Remote work is now a reality for most organizations in the modern workplace. Employees who traditionally spent five days a week working in an office are now more likely to spend some – if not all – of their time working from home.
This change to a digital workplace brings some significant challenges with it. IT teams need to find ways to ensure remote staff have secure access to the resources they require so that they can remain productive at all times. Teams also need to have efficient ways to manage those devices regardless of where they are being used.
More than anything, it causes challenges for new employees. While previously the employee onboarding experience was in-office, including orientation and receipt of computer equipment, now this too is done remotely.
Getting this process right is critical. Industry experience shows that organizations with streamlined and effective employee onboarding processes are far more likely to retain staff. Feeling like they are a part of the team and having the tools they need to complete their work are critical factors of a good employee experience.
For this reason, growing numbers of organizations are embracing a strategy for remote digital employee onboarding. This helps to smooth the process and can be much more effective for both new staff and the IT team supporting them.
Traditional employee onboarding processes follow a number of standard steps.
For new employees working on-site, when they first come to the office, they receive a suitable endpoint device, such as a Macbook or iPad, that has been configured to connect to the organization’s network.
Next, their email account is established, along with access to the applications they require. This process may also include establishing identity details to allow access to cloud-based resources.
At this point, the new staff member is ready to start work.
For remote staff, traditional onboarding has also required standard steps.
First, a device is procured from a vendor, such as Apple, and then shipped to the IT department.
The IT staff needs to configure the equipment, loading it with the needed software and setting it up for the new employee’s use.
Only then can the device be sent out to a new staff member.
This process can result in delays, meaning new staff takes longer to become productive. This can be frustrating and may tarnish the employee’s early impressions of the organization.
Adopting a zero-touch strategy
To avoid these delays, an increasing number of organizations are adopting a zero-touch deployment strategy to equip new employees with devices. They are shipped directly from a vendor to the employee, and configured by the IT team using a Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool.
MDM tools allow preconfiguration to occur as soon as the new hire takes their new device out of its box. All applications, settings and permissions are remotely configured seamlessly, enabling productivity from day one.
Adopting an MDM strategy can also help IT teams with the ongoing management and maintenance of remote devices. Software updates and new applications can be pushed out and settings and policies checked to ensure security.
This is particularly important when remote staff are using home-based internet connections and accessing resources on a variety of cloud platforms. In these situations, it is vital to have a reliable way to update client devices and ensure they are fully secure.
As more employers offer Apple devices for employees, using a purpose-built Apple MDM such as Jamf Pro or Jamf Now paired with Apple Business Manager provides a solution organizations can count on to keep their employees, data and devices secure.
To support remote staff and ensure strong security, more organizations are moving away from on-premises Active Directory to cloud-based identity providers. This makes it much easier for remote staff to access corporate applications and databases using a single set of login details.
If the user has entered their credentials once, they now have access to all applications they require. This removes the need for multiple logins, saves IT time otherwise spent on password reset requests and further improves productivity.
The combination of MDM and identity management improves the digital employee onboarding process and streamlines ongoing device management and support. With remote working likely to remain a part of most workplaces for the foreseeable future, taking such an approach will deliver significant business benefits.
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