SharePoint Employee onboarding / termination workflow

Several of my clients to help with their employee onboarding and termination workflow. SharePoint is a good fit for shepherding employees through the system. This process can be monitored and managed using SharePoint to prevent forgotten tasks, errors, and redundant work.

SharePoint can pick up at any point during the process, even as early as candidate management.  Here is one example of a possible onboarding workflow starting with the Hiring Manager identifying whom should be hired.

Employee Onboarding Workflow

The Hiring Manager kicks off the workflow by filling out a form with the candidates name, desired position, recommended salary, and some other details. Upon submission, Human Resources is notified by email or text message.

Typically workflows reference groups instead of individuals to account for vacation and turn over. When Human Resources is notified of the new form, usually only one individual will receive the message, but that individual can change without changing the workflow.

Human Resources then looks through the form and uses a database (outside of SharePoint) to compare salaries and approve the Hiring Manager’s request. Human Resources then adds that information to the form and submits it to Accounting.

The Accounting department reviews the budget and approves the expense. Human Resources is then notified to create an offer letter, which is passed on to the Hiring Manager.

The Hiring Manager reviews the offer letter and sends it to the Candidate. The Candidate accepts the offer by signing the letter and sending it back to the Hiring Manager.

The Hiring Manager saves the letter into SharePoint and notifies IT to issue and email address and computer.  Accounting adds the employee to payroll. HR adds the employee to the HR system, and finally the Hiring Manager and new employee are notified that the process is complete.

How do SharePoint workflows work?

SharePoint workflows are usually started by submitting a new document, list item or form. SharePoint then notifies by email, text message, or assigned task the next person or people in the chain. In some cases, a step in a workflow might be completed by pulling information from a database or doing something else that doesn’t require human interaction.

As each step in the workflow is completed, SharePoint records who did what when. If someone needs to review the process later or see where a workflow has been hung up, she can review these records. Bottlenecks and dropped tasks can be tracked down. Workflows can be built around a document, a list item, or a form.

Document approvals are the most common and simplest workflows to manage.  Someone fills out a Word document or emails into a document library, and the presence of the new document causes the document library to notify an individual that something needs to be approved.

Document approvals can be complex, requiring simultaneous or consecutive approval from several people. They are easy to use, but they limit what devices you can use to submit the document and in the way the workflow can be routed around.

List Item workflows are kicked off with the submission of a new item into a list. Calendars in SharePoint are lists, so workflows can be started by adding a meeting.

For a long time Workflow forms meant InfoPath, but Microsoft recently announced the impending retirement of that software. InfoPath is still supported, but most users have moved away from the deprecated software toward third party solutions or web forms of some sort or other.

Web forms are very flexible, but they can also requite lengthy development.

In the case of Onboarding and Termination workflows, web forms are usually the best fit, but the unique requirements of each client can change that recommendation.

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