I'm curious what you all are using as your username schema for employees?
Our policy is Legal first name + First letter of last name (Example: John Doe would be johnd@). We won't use a nickname / shortened version (Example: Alexander goes by Alex), and the only time we'll change it is if you get married / divorced or your name changes due to a gender transition. Talking to our Jr. SysAdmin, he mentioned that his username is a shortened version of his name so that policy was selectively enforced. What we realized was that HR doesn't always give us the legal first name. So it does appear to be selectively enforced, when in reality it's just a breakdown in communication.
Now I'm thinking about changing the policy to "Preferred first name + First letter of last name". The potential problems that I'm seeing are; 1) We have at least one employee who asked for their username to be changed to the shortened version of their first name, and I said no. So do we offer to change theirs? Or tell them it sucks but we're only doing it going forward 2) New hires aren't always quick to respond (or they may never respond) to me before their first day, so we wouldn't be able to get their accounts setup before they start. 3) One of our teams has to have accounts created with one of our clients, so I have to provide first + last name and email at least one week before to ensure their accounts are created in time as well.
All that being said, We're not going to offer to change employee usernames because it poses too many issues with services that use the username as a UID and updating their email to match and that will open a pandoras box of issues.
Our naming standard is first initial + last name, all lowercase. This has worked well for us so far. The only time we have made a username change is due to marriage/divorce and when requested by the employee. We have not had a request come in outside of that scenario, but I suspect that if there were a meaningful reason for the requested change, we would honor it. However, that would likely depend upon a few factors, such as how long the individual had been with the company, their role, how many systems, and which systems they have access to. Some systems would be much more challenging to deal with than others, and that could result in the request being denied.
Luckily, knock on wood, we have never run into a naming conflict. If we did, I'm not sure how we would handle it. I don't like the idea of just adding a number behind one of the usernames. We would maybe insert their middle initial or something like that. Hopefully, I never have to figure that out. haha I would be curious about how other organizations get around naming conflicts.
The one tweak we sometimes make is if a new hire has a hyphenated last name. In those cases, we will ask what their preferred username (adhering to our standard convention) would be. They generally ask us only to use a portion of their hyphenated last name so that their username and email address will be shorter. But if they wanted the full thing, we would respect that.
This may be slightly off-topic, but you indicated that sometimes there is a breakdown in communication from HR around the proper name. How does your onboarding process work? What alerts IT that a new hire will be starting, and what info is provided? I assume you leverage a ticket system for that, but maybe not. In our case, I have a specific onboarding form that asks standard questions IT needs to be able to process the request and helps guide them through the process of selecting the appropriate hardware/software. In addition to the new hire's first and last name, it also asks for their username. When the onboarding request is submitted, an automation workflow creates their primary accounts and assigns group memberships and permissions. Have you considered anything like that, even without automation, to help streamline the HR/IT communication process?
I don't go by my legal first name, so I asked up front that they set me up with my preferred name—ahead of onboarding so there wouldn't be any confusion. Because it's difficult for people I meet to remember that my email address is different from the name they met me as. Do you offer aliases at all? So that people could get their preferred name and have it redirect to the official account & that way they can hand out that email to people outside the org but they can still use the one you set up to log into everything?
Like @NVergin said, sounds like there are some things to be worked out in the onboarding process.
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I try and avoid using direct email aliases within employees' accounts, but I do leverage email routing/recipient address mapping rules which have the same result. That is also leveraged if a name change occurs so that the old email address will still deliver to their account.
We do have an employee who doesn't go by their given name. Their given name is used for their official username, but if someone sends them an email using their preferred name, it will get delivered. So we do try and allow for those types of situations.
First initial of preferred name + last name. Add more of the first name letters in case of existing match, if full name = existing, then add number to last name.
Preferred name is asked during hiring process/onboard and needs to be claimed then, we won't update it from actual name later. While this is a little harsh, it also sets the expectation so we don't have to worry about anything getting out of sync later on because of a name change. In the event of a legal name change (marriage, etc), then we use email alias for them, but login remains the same.