What if one simple oversight during the onboarding process resulted in your company being heavily fined? Or possibly shutting down all of your operations? This is a real risk for companies in highly-regulated industries, such as utilities, healthcare, and finance.
Maintaining strict compliance when hiring new employees is absolutely critical to the survival of thousands of organizations. In a previous blog, we looked at how SharePoint, Office 365, and our integrated solutions could be used to tackle typical onboarding challenges. Today we will take it to the next level: onboarding for regulated companies.
Onboarding with Compliance in Mind
Below are some of the key questions that need to be addressed when onboarding a new employee in a regulated environment:
- Being mindful of the need to properly document the hiring process, how do you perform employee risk assessments to determine the viability of candidates?
- How do you initially communicate and make work arrangements with new employees? Are all communications and tasks tracked and recorded for audit purposes?
- After the new employee has joined the team, how do you grant access rights? Over the lifespan of the employee, how do you manage security access requests?
- When employees change positions or roles in the company, can you view historical access data and upgrade access?
- During orientation and training, how do you ensure that employees have read required company policies?
- How do you keep track of training goals so that they are consistent with regulatory requirements?
- How do you centralize new employee information? Do you have a communication platform that enables new employees to access important content while also supporting collaboration?
Personal Risk Assessments
In a compliant-sensitive environment, the hiring process is considerably longer because all facets of the potential new hire need to be examined. Before any new employee can join an organization, a comprehensive personal risk assessment needs to be performed to determine if he/she will be a high-risk employee.
Potential risks can take many forms, some of which are deliberate (an employee who purposely intends to cause harm from within), while others are unintentional (an employee who lacks a critical skill-set, but fabricates proficiencies in order to get hired). Whether intentional or not, the risk is still there and could wreak considerable havoc if questionable candidates are allowed to become employees.
Policy Dissemination and Verification
Regulatory agencies require companies to not only share company policies with their employees, but to prove that their employees have read and understood said policies. A Policy & Procedures Management system can be used to create workflows for document verification by assigning tasks to employees.
Employees are given tasks to fully read the document and, when done, to mark the task as complete. These document-associated tasks can be assigned to individual users, groups of users, or even the entire company. SharePoint’s robust infrastructure enables organizations to scale upwards without any difficulties, so a Document + Task combination could be assigned to thousands of users, if needed.
Asset Management for New Employees
In a compliance environment, an Asset Management system is needed to track who has been assigned which assets, when those assets need maintenance or replacement, what assets are in inventory and ready for use by new employees, what access rights to assets new employees should have, what training is required on the use of each asset (if any), and much more.
Asset Management, when used as part of Onboarding, provides a comprehensive view of who was given what equipment, who approved it, what permissions were granted, what training is required, and other important factors in terms of meeting compliance and auditing requirements.
Training and Certifications for New Staff
Employee training is very often needed for compliance purposes. A system to track training enables management to instantly view employee-education engagement metrics and whether these are meeting compliance mandates, such as:
- Who is participating in the training course?
- How much progress has a specific employee made?
- When will the course end?
- How many employees are participating in training courses?
Know what training and certifications are required for each position or to use a particular asset or piece of equipment — and if the new employee has met (or is in the process of meeting) these requirements — is critical to addressing compliance, security, and regulatory needs, as well as being simply good business practice.
Can SharePoint be used for Onboarding in a Regulated Environment?
The onboarding process in a highly-regulated industry is unique because of the repercussions involved if mistakes are made. There is much more at stake so, by necessity, onboarding is a more comprehensive and time-consuming process. This complexity poses challenges to companies because it’s easy to lose track of all the elements involved: does the employee have the correct certifications? Will they be able to secure the proper clearances? Have they read the company policies? Have they completed their training? and so on.
Crow Canyon’s Onboarding System for SharePoint and Office 365 brings together our set of business applications to provide the capabilities needed for bringing on new employees in regulated industries (as well as for organization with more basic onboarding needs). We have out-of-the-box functionality, but quite often, we need to put together a package for customers that meet their unique needs. This includes our Help Desk with its ticketing, task, and request management capabilities, Asset Management to track distribution of assets, Security Access Request for managing permissions and access, and Policy & Procedures for document verification. We can tailor these to a company’s specific processes.
In this way, we are able to build comprehensive and highly functional Onboarding Systems that meet the needs of highly regulated industries — electric, gas, financial, healthcare — as well as other organizations, whether large corporations, government, non-profits, or other.
Would you like to learn about how your SharePoint environment can become a true business productivity platform, including for Onboarding? Let’s talk. Give us a call at 1-888-706-0070 (in U.S.) or 1-925-478-3110 (outside U.S.) or contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Crow Canyon Systems has 20 years of experience assisting organizations in leveraging their existing infrastructure, rather than requiring new hardware and technologies. We specialize in building upon Microsoft collaboration platforms, such as SharePoint and Office 365, in order to give your organization powerful business applications without the need for additional infrastructure.