Business Solution: New Hire Onboarding

Every Wednesday at 11 AM Central time, some colleagues from Rackspace and I do a live YouTube / Google HangoutSharePoint Power Hour broadcast called SharePoint Power Hour.

Recently, I did a series of videos where I outline a single business process in detail.  I decided that a New Hire Onboarding process is a very common scenario, so that’s what I decided to create.  First of all, here are some associated files for you:


Hour 1 – I go through some slides describing the business process and my pet peeves with out of box workflow and tasks.   In the last 20 minutes I start building the whole solution from scratch.  I create the New Hires list, the new Hire Content type, site columns, and then I create the Promoted Links list.

4:13 Explanation of the solution
5:40 Some slides
8:20 Visio diagram of the workflow
20:01 Show a demo in the SharePoint site
30:45 Laura realized that her workflow was working fine along even though she was trying to troubleshoot it 🙂
32:44 Explanation of why to use the Create List Item action instead of task actions
37:09 An overview of the workflow in SPD
37:50 Create a new site, to start building this whole solution from scratch
39:31 Creating all of the lists on the site
40:32 Explanation of creating the New Hire as a content type with site columns
52:45 Look at the New Hire form after finishing the list
53:11 Create the Promoted Links list
56:57 Insert the Promoted Links as a web part
57:29 Wrap it up for today

Hour 2 – I start building the new hire approval workflow in SharePoint Designer 2013, I create several Task content types.  I finish building the Set Variables stage and the Manager Approval stage.

0:00 Introductions
4:00 Begin the overview of what’s happened so far with the solution
5:36 Discuss the concepts behind how the workflow will be built
8:26 Fill out the first new hire form
11:17 Modify the default view of the new hires list
18:26 Open SharePoint Designer to start on the workflow
20:20 Demonstrate the visual workflow designer
23:59 Add the manager approval actions to the workflow
24:45 Discuss the Workflow Tasks list and task content types
34:03 Finish creating the Set Variables stage
37:13 Publish the workflow and run it as a test
38:08 Add logging to the workflow
39:50 Create more Task content types
52:32 Create the New Hire lookup site column
55:48 Add the new hire lookup to the Create Item action
58:40 Add a condition in the transition to stage in the workflow

Hour 3 – I finish up the manager approval stage, and move on to the three parallel task.  I explain how I make the workflow wait until all 3 of those tasks are finished before it moves on.

0:00 Intro
4:39 Overview of the workflow
6:52 Open the workflow in SPD, overview of it so far
9:39 Rant about a frustration with 2013 workflows
11:12 Answer a question about promoted links list
12:02 Pick up where we left off at end of manager approval
12:35 Create a workflow on the task list
13:45 Lori asks a question about the workflow start options
15:33 Add the first condition and action to task WF
19:22 Test the workflow so far
19:35 Add the transition after manager approval stage
20:30 Talk about GoTo actions and meaning of stage names
21:35 Fill out a test new hire
25:00 Check workflow status screens on both lists, troubleshoot
26:04 Fix the task workflow and re-publish
27:26 Add logging to task workflow
28:33 Back to new hire workflow, stage 3 parallel tasks
30:13 Create SharePoint groups for roles within workflow
32:01 Back to workflow, put SP Groups in assigned tasks
34:05 Discuss the due date variable
34:52 Add all three of the actions for the parallel tasks
37:43 Explanation of logic waiting for 3 parallel tasks
40:00 Create new site column for new hire list, Parallel Count
42:45 Add site column to New Hire content type
44:11 Back to workflow to utilize that new column
49:02 Rant about Else-If pet peeve in 2013.
50:00 Answer question about looping through mult tasks Post I wrote on that
59:25 wrap up

Hour 4 – At the beach!  In this segment, I finish up the parallel task stage, and add the security task stage.  Then, I create the new hire dashboard and run through the workflow.

0:00 Intro
4:01 Overview of workflow diagram
5:08 Fill out a new hire, run through WF so far
11:43 Pick up where we left off in the 3 parallel tasks in WF
12:19 create transition to diff stages according to approve or reject
14:10 After 3 parallel tasks completed, MATH. Go to next stage.
15:32 Open task list workflow, add new condition.
18:40 Back to new hire list wf, add stage for security task
20:36 Add the Department site column to New Hire content type
21:46 Back to WF, create conditional transitions and all stages
25:50 Add security task stage actions
29:40 Back to task workflow, add another condition
29:55 Organize the task workflow so that the conditions aren’t nested
34:22 Add the security task condition to the task WF
38:40 Add a test new hire
40:10 Start creating the new hire dashboard
46:30 Workaround for the inability to do web part connection to tasks
49:05 Create custom action / quick step to get to dashboard
53:12 Go back to the new hire being tested, run through wf
57:15 So far so good. Go to questions.

Hour 5 – Home with the baby.  I finish up the workflows, do a test run-through, and create a couple of views.

