When people talk about the typical employee lifecycle, the focus is usually on the employees themselves. They join a company, contribute and then leave. Yet, what’s often overlooked is the time and effort IT contributes to making that employee’s time as successful as possible.
Today, with the Great Resignation, more employees are moving jobs than ever before, which means there is more onboarding and offboarding than ever before. As a result, the growing burden and strain are disproportionately laid on the shoulders of IT.
Yet, there is help. Through technology and automation, organizations can increase the efficiency of IT teams while reducing their time spent on repetitive and mundane tasks.
Here are four key ways automation and technology can help IT departments meet these quickly increasing expectations:
1. Improve Onboarding by Automating Access
First impressions are powerful. They shape the direction of a relationship for better or worse. For a new hire, the onboarding process is their first impression of their new company, and a comprehensive onboarding can actually lead to increased productivity and retention.
IT teams might not think this matters to them. After all, they provide new employees with the right hardware and software tools, but they don’t directly affect new joiners’ first impressions, right?
IT might not have the face time with new hires that HR and department heads have; however, these folks provide newcomers with the essential software they need to start their new roles and get up and running. The faster they can access and use those tools, the better their onboarding experience.
As decentralized work models become the norm, the importance of a comprehensive onboarding and offboarding process will only continue to increase. So, instead of copying and pasting license and login information, which can become repetitive and take time away from value-add activities, IT departments should look at ways to automate access provisioning.
The important things to identify here are:
- What pieces of software each role needs
- The right step to trigger an automated workflow (think creating a GSuite or SSO account)
Once organizations outline these pieces of information, IT teams can create automated workflows to save time when getting new joiners online and improve the overall experience.
2. Allow Workers to Select Their Software
On a new hire’s first day, they’ll often receive a list of tools they’ll need for their role from their manager or ask their coworkers about what apps they regularly use. However, these tools seldom match the new hire’s skills or preferences. So instead, they default to asking IT for access to other tools they’re comfortable with or go directly to the source and download shadow IT applications to fill the gaps. One option costs time, the other costs security.
An alternative solution here is to allow employees to select and request apps from a catalog of applications. By providing more choices to employees, IT teams will enable them to match the software with their skills and roles, while also reducing overall exposure to security risks and time spent on these requests.
3. Improve Employee Experience by Monitoring Application Usage
Bloated software spending is endemic today. It’s difficult to track which applications employees use rather than leave idle. The result is waste without recourse.
But there are tools out there that allow companies to track the overall usage of different applications. These tools can provide insight into which apps are popular and which aren’t getting any attention. With this knowledge, IT can then trim any empty seats without hurting productivity.
These tools can also create workflows to deprovision these seats based on specific markers such as days since their last login. This could be set for thirty days, sixty days, or more. This automation reduces bloat and keeps employees focused on the tools that have impact.
4. Improve Offboarding with Automated Deprovisioning
Risk, cost, and waste; poor offboarding processes have all of the above.
When an employee leaves a company, it’s not simply a loss of talent or experience but also a potential new security risk. We recently polled IT leaders and found that 76 percent consider offboarding a “significant security threat,” citing access privileges left unrevoked as the top reason.
IT recognizes this risk because they know how much of today’s work happens in the cloud. Leaving access privileges unrevoked leaves, a gaping hole in a company’s security. Every email, every piece of data, every bit of content is at risk until that hole is sealed.
Unfortunately, offboarding can also be very time-consuming. For IT, it means deprovisioning all the different applications and each of these usually comes with unique steps. And often, the offboarding process is incomplete for a day, a week, or even longer, thus extending the window of risk.
But automation can help. Offboarding tasks are complex, mundane, and time-intensive while also time-sensitive. By automating the deprovisioning process, IT saves the time and stress associated with these potential security concerns.
To do this, organizations must first identify two things:
- What software the user used
- The right step to trigger an automated workflow
When these elements are established, IT can build a repeatable offboarding workflow that immediately removes security risks and saves time. Once a workflow is created, anyone with authorization can easily revoke access privileges for everything from email and chat apps to IDE and Web CMSs without burdening IT.
On the note of offboarding, there are other steps for IT to account for during the process. Here are some of the critical things to look for when improving an offboarding sequence:
- Remove VPN access
- Change shared account’s passwords
- Change system ownership
- Forward emails
- Update credit card payments
- Delete suspended accounts once reviewed
The Great Resignation is pushing many IT professionals to their limits and this trend is only predicted to remain strong through the new year. As more workers change jobs, the demands on IT departments will continue to grow on top of their already full workloads. Without the right resources to help them manage this part of their jobs, financial and time costs will only continue to rise while inefficiency and risk take root.
Fortunately, with the aid of technology, innovation, and automation, IT can meet these challenges head on and improve employee retention, engagement and experience while saving time, stress, and money. As companies navigate this tumultuous market, there will need to be a bigger emphasis on empowering IT to optimize operations for the future.