Workflows on employee edited portlets

Do you have data editable by employees and you need to track the changes and have specific rules for them? This example is about external work experience (education, mobility etc.). From the technical perspective they are called background elements and only as background elements they can be used in Succession talent search. These fields can be editable by employees but as the background element you cannot track changes by the workflow or by any other rule. There is a solution that can help you to solve this.

How it can work for you:

  1. Employee enters External work history in the Employee Self ServiceExternal_Work_History_Detail
  2. After saving the data the workflow is triggeredExternal_Work_History_WFL
  3. Then approval/update from HRExternal_Work_History_WFL_Nancy
  4. And after approval the data are stored in MDF objectExternal_Work_History_Approved
  5. Using the background replication mentioned below these data are populated in the right objects that can be used for Talent Search, Talent Card or Scorecard display.

From HR perspective you have two different added values:

  • you can track all changes done by employees using the workflows
  • you can have any validation rules on these fields

Are there any limitations?

  • yes, currently there is limit in the data replication so it can take up to several hours before the data will be available in the employee’s background element

What is necessary for the configuration?

  • MDF objects
  • Configured background elements in data model
  • ORD (Online report designer)
  • SFTP server

Can I use Ad hoc reports instead of ORD?

  • no, you can’t because Ad hoc reporting don’t allow to change the column names and add specific texts needed for upload to background elements

Can I use anything other than SFTP server?

  • you can use different server than provided by SuccessFactors, in all other cases you will need some other integration platform to use (e.g. Boomi)

Could it be done only by administrator?

  • no, the configuration require settings in provisioning so it is necessary to do it by consultant

Now let’s move to configuration idea and then to the detailed steps

  • Idea is about creating custom MDF objects that will be filled by the employees and can contain rules