The way we do business is changing rapidly. Companies are committed to digital transformation—using new technology to overhaul traditional processes and business operations. But the transformation isn’t just about adopting new tech; it’s about rethinking the way organizations operate, from the ground up.
Sparked by a dissatisfaction with the old way of doing things, “people operations” are revolutionizing the field of human resources. People ops go beyond traditional HR because they focus on helping employees be their best—not just facilitating their work, administering benefits, and ensuring compliance with the law.
In the midst of this shift, best-of-breed HR apps like Workday and Namely have become invaluable. They help you manage information, keep accurate records, and gain insight into your organization’s structure. According to Gartner, cloud-based HR software accounts for more than 50% of total HR tech spending. Each app has its own special strengths, so it’s common for HR teams to use multiple apps for different purposes. One app might store all timesheet information while another is used to submit PTO requests.
While these specialized tools are helpful, they can also lead to information silos. When important information is stored in disconnected apps, it makes it harder for the HR team to do its job because they can’t easily access that information. They have to switch apps—which kills productivity—or wait for another person or department to grant them access (which can create bottlenecks in important processes). In fact, a Brandon Hall group study indicates that 45% of HR professionals want to alleviate the burden of manual tasks from HR.
Intelligent automation can solve these problems by connecting your apps in integrated workflows. By automating manual processes and constructing integrated HR workflows, your HR team can focus on what’s really important: recruiting, developing, and retaining talent—not administrative work.
Workato is an intelligent automation platform (backed by Workday Ventures, the leading HR app) that lets you construct workflows across departments and apps. At Workato, we call our integrations recipes, because they’re plain English instructions for doing work between your apps. We even offer a repository of 100,000+ community recipes that you can copy, tweak, and reuse—instead of writing your own from scratch. We’ll cover some of our favorite everyday HR workflows throughout this page, but before we do, let’s define an HR Workflow.
What is an HR Workflow?
An HR workflow is a process of moving data between your HR systems and other applications in order to fulfill a specific HR objective, like onboarding an employee or provisioning them with access to your applications. You can use an enterprise automation platform like Workato to automate a human resources workflow end-to-end.
HR Workflows for Streamlining Promotion, Role Change, and Retirement Processes
Promotion and retirement provisioning
One of the most important tasks any HR team tackles is keeping on top of the ever-changing list of employees and their roles. Employees often switch teams or earn promotions. And of course, with a new role or title comes new tools and app permissions that the employee may need access to. It’s crucial that HR provide those tools as soon as possible so the employee can settle into their new role as quickly as possible.
But provisioning is often handled with different apps, such as an identity and access management (IAM) program like Okta. The HR team may not have access to that app, so they must wait for the IT or Security Ops team to make changes. This wait time means that there’s often a bottleneck in the provisioning process—and that hurts productivity.
Intelligent, automated HR workflows can help simplify the process. Whenever an employee’s role is changed in your HR app (like Workday or Namely), a Workato recipe can kick in and sync the changes with your IAM app. Once the employee’s new role is synced between both apps, the IAM app will automatically provision them correctly, according to their updated title.
You can also use similar HR workflows to de-provision employees who are retiring. When their status is marked as “retired” in your HR app, a Workato recipe can automatically sync that information with your IAM program, which will then de-provision them across your apps.
Provisioning employees directly from Slack with Workbot
More and more employees are spending the bulk of their workday in chat apps like Slack, and HR staff members are no different. While Slack is a great communication tool, constantly switching from the chat app to your other apps can seriously affect your productivity.
Chatbots are a powerful solution to this problem. Using Workbot, a bot Workato created to allow users to do work in other cloud apps directly from Slack, you can execute this provisioning workflow without leaving the chat platform. Powered by the Workato Integration and Automation platform, Workbot is highly customizable because it runs on Workato recipes.
When an employee’s status or role changes in your HR app—say, Namely for example—Workato can send a Slack message to the correct person (like an HR staff member or the employee’s new manager). The Slack message will inform them of the employee’s new role. The message will also ask whether they would like to provision the employee using an app like Okta or JIRA. Using buttons and drop-down menus, the staff member can indicate how they would like to provision the employee. If you are using Okta, you can automatically provision the employee. And Workbot is the only bot to feature Verified User Access, a patented technology that requires you to authenticate your credentials before approving a request—so your requests are always secure.
