When your company hires a new employee, who teaches the “new person” how to use his or her computer? If new hires are not personally instructed by an IT employee, they may not get the IT information they need from their managers or peers. As a result, new employees frequently call the help desk for assistance with basic tasks like logging on or checking e-mail.

This week, I’d like to recommend a strategy used by many IT departments to make first contact with new users: Distribute an IT-style welcome-to-your-new-job letter. This informational checklist helps new employees get off to a good start with their computers, and a well-written document can reduce the number of calls made to the help desk. You can download a sample document and customize it for your shop by adding specific instructions, contact numbers, and e-mail addresses.

An IT welcome letter sets the stage
In many companies, the HR department typically notifies IT about a new hire and requests that a computer be ordered or allocated. After building or reconfiguring the machine, your technicians should complete a copy of the welcome letter and leave it where the new user will be unable to miss it.

The sample welcome letter in the download is divided into two tables: specific instructions and frequently asked questions. The download is formatted using 10-point Arial so it would fit on a single page. However, you can increase the size of the text and add or delete rows to fit your needs. Here’s a brief outline of the sample letter:

  • Welcome to our company: This section should be a short message welcoming your new colleague on behalf of the IT department.
  • Whodunnit: This space is labeled “This computer was set up for you by ___” and should be signed by the technician who configures the machine. This little bit of personalization introduces the new user to a coworker, not merely “the IT department.”
  • Logon and password: This section tells the user how to log on the first time. In our sample, we tell the new hire to use first initial/last name for the logon ID, we state that the standard “first logon” password is “password,” and we mention whether or not passwords are case-sensitive. We also provide instructions about how to establish a new password on first logon.
  • Phone stuff: This section tells the new hire what his or her extension is and how to check messages for the first time. You can refer to specific documentation for more details about the phone system, but these two details will make life easier for your new colleague and the help desk.
  • Printer and fax stuff: Assuming you’ve preconfigured a printer for this user, this section gives the user the name of the printer or describes its location. If the user is supposed to use a particular fax machine and number to receive fax messages, describe the location of the fax machine.
  • Software installed: This section is typically a set of predefined options, and the technician simply checks the box for whatever “build” was put on the user’s computer.
  • FAQs: Your help desk staff can provide valuable input for this section. Here, list some of the things that can go wrong with the computer. Be sure to include telephone numbers of key contacts, such as help desk or network services, for each issue. This section makes a great place for mentioning your IT department’s policies regarding logging off and when to turn off the computer.

Few things frustrate new employees as much as being left to fend for themselves when it comes to their computers. Download our sample welcome letter today and customize it to help your new employees get on the network as quickly and painlessly as possible. You can use Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the sample letter, but you’ll need Microsoft Word in order to modify the sample text.

How do you train new hires?
How do you train or orient new users in your shop? To share your advice or to comment on this download, please join the discussion or drop us a note. For related reading, see “Put IT on the training agenda for new employees.”