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Onboarding checklist and process for IT teams

IT Onboarding Checklist: Create a Structured IT Onboarding Process

A smooth and efficient IT onboarding process is crucial to prepare new hires for success. Otherwise, bringing in new employees can be really challenging especially when one considers the technical systems, devices, access permissions, protocols, etc. that have to be properly set up.

Well-onboarded employees demonstrate a 70% boost in productivity.

Brandon Hall Group

In this comprehensive article, we provide guidance on how to systematically create an IT onboarding checklist. The checklist itself requires a number of tasks that have to be run according to standardized timelines. This guide will help you cover all the core bases for creating an organized IT onboarding plan.

What is IT Onboarding?

IT onboarding consists of specific processes aimed at integrating new hires into the organization’s technological ecosystem.

It may be a subset of an overall onboarding program or the program itself may be IT-focused, common with IT companies. Regardless, its focus is to equip new employees with the necessary tools, resources and knowledge to effectively utilize technology for productivity. 

How to Create an IT Onboarding Checklist

Let’s go through the sequential steps necessary to create an effective IT onboarding checklist.

  1. Stakeholder Consultation

Properly, a successful IT onboarding checklist is the product of various stakeholders working together. These include HR, the IT department, other departmental heads, and team leaders, as well as the management. 

Interactions between all these parties will help define the expectations for each role as well as the IT requirements relevant to the success of whoever occupies the role. It’s also important to bring the latest employees to join the company into the loop. 

Collecting feedback about their experience during the first days and weeks can help you identify areas of strengths and weaknesses for crafting more effective onboarding experiences. 

  1. Define Sections of the Checklist

The checklist isn’t merely a list of items. Instead, it should be organized according to the phases the new employee will pass through when joining the company. It is typically for onboarding checklists to be divided according to the Pre-Arrival, Arrival, and Post-Arrival stages. 

The Pre-Arrival stage consists of the period between when the employee accepts your offer of employment to their first day. Certain tasks must be completed to ensure that everything is set before they start working. 

The Arrival stage is considered the ‘actual’ onboarding in some respects, but it should rather be considered an aspect of the onboarding process. It includes activities conducted within the first few days and weeks. The Post-Arrival or Post-Onboarding stage consists of ongoing support and follow-up. 

  1. Populate the Checklist

After identifying the natural sections of the checklist, it is then time to populate it with tasks. Again, this should be done methodically. Don’t just make a list of tasks and call it your IT onboarding checklist. Instead, each task should come with at least the following details:

  • What needs to be done?
  • Who is responsible?
  • When must this be done?
  • Any specific instructions or resources needed?

Include as many details as are necessary to ensure that anyone assigned to a task fully understands their roles and responsibilities.

  1. Refine and Customize

Even though it is an IT onboarding, you probably wouldn’t want to use the same checklist for various departments and roles. The requirements often differ. So, you need to pay attention to this as well to ensure that there are multiple checklists depending on the new hire’s position. 

Therefore, the checklist should be refined over multiple iterations to ensure that it caters to the needs of various parties. As part of refinement, pay attention to special considerations that may be necessary. For instance, you should incorporate accessibility features in your checklist for users with disabilities.

  1. Test and Update

At first, pilot-test the checklist with a new hire or a couple of new employees. Then actively gather feedback and make adjustments based on the responses. Even after full implementation, your IT onboarding checklist should be a living document that reflects changes in technology, security, or company procedures. 

Due to the fast pace at which technology is growing. Aspects of an IT onboarding checklist may become outdated six or even two months after it was implemented. That’s something to take note of. 

What to Include on an IT Onboarding Checklist

It is helpful to think of every onboarding process in terms of phases, and there are three core phases into which it can be grouped: the period before the new hire resumes work, the first few days or first week of the new hire, and the first month of the new hire. 

Depending on the nature and structure of your organization, there may be additional phases. In some companies, for instance, onboarding may continue for 3 to 6 months or even throughout the employee’s entire first year. So, this list is not exhaustive. 

However, the core of what a typical organization needs for the IT onboarding process, up to the first month of the new hire, is included below:

Before the New Hire Starts

  • Inform the IT Department

Once a new hire accepts your offer of employment and the required agreements have been signed, immediately bring the IT department into the loop, sharing information concerning contact details, job title, department, start date, etc. For instance, the IT department needs to know if the new hire will be working remotely, on-site, or hybrid. IT also needs to be aware of the terms of their engagement, whether full-time, part-time or some other engagement model. Providing such information early allows the IT team to plan and prepare resources for a smooth onboarding experience. 

  • Determine Software/Equipment Needs

The next step is to determine the software and equipment necessary for the new hire’s roles. These might include essential software (email, word processing, project management, communication, etc.), department-specific software, and hardware. Keep in mind that remote workers may require additional equipment and software. This is to ensure that the new hire has everything they need to be productive from day one and keep a record of the determined software and equipment needs for future reference related to that specific role.

  • Order and Set Up Equipment

Once the software and equipment needs are determined, initiate the process of ordering the necessary equipment through preferred vendors. Obviously, order delivery dates shouldn’t be beyond the employee’s first day. Earlier is better because you might have to pre-configure equipment with basic settings in compliance with company policy. If the new hire is working remotely, coordinate with them to ensure that the equipment gets to them. 