If you need to ask IT or another department, companies often use apps like JIRA or ServiceNow to track these requests. You can send the requests from Slack to either app and Workato then makes a note of any activity in JIRA or ServiceNow on the employee’s Namely profile, so both systems are up to date automatically and you can easily see what the employee has been provisioned in both apps.
HR Workflows for Approving Employee Requests
Approving vacation requests with Workbot for Slack
For employees, one of HR’s most important roles is handling vacation or PTO requests. After all, when you’re working hard it’s important to feel that you can reward yourself with time off! On the back end, however, managing requests can be overwhelming, especially when HR staff must manually check and approve each one.
To make the process simpler, you can execute these approval-based HR workflows in Slack using Workbot. For example, imagine that you want to approve time off requests made in an HR app like BambooHR. Whenever an employee asks for vacation time, you can receive an automatic Slack message via Workbot, letting you know about the request. And with Workbot features like buttons and drop-down menus, you don’t have to leave Slack to approve the request—you can just point and click, and Workato will automatically record the approval in BambooHR.
Managing employee development and training from Slack or email
Managing training and development can be an arduous task for HR. Employee needs vary, and there’s such a wide range of training tools available. From optional online webinars and special courses to mandatory, all-hands instruction, the options for development are endless! Even for a people-focused HR team, it can be difficult to assess what individual employees need—and to follow up to make sure they’ve received the right instruction.
It’s simple to automate training approval and tracking in Workday or another HR app. Using a Workato approval workflow similar to the one mentioned above, managers can be notified via email (or in a chat app like Slack) whenever an employee signs up for an online training course. The manager can then approve the training via Slack or email, and after the employee completes the course, it will be recorded in Workday.
HR Workflows for Measuring Employee Performance and Satisfaction
Checking satisfaction and gathering employee feedback via Slack
HR is also responsible for ensuring employee satisfaction in the workplace. It’s a crucial task because happy employees are more likely to be productive, go the extra mile, and stay with the organization for a long time.
Employee feedback is crucial to creating a happy, productive workplace; it gives the HR team on-the-ground insight into the employee experience. Collecting feedback, however, can feel daunting and labor-intensive. You have to create a means for submitting it (like an online survey or a physical drop box) and then encourage the right people to respond.
For example, you can easily gather feedback on the onboarding process from recently hired employees. A Workato recipe can automatically send a SurveyMonkey survey to each new hire whenever that user is created in Namely. You could even send the survey two weeks after the employee’s start date, so they have time to experience the full onboarding process.
That’s just one example; you can automatically deploy surveys based on any trigger. Whether you want to collect feedback on catered lunches or find out how satisfied employees are with development opportunities, you can easily get the information you need!
Uploading performance evaluations to Box for secure storage
Another key aspect of HR is nurturing and developing talent, which often requires periodic assessments or performance evaluations. If you’re using an HR app like Workday or BambooHR, these evaluations are stored within the app. However, many companies prefer to keep a backup version for accurate record keeping and governance.
You can automatically upload performance evaluations from your HR app to another app such as a secure Box folder for safekeeping and accurate records.
HR Workflows for Connecting a Complex Enterprise App Ecosystem
Keeping Two Enterprise HR Applications in Sync
Sometimes, different branches of an organization use completely distinct HR systems, especially after acquisitions or management changes. For example, one branch of the company might use Oracle EBS, while the other uses Workday. But HR staff frequently need access to information in both systems. Keeping both systems in sync with each other can require arduous amounts of manual data entry, which is costly and wastes time.
Intelligent automation can keep both systems in sync without any hands-on effort. When a new employee is created in Workday, a Workato recipe can check Oracle and see if there’s already an entry for that worker. If there isn’t, the recipe will create one. It will then update the Workday profile with the EBS employee ID.
Syncing your HR app and time management program
It’s not uncommon for HR staff to need access to timesheet information. Ths information can help determine the actual PTO that an employee has accrued, for example. When it’s not up-to-date, you can’t get a truly 360° view of your employees.
A Workato recipe can easily move this information from an app like Replicon into your HR app with no manual work. The recipe can run in real-time, every time an employee clocks in or out. Or you can run this HR workflow on a schedule so it updates employee hours at your desired interval, such as every Friday at 5:00 PM.