboarding team.
When these forms are submitted, do we know the who, what, where and when of everything pertaining to that new user from an IT standpoint?
- Communicating realistic expectations to our partners about needs and timelines.
How much time is needed to procure devices? How much notice do we need from the submitter?
- Knowing our inventory capabilities.
What do we have in stock today? What does the current supply-chain look like? How fast can we get equipment to a remote location?
- Showing that we take security and privacy seriously from the start.
Are we delivering new credentials in a secure way? Is 2FA a part of our on-boarding checklist? (Passwords on a sticky note just don’t fly with our team)
- Setting standards for applications and equipment that align with departmental user groups wherever possible.
Does a staff accountant need a different computer than a graphic designer? Does a graphic designer need QuickBooks? The word standard means repeatable and repeatable always equates to a better user experience and is almost certainly more efficient.
- Looking at relevant data and trends.
How long does each onboard take? How many are we doing? How many tickets do new users open after they start? Are there seasonal trends we can prepare for? What can we automate?
- Maintaining a living, breathing Service Catalog for all users that contains:
- Instructions on how to get ahold of our service desk using their preferred channel (Portal, email, phone, etc)
- Ticketing portal for guided support on common ticket types
- Clear guidelines on what we support and what we don’t support
- Clear explanations on how we provide support and what to expect
- A flowchart of ticket handling practices we use to provide the best support possible
- How to get emergency support after-hours
- How to provide real-time feedback directly from a service ticket (positive or constructive)
Our process will likely never be perfect, nor will there ever be a one-size-fits-all manual for all businesses and users, but we can keep striving to get better on every interaction and create the best possible first impression for our partners’ users on their first day.
We believe this reflects just as much on the organization itself as it does on our services. It should not matter what title or position a new user holds — trust and confidence (or lack-thereof) is slow to be gained, quick to be lost and can be extremely contagious.
More from the author
Do you remember your first day on the job?
We work with thousands of users from hundreds of partner organizations spanning many different sectors. The relationship and confidence in our service starts from an employee’s very first day and from the very first time an end user logs in to their company computer. Overseeing our IT Service Management (ITSM) practices, Neal McMillen discusses the importance of that first impression and what happens when it's missing.