HR Workflow Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

HR Workflow Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

HR Workflow Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Zane Knight Profile PhotoConnX HR
31 May 2019


Not everything goes according to plan, so at some stage during your HR Workflow Transformation project you may run into 1 or more obstacles. To help you plan for overcoming them as quickly as possible, we’ve listed the most common issues that occur and easy ways of avoiding them.

If you need to submit a business case for change, these items could be listed under a “risks” section.

Mis-understood requirements and unclear business processes

The most common reason why workflow change fails. You need to put the effort into documenting your current processes before looking for a software solution. Knowing how it works now, and what you want the process to be will help you in getting management buy-in, selecting the right solution and ensuring there is a smooth transition.
Don’t be afraid to set meetings, ask questions and probe as much as possible as early as possible to uncover all the details.

Underestimating project complexity and timeframe

Similar to the item above, have a realistic expectation on when each workflow process will likely be delivered to the business. Working backwards from a date, you can determine if this is realistic to achieve based on your current status, resources and workload. Keep your manager updated on progress, and particularly if there are any bottlenecks getting required information or work schedule conflicts.

Business politics

When you start messing with your colleagues tasks, be prepared for backlash! The easiest way of doing this is to start with the position of “we are inefficient, we want to improve” and most importantly “we are not going to make anyone redundant”. When people know their job is safe, and they will receive education to help in their career, they will be more willing to participate and give up the information you need. Assigning “workflow champions” is another way of getting people on-board with change.


Meaning data integration between connected systems, and also change management of the process (the integration of your workflow process into a bigger picture).

If you are looking at vendors for digital workflow automation (see the section on Selecting a Software Solution) – be clear on your requirements. Provide potential suppliers with examples of forms and workflow processes and ask them to present your specific scenarios, then ask for references.

Data integration can be one of most difficult elements, especially when 2 suppliers don’t want to talk to each other!
Be sure proposals and quotes from suppliers include all the integration requirements. Many suppliers will say “subject to scoping” in their quote, and this can be a very expensive exercise if integration doesn’t already exist. Also, avoid suppliers that say “We have an API/web service that the other supplier can use.” This just means there is no integration currently in place.

No continuing buy-in support from management

When you discuss of the benefits of automating workflow, it’s likely management will be all over it. However, in the unlikely case they are not. Use the Productivity Tool to measure current inefficient workflow and ineffective time, compared to what it could (should) be with workflow automation. If management are still not convinced, straight out ask them “what will it take?”

Ask for a trial on a few selected workflow processes within easy control. After you have buy-in, continue the push by updating management regularly and asking for a top-down change management across the entire business. This way every part of the business will eventually be standardised with your new workflow process.

Under-developed change management and education

Have a plan on rolling out the updated workflow process, this could be department by department. Generally you want to deploy change reasonably quickly to minimise the duplicate processes as much as possible.
Ensure all orientation and induction programs are updated too.

Key Personnel Change

This can severely affect your project. By planning for the processes that will change and tackling each one as a separate individual process, you will hopefully minimise the effect of key staff turnover during the project.
In other words, deploy change to the business in stages rather than as a single “big bang” approach.

More Information

For a complete guide on HR workflow please see our page How to Transform Your Business with HR Workflow
To view what we can help you with, check out our page on Human Capital Software Solutions

About Us

Since 2003 we’ve helped hundreds of businesses across Australia with their business operational, compliance and engagement strategies by providing the HR tools to drive efficiency and ultimately make your life easier, allowing you to add real value to your business. Complete our Contact Us for and we’ll call you to discuss your needs and how we can help.

Featured Resources

Not everything goes according to plan, so at some stage

On our page How to Transform Your Business with HR

Ultimately your organisation will benefit from digital workflow automation in