Learn how to edit the trigger date for a Task list within a flow with guided examples: schedule a promotion via an Employee Update Flow and schedule a Termination via a Leave flow.
Task lists are a favorite among HR admins because with one click, you can sit back and observe a series of automated actions go into effect. The critical factor for scheduling this series is the date, you get to choose its reference point. This reference point, or anchor date, is chosen when setting up the task list and is based on an event (by which all individual tasks, within the task list, will be triggered). But what if you do not want to trigger a task list in a flow based on an anchor event? What if you had the option to choose a specific date as the trigger. This option is here, and it’s only one click away.
Trigger date options
When triggering a task list in a flow, choices include:
- Now: Triggers within the next few minutes
- Future date: Prompts you to select a specific date in the future
- Anchor event: The anchor date that was chosen in the task list setup, e.g., Birthday
Get the most out of Bob
Why is the option to edit the trigger date so useful? The benefits of hand picking a time/date to trigger task lists in a flow include:
- Plan for events: Schedule a future date for a pending event, such as a promotion
- Take immediate action: Schedule a task list immediately, such as Leave of absence
- Avoid colliding events: Move dates when an event falls on a holiday or other important event
Before you begin
Triggering task lists in flows involves both Task lists and Flows. Let’s define the difference between the two and explain how they are connected.
What is a Task List?
A task list is a to-do list with a set of automated tasks that go into effect when triggered. It often involves tasks that are assigned to both company staff and the employee (whom the task list is assigned to). For example, if an employee, e.g, Michael, moves to a different department, e.g., from Marketing to Sales, a task list, called “New Sales Rep tasks” may be triggered, wherein some tasks may be assigned to the employee, e.g., to watch sales training videos on day 2, while other tasks may be assigned to the IT department, e.g., provide new sales software on day 5.
What is a flow?
A flow, on the other hand, is a series of updates related to the employee, e.g., if Michael moves from one department to the next, an “Update Job Information” flow may be set up, with the aim of updating Michael’s new position and sending the change to the department head for approval.
How are Task Lists and Flows connected?
Task lists are used to distribute action items and flows are used to update the data in Bob. Task lists can exist on their own and Flows can also exist on their own. Task lists though can be added to flows; They are added as part of the flow when an update requires a set of follow-up actions. So in this case, the “New Sales Rep” task list can be added to the “Update Job information” flow.
How does the Task list affect the Flow?
The answer is simple; it all depends on the trigger date, which is located within the task list setup.
After you’ve set up the task list, and chosen an anchor date (which is often based on a lifecycle event), you will see the exact same schedule settings that you chose for the task list, mirrored in the flow. So if the “New Sales Rep” task list is set to be triggered when Michael’s job role changes to “Sales” (“Work effective date” is the Anchor date) then by default, the same schedule settings will be set in the flow.
What if you want to change this date when executing a flow?
This is where you are given a choice - you can choose to either keep the default date or choose an alternate date.
- In cases where the task list is unscheduled: If Add scheduling in the task list settings is disabled, the default option to schedule the triggering will be Now. We recommend you keep these settings from the task list. Referring back to the example of Michael, if you'd like IT and Finance to get started on their tasks related to Michael earlier, or if you are updating the promotion retroactively, you should choose Now. The task list “New Sales Rep” will then be sent Now. If you’d like a different date, you have the option to choose Future date or anchor date instead.
- In cases where the task list is scheduled: If “Add scheduling” in the task list settings is enabled the default option to schedule the triggering will be the Anchor event. We recommend you keep these settings.
Note: If you decide to change the original date to Future date or Now, be aware that you are adding another task list to be triggered for the same employee (a duplicate), on top of the original date. This can be resolved by heading over to the task list settings and removing Michael from the task list schedule using the Applies to settings under the Anchor event selection. Removing the employee will ensure that only one task list will be triggered for this employee.
A great way to think of Tasks and Flows: 3 - step virtual timeline
You can think of a flow - and the task list that is added to it - as part of a timeline. Setting the Schedule follows the same basic structure:
And we will show you how to do this now!
Note: You can see if a task list is scheduled on the Task list page. Task lists that are scheduled will have a clock icon with Auto scheduled written above it, while Task lists that have not been scheduled will remain blank.
Guided Examples - Employee update flow (Promotion) and Leave flow (Termination)
It is time to be guided, step-by-step through two different flows, so you will know exactly how to trigger task lists on the exact date of your choice and understand why this is so useful. The flows include a Promotion example and Termination example:
How to trigger a task list within an Employee Update Flow - Promotion Example
It’s time to give your employee a promotion! Adam Jakob is an amazing DevOps Engineer and he is getting a promotion. Let’s set up a task list, add it to a Promotions flow and trigger the promotion. The process involves 3 steps, let’s begin:
Step 1: Create a Promotions Task List
- From the left menu, select Settings > Task Lists.
- Click + Add New or use an existing task list.Tip: To learn more see, Set up a task list.
