The fields required to create a Workflow Process are as follows:
- Description – A free text description to allow you to identify the process being created.
- When To Start – Defines the point at which this Workflow Process will be triggered, there are three allowed entries to this field, and the entries made here affect the remaining fields.
- New or Updated Record – specifies that the Workflow Process will be triggered when a given record in entered into the system.
- Scheduled – specifies that the Workflow Process will be triggered when the Next Action Date is reached.
- Sub Process – specifies that this will be triggered by another Workflow Process.
- Never (Not in Use) – specifies that the Workflow Process is not currently being used.
- Monitor Changes To – only available if the When To Start is New or Updated Record. A drop down list is provided of tables that can be monitored to detect records being created or amended. Use Browse to monitor changes to the fields held within the record. If no fields are selected then it is the creation/amendment of the record that is monitored.
- Qualifying Query – always available. For Scheduled processes, it defines the action that must be satisfied in, in order to trigger this process, and is a mandatory field. For New or Updated processes it can be used to define that only records which meet certain criteria are to trigger the process.
- Exception Query – available if a Qualifying Query has been specified, and the Qualifying Query is based on a table other than the HR Record. If an Exception Query is entered then items that fail the combination of Qualifying Query and Exception Query are processed.
- Qualifying Query – always available. Used to specify that we are not basing our process on records in the Live company, but are basing it on records that have been entered to the Authorisation Centre from the HR Portal or other sources.
The available options are:
– Awaiting Authorisation – entries in the Authorisation Centre awaiting their final authorisation.
– Proposed – entries in the A.C that still require two levels of authorisation.
– Rejected – entries in the A.C that have been rejected from going to the live system.
– Live/No Authorisation Chain – entries within that have been entered to the full system – is the default setting if field is left blank.
- Exclude If – always available. Specifies time frame in which a second Workflow Action should be triggered by the same event.
– E.g. of the use of this field – workflow has been defined to check for changes to an employee’s address, to ensure that changes to all five lines of the address do not trigger five workflow actions.
– Criteria available; Never, Already done within an hour, Already done today, Already done this week, Already done this month, Already done this year, Ever done and Done and Open.
- First Action – always available and mandatory. Specifies the first action that is to be taken when the Workflow Process is triggered. If the action has already been created, it can be selected by use of …. If it has not been created, then the selection of the First Action will take you to Workflow Actions Maintenance.
- Action Date Based On – optional and only available for New and Updated Record processes. Actions within the process may be defined to be delayed, based on a Diary Rule. If so, it can be used to define which date on the table defined above, is to be used within the Diary Rule. A drop-down list of available dates is provided.
- Interval Diary Rule – optional and only available for Scheduled processes. Used to define the interval after which this process is to be initiated (i.e. the Qualifying Query). A drop-down list of available Diary Rules is provided.
- Next Action Date – optional and only available for Scheduled processed. Used to specify the next date on which the process will be triggered. Once the process has been run once, this field will be maintained by the system based on the Interval Diary Rule.
The buttons available on this screen are as follows:
- Review – Selecting this will open a second screen and display the actions that are linked to this process. It is possible to use Edit to amend the Actions displayed.
- Start – Only available for When Requested processes and can be used to manually initiate the workflow, (i.e. run the defined query and carry out the defined actions).
- Save – Selecting this will store the entered data.
- Close – Selecting this will close the record currently displayed, without storing the details and return the user to the initial Workflow Process screen.
Used to define the actions that are being carried out as part of the Workflow Process; each action will require an entry on the Actions page, an entry on one of the pages Email, Document, Note/Diary or Change Details to define what the action is to do, and an entry on the Responses page to define what is to happen next.
Description – A free text description to allow you to identify the action being created.
Action Type – defines the type of action that is required. A drop-down list of five options is provided, and the relevant remaining pages of the program will become available one this field has been selected.
- Email – opens up the email page of the program, which allows you to specify to whom the email is to be sent, the employee, the line manager, software users or a specified list of email addresses.
- External Document – opens up the document page of the program, which allows you to specify that a document is to be produced based on the output of a HR Query.
- Note/Diary – opens up the note/diary page of the program, which allows you to create a note against the employee and also to generate a review date against the employee.
- Change/Details – opens up the change details page of the program, which allows you to define that a field should be changed on the specified table.
- Waiting – specifies that no current action is required and the process is to await some external action before proceeding to the next stage.
