Creating a Sora workflow from scratch

Automating a Sora workflow from scratch? Whether the process you want to automate is big or small, it can be daunting to think about where to begin. Below are some high-level tips to get started.

Identify key events

Think about the main *events* that are part of this process. What kicks it off? (A request from an employee? A handoff from another team, e.g., Recruiting in the case of onboarding?) What else might happen (or always happens) that could change the course of the workflow or trigger more work to be done? What important dates are involved in the process (e.g., start date, birthday, life event date, departure date, leave of absence start date, leave of absence end date, etc.)?

In Sora, we call these “workflow stages.” These are all of the events/dates/etc. that you want to automate tasks on and around.

A few examples:

A typical onboarding process is kicked off when someone signs an employment offer. (In some cases, some tasks/communication steps happen when someone receives an offer, before it’s even signed.) Lots of work happens, of course, around an employee’s start date. Other potential events:

- Offer received
- Offer signed
- Offer reneged
- Offer declined
- Background check passed
- Background check failed
- Start date
- Training class date (which may, in some cases, be different than start date)

In a leave of absence workflow, there’s typically an employee-initiated start. (Pro-tip: you can automate this piece as well, rather than waiting for an email or Slack request and then kicking a workflow off manually. Sora will help you add a button in your employee wiki or other centralized document that, when clicked, will automatically initiate a Sora workflow for that employee.) Relevant dates:

- Leave requested
- Leave start
- Leave end

In a smaller workflow, such as a celebration (birthday, for example) or a simple FAQ process, there may only be one workflow stage. Our performance management process at Sora simply has “performance management kickoff” as its one stage.

Add these workflow stages to your workflow. Use existing employee fields (e.g., Start date) or create new ones.

Gather existing materials

Use any existing materials you have to think about the high-level steps and the data you need for each one.

Do you use any forms or surveys in your existing process? Those should probably translate to Sora surveys.

What do you typically do when you get this information?

Do you notify anyone with the information? Send an email in Sora and directly reference the fields from the survey.

What tasks do you delegate? Those tasks should be Sora assignments.

Anything dependent on information from a survey can be set to trigger directly upon its completion.

Do you have a checklist you refer to whenever X, Y, or Z happens in this process?

X, Y, and Z may be workflow stages. The items on the checklist are likely some combination of surveys, assignments, emails, or integration tasks (e.g., adding an employee to a third party system, sending a Slack message, etc.).

Do you have old emails you’ve typically sent in this process?

If the point of the email is to notify someone that they should do something, that should probably be an assignment — so you can track completion in Sora rather than chase them down to see if it’s done.

If the email is meant to start a conversation and/or provide a human touch to an employee, create an email task (or Slack message task) in Sora. Pro tip: verify your email domain to send emails from yourself, another person, or a dynamic value (like the employee’s manager). The email will look like it’s coming from that human, and replies will go directly to them!

Create segments

Build in any segmented pieces of the workflow.

Are there any tasks or workflow stages that are only relevant to some groups of employees? You can add filters to an entire workflow (e.g., only brand new employees, not internal transfers, should go through the standard onboarding workflow), to a workflow stage (e.g., only those that have actually signed their severance agreement should go through the “post-offboarding” workflow stage), or to an individual task.

Some of our customers have 20+ different versions of their Welcome email, depending on whether the new hire is contract-to-hire or full-time, which office location will be their primary location, their team, etc.

You can account for any and all “special cases” within the same Sora workflow.

Fill in some special details.

Now that all of this is in Sora, you can be confident that nothing will fall through the cracks. You can go above and beyond in delivering an incredible employee experience, because all of the above work is taken care of! If you had had unlimited time before, what extra things would you have done?

Add a gift delivery in an onboarding workflow. Send a cupcake to the office or an employee’s home address on their birthday. Add some extra human touches via email or Slack, like a personalized congratulations email from an employee’s manager when an employee first receives their offer. (You can prompt for a custom note in a survey before sending an email that includes it.)

Ask Sora for help!

Our support team is armed with Sora best practices and ready to reply quickly to any questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!