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Automated Employee Policy Management in Employee On-Boarding Process

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A while back I looked at how employee on-boarding automation could ease the strain on IT. At the time David Mount provided me a demo of NetIQ Aegis which plainly showed how the IT team's part of the on-boarding process could be automated - reducing human intervention to a minimum. David also said you could automate the delivery of, and employee acknowledgment and testing on corporate policies to gain even greater control. Basically, when a new employee logs on for the first time they can be presented with the relevant policies. Only when they have read and agreed to a policy, does the respective access get granted – for  example, only when an employee reads and agrees to the ‘Email Acceptable Use Policy’ is their e-mail account enabled.

Sounded good to me and seemed to automate employee on-boarding commandment number 9.  It has been a while since I read The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael Watkins, Chairman of Genesis Advisers and regular Harvard Business Review blogger, and didn't have a copy at hand but found a handy summery of the 10 Commandments of Employee On-Boarding at CareerBuilder. Commandment number 9 is:

Thou shalt clarify the company culture. To avoid future confusion (or embarrassment), provide the employee with company information, policies – including dress code and late policies – and benefits.

David put me in touch with Bans Sagoo who ran me through a user provisioning scenario with a policy acknowledgment element. In his demo a pretty standard automated employee on-boarding process using Aegis was run, but with the added step of certain corporate policies needing to be acknowledged by the new hire, Gary Scott, before access to the standard corporate desktop build could be accessed. As you'll see in the video, NetIQ VigilEnt Policy Center was used to deliver the policies to the new hire in the demo and Bans told me that it comes with hundreds of sample policies and quizzes, thousands of sample policy statements from security experts and dedicate modules for GLBA, FDA and HIPAA. Sounds ideal for any HR department. So I asked about a specific area of interest to me: Employee Social Media Policies.

"Certainly." said Bans "More and more organizations are realizing that people, often their people, are talking about them online. As a result, they are looking at social media and standard policies for employees. You could block employee desktop access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. until they have reviewed and acknowledged the corporate social media policy. You could also initiate training and testing - It [VigilEnt Policy Center] helps ensure employee awareness of any  applicable organizational policies by
distributing approved policies based on each user's role in the organization
as well as multi-language support for global deployments and can then test, evaluate and report on employee understanding of policies by
verifying who has read and understood the policies and standards."

It all seemed too easy; but Bans assured me that appearances were not deceptive. "We designed Aegis for IT operations personnel without requiring developer level expertise. Ease of use is key for us and that extends to providing solutions that are simple to implement, and ramp up quickly to deliver immediate value and results; you've seen the Attenda case study? I had; I'd actually written about their experiences earlier in this year. "If your organization is like most we encounter, you have plenty of tools to perform automation—running backups, job scheduling, systems management, provisioning tools, virtual server management, and so on. But IT Process Automation (ITPA) is different from other automation. Point automation tools fail to solve a key problem that ITPA addresses: how to coordinate the activities between them to prevent conflict, ensure successful execution, and maximize use of resources." concluded Bans.

Bans had to run to a presentation at a renowned health care facility, that I can not name here, but he left me with lots of avenues for expansion on this topic. In the meantime, I would really appreciate your thoughts and opinions on streamlining the user provisioning and policy management process. Until next time.
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