Turbo Charge Employee Onboarding with Microsoft Power Automate

Have you heard the expression “start as you mean to go on”? That expression could have been coined specifically for employee onboarding. An employee’s first day at a new job sets the tone for the entirety of their tenure there, and has major implications for their future job performance, engagement, and general attitude about the company.

Why is Employee Onboarding So Critical?

Imagine you’re a new employee starting your first day with a company. You show up and it seems like no one is expecting you or really knows what to do, there’s no workstation set up for you, no logins or email ready. Maybe the team pulls together and gets everything set up quickly once they realize what’s happening, but the lack of readiness means you have to wait to have different departments set stuff up for you and you really don’t get to start working until the end of the week.

Now imagine another scenario. You show up for your first day and someone is waiting to greet you and show you around, including showing you to your desk. You have a computer all set up with the appropriate accessories and accounts, and you have access to everything you need. Instead of wasting time waiting for things to be set up, you can spend your first week meeting with the team and getting to work!

2 employee onboarding scenarios

Maybe by the end of the first week, the employee in each scenario is in roughly the same position. But how does the employee feel? In the first scenario, the employee feels undervalued – there wasn’t even a place for them to sit when they arrived! And probably a little nervous that they’ve accepted an offer with what appears to be a very disorganized, reactive company. Hardly the first impression that most organizations would want to project. On the other hand, the employee in scenario 2 feels valued, welcomed, and immediately like they are part of a well-oiled machine. Which tone would you rather set for a new employee starting with your company?

Mapping the New Employee Onboarding Process

Unfortunately, scenario 1 is not at all unusual – and businesses know it’s a problem. Onboarding automation is the most frequent process automation we do with our clients because it is a hugely manual process with lots of opportunity for things to fall through the cracks. The first step is mapping the new employee onboarding process to see all these manual steps. Here’s a very simple example:

simple employee onboarding flow

 

In the image above each different colored block represents a different role that’s responsible for a task. Blue is HR, green is the hiring manager, coral is the executive admin, teal is IT, and gold is facilities. As you can see there a lot of different moving parts and people involved, even in this simplified example. And for a lot of our clients, this whole process is conducted by email – HR sends an email to IT and waits for an email back. Maybe they wait a few days without an email back from IT and have to follow up again, or someone misses an email and a task is never completed. And HR is having to do this with multiple people in different departments for each new hire. It’s not surprising this can be a disjointed process, prone to error.

Mapping out this process allows us to see what can be automated:

Onboarding flow for automation

Opportunities for automation range from simple tasks to more complex processes. Simple things include capturing necessary information from the new hire, setting up email notifications, simple approvals, and tracking their progress along the onboarding journey. Complex opportunities include multi-step approvals with thresholds, automatic account provisioning, task reminders to ensure requests don’t get lost, and auditing trail activities.

Klarinet is here to help

Power Automate for Different Business Scenarios

 

Different businesses use different systems – CRMs, ERPs, Identity Management systems, and so on, so the automation possibilities and needs for the employee onboarding processes will vary based on that. At Klarinet Solutions we work with a wide variety of systems:

Different third party applications

 

The thing that allows us to connect all these systems and create apps that integrate with them – the “glue” if you will, is Microsoft Power Platform. The Power Platform can be used to gather and manage data and files, automate repetitive tasks, connect to and integrate different sources of data, and build apps to meet your specific business needs – all with little or no coding.

For example, we can provision new employees’ accounts in Active Directory and Freshdesk at the same time through a Power Automate flow. All the hiring manager has to do is enter some basic information into a Power App instead of directly into SharePoint. In this example, Matt is entering the information for his newest hire, his dog, Penny.

Employee Onboarding form in power automate

This form creates a new employee record in SharePoint, and by creating that new SharePoint record, a Power Automate flow is triggered. You can build this flow to run through all the steps you’d need to provision a new employee, including creating an email address (in the correct format), generating a temporary password, provisioning accounts with third party platforms (like Freshdesk), actually using the graph API to create the user in the tenant and assign licenses, assigning that user to specific Groups or Teams, and much more. After this flow has been completed, we can see Penny’s account in the Azure Active Directory:

info in Azure Active Directory

As well as in Freshdesk. All we have to do is send the activation email, and Penny will be able to get into her Freshdesk account as soon as she starts:

Penny's fresh desk account

 

If you want to see Matt go through this flow step by step with all the details, watch our free, on-demand webinar “Turbo Charge Your Onboarding Process with Microsoft 365 and Power Platform” here.

 

Using Power Platform to Automate Employee Onboarding – More Examples

This example shows a very simple employee onboarding form we created for a client. The form asks for very basic data (first name, last name, etc), but also includes an approval and notification flow. As you can see the request is sent to the manager, the access request has been sent, and now onboarding is complete. This client also had us create a series of complementary Power Apps that they can use for change of access requests and even offboarding employees.

Employee Onboarding Example 1

 

For a slightly more complicated example, here is an employee onboarding Power App we created for a bank. As you can see there are multiple tabs that need to be filled in and different steps in the approval process, which can be tracked under the “Checklist Status” section. Each tab has different information and may be completed by different team members. Instead of generating emails prompting the recipient to take action, as in the previous example, more of the action takes place right here in the Power App. Another aspect to this Power App is that we have created the ability to create templates for what should be provisioned for each user based on different attributes. For example, if the new hire is a teller, they would automatically get access to all the things associated with that template.

What’s the Limit to Power Platform?

You might be starting to get the idea that the options for Power Apps and Power Automate are pretty vast, and can get very complicated. While it can be tempting to create the most granular, detailed automations possible, we advise starting small and simple, and building from there. You probably don’t really need that much complexity, and it will just be more of a hassle to maintain. That said, you can also always build on top of a more simple system, and increase the complexity of your automations as your needs change.

Want to learn more and see how we actually build an onboarding app in Power Apps? Access our on-demand webinar “Turbo Charge Your Onboarding Process with Microsoft 365 and Power Platform” to see it broken down step-by-step.

And as always, if you’d like to learn more about how Power Automate can work for you, get in touch today!

 

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