Better Employee Onboarding with Intelligent HR Workflows

In any organization, the human resources (HR) team plays a crucial role in making the new employee experience wonderful and efficient. This responsibility starts the moment a new hire signs their contract and the employee onboarding process begins.

But onboarding can be tough to execute well. From payroll to provisioning, there are so many distinct processes and tasks to complete! And these tasks need to be completed in a variety of apps and systems. There can be a lot of manual data entry, or you may need to wait for other departments (like IT) to approve requests.

All these processes often result in a slow and disorganized onboarding experience that frustrates both new hires and HR staff. Your organization loses productivity not only from complex processes but also when new employees can’t get to work as quickly as possible. The costs associated with this loss of productivity are enormous; a BambooHR survey indicates that 45% of HR staff believe they waste more than $10,000 year on faulty onboarding practices.

More importantly, the onboarding experience sets the tone for an employee’s tenure. It can even determine how long they stay at your company; according to a Korn Ferry survey, 98% of executives list onboarding programs as a key factor in retention efforts.

Intelligent automation can streamline employee onboarding by connecting your apps so you can build fully automated workflows. When you decrease the number of onboarding tasks you need to do manually, you’re free to focus on more important goals like nurturing talent. You also make onboarding more pleasant for new hires because everything they need is set up more quickly.

Workato is an intelligent automation platform (backed by the folks at Workday Ventures, the leading HR app) that allows your business to build workflows across departments and apps. At Workato, we call our integrations recipes, because they’re lists of instructions for doing work between your apps—and they’re written in ordinary English.

To make our platform user-friendly, we offer a repository of 100,000+ community recipes covering common use cases. You can copy, tweak, and reuse these recipes instead of writing your own from scratch—so you can get your integrations up and running quickly. Here are some of our favorite HR automations that can power your employee onboarding processes!

Collect, Store, and Sync Employee Contracts and Personal Information

Send employment contracts automatically with DocuSign

The first step in onboarding any new employee is formally offering them the job. But the process of sending contracts can be tedious. You need to draw up a contract, send it, wait for their response, and then file the signed paperwork appropriately once it returns. And if you’re hiring a high volume of applicants, you need to repeat this process for every single one.

To streamline the process, you can use Workato to integrate DocuSign or another e-contract service with your HR app. When a candidate’s status changes to “hired” in your HR app, Workato will automatically send them the appropriate contract—and fill in the candidate’s information. Another Workato recipe will keep an eye on DocuSign. When the signed contract comes back, Workato will move the contract into the new employee’s profile in your HR app. You’ll then receive a notification via Slack or email, alerting you to the signed contract.

You can customize this onboarding automation to meet your specific business needs. For example, a national nonprofit with 400 staff, thousands of volunteers and canvassers, and 1.5 million supporters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia integrates DocuSign and QuickBase using Workato. When a new hire packet is filled out in DocuSign, Workato pulls information from the contract’s fields and moves it into Quick Base automatically. It might seem like a simple integration, but it adds real value for the HR team by eliminating a lot of manual data entry. It also decreases the likelihood of human error when moving that data around. And because the process moves automatically, it can significantly speed up the onboarding process; new hires can get to work sooner.

Learn more about automating contracts >

Store signed employee contracts and notify the hiring manager

Automating contract sending is just one way to simplify onboarding; you can also easily automate the filing of that paperwork. By creating an automated workflow that uses DocuSign, a cloud storage app such as Box, and a chat app like Slack, you can securely store signed contracts and automatically inform the right people when paperwork has been completed.

When Workato detects that a contract has come back signed in DocuSign, a recipe can create a new Box folder named with the new employee’s email. (Because it takes a few minutes for the new Box folder to create, there is a 5 minute wait time built into this recipe before Workato downloads the contract from DocuSign as a PDF and uploads the contract into the Box folder.) The recipe also adds the new employee as a collaborator to the folder. Finally, Workato can send a notification to the hiring manager via Slack, announcing the new employee and providing a link to the contract stored in Box.

Get started with this integration >

Sync employee information between your HR and finance apps

When a new employee starts work, their information often needs to be entered into multiple systems. Not only do you need to add that employee to your HR app (like Workday), but you also need to make their personal information available to other departments (like finance or payroll). That’s a lot of data entry—especially when you have to do it for each new employee.

To ease the burden, you can routinely sync HR apps like Namely or Workday with a finance app like NetSuite, Intacct, or QuickBooks. The first way to do this is on a timer, where the integration runs on a schedule you determine. For example, you could choose to sync the apps every day at midnight.

The second way to structure the automation is to sync the apps in real-time using a trigger. Every time a new employee is created in Workday, for example, a recipe can check to see if there’s a corresponding employee in NetSuite. If not, the recipe can create one. (You can also create a corresponding recipe, so that every time a change or update is made to an employee in NetSuite, it syncs with Workday.) This way, you avoid duplicate accounts while making sure all information across your apps is up-to-date and accurate.