Function – if the Action being set up is to update any fields on a record, or to produce an email or documentation which is to be personalised with information specific to the employee, then the name of the relevant table should be entered. A drop-down list of all the available tables is provided. Fields, on the Email and Details tab, displays all of the fields from the table chosen and any of those fields can be chosen.
(Note: fields from the employees HR Record, such as their name and address, are always available for use in addition to the table selected here.
Performed By – each Action will have to be performed either by the system Automatically and without user intervention, or Manually, by an appointed user, through the Workbench.
-The sending of emails, creation of notes, diarising events and changing details, are examples of events that can be done Automatically.
-Other actions such as the production of documentation may be better suited to being actioned via the Workbench, so that the progress can be monitored and peripheral tasks such as loading the correct stationery can be carried out.
Prompt Next Action – only available for entry if Performed By has been set to Workbench. Ticking this box will make the process wait to receive a prompt before continuing with the Next Action in sequence, e.g. where the action is to print a letter, and you wish to check that the letter has printed correctly before continuing.
Action Date – when performing an action, it is envisaged that you would usually want it to be performed at the earliest opportunity. However, if a specific delay is required, then each action may include an Action Diary Rule, while determines when exactly it will be performed. Although it may be that the workflow is to be triggered a number of days from the initiation process, it is possible that you would want the process to run a number of days after a specified date on the initiating record, e.g. after the sickness start date. This facility allows you to define a Diary Rule in conjunction with the date defined in the Workflow Process.
Waiting Date – frequently, the nature of a workflow will be to send a document or an email and then await a response from the recipient before deciding what to do next. Often the workflow will be completed once the response has been obtained within the time frame, but the main purpose of a workflow system is to define what do next if the required response is not achieved. The Waiting Date is a Diary Rule, which calculates the date by which we expect to have received a response to the action. It is anticipated that if the required response has been received, then a designated user would update the process via the Workbench to set the status to resolved, and the workflow process will move on to the Next Action as specified in the response screen. If the system recognises that the action wait time has expired, the next appropriate action from the response screen is carried out.
This allows you to specify that an Email is to be sent. The fields required are as follows:
Who – defines the recipient of the email. A drop-down list of the following six options, is provided.
- Activity Manager – the email would be sent to the email address of the Line Manager defined on the record being processed (e.g. probation), rather that the Line Manager defined on the employee’s Employment Terms
- All Relevant Software Users – the email would be sent to all the QLP software users who have access to the employee, and the relevant function involved, (e.g. absences).
- Employee – the email address of the employee, taken from HR Personnel Details.
- Line Manager – the employee’s Employment History Primary Active record is read to obtain the employee’s Line Manager. If this is an employee number, then the email address of this employee (Personnel), is used as the recipient for the email.
- Specify – the email is sent to the addresses set up in the following List field.
- User – the email is sent to the email addresses set up in HR Record, which belongs to the User who enters the data that triggers the workflow. The users login name will need to have been entered into HR Application User in the users HR Record.
List – if Who has been set to Specify, then this field is used to hold the email addresses to be used.
Subject/Test – this is the standard Note entry format, which can be entered in two parts, (i.e. a Header and then the Details). The Header will be used as the Subject of the email, and the Details will be used as the Body of the email message.
Attachments – can be used to specify that an attachment is to be sent along with the email. This could be a specific permanent document, in which Browse can be used to select it from existing folders. Alternatively, this could be a document that is to be created by the workflow process. E.g. the attachment could be entered c:\temp\HESA<Emp_id>.doc. When the process is run for employee SMAI01, it will look for document c:\temp\SMIA01.doc.
Fields – on selection, this will open a window providing a complete list of all the available fields that can be included within the text of the email. Any fields can be included from the function itself of the HR Record, and the user can switch from one to another. A particular field can be selected for inclusion by double-clicking it and then typing CTRL-V in the relevant place in the email. The field will then be substituted into the text, in the correct format, (i.e. enclosed within the characters <>).
This allows you to specify that a document is to be created and then printed. The document should be an Excel spreadsheet, a word document or a Crystal Report.
This type of action could be used to set up the workflow system, to produce weekly analysis reports or to create HESA forms, which can be sent to the employee to be checked and returned as part of an email attachment to a subsequent action.
