Jen Lee and Karen Pierson in a new episode of "How I Solved This".

How I Solved This: Create an App to Manage New and Departing Employees

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Welcome to another “How I Solved This.” In this series, we do a deep dive into a specific business problem and share how one #AwesomeAdmin chose to solve it. Once you learn how they solved their specific problem, you’ll be inspired to try their solution yourself! Watch how Karen Pierson, #Awesome Admin at Software AG, creates an app to manage new and departing employees and then read all the details in the post below.


Key business problem:

As the technology associate at my company, I was responsible for making sure new employees had the equipment and software they needed on their first day. On the flip side, I was responsible for making sure departing employees returned computers and that the appropriate person was handling their email and voicemail account. This started as a list, turned into a form, and then, suddenly, I thought – the Salesforce app!

Background: 

There’s a long list of things that need to be done when a new employee starts or when a current one leaves. It was cumbersome to have a checklist document on my computer, emails in Outlook, and paper notes to keep track of everything. And forget about finding anything easily – I had too many places to look and no way to keep track. I needed a central place where communication with managers and my checklist of things to do were easy to access and search for. I needed to be reminded to follow up with employees about their equipment, and I wanted managers to be kept in the loop for the entire process. Building a new app in Salesforce would solve all of these issues while, most importantly, keeping everyone accountable and the process transparent and on track.

How I solved it:

I built a custom app in Salesforce, alongside our Sales but not integrated with it.

Employee Mgmt app.

I had two custom objects and a console app to navigate them. Activity was set up to keep the log of communication; the fields were basically my checklist, and behind the scenes automation reminded me and managers to follow up on the various onboarding or offboarding tasks. Several fields are lookups to the User record, which makes it easy to find names and send email alerts.

1. Create custom objects

I started by creating two objects: New Employees and Departing Employees. Then, I created an app – Employee Management – to contain the objects, using a console to build out the tabs. 

2. Set up the fields

Thinking about my checklist, I translated those questions into fields. But this is Salesforce, so instead of simple text fields, I could put in date fields, lookup fields, and picklists. The lookup fields were connected to the User record, so I always had the correct spelling of names and email addresses.

Employee name and employee’s manager lookup fields.

The picklists narrowed down choices for information, reducing bad data or user error. The IT section was only editable by me and read-only for other staff. Some fields were only visible to me, such as “Computer and account pswd”. Before, a password would be written on my checklist and then emailed around several times – not secure!

The IT Only section of the page layout.

3. Set up the Activity pane

My company had set up emailing directly from Salesforce already, so I populated the Activity pane with Email, Tasks, and also Log a Call. I customized the page layouts to have the relevant information for each activity. This way, communication about the employee was all contained in one place.

The Activity pane.

4. Configure Automation

The automation behind this is very simple – mostly email alerts and validation rules. As an example, here’s the email alert I set up to remind me to send a shipping label to a departing employee so they could ship their computer back.

The only criteria I used was making sure the “Shipping label sent?” field equals “No”.

The record-triggered flow.

The starting element, with condition shipping label sent equals no.

And the email alert is a standard alert going to the record owner.

 An email alert action.

The Label for computer email alert.

5. Define the action you want users to take

When an announcement would come out that an employee was leaving or a new one was starting, I would immediately create a record. Filling out as much as I could, I would then email a link to the record to the manager – directly from the Activity pane. After they filled it out, the record would now have key dates that triggered automation. As I completed other tasks, I would complete the record. If some fields were not filled in, it might trigger an email alert. For example, on a departing employee record, there’s a checkbox labeled “Computer received”. If that wasn’t checked within 2 weeks of the employee leaving, it would trigger an email to me and their former manager. Time to follow up!

The departing employee record.

Business results:

Accountability! Single point of contact! Now, there was a central source for me and managers to go to find out the status of a new employee’s computer setup or who was checking a departing employee’s email account. This transparency made it easy to see how things were progressing and, if needed, who dropped the ball. But dropping the ball was less likely thanks to the email alerts being sent, reminding everyone involved of important deadlines and actions.

Do try this at home

This app was made to manage employees, but think about all of the other things you might need to manage. Software licenses? Events or meetings? Any process you manage that involves input from multiple staff, needs to be centralized, and has set deadlines is a good candidate for an app in Salesforce. Building a custom app is also great practice for new admins because it forces you to think about the whole picture. Perhaps something from your personal life might work, such as a home inventory app, a wedding planning app, or a house renovations app!

Let us know what you thought of this solution, and tell us how you want to use it with #AwesomeAdmins #HowISolvedThis.

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