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Getting Started With Workday Business Processes—3 Things You Need to Know

Jun 20, 2019

Thanks to their ability to allow users to define whatever workflow steps are required for a task to be completed, business processes (BPs) have been described as the “heart” of Workday—if yours isn’t working properly, the whole system shuts down. By default, Workday delivers around 300 distinct BPs that don’t have any embedded rules to tell them how to function (allowing you to customize them to fit your org), but few companies would need to use every single kind, as some are dedicated to Finance, Higher education, and so forth.

There are far too many kinds of BPs to cover them all in detail here, so we’ll go over a few examples of common and complex BPs that you’re likely to set up in Workday, as well as what you need to keep in mind when doing so. (Need more in-depth help? Our consultants have all your Workday Technical Support and Training needs covered.)

Common Business Process

A common example of a business process you’re going to run into at one point or another is Change Legal Name. Since the employee knows their own name best, many companies have them initiate this transaction themselves but require an HR representative substantiate the legal change by witnessing a legal document provided by the employee (such as social security card, court order, passport, etc.).

When creating a business process in Workday (in this case, the Change Legal Name BP), you get to define which business roles can initiate the process, which roles can act within this process, whether any (or even several) approvals are needed, and the person/people that will be notified of required changes.

For example, you may decide that Mary in HR should own the final approval/verification step of the Change Legal Name BP, and could mandate that an electronic copy of the necessary document had been attached. You could also set up the BP to notify someone in IT whenever a name change happens so that your IT person can update the employee’s user name and active directory account as well. (Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today, right?)

Complex Business Process

A more complex business process example is Onboarding. When creating an Onboarding BP, you will need to define what every new employee’s experience should look like, (while remembering that employees and contract workers may have different paths in the system), not to mention doing so in meticulous detail. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider when designing and configuring your Onboarding BP:

  • Legal and preferred name update
  • Home address and contact update
  • Demographic/personal data update (such as EEO attributes like gender or race, DOB, SSN, veteran status, and marital status)
  • Form I-9 work authorization and identity confirmation
  • Make federal, state, and local tax elections (if applicable)
  • Make banking payment elections (direct deposit instructions)
  • Add emergency contacts
  • Change photo
  • Make benefit elections
  • The status of various onboarding documents delivered to the new worker (such as NDA, Safe Workplace, Data Security, Code of Conduct, Employee Handbook, Building Evacuation/Emergency Plan, etc.)
    • Which ones are for information only, and which require an acknowledgment signature kept on record?  
    • Which ones (if any) are strictly for employees and which should be given to all workers, employees, and contingent workers?

Another thing to consider when creating an Onboarding BP is a greeting message. Workday not only allows you to create a special greeting to all employees but also ones segmented by function. For example, every new employee might receive a welcome message from the CEO, while those who report through the CFO will get an additional message from the CFO. Similarly, you can also define a “You should meet these people” list that distinguishes by something as wide as job function or as narrow as an individual hiring manager, whatever best suits your needs.

BP Creation Requires Thorough Testing

(AKA Simple Do’s and Don’ts for BP Creation)

It’s important to remember that all BPs—even ones that seem straightforward—require thorough testing. Each time you add a validation, or a conditional flow, or a notification email to a BP, you’ve created another scenario that must be tested to ensure that what shouldn’t cause a problem doesn’t actually cause one.

Here’s an easy rule of thumb to keep in mind when considering whether you should use a BP workflow:

  • Do use the Business Process workflow when there’s a need to add conditional or approval steps to a task.
  • Don’t use the Business Process workflow when creating a simple task that a single user could complete themselves.

For example, even though a Change Legal Name transaction is relatively simple for an employee to do themselves, the need for an approval/verification step in that process (as well as the usefulness of a conditional step) makes the use of the BP workflow worthwhile.


Another way to set up your business processes in Workday is to bring in the experts. Our senior-level Workday consultants have years of experience working with clients to not only set up every scenario you’d need but make sure they are tested thoroughly. If you want to fast-track your Workday success, contact us today to learn how.

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