Query Reference – contains the query that is to define the records to be selected for use in the document, and the fields that are required. A drop-down list is provided to allow you to select a previously written query and Browse exists to allow a new query to be created at this stage.
Alternative Selection – can be used if it is not possible to define the selection criteria within a HR Query, due to the complexity of the criteria. It is assumed that technical assistance will be required to set up this type of process, please contact the help desk for advice.
File Names – if an export definition has already been set up for the query entered above, then that process will be used and the three File Name fields can be left blank. Alternatively, the workflow can take control of the output and combine it with macros, batch files or word mail merge templates to create the final output.
Create – the name which will be given to the file produced by the query entered above. In the majority of cases, this will be a CSV format file and will be an interim stage to be used in a further process such as mail merge. However, it could also be the final result if only a spreadsheet is required.
Open – the name of the macro, bath file or mail merge document which combines with the Create filename, to produce the final document.
Use (Attach) – contains the name that is to be given to the final output. The filename may be made unique to the individual function by incorporating a variable into its name. E.g. using the unique sequence number SEQ_ID, assigned to every process with the software. If variables are to be included in the filename, then they should be surrounded by <>, (e.g. c:\temp\HESA<SEQ_ID>.doc).
Register Created Document on the HR Record – if this is ticked, then the document created will be registered as an attachment against the employee, either against the HR Record itself, or to the function to which it applies.
Fields – seems to have no relevance on this screen.
This allows you to produce Notes and Diary reminders, instigated by certain actions within HR.
Review Date Diary Rule – if the note is to have a Review Date in the Diary, then this rule is used to calculate the date to be assigned to the Review. (Note: the date used as the start point for rule, is the Action Date Based On in Workflow.
Subject/Text – the standard Note entry format, which can be entered in two parts, (i.e a Header and then the Detail).
Fields – on selection, will open a window providing a complete list of all the available fields which can be included within the text of the email. Any fields can be included from the function itself or the HR Record, and the user can switch from one to another. A particular field can be selected for inclusion by double-clicking it , and typing CTRL-V in the relevant place in the email. The field will then be substituted into the text in the correct format, (i.e. enclosed within the characters <>).
This allows you to update the value of a single field on a table, possibly setting a date or changing a status.
Function – the table which contains the field to be updated is displayed here. The HR Record is always available and the other table is the one selected as the Function in Action Details.
Field – the field that is to be updated. This can be selected from a list of available fields, by using Fields to open a window, displaying all those available. A field is selected by simply double-clicking it in the list.
New Value – if there are no restrictions on the value of the field chosen, then anything can be entered here. If however, the field is a code, then a list of all the valid entries for that code will be displayed below and the appropriate entry will be selected from the list by double-clicking it.
Responses is used in conjunction with the Waiting Date definition in Action, to provide the means of linking actions together, therefore creating a change of actions performed in sequence and responsive to outcomes of previous actions. In other words, it defines what happens next.
A list of all the current further actions are displayed and provides New, Edit, Delete and View, to amend these details. Upon selecting New, a window will be opened to enter the details of the Next Action.
If a waiting date has not been defined in Action
The Next Action to be performed is entered here, and can be selected from a list by using Browse to display a list of all available actions and double-clicking the one required.
Use this response when the action has been performed?
If the actions sequence is a simple one after the other chain, then this flag should be ticked.
E.g. If the first action is an email to the employee and the second is an email of the same information to their Line Manager and their emails are required to be sent simultaneously, then this flag should be checked on. Immediately after the first email is sent, the second will be sent.
However, there may be times where an alternative action to the primary action may be required in order to utilise the Intervene option in the workflow workbench. These should be entered here and the flag checked off. This means that these actions would only ever be performed if the user has intervened or stopped the first action and selected one of these instead, via the workflow workbench. (Note: this form of intervention will also only work if the primary action is performed by the workbench).
E.g. Suppose the entry of a new absence record triggers the action of sending an email to an employee to remind them to provide sickness certificate. This email is not sent immediately, but waits in the workbench until someone from Personnel actually sends it. In the meantime, the employee provides the required sickness certification.
The workbench can now be used to intervene and cancel the original email and if a Next Action has been set up to change the absence certified flag to Y, this can be used instead.
If a waiting period has been defined in Action
The Next Action to be performed is entered here and can be selected from a list by using Browse, to display a list of all available actions and double-clicking the one required.