- In the Details section you will see a Toggle next to Scheduling. If you would like the Promotions task list to remain unattached to any events, leave the Toggle off with Add Scheduling greyed out. This is what we recommend as granting promotions will often take effect at some point in the future. Then, when the time comes, you can manually set the trigger for a promotion (which we will show you shortly).
Note: We recommend these settings for all events that include multiple effective dates, e.g., salary effective date, Employment effective date. Why? When dealing with future effective dates, tasks are only triggered from that date, onward. This means that tasks that are scheduled before the future effective date, will only be triggered on the day.
- Click Next.
- Click Done.The Task list has been successfully saved.
Step 2: Add the Task list to a Flow
Now we will add the Task list “Promotion Time! HURRAY!” to a Promotions Flow .
- From the left menu, select Settings > Flows > Employee Update.
- Click +Add New or click Manage to edit an existing flow.
- In the Additional Steps section, enable on Set task list.
- Choose the desired task list.
- Click Done.The Task list has been successfully added to the flow.
Step 3: Select the Trigger Date
Now we will change the trigger date of the Promotions flow so that Adam Jakob will receive the promotion one month in the future.
- From the left menu, select People > Directory. Click the row with Adam Jakob. You will be directed to the Employee profile page.
- From the Actions dropdown menu, select Employee Updates> Promotions.
- Fill in all the fields on the Details page and click Next.
- In the Additional steps section, under Task lists, choose “Promotion Time! HURRAY!” This should be the default.
- In the Trigger section, Now will be selected by default. Now is always the default when a task list is not scheduled. Choose your Trigger date from the three options:
Now: Immediate trigger
Future Date: Select a date in the future when the promotion becomes effective
Anchor event: Select an event such as the Work Effective date
- Select Future Date and fill in the calendar date, e.g., 8/03/2022.
- Click Next and you will be presented with a summary.
You have now Successfully triggered a task list “Promotion Time! HURRAY” within the flow “Promotions” that will be sent to Adam Jakob on a future date “18/03/2022”. A message (blue strip) will notify you when the first task is planned to appear in the Manage tasks page. All tasks on the list would appear 1 day prior to the first (earliest) task’s Trigger settings (the offset).
How to trigger a task list within a Leave flow - Termination example
It’s time to say goodbye to your employee. Abigail Schapira, senior backend developer, has decided to leave the company. A series of actions must now take place to ensure the termination process is executed correctly. Some common actions include signing documents, ending payroll, and informing the tech team to block access to company systems. Let’s set up an Offboarding Task list for these actions, add it to a Termination flow and trigger the termination.
Step 1: Create an Offboarding Task List
- On the left side menu Settings > Task Lists > +Add New or use an existing Task list and continue to step 2.We recommend customizing the default Offboarding template.
- In the Details section you will see a Toggle next to Scheduling.
Note: If you would like the Offboarding task list to be set off based on an Anchor event, such as Termination date, set the Toggle on to Add Scheduling. This is what we recommend in order to correlate the related offboarding tasks with the actual Termination date. This is why it is the default selection.
- Click Next.
- Click Done.The Task list titled “Offboarding” has been successfully saved.
Step 2: Add the Task list to a Flow
Now we will add the Offboarding task list called “Offboarding” to a Termination Flow.
- From the left menu, select Settings > Flows > Leave.
- Click + Add New or click Manage to edit an existing flow.
- Choose your flow; “Termination - Goodbye,” then click Manage.
- In the Additional Steps section enable Set Task List.
- Choose the desired task list, In this case, it will be “Offboarding.”
- Click Done.The Task list titled “Offboarding” has been successfully added to the “Termination- Goodbye” flow.
Step 3: Change the Trigger Date (or keep the default settings)
Now we will review how to change the trigger date of the Termination flow, so that it triggers the Offboarding task list on the Termination date.
- From the left menu, select People > Directory, then click on the row with Abigail Schapira. You will be directed to the Employee profile page.
- From the Actions dropdown menu, select Change Status > Terminate Employee > Termination-goodbye.
- Fill in all the fields on the Details page, then click Next.
- In the Additional actions section, under Task list, choose “offboarding.” This task list should be the default. In the Trigger section, Anchor date will be selected by default. This is always the default when a task list is scheduled. You will see the lifecycle event Termination date in the field below, which was the Anchor date chosen during Task list setup. Although you can change the trigger date to Future or Now, we recommend you keep these default settings, as the Anchor date was pre-scheduled during the Offboarding task list setup and directly aligns with the Termination -Goodbye Flow.
- Click Next and you will be presented with a summary.
Congratulations, you know how to set up and edit the trigger date for a Task list within a flow. In some instances, such as promoting an employee, it is better to leave a task list unscheduled, and manually edit the date later on. In other instances, such as Terminating an employee, it is best to schedule a task list with an anchor event, so that offboarding and termination dates are aligned.