Starting a new role on the right foot
Last April, I took on my current role of Sr. Manager of People Technology at Crunchyroll (a world-class anime streaming service), which involves ensuring the integrity, performance, and availability of all people technology systems.
The role is a perfect fit for me—I’m a Workday expert and a specialist in the broader people technology landscape. Given this background, I’m well positioned to help Crunchyroll’s HR and recruiting teams get the most out of their technology.
Right off the bat, I saw that our extremely talented People Ops team was over-burdened with the amount of onboarding work they had to do manually. For example, they had to move new hire data from Greenhouse to Workday and add details to JIRA tickets so that IT could provision new hires with the right access levels to specific applications.
As some of the most devoted and capable employees in the People Team were consumed with the numerous tasks necessary to provide a good onboarding experience, I felt motivated to change the status quo.
Why we needed software
It was clear that we needed to automate the data transfers between Greenhouse and Workday—there was no reason why they had to keep doing this work manually. Same story for other systems as well.
Workday and Greenhouse each offered their own integration solutions (HRIS Connect and Workday Studio), but I didn’t think that either of them were the right fit. I had a larger automation vision in mind; I didn’t just want to solve the employee onboarding and offboarding problem at hand, but, instead, set the stage for additional automation use cases.
I began researching automation platforms in the hopes of finding something that would allow me to execute on that vision.
The benefits we knew we needed
Thinking of the big picture, there were several benefits that I knew I wanted to realize with a new automation platform:
- Allowing People Ops to spend less time on finding and moving data
- Providing an error-free employee onboarding/offboarding process
- Getting new hires up to speed faster
- Reducing the back-and-forth between People Ops and IT
- Fostering a thriving automation culture that makes life simpler company-wide
- Scaling automation with my two-person team
Criteria for evaluation
Here was my criteria for our new automation platform:
- A SaaS solution: I didn’t want to have to install anything; moreover, our company—and the entire technology landscape—was naturally gravitating towards SaaS applications.
- A wide range of connectors: Greenhouse and Workday connectors were a must for employee onboarding and offboarding, but I wanted a wide range of options for future use cases.
- An easy-to-use and easy-to-learn platform: As a two-person team (which includes myself), time is of the essence. I wanted to make sure that we didn’t have to undergo a huge amount of training in order to use the platform.
- Building integrations at a granular level with Java and Ruby: It was important that the platform allowed me to leverage my technical skills in order to build robust integrations.
Demo & findings
When I came across Workato, it was a bit like a teenager seeing the car of their dreams—I just really wanted it.
There were so many things that impressed me about Workato right away. I saw that Workato had a Greenhouse connector, a JIRA connector, a Workday connector, and much more. Plus, I saw how granular I could get with Java and Ruby when building out the integrations.
Once I actually started using the platform, I felt like I kept finding out things that I loved about it—for example, standard web services are exposed in the connectors themselves. The salesperson I worked with was great, but the platform really spoke for itself. I didn’t need to look any further.
Our use cases
While we’re still ramping up our Workato usage, we’re excited about the use cases we plan to implement with the platform. Here are just a few:
Employee onboarding & offboarding
Not only do we plan to use Workato to automate the manual, error-prone data transfers that the People Ops team has to manage between Greenhouse and Workday, but we also want to expand upon this use case. For instance, we plan to have Greenhouse’s new hire process trigger Workato to talk to JIRA and other systems to further automate the work involved in getting a new hire up to speed.
Our managers often get so bogged down in their day-to-day work that administrative details, such as approving their direct reports’ time off, can slip their mind. With Workato, it’s extremely easy to use the Slack connector to build automations that ping managers messages like, “Hey, you’re overdue on an important request by this employee. Please go to Workday and do it.” I’m looking forward to improving use cases like these even more by adding buttons within the messages so that managers can carry out actions without having to leave Slack.
Results & what’s next
I’m still finalizing the Workday/Greenhouse integration, but once that comes together, the world will be our oyster—I’ll be able to automate a lot of things that a person would otherwise have to log into Workday to do.
The best part is, I know that I have the Workato team’s support. Case in point: I recently messaged the team on a Saturday and they answered shortly thereafter.
With this level of support, coupled with the platform’s ease of use, I know that we’re going to succeed.