Managing access and equipment for staff

When employing new staff, particularly in roles that involve using software or working with information technology (IT), there are several key elements that you need to consider to ensure they are able to do their jobs being helped, not hindered, by their software and computers.

In larger companies, an IT professional or manager will be able to handle this, but you may find when starting out at that you, or another member of staff will need to take on some of this responsibility – potentially with the support of a consultant. And with many companies now doing a lot of their work in cloud-based computing with intuitive, easy-to-use software, this can be a possibility if you do not have very bespoke software needs.

Either way, it is good to familiarise yourself with the essential steps that need to be considered when setting employees up with IT so you can be sure to complete them, or know to confirm that they are being delivered by your IT Manager.

Hardware and software requirements

Determine the hardware and software requirements for the new employee’s role. Ensure that their computer or device is equipped with the necessary specifications, such as processing power, memory, and storage. Provide access to essential software applications and tools, including email, productivity or office suites (such as Microsoft Office or Google Suite), and any industry-specific software that might be required.

User accounts and access

You will need to set up user accounts for the new employee, including email, application and possibly network accounts. Each employee should have appropriate access permissions to the systems, data, and resources they need to perform their job effectively that is relevant to their role.

Security and compliance

Data security is paramount in any modern business, and should be addressed when an employee starts so that they know what their responsibilities are and how the company policies work. If they are going to be working with personal data, it is especially important that they are trained on cyber-security best practices, such as password management, data protection, data sharing, use of personal data, and not leaving the business’ systems open to attack.

Employees should also know what counts as ‘acceptable use’ of their devices, or when accessing the company wifi or networks with their personal devices. Even if you adopt a relatively laissez-faire attitude, setting explicit rules and guidelines around things like personal browsing or use of social media avoids doubt and confusion.

Email and messaging tools

Most organisations will use email within an established office software package, such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail. But in recent years, many have moved into using more messaging functions within software such as Microsoft Teams or in dedicated messaging app such as Slack or WhatsApp. Not every communication is appropriate for every channel. Provide guidance on how and when to use these tools effectively for both internal and external communication. Model this behaviour yourself so that they understand what it looks like in practice.

Network access and connectivity

Ensure that the new employee has access to the organization’s network resources, including wifi, virtual private network (VPN) (if applicable, particularly when working from home), and shared drives or file storage apps. Double check that they can connect to the internet and access internal systems securely.

Training and documentation

If the person you are hiring does not have the necessary experience in the software used in your company, offer IT training sessions when they start and/or provide comprehensive documentation on how to use the systems and software specific to the job role – particularly if this is bespoke industry software. Ensure that employees understand how to troubleshoot common IT issues and know where to seek support.

Data management and backup

Explain your data management practices, including file storage, organisation, and backup procedures. Stress the importance of regularly saving work, saving it in a shared accessible site (not just on their own device) and following data back-up policies to prevent data loss.

Remote work setup

If the new employee will be working remotely either part-time or fill-time, ensure they have the necessary tools and resources for remote work, such as a secure VPN connection, access to cloud-based applications, and remote support if they need it.

Support and helpdesk

Introduce the new staff member to the IT support team or helpdesk (including if you use an outsourced helpdesk service). Provide clear instructions on how to seek technical assistance, report IT issues, and request equipment repairs or replacements.

These steps, particularly during the first days and weeks of a new staff member joining your company, can help them settle more quickly, and ensures they have the tools and knowledge needed to perform their roles effectively while maintaining IT security and compliance.

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