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"Looks fine to me" doesn't count

Updated: May 31

A thumbs up emoji that's been crossed out

You just were handed the email address to create. You create it.

You check it. Looks good. You tell your customer it’s been created. Close the ticket.

Now the fun begins:

  • The new employee starts and sees their name misspelled on the email address.

  • They comment to the HR person. 

  • The HR person is frustrated and asks IT to fix it.

  • IT looks and says “we added what we were given”

Turns out the hiring manager had the wrong spelling.

What matters now? Who had it wrong, or getting it fixed?

The problem is that now THREE people are upset:

  1. the employee

  2. the HR person

  3. the IT person

Ironically, the person who may have written the information incorrectly is likely not even aware of the error. 

New employee doesn’t really mind, they don’t want to make waves on their first week.

The HR person is likely embarrassed. The IT person is frustrated because they were GIVEN incorrect information.

What’s the fix? You can’t just insist the hiring manager be more detail-oriented. Asking people to be better or work harder is a fruitless endeavor. Besides, maybe the hiring manager was given the wrong information by a recruiter. 

Who got it wrong isn’t what matters. Who knows the right answer is the key. And that’s the new hire.

Instead of saying “we created the account, here’s the temporary password”, say this: 

“Hi, we’ve made the account based on the information we were given. Now we need you to quickly verify if this is all correct. Is it spelled right? Is your name showing up as you’d like? Would you please send and receive one message before I leave your desk?”

When the new hire says “actually my name is spelled with two L’s”, you can say “I’m glad I asked, seems someone wrote it down wrong along the way.” - this avoids throwing a colleague under the bus (saying “someone” instead of a specific name) and in a subtle way it reinforces that you do these steps for a reason, and that your thoroughness is important to you. This will also reinforce the next time you ask someone for an extra step: you’ve shown that the process is worth doing.  It's too easy to be annoyed to have been given incorrect information. Fixing it and showing the new hire that you take details seriously will not only show them the caliber of the company they just joined, but it will help you focus on helping the person and not the computer.


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