Set up a custom flow with approvals

Custom Flows allow Admins to delegate employee changes requests to Managers to scale HR business processes and employee changes. In every custom Flow you create, you can fully customize and define the specific fields to be changed along with the set of tasks to trigger, and you can add as many approvers as needed.

FYI: Your company's Bob Admin manages access to these capabilities. If you do not have access and believe you should, then reach out to your Bob Admin.

Get the most out of Bob

  • Segment who each flow will apply to by site and department. For example, when a new hire joins your London site, they will automatically be associated with any flows segmented to the London site.
  • Manage each flow with dedicated permissions instead of a single permission to trigger all employee update flows. Also, specific employee update flows can now be delegated to other roles in the organization, ensuring that each role can trigger flows relevant to their role and level of access.
  • Track a flow's progress in People > Approvals, so you always know what flows are active, requested, or rejected and to whom the flows apply.

How to set up a custom flow

  • New Hire is great for adding a recently hired employee, including what categories, fields, policies, and benefits are relevant to them, in addition to any task lists, and onboarding flows that you’d like to trigger.

  • Employee Updates are used whenever you need to change employee details, e.g., for promotions or address changes.

  • Self Service can allow employees to update their information, e.g., bank or address changes.

  • Leave can be used when placing people on temporary leave, parental leave, or termination of employment.

Tip: To learn more about employee onboarding flows, see Set up an Employee Onboarding flow.

Create a new flow according to your needs by editing a preset flow or creating one from scratch. You will be able to choose from four types of flows with a setup wizard that will help you set up your custom flow.

Step 1: Details

  1. From the left menu, select Settings > Flows
  2. Select the type of flow you would like to create: New Hire, Employee Updates, Self Service, or Leave.
  3. Click + Add new to create a new flow template.

    Note: To edit a preset or custom flow you’ve already created, click Manage on the flow tile.

  4. Enter a name and description for the flow.

    Tip: A description is optional but especially useful when several colleagues use the same flow.

  5. In Applies To, select All Employees, Select by condition, Select by name.

    Note: The All Employees condition only includes people whose Lifecycle status equals Employed.

  6. If you Select by condition, click Edit, select the conditions from the dropdown menus, then click Apply. If you Select by name, click Select, select the specific employees, then click Select.
  7. Click Next.

Step 2: Categories and fields

  1. Select the field(s) to be changed as part of the flow.

    Tip: Click the category dropdown menus to select specific fields. For example, the category Personal Contact Details expands to include the particular fields Personal email, Personal phone, and Personal mobile so that you can select the entire category or a single field.

  2. Click Next.

Step 3: Additional steps

  1. Enable Set approvers, then select the Role or specific Employee who will be the first approver from the dropdown menu if you would like approvers for this flow.

    Note: Click Select to add additional approvers to this flow.

  2. Enable Set notifications, then select the Role(s) or specific Employee(s) who will receive an email notification when the flow is completed.
  3. Enable Set task list, then select a task list from the dropdown menu if you would like to automatically trigger a task list once this flow is complete.

    Tip: If you don’t see a task list you would like for this flow, you can create a new task list. To learn more, see Set up a task list.

  4. Click Done.
    This flow is now available to activate by whomever you provided permissions. To learn more, see How to set up permissions for people using flows.

How to activate a flow

Ready to promote an employee or make another change? Use your Custom flows to save time.

  1. From the left menu, select People > Directory.
  2. Mark the checkbox to the left of the employee name or select the employee to enter the profile.
  3. From the Actions dropdown menu, select Change status for Leave flows or Employee Updates for employee details changes flows, then select the flow you want to activate.
  4. Fill in the fields you wish to change, then click Next or Submit.
  5. For Employee Update flows, you may click Add reason for change to include a note with more details about the change(s) made.
  6. Click Done.

Note: If there is an effective date for this change, you must specify when you would like the changes to go into effect.

How to approve or reject a flow request

If you are assigned as an approver of a flow, you will be notified via email and Bob notification when a request is submitted. You can also review it directly in the Approvals section, where you will see all of your past and present approval requests.

Admins can also override other people in the approval flow.

  1. From the left menu, select People > Approvals.
  2. Select the request you would like to approve or reject.
  3. Click Reject or Approve, or click Override and reject or Override and approve if you are an Admin or have permissions to override and want to override a request.
    If a task list or notifications are enabled in the flow, they will trigger upon the final approval. The requester will receive a change approval or rejection email notification at the end of the flow.

How to set up permissions for people using flows

Admins can edit the permissions for other groups of users. Check that only your custom flow is used to change the category or fields you’ve selected, and give managers and custom permission groups permissions to trigger flows.

  1. From the left menu, select Settings > Roles and Permissions.
  2. Click Manage Group for the group you would like to manage flow permissions, such as Managers.

    Tip: If you would like a different permission group than you already have, you can create one. To learn more, see Create a custom permission group.

  3. In the Manage Permissions section, select the Other Employees tab.
  4. Select Tasks and flows, then select the relevant flows you want to delegate.

    Tip: If you would like to also allow a permission group to manage task lists, see Trigger a task list from a flow.

  5. Enable or disable Trigger flow.
  6. Click Save changes.
Use case examples of flows permissions

HR leaders can consider enabling the following permissions as relevant for the people in your organization to use flows with approvals:

  • An approver doesn’t need any special permissions to approve. The approver just needs to be selected as an approver during the flow setup process.
  • If any user has the Override flow requests permission enabled, they will be able to override and complete the flow, either approving or rejecting it.
  • Managers can add new hires to the company from the Company tab in Manage Permissions. Select People > Employees. Enable Add new people to the company.
  • Managers can terminate or place an employee on leave when Trigger leave flows and Trigger termination flows are enabled.

Note: There are separate permissions for each Employee Updates flow and a single permission for New Hire, Leave, and Termination flows.

Tip: Evaluate the different permission groups and consider allowing specific roles to access a subset of the employee update flows. For example, people leaders may benefit from triggering employee feedback-related flows, while the HR team would be the only group allowed to trigger compensation-related flows.

FAQs

What happens if a flow doesn't have approvers?

You can set up Flows to have no approvers or have one or more approvers who are needed to complete the flow before the changes and settings come into effect. Changes, settings, and associated task lists in the flow will be immediately triggered if there are no approvals, whereas flows with approvals will appear in the Approvals area until they are fully approved.

What happens if a flow has approvers?

In flows with approvers, a notification will be sent to the first, or only, approver about the change(s). The approvers will be requested to approve or reject the change(s). Once all approvals have been made, the change(s) will apply, and the task list will be triggered if enabled.

If any approver rejects the change request, subsequent approvers will not be notified, and the change will not be made. In this case, the change requester will be notified that the request was denied.

What happens when a change request is rejected?

If you reject a request, you must enter details why you rejected the request, then click Reject again. This reason will be included in the email notification.

If any approver rejects the change request, subsequent approvers will not be notified, and the change will not be made. In this case, the change initiator will be notified that the request was denied, and if the request needs to occur again. The Manager needs to initiate the flow again for the change request to be resent for approval.

When would I use a flow with approvals?

Some examples of flows with approvals include:

  • A promotion flow may include the first approver as a person’s HRBP, direct manager, or the CFO
  • A parental leave flow that consists of the person’s direct manager, benefits manager, and HRBP