There's a fine line between helping a new IT hire and doing all the work

In this tech tale, a new help desk employee who lacks 'attention to detail' makes for a frustrating training experience

I work as a help desk manager in a government office, and part of my job is training newly hired employees. It can also be a lesson in patience.

Since we coordinate resources with other offices and follow workflows set down from upper managers, we have a fair amount of paperwork to fill out and to track. For instance, we don't actually install the operating systems on the PCs we use. When we get a new employee or a corrupt operating system, we need to submit a form to another contractor to schedule a technician to come out to our office, load the operating system, name the PC, and join it to the domain.

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The forms are easy and quick to complete, but if they are not filled out correctly, it can delay the installation; thus, the help desk staff has learned to pay close attention when doing the paperwork. As part of the workflow, staff members send me a copy so that I can track the submission and the installation, and confirm that it is done in a timely fashion.

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We had recently hired a new employee, "Bill," and the training had been a frustrating experience. His technical skills were up to speed, but his attention to detail left a lot to be desired. He was constantly incorrectly filling out the paperwork, including the contractor forms.

One day, we were preparing two PCs for a new program we were testing, so we needed to fill out two forms -- one for each PC. This time, I sent a sample form directly to his email so that he'd have it for easy reference and told him in person to look for the sample.

The ending of the form is a free text box. For some reason, this information isn't elsewhere, so I always add, "If you have any questions, please contact ..." and include my name and phone number to make the process go as smoothly as possible. We've made this a standard procedure, since including our personal contact information has helped speed up installations several times, and it doesn't take long to add.

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