Use this response when the waiting period has expired
This would be checked on if the waiting period defined on the first action has passed but the response to it is not resolved. Therefore, the Next Action should be taken. This sort of chain of actions could be used as a reminder system.
Or if the requirements of the action have been resolved.
This would be checked on if the action being entered was one which was to be performed when the first action is successfully resolved.
E.g. Suppose when an employee is absent due to sickness, the HR department emails them to ask for certification within 7 days. If the certification is received, this is noted against the absence record. If it is not, their Line Manager is emailed to ask for other certification. If still not received within 7 days, an official letter requesting it is sent to their home address.. and so on.
The first action in this example would be to Email the employee to remind them to provide their certification. The Waiting Date on this record would define how long the workbench is to wait until the Next Action.
Two Next Actions would be defined:
- Email the Line Manager – checked to use this response when the waiting period has expired.
- Set absence certified flag – have or if the requirements of the action have been resolved set.
The Workbench is the heart of the Workflow system, and is the control centre providing the user with the ability to perform or cancel actions, or to choose to take alternative actions if required.
The Workbench is presented in grid format, with the sophisticated sorting and display features associated with it. Initially, the grid contains all actions waiting to be performed up to the current date. The first two columns of the data are the check boxes used to control what happens next to the action, (i.e. Perform or Cancel if it is an action, Expired or Resolved if it is an action waiting for the next stage in the workflow chain).
The top of the screen displays buttons grouped according to the type of function they complete:
- Review buttons all allow you to interrogate the data, sorting it, finding items, selecting by individual employee, etc.
- Action buttons are to perform, cancel and intervene with actions.
- Grid buttons control the display of the data in the grid itself, (i.e. which fields are shown).
When the window is initially opened, all the outstanding actions for all employees are displayed. However, this list can be refined so that just an individual employee is shown.
Employee opens the Employee Search used throughout the software, to find an employee’s HR Record, as a new window to assist in finding the required employee’s record. Once an employee has been selected, click Search and only information for that particular employee will be displayed, (Note: also taking the Actions/Waiting and Date criteria into account).
To return to viewing actions for all employees, click Clear.
Actions or Waiting
The displayed actions can be switched from those which are ready to be performed, to those which are waiting actions whose waiting period has expired. This field is used in conjunction with the date field next to it, to refine the list of actions displayed.
E.g. If Waiting is selected with a date of 03/03/2008, the grid will display all the waiting actions for which the waiting period ended before or on 03/03/2008.
This will clear the currently displayed details ready for the next search.
This will search for actions according to the selection criteria entered in to the date and action/waiting fields.
The buttons in Actions, (i.e. Perform, Intervene and Review) provide the control over which actions are executed and what happens next. When viewing a list of Actions, the first two columns displayed, allow the user to select what is to happen to the action next. It can either be performed (i.e. actually executed), or cancelled, in which case it will not be executed and will be removed from the workbench and on further actions will take place.
Executing an Action
To perform an action, the action should be selected from the list by clicking it and Perform ticked. When Perform is selected, all those actions in the grid with the Perform ticked will be completed. If there is a chain of actions involved, the sequence will move on to the next stage. If the action has a waiting time set, then it will go into waiting mode and stay in the list of waiting actions until its expiry date is reached.
(Note: Clicking the Perform column heading, has the result of selecting all the actions in the list to be performed. Clicking again, will deselect them all. Clicking the Cancel column heading has the same effect, selecting all the actions to be cancelled. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure this is only used when to perform all actions is the desired result.
Cancelling an Action
Cancelling an Action is completed in a similar way to performing one, except Cancel is ticked before Perform is used.
It may be useful to see what the results of performing an action will be (i.e. to see what will happen next), and Review will display the chain of events linked to the selected action in a separate window. This is displayed as a tree diagram.
Intervene can be used when it is neither desirable to perform or cancel an action, but it is preferred to do an alternative. First, the action which you wish to intervene with should be highlighted in the grid.
Select Intervene and a window will display a list of possible alternative actions to the current one. These alternatives are the Next Actions which have been set up against the current action. Any of these can be selected by double-clicking it in the list. Before this alternative action takes place, you will be prompted Are you sure you wish to continue?. If the intervention was done in error, responding N gives you the opportunity to cancel. Responding Y will perform the alternative action selected. To cancel the action altogether, the blank alternative at the top of the list can be selected and performed.