0:00 Intro
9:20 Overview of workflow task order
10:00 Workflow in SharePoint Designer
11:49 Go to where we left off, the HR Approval stage
17:22 Open task list workflow, add new condition and action
22:00 Add a bunch of logging to task workflow
22:55 Back to new hire list workflow
25:00 Go to Employee Orientation stage
28:00 Talk about the task wf and then go add another condition to it
29:38 Move on to the completed stage of new hire workflow
30:45 Stephen mentions linking a task list to Outlook
33:15 Set the Task content type required fields
34:25 Do a test run-through of the whole workflow
38:36 Troubleshooting: modify the required and hidden fields
40:50 Add another new hire, test again
46:10 Troubleshooting stuck workflow. Fix it.
49:49 Create “in progress” view of new hires list, add promoted link
53:30 Adding / editing more views of various lists and on dashboard
54:11 One more run-through of a test

Hour 6 – Whew! Fix the due date column, modify some web parts and navigation to generally clean up the whole user interface.  Discuss permissions options.

0:00 Intro
3:22 Overview of solution
5:58 Fill out a new hire, start going through process
10:30 Answer question about how the dashboard was created
11:15 back to walking through the workflow
13:43 Fix due date column to show date and time
20:35 Modify web parts on home page
27:55 Modify navigation
31:03 Modify the new hire dashboard
38:48 Talk about permissions
40:43 Define who can see what
43:13 Modify permissions
44:20 (Rant about the “Edit” permission level in 2013 / O365)
53:08 Activate the App Step feature

I hope you have liked this series, and stay tuned to our upcoming Power Hours:


  • Johnathan Lightfoot

    I just finished going over the last SharePoint Power Hour video. Glad to see that the site was finished. As I told you previously I was recreating what you were doing in an Office 365 instance.

    A few notes in case someone should ask:
    – Yes, it is possible to do almost everything that you did in an Office 365 instance.
    – It runs a little slower in 365 than your VM that you used. Not sure why that is. But the workflows seem to have slower timer jobs schedules than on premise.
    – The Cascade Delete in 365 was not working for me. When selecting the option 365 would return an error that there was some technical problem. Not sure if that is due to 365 or if there was some issue that the 365 staff are working to resolve. (This is why I said almost everything can be done)

    Once again thank you for walking through this. It was a great series of presentations!

  • Thanks Johnathan, you’re always so helpful and encouraging!


  • Ashok Kumar jangid

    I am very impressed with Laura. I am a sharepoint developer and used to work on custom solutions. OOTB solutions are really good.

    Please keep it up Laura.

  • I do not have a question. Just a big thank you. I have used your videos to build an onboarding process and we are just now going LIVE 🙂 Thanks so much. I have used Task Designer in other workflows and your solution works better in this situation. One thing I found I had to do was to insert a Pause for 1 minute (I know, it’s actually 5-6 minutes) at the top of the Task Workflow. The counter trick did not always work in that I am looking for 4 tasks to be completed and while the 4 tasks completed, a few times the count only went to 3. This pause solution seems to have resolved this issue.
    Thanks for doing the videos. This was a tremendous help to me.

  • Workflow Task Forms in Infopath

    First of all, thanks for the wonderful “New Hire Onboarding Demo”. I am currently building one myself and your videos were very useful as a reference. My question here is once we create the Workflow tasks and assign them to specific users, is there a way to modify them in Infopath so that some of the fields can be made read only? Or is there any other option for us to make some of the fields read-only (not with the Java Script though

    My twitter handle is @PVVKiranKumar

  • PVVKiranKumar,
    Hi, thanks, glad you like it. You can go to the task list in the browser, go to the list tab in the ribbon, and click the purple button to customize in InfoPath. I did another power hour on customizing list forms in InfoPath.

  • Hello Laura,

    I learned a HUGE amount watching these videos and reading a few of the tutorials you have as well.

    I have a question concerning using content types as a status and being able to update a form dynamically. You wrote a little bit about this in the content type tutorial and I have put a simple version in place. My case is similar in that it is used for Onboarding, offboarding, and employee changes all using a master content type. After the HR manager selects of these three events (content types), I want the form to update to show the form that corresponds to each content type without having to submit and reopen each form. Is this possible? Does it involve using a workflow within a workflow, Inception-like, and when a item is selected from the drop-down there is an update to the current item to change the content type and therefore the layout of the form?

    Thank you so much for your help and for the mega-awesome videos, they are very cool and fun!

    Unfortunately, I do not have a Twitter handle but will look here to see if you have answered.


  • Useful discussion . I Appreciate the points – Does someone know where I might be able to obtain a fillable FL New Hire Reporting form copy to complete ?

  • Thanks for these very informative videos – “New Hire Onboarding Demo”, really helpful. Hope you’ll make an enhanced version of this. 🙂

  • Hi Laura,awesome very helpful hour sessions love it. Question though as I cannot find one anywhere is that do you perhaps have one on HR Exit Management (Checklist with approvals) as well similar to On-boarding?

  • Pingback: Employee Onboarding in Microsoft 365 | @WonderLaura

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