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Handling stalled workflows in EC: Reminder and Escalation

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are staying safe and healthy. Though the feature of handling the stalled workflows is not new, I could not find any relevant blogs or articles, so I just thought of posting one.

It becomes very much necessary that no business process is kept on hold for a longer period without any valid reason. Having said that, there is should be a mechanism to audit or examine the stalled workflows and remind the approver about the pending processes.

Also, even after regular reminders if the Approver still does not respond, then his/her superior should be notified or the business process should be taken to their notice for further action.

To handle the above scenarios, SuccessFactors provides the two standard features:

  • Remind in Days
  • Escalation

I would be explaining in detail about the two features:

 

Remind In Days

 

Remind in days, once set up, will provide a gentle reminder mail to the original approver based on the specified intervals. Again, the reminder notification can be sent either workflow specific or in general to all the stalled workflows based on the Background job.

 

Workflow specific “Remind in days”

 

Step 1:  Adding remind in days values in the workflow

Home – >Admin center – >Manage organization, Pay and Job structures.

We can add the number of days after which a notification has to be triggered in the Remind in days field.

Remind%20In%20Days

Remind In Days

 

 

Step 2: Background Job

After entering the days suitably, we have to create a Background job from Provisioning to monitor the stalled workflows.

Manage Schedule Jobs -> Create New JobàSelect Job type as “Workflow Action Reminder”

Fill in the Job Name, Job owner, Job Type ( Workflow Action Reminder ), and select the occurrence as Recurring and save the Job.

Please note that, if you want to send the reminder to the approver based on workflows, then please leave the Remind in Days field blank in the provisioning Job.

Provisioning%20Job

Provisioning Job

 

 

Reminder notification independent of Workflows

 

If you want to send the reminder notification to the approvers independent of the workflows, then the notification will be sent for all the stalled workflows based on the date specified in the  Remind In days field under Job Parameters as shown below:

 

Adding%20days%20in%20the%20Job

Adding days in the Job

 

Please note that if Remind in Days is configured in both Workflow and in the Background job, then the days entered in the background job prevails.

 

Mail Notification:

 

Mail%20Notification

Mail Notification

 

Escalation Process

 

As explained above, Even after reminding about the pending workflow, if no action is taken by the current approvers, then; we may have to escalate the process to his/her superior

Please find below the stepwise procedure:

Step 1: Setting up the escalation path

RBP: Manage Data permission

The very first step is, we need to define the escalation path, that is, to whom and when the stalled workflows should be triggered, see below example:

 

Escalation%20Matrix

Escalation Matrix

Original Approver: The actual owner of the workflow, to whom the workflow is initially sent for approval.

Current Approver: With whom the workflow process is currently pending.  In the first step, both the Current Approver and Original Approver will be the same.

Subject Employee: The employee on whom the activity is performed.

Target Value:  Target Value is based on the business requirement and it can be either Manager, Manager’s Manager, or the HR of the employee. ( To whom the workflow has to be escalated next)

EscalationAfterDays: The escalation after Days define the number of days after which, you want the system to escalate the request to the superiors.

 

For instance, in the above example, after 2 days of stalling, the workflow will be escalated to the original approver’s Manager. This again, if stalled for 2 more days, will be escalated to original approver’s second manager ( Manager’s manager)

Finally, it can be escalated to HR of the employee for further action.

Therefore, flow is as below:

 

Escalation%20Process

Escalation Process

 

Please note that, as shown in the flow chart, the process is not unidirectional, For instance, The new approver can either directly approve the request or, can discuss with the original approver and understand the reason for stalling the workflow, and then can decline or send back the escalation. When the escalation is declined or sent back, the workflow goes back to the previous approver.

If you want to escalate the workflow up the organization until it is approved, then we can use the Recurring Workflow Escalation as below

In the below scenario, the workflow is taken to a higher level after the interval of 3 days at each step, until it’s approved.

 

Recurring%20Escalation

Recurring Escalation

 

Step 2: Mapping the escalation in the desired Workflow

Home– > Admin center –> Manage Organization, Pay and Job structure

Select the workflow and add the Escalation path as below:

Map%20the%20Escalation%20with%20the%20workflow

Map the Escalation with the workflow

 

Please note that, if you could not find the Escalation path option in the workflow, then follow the below steps:

2.1: Export the corporate data model from the provisioning

2.2: Add the below XML code incorporate data model

<hris-field max-length="128" id="escalation" visibility="both">

<label>Escalation Path </label>

<label xml:lang="ar-SA">Escalation Path</label>

<label xml:lang="de-DE">Escalation Path</label>

<label xml:lang="en-GB">Escalation Path</label>

</hris-field>

 

Make sure that, you give the id as “escalation” (case sensitive). Also, you can give the language as per the business requirement. For sample purposes, I have given, Arabic and English UK.

 

2.3: After adding the above code, import the corporate data model.

2.4: After successful, import, you would be able to view the option on the Workflow page.

 

Step 3: Creating a background job

After mapping the escalation path, we now have to create a Background job from provisioning to regularly monitor the stalled workflows.

Provisioning–> Under Managing Job Scheduler– > Manage Schedule Jobs– >Create New

 

Workflow%20Auto%20Escalation

Workflow Auto Escalation

 

Select the Job type as Workflow Auto Escalation and occurrence should be recurring and preferably “daily”.

Once scheduled, initiate action on an employee that triggers Workflow. Based on the EscalationAfterDays field values, the escalation process would be followed.

 

Step 4: Customize Email Templates (Optional)

You can also customize the Workflow Escalation Email Templates as below:

Home – >Email Notification Template settings

 

 

Template

Template

 

Workflow Escalated Mail Notification:

 

Mail%20Notification

Mail Notification

 

New Approver Perspective:

The new approver will be receiving the request which got escalated from his subordinate.

 

The Approver can either Approve or decline the Escalation process.

Decline%20Escalation

Decline Escalation

 

Limitations:

    • If there is no valid approver, then the workflow will not be escalated automatically. My suggestion is to configure the workflow with “Skip this step” under the Approver behavior Field so that the workflow at least proceeds further even if it encounters an invalid approver.
    • Dynamic Group, Dynamic Role, Position, and Position Relationship in the escalation targetValue field is not supported. That is if the workflow is getting escalated from A to B, then A (Source ) can be of multiple users, like Dynamic Role/Group, etc.., however, the target person should be single-user (Not multi-user)

 

 

References:

    • https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2667359
    • https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2845152
    • https://help.sap.com/doc/047cf17e14e34ff4bd57f1c0c6fd8894/2005/en-US/SF_EC_Workflows.pdf

 

 

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