Hello I'm newAt a recent Intranet Lunch community of practice meeting we discussed intranet / digital workplace inductions.

One issue that came up was how do we know who is new to the organisation ? Easy if you’re one physical location and a few tens of staff, harder when you’re spread across multiple locations and have thousands of staff.

Ideally the intranet will “know” a the staff member visiting is new and show them specific materials that help them learn about the intranet and the organisation. More often than not this isn’t the case. This blog post will give you some human and some technical ways to find out who is new to your organisation. You as the digital workplace professional can then use this list to help yourself get new staff off on the right foot with respect to the intranet and digital tools available, and your may also be able to score some favours with other staff by helping them too. And who doesn’t want to help other people ?

So this blog post will help you to:

  • get a list of new staff

You can then use this list to do a range of things including

  • giving the new staff an intranet induction

This means that you benefit by helping a new staff member, who may become the CEO (or who may be the CEO), and get time in front of real users. The new staff member benefits from you giving them an intranet induction by feeling valued (you spent time with them), and by getting an insight into the “way of working” in your organisation. So . . .

How do you get a list of new staff  for your intranet induction ?

There are several ways to get a list of new staff who have arrived in the past week.

My recommendation is to do some contextual enquiry : Visit the HR director, get them to give you the OK to shadow a new staff member from interview, through to first day on the job. This will let you understand all the touch points on the staff journey from being a prospect to actually doing work. This is useful for digital workplace professionals because it means not only do you find out who knows about new staff and what systems know about new staff but when each of those touch points occurs.

Failing this here are some suggestions:

  1. HR are usually first to know someone has been hired. Work with them so you as the intranet manager also get an email when the appointment is confirmed.
  2. After HR payroll are usually the next to know. Work with the payroll folks so you get CC’d on their new staff emails.
  3. Next inline are often the IT staff who create the username and password for the new employee. If your organisation uses Active Directory (a system for checking usernames and passwords match, among other things) then this may help with an automated notification.
  4. Finally the physical security team (sometimes IT , other times facilities or maintenance) may issue a swipe card or ID badge.
  5. If all else fails and you see a face you don’t recognise , ask them how long they’ve been with your organisation 🙂

All of these methods work, and depending on who you have the most influence with they work well. Remember you can always increase your influence with cake.

What about something that doesn’t need human intervention, or retraining when the HR team changes etc etc.

At this point you need to start looking at the digital footprints a new staff member creates.

  1. Every digital system has a creation date associated with a new record. So when a new user is added to the HR or Payroll or Username or Security system there is a database somewhere that has a row in it with a date and time stamped against it.

OH OH that database work came up. Don’t turn off now, every you Communications folks. I’m not going to get you to get in there, but if you know that this stuff exists you can get the Boffins to give you what you need because you can talk their language.


When new staff begin with your organisation, there are multiple software systems that have their details in them, and the date / time their details were entered.

All you , and probably several other service delivery folks in your organisation need, is a way to view the list of people who are new to the organisation.

Intranets are great at displaying information so ideally: deliver the list of new staff report via your intranet from your reporting system. But we don’t have a reporting system I hear you say. OK then find a system that has new staff and a creation date against them , that the owner of the system will allow it to be queried and display the results on the intranet.

Finance / Payroll system – it is unlikely you’ll be given access to this system for anything.

HR system – ideally you will be able to read data from this system , but it can contain sensitive information so again it isn’t a likely source.

IT systems, specifically your username and password system e.g. Active Directory. This is the most likely thing you’ll be allowed to query, because it rarely holds sensitive data, the people who own it are used to reading information from it and your list of new staff will help IT out with their induction for new staff.

How to get new users from active directory

They key here is to give all the information to those with the skills so they can give you back, with the least disruption to them, what you are asking for.

So what do you need to tell the IT team to get your list of new users:

  1. You only want to READ information, not change it. Their biggest worry will be you change information that they will have to go and fix.
  2. There will be an existing username and password or service account with rights to read Active Directory, so they don’t have to create oneif they don’t want to.
  3. You only need a text file output (this is easy for them to do, helps you prove the concept, and is easy to scale up to display on the web at a later stage).
  4. The text file output needs to contain (and this may vary depending on your active directory) : the person’s logon , their first name, their last name, their email, the account’s creation date. This is usually enough to narrow down information to a specific person. Nice to have would be department, manager name, phone number. But this may or may not be available.
  5. You need the text file output to be put on a file server you have rights to view.
  6. You need the text file output to be produced every week. (That way you only have a max of 14 days between someone starting and you being able to contact them.

Creating your output text file should take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day depending on how experienced the IT staff are who create the PowerShell script.

If you have more sway with the IT team give them some stretch goals:

  1. not a text file but a web page
  2. a web page within your existing intranet
  3. a web page that lets you submit the number of days you want to look back via the URL string e.g. newstaff.php?daysback=30   OR   newstaff.aspx?daysback=7

Having created such a page on the sharepoint 2010 Lincoln University staff intranet , we found that it got used by:

  • intranet admin
  • IT admin staff
  • department and faculty admins
  • library staff

By giving control over the number of days looked back via the URL string we were able to cater to different needs from these unexpected users.

Staff intranet inductions are important. Use up some of your outstanding favours and get a list of new staff on your intranet TODAY 🙂


Intranet Induction who is new
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