There are around 300 business processes (BPs) in Workday, which range from the simple to the complex. At their core, BPs are sets of logic statements that determine how data changes to a specific data object instance (a specific “record”) are entered into Workday, the validation rules to ensure data quality, and any conditional business logic that is executed (“the code”) as the transaction is processed. The BP we’re looking at today is one of the trickier ones, and one that every HR Manager will be glad to make a bit simpler: Workday Onboarding for new employees.

Workday Onboarding Checklist

When working with Workday Onboarding, your HR/Recruiting team will need to define in meticulous detail what the new worker’s experience should be, which will include different paths for employees vs. contingent workers. You will also need to design—and your HCM consultant will need to configure—into Onboarding the following:

  • Legal and preferred name update
  • Home address and contact update
  • Demographic/personal data update such as EEO attributes (gender/race), DOB, SSN, veteran status, and marital status for employees
  • Form I-9 work authorization and identity confirmation for employees (and whether the implementation includes using E-Verify, the USCIS-provided web service for automated work authorization—yet another integration to consider)
  • Federal, state, and, if applicable, local tax elections for employees
  • Banking payment elections (direct deposit instructions) for employees
  • What onboarding documents need to be 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 ones require an acknowledgment signature kept on record? Do the staff in Legal need to be able to run reports on who has a signed acknowledgment on which documents and when? Are some documents only for employees and not for contingent workers? Or is the document for all workers, employees and contingent workers alike?
  • Add emergency contacts
  • Change photo
  • Make benefit elections for benefit-eligible employees

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What Makes Workday Onboarding for New Employees So Tricky?

The Number of Subprocesses Involved

Part of what makes Workday Onboarding so complicated is the sheer number of technical subprocesses involved. For example, the first bullet on our list above (“Change legal name”) might be a separate process for someone who already works in the organization, but it’s also called from Onboarding for a new hire. Onboarding will have branches of logic which are different for employees as opposed to contingent workers, and if your organization is multinational, there may be different steps required by different work locations.

Pre-hire System Access

Another thing that can make things more complicated is if your HR team wants or needs to grant new hires access to Workday prior to their starting date. Often, this is because HR wants all the steps listed above to be completed before the person shows up to work, even to the point of electing benefits. This creates challenges for IT security, who generally speaking don’t want to provision an Active Directory account to be active prior to the start date. If this is a requirement for your project, you’ll need to add time to the SOW and project plan to account for this deliverable.


Designing, building, and testing how even this one security feature (“Pre-Hire Date access to Workday”) will work can cause hours, days, even weeks, of effort. If this is something you’d like to set up, it’s important to do so early in the process to ensure that it’s handled smoothly. Setting up this feature also causes challenges if the employee is a no-show and all the work has to be undone in such a way that there is no work history in Workday for that person, but that there is audit trail information showing the doing and the undoing of the hire. As you can imagine, that also adds to testing time.

While all BPs require thorough testing, our consultants have seen cases where Onboarding started at 3 weeks of effort, then grew to a 6-8 week effort to design, build, test, remediate, re-design, update the build, re-test, add notifications, and sign off.

Onboarding sets the tone for what the new worker experiences with your organization—as is often said, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Having an Onboarding user experience in Workday that’s robust and easy to follow will make your new hires feel welcome and cared for. At the same time, a well-designed onboarding process will be thorough, compliant with all labor laws, communicates all your internal policies, and is auditable…and your back office staff will know that everything they need to meet the new employee’s or contractor’s needs has been captured in the system.

Clearly, there’s a lot involved when it comes to setting up Workday Onboarding for new employees. When a minor mistake can add up to weeks of delays, it’s best to get a trained professional on your side—which is why Surety is proud of our wide network of senior-level Workday consultants with years of experience in just this sort of thing. Trust our Workday consulting services to do things right the first time, get your system set up the way it needs to be, and train your team on how to keep things running smoothly.