Seamlessly sync employees between Workday and NetSuite >

Provision New Employees Securely and Automatically

Automatically create accounts for new users in your enterprise apps

An important part of employee onboarding is getting new employees set up in the other apps and systems they need. You want new hires to have access as soon as possible so they can complete crucial onboarding tasks like entering payroll preferences—and so they can start being productive right away! But the process of granting access to apps and systems (also known as provisioning) often requires manual input. You (or an IT staff member) will have to create credentials for a new employee in every program they will use.

A simple recipe can automate provisioning so that you don’t need to manually configure app access for new hires. Whenever you create a new user in Workday or another HR app, it can trigger the creation of a new user in Concur, ServiceNow, Salesforce—or any other app you want to grant employees access to. This way, you don’t have to manually grant access; new employees will be able to get started as soon as your HR app lists them as hired.

Create new users in your enterprise apps >

Fully automate provisioning with integrated identity access management

Many organizations already use an identity and access management (IAM) program like Okta to manage provisioning. For security reasons, these apps are usually managed by the IT or Security Ops teams, so HR can’t make changes as needed. This creates a time lag in the employee onboarding process because you need to wait for another department to provision your new employee.

With an integrated employee onboarding workflow, however, you can securely create new users in your IAM app and kick off automatic provisioning. When a new employee signs their offer letter in an HR app like Workday or Zenefits, it can trigger the creation of a new Okta user. The IAM app will then automatically provision that new user across all associated systems that they need access to. This emloyee onboarding automation means that you don’t need to wait for IT to create a user in your company’s IAM app; the process happens automatically—and securely.

The workflow can even incorporate contract automation apps. When a new employee signs a DocuSign contract, a recipe can automatically provision an account for that employee so they can access the employee portal, for example.

Fully automate your IAM management with Workato and Okta >

Employee onboarding automation: execute approval workflows in Slack

If your organization is larger or has many different departments, it’s likely that not every new employee will need access to every app. Or employees may need different levels of access based on their seniority. This can make provisioning even more complicated because you need to customize the apps and access levels you grant to each new hire.

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For more granular control over provisioning, you can create an approval workflow that requires input from the right person (like a hiring manager or team lead) before granting access. With Workbot, a chatbot we created so you can do work in other apps directly from Slack, the approval workflow can occur right in the chat console. Workbot is the only Slackbot to offer Verified User Access (VUA), a proprietary feature that requires approvers to authenticate their credentials before approving actions in other apps. With VUA, your approvals are always secure.

A simple approval workflow would send a Slack message to the approver whenever a candidate is marked as “hired” in your HR app. The message will ask whether they want to create a new user in ServiceNow, for example. Alternatively, the message can offer a drop-down menu of apps that the approver can choose from. The approver then uses buttons to choose whether to “accept” or “reject” the action. From there, Workato will automatically create a new user in the appropriate app.

You can also use this approval flow as an extra check before executing a comprehensive IAM workflow. When a new sales employee is added in your HR app, for example, a recipe sends a message via Workbot indicating that the employee was added. The message will prompt you to approve the addition; once approved, the workflow will then automatically create an Okta user in the Sales group and provision the user across all the right apps.

Learn more about constructing Slack approval workflows >

Give Employees the Right Tools and Refine Your Onboarding Workflows

Provide employee resources via Slack

Beyond provisioning, there are lots of other resources that you need to provide new employees. These resources range from formal documents (like the employee handbook) to tips for navigating the chain of communication. In many companies, these resources are either provided as hard copies, stored in HR apps like Namely, or passed along verbally. But new employees might not know where to find help—and providing frequent assistance can be a big distraction for HR.

Intelligent HR workflows can help you make these resources available to new hires instantly. One way to do this is to create a workflow with Slack and your HR app. When a new employee is added to the HR app, they can automatically receive a Slack message on their start date. The message will include the employee handbook and any other info they need. It can even recommend Slack channels the new employee should join, like #lunch-orders or #marketing. With this automation, your new hires will immediately have access to the resources they need!

Seamlessly collect feedback on the employee onboarding process

HR isn’t just responsible for executing the employee onboarding process; it’s responsible for designing and honing that process as well. In this respect, employee feedback is crucial. It gives the HR team on-the-ground insight into how employee onboarding functions in real life. But collecting that feedback can be 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.

You can easily solicit feedback from recently hired employees by connecting Namely and SurveyMonkey. Using this recipe, you can automatically send a SurveyMonkey survey to each new hire whenever that user is created in Namely.

You can even tweak this recipe so that it sends a survey to new hires at your desired interval. For example, you could send the survey two weeks after the employee’s start date, so they have time to experience the full employee onboarding process.

Deploy internal surveys with no manual work >

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