  • Set Up User Accounts and Software Licenses

Besides hardware equipment, you also need to secure software licenses with which the new hire will perform their jobs. Some of these licenses may already exist and you probably just need to reassign them or purchase additional ones. Also, create user accounts for each software and set up the required security features. For instance, implementing 2-factor Authentication (2FA) ensures security from the get-go. 

  • Prepare IT Security Training Materials

If the IT department does not already have one, it should develop or acquire training materials to educate the new hire on company IT security policies and procedures regarding password management, data security, phishing and malware awareness, secure use of company devices and network, reporting IT security concerns, and so on. Such training can be delivered through video presentations, written text, in-person sessions, or a combination of formats as long as the focus is on equipping new hires with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and company data from potential threats. 

The New Hire’s First Day/Week

  • Set Up Introductory Meetings

Naturally, on a new employee’s first day, there should be a “meet and greet” session with team members, managers, and other employees. While doing this, don’t forget to introduce them to IT team members responsible for different areas (network access, software support, password management, etc.) whom they can contact for assistance and clarifications. 

  • Confirm Equipment Works Properly

Assist the new hire in setting up their workstation and confirm the functionality of the equipment procured. Any hardware or software issues should be addressed immediately to minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth transition for the new hire. 

  • Provide In-Company Training Documents

Once they have been introduced and equipment and software set up, share relevant internal documents and resources on company IT policies, procedures, troubleshooting guides, and software usage guides. These resources should be comprehensive and comprehensible so that the new hire can access them for reference and learning. There could be simple assessments to ensure that the hire is imbibing the required lessons. 

  • Reset Passwords and Login Details

Before the new hire’s first day, passwords and login details for various accounts should have been reset and temporary passwords set. On the first day, guide the new hire through resetting these passwords for various accounts. By this time, they should, of course, already be familiar with how to create strong, secure passwords. Moreover, you can easily automate this by using Uniqkey to simplify everything about password management including automatic logins, 2FA autofill, and easy password sharing, among others. 

  • Commence Cybersecurity Training

Full-scale cybersecurity training should commence from the first day or at least within the first few days. These could involve completing online modules, attending in-person sessions led by the IT department, watching pre-recorded video presentations, etc. New hires should be made aware of how to protect themselves and company resources from cyber threats. 

  • Sign Data Privacy Agreements and Other Paperwork

If these haven’t already been signed, then they should be assented on the first day. These include the company’s data privacy agreements, Acceptable Use Policies (AUP), and other relevant documents. To be clear, it’s not just about having the employee append their signature to a document; you should also be sure that they understand the requirements and consequences of the agreement. 

  • Review Accounts, Systems, and Procedures

As part of the activities for the first day/week, schedule a dedicated session with the new hire to walk them through relevant accounts, systems, and procedures specific to their role. This may involve the following:

  • Configuring email settings
  • Understanding file management systems
  • Setting up communication platforms
  • Learning basic troubleshooting approaches

Don’t leave anything to chance or simply assume that the employee must understand it. 

The New Hire’s First Month

  • Provide Ongoing Support

Onboarding shouldn’t end on the first day or during the first week. Part of the checklist should include being readily available to answer questions, clarify requirements, address technical issues, and troubleshoot any challenges the new hire faces with technology. If possible, consider appointing someone in the IT department as the go-to person for such issues. 

  • Collect Feedback

During the onboarding process, schedule brief check-in periods to gather feedback on their experience. The goals of this action are to:

  • Ask about unresolved issues
  • Provide clarification when there is confusion
  • Determining their level of comfort and confidence using various technologies
  • Soliciting suggestions for improvement in the IT onboarding process

The feedback collected will be valuable to continuously improving the onboarding experience for future hires.

  • Continue Cybersecurity Training

Depending on your chosen training format and the nature of your company, the cybersecurity training may continue through the entire first month or even longer. For much longer training, implement reinforcement learning methods to ensure that the employee understands what is required. 

  • Let the New Hire Know Where to Go for Help

Provide clear and accessible resources for the new hire to refer to for future assistance, including:

  • A central knowledge base with FAQs
  • Troubleshooting guides
  • Company user manuals.
  • Contact information for the IT help desk or dedicated support personnel.
  • Internal IT communication channels (e.g., team chats, forums).
  • Schedule Other Required Training

Besides the core IT training, there may be a need for additional software-specific or role-based training requirements based on how their first few weeks progress. Collaborate with the necessary stakeholders to ensure this and schedule sessions accordingly.

Importance of IT Onboarding

  1. Enhanced Security

A well-defined IT onboarding program goes beyond just introducing the company’s tools to new hires. Instead, it’s a valuable opportunity to instil a culture of security awareness into all employees from the very beginning. 

When it comes to enterprise security, culture matters as well as technology and the most secure companies find ways to embed security awareness into the values of their workplace. 

By embedding these principles in the onboarding process, you lay the groundwork for a security-conscious workforce, fostering a sense of responsibility and vigilance among all employees. 

  1. Streamlined Workflows

Every company has its own workflow for assigning responsibilities, carrying out tasks, and reporting outcomes. 

It is in your company’s best interests that new hires don’t have to grapple in the dark due to a lack of familiarity with the company’s workflows, particularly the software and platforms used for project management and collaboration. IT onboarding ensures that new hires are equipped to integrate smoothly into existing workflows, minimizing disruptions and delays for themselves and their colleagues.

  1. Employee Satisfaction

The onboarding experience is the first impression every new employee has of the digital ecosystem of their new workplace and it lays the groundwork for shaping their long-term satisfaction with you. 

Consider the IT onboarding stage as an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to efficiency, organization, security, and employee support. In short, while many onboarding programs focus only on the technical aspects of the process, they should rather properly be viewed as an investment into the well-being and successes of new employees. 

  1. Increased Productivity

The first day of a new hire shouldn’t be when they spend hours trying to set up emails or figuring out how to access crucial software. This not only delays their ability to contribute but also hampers their efficiency during those initial days and weeks. 

However, with structured training and resources, the employee has everything they need to hit the ground running from day one. So, they can focus on core tasks and how to become a productive member of the team while the IT and HR departments provide technical support when necessary. 

  1. Improved Collaboration

There’s a reason why teamwork features most prominently in several job descriptions. Being able to work effectively with others requires the ability to collaborate. 

So, team-building should start from an employee’s first day. Introductions shouldn’t be conducted simply as a matter of tradition; rather, they should be focused on fostering social connections and building rapport from the outset. This helps new hires immediately feel comfortable and confident in interacting with colleagues, which is crucial for open communication and effective collaboration. 

IT Onboarding Considerations & Best Practices

In this section, we discuss seven of the top considerations that should be made when planning the IT onboarding checklist for new hires at your organization. 

  • Automation & Simplicity

IT onboarding is all about providing a smooth and secure transition for new hires. So, it is counterintuitive if the onboarding process itself is not smooth and straightforward. To avoid this, core and repetitive functions should be automated while leaving room for adjustments based on individual needs and role-specific requirements. 

Consider implementing a self-service portal that allows new hires to access essential information and complete basic setup tasks independently but securely. Automated workflows for account creation and access provisioning based on pre-defined parameters will help with seamlessness. 

Uniqkey has an efficient model that simplifies access management to enhance visibility. Through Uniqkey, you can automatically provision access for individual users and groups, combat shadow IT, and keep detailed logs of access-related activities. 

  • Communication

The onboarding phase is a critical period and vulnerabilities might set in where there is miscommunication. So, clear communication must be ensured throughout the process. That is communication with the new hire but also communication between people responsible for making the onboarding process successful. 

This is, in fact, why there must be a documented onboarding checklist that details the who, what, when, and how of various roles and responsibilities throughout the process. Be transparent about deadlines and expectations to foster trust and reduce confusion.

  • Process Documentation

The IT onboarding process can get confusing very quickly, especially over time, as more and more employees join the company. Therefore, the processes of each IT onboarding activity must be properly documented, for auditing purposes, but also as a reference point for the future. 

Create comprehensive documentation outlining each step of the onboarding process, including requirements, tools, and resources. This must be done using clear language to ensure easy understanding. Such documentation might be in the form of a central repository or an online wiki. 

  • Security Monitoring

As mentioned, transition periods can be especially vulnerable periods and cyber attackers won’t mind latching onto any little loophole in the process. The IT onboarding period is not a time to be slack; instead, there should be heightened security monitoring to ensure that there’s nothing falling through the cracks. 

This means establishing clear access control policies and implementing appropriate monitoring tools to track user activity (without privacy invasion, of course)

  • Personalization

Personalization can help create a smoother experience for each new hire. You should be able to assess the individual needs of new hires and tailor the onboarding experience to their specific roles and experience levels. 

Particularly, the IT onboarding process should be flexible and targeted. If necessary, and particularly for junior hires, consider pairing new employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance, answer questions, and offer support as far as company processes are concerned. 

  • Teamwork and Integration

Every organization needs to have a solid culture of teamwork, and this should be made clear right from the first day. New hires should be ushered into an atmosphere of open communication and collaboration with the team. 

So, make sure they feel comfortable enough to ask any kind of questions and seek the help they require. If it helps, new employees may be paired with colleagues who can act as ‘buddies’, at least for the duration of the onboarding exercise, providing informal support and guidance throughout the process. 

  • Continuous Learning/Growth Mindset

While onboarding is a period where new employees are introduced to various aspects of the organization through specialized training programs, be aware that not everything can be taught, or even needs to be taught, at this state. 

So, from the outset, establish opportunities for skill development beyond the onboarding stage. Particularly, when it comes to IT training, this has to be continuous due to the progressive nature of evolutions in the field.

The onboarding process is the foundation for success for every new employee. That’s why it must be carefully created and properly structured. With the information and template provided, you can customize your own plan based on your organizational needs.

🏆Uniqkey facilitates the seamless integration of IT users, enabling the swift addition of new employees into various groups or teams. This process grants immediate access to necessary services for newcomers, streamlining their onboarding experience.


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