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How to Automate Onboarding for Hybrid and Remote Employees


May 3, 2022

4 minute read

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Remote work is here to stay. From happier employees to competitive business advantages, companies now have tons of incentives to pivot to what Gartner is calling a “distributed enterprise.”

While this is great news for employees and hiring managers, it places a huge burden on IT departments. Support teams are drowning in tickets and monotony as demand skyrockets for hardware procurement, SaaS account creation, and software training. One recent article described this as a helpdesk meltdown.

To give IT a much-needed lifeline, it is more critical than ever to start automating the repetitive, error-prone IT tasks involved with HR processes such as onboarding new employees. Because a smooth onboarding process is critical for retaining talented remote workers, we’ll discuss how to leverage a SaaS management platform (SMP) to automate your onboarding process.  

In this article, we’ll deep dive into how to automate a great onboarding experience for new hires that also saves your IT team time and sanity. To make sure the first impression your company has on a new employee is a good one, we’ll cover everything you need to know to automate your onboarding process.

  1. What do you need to know to select the right SMP for automating onboarding?
  2. What is the process for building an automated onboarding workflow in an SMP?
  3. How do you start a workflow from a ticket or HRIS to achieve zero-touch onboarding?

The first step to automating onboarding is making sure you’ve got the right automation tool in place. Otherwise, you can end up with a solution that is designed primarily for finance teams (not IT), or has a near-vertical learning curve. The last thing your IT team needs is an automation tool that makes it really hard to create and manage workflows.

How to select the right SMP for automating your onboarding process

Before you automate any IT task, you have to make a key decision: which SMP to bring into your IT environment. While other solutions, such as iPaaS or IDaaS, might offer automation capabilities, they are best used when automating short, simpler tasks, such as sending a Slack message when a Salesforce event occurs. 

For multi-step, multi-app HR processes such as onboarding or offboarding an employee, however, the workflows these automation tools create can become exponentially more complex. This is because they simply connect one app to another, merely passing instructions along.

For most IT departments, an SMP like BetterCloud is a far more accessible and user-friendly choice for automation.

BetterCloud ingests and analyzes metadata from the apps it is connected to, so the platform itself knows who manages who, or if a user account already exists in an app. As a result, IT teams can create intelligent automated workflows with a minimum number of steps.

It is critical to make sure your SMP or other automation tool doesn’t come with unexpected opportunity costs. With IT teams already lean and overburdened, you don’t want team members spending their valuable time in extensive product-specific training or learning scripting skills just to build a workflow. 

With an SMP like BetterCloud, your IT team gets the operational intelligence and ease of use you need to get workflows up and running in weeks—not months. Beyond automation, a fully featured SMP can also secure your SaaS, enable you to make bulk changes, and provide valuable application insights to help you make smarter purchasing decisions. You can take a closer look at why you need a SaaS management platform that does it all, and the value you can deliver throughout your organization.

How to build automated workflows for onboarding remote employees

Once you have an SMP in place, you can start getting ready to build automated workflows. The first step is to take inventory of your current IT environment and see where you fall on the spectrum of “low-cloud” to “high-cloud.” Whether or not you use an IDP, the number of SaaS apps you have, and any automations already in place are all important factors to consider. 

You also need to think about automating more than basic app access. An onboarding workflow in BetterCloud can also add users to shared folders, specific Slack channels, and more.

We invite you to watch the on-demand workshop below to learn how to build an onboarding workflow. Three BetterCloud experts walk you through how to get your IT environment ready for automation, and how to structure onboarding workflows.

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To learn more about how to automate onboarding in BetterCloud, check out the Automating Employee Onboarding episode of the SaaSOps show. Two IT leaders at BetterCloud deep dive into how they automated employee onboarding in a remote-first workplace that uses a lot of SaaS. They also discuss how they iterate their workflows over time to meet changing needs.

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Starting a workflow from a ticket or HRIS to achieve zero-touch onboarding

To provide the best possible onboarding experience for new employees, you will want to orchestrate a zero-touch workflow that automates every manual task in the onboarding process. 

When IT doesn’t need to perform any manual steps to onboard an employee, everyone wins.

Hiring managers can simply set a hire date in an HRIS like Greenhouse, or submit a ticket or form to IT, and the wheels are set in motion. New hires get what they need to do their jobs quickly, errors are minimized, and IT can focus on more strategic work.

In the video below, BetterCloud Solutions Engineer Michelle Lam walks you through, step by step, how to use BetterCloud’s Greenhouse integration to create a seamless, zero-touch onboarding workflow.

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Another way to set up end-to-end automated onboarding is to have the workflow start when a hiring manager submits a Jira ticket. Below, you can watch a 30-minute workshop with two BetterCloud experts to learn how to use BetterCloud’s Jira integration to create a zero-touch onboarding workflow. They also review best practices and even include a look at a third-party tool you can use to validate webhooks.

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We all know that employees that have a positive onboarding experience will be more invested in their role. After hiring managers do the hard work of interviewing and negotiating job offers (especially in a challenging labor market) the last thing you want to do is frustrate a new employee with app access and equipment delays. No one wants to spend their first day of a remote job submitting IT tickets, or wondering when their laptop will arrive.

When you automate onboarding processes in an SMP like BetterCloud, the benefits are numerous. IT can avoid the error-filled drudge of manual onboarding, and hiring managers can rest assured that the new employees they worked so hard to recruit will have a great onboarding experience. 

With automated onboarding, new hires can get everything they need to be productive from day one, quickly and seamlessly—even access badges for facilities. They can focus on diving into their new role, not figuring out how to get access to Slack or Zoom. 

Automated onboarding is a key part of delivering a magical employee experience for all of your remote workers. To see BetterCloud’s automated onboarding workflows—and other powerful workflows that save IT time and keep remote employees happy—schedule a demo.