IRS Onboarding Process Under Fire


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When I saw today that TIGTA had audited the IRS new-hire integration process (something the IRS calls “onboarding”) and concluded that the IRS is not always making new employees feel welcome and not always making it a positive experience, I immediately imagined that there is some kind of mild hazing going on at the Service.  Maybe the stapler set in a jello mold trick, or the cell phone in the A/C duct trick, or the gift-wrapped work station prank, or any other form of office shenanigans.

I guess I was slightly disappointed to learn that the onboarding deficiencies that TIGTA identified were far less interesting; things like not being assigned a mentor or not being helped to reach their full potential.  Maybe they need to lighten up a little at the IRS, cut the taxpayer a little slack, think twice before issuing a wage garnishment or a bank levy just before Christmas.  Office pranks at least show some creativity.  But IRS personnel are trained to work like robots; they aren’t allowed to be creative.

To be fair, there are some IRS employees who think outside the box but its almost always those who have several years of experience.  The IRS needs to improve its onboarding if only to reduce turnover.

About “onboarding” . . . for whatever reason, the IRS likes to have goofy names for regular things, another example being that they don’t call a work period a shift, they call it a “tour of duty.” Onboarding conjurs up images of loading new-hires onto a plane. For too many IRS employees it turns out to be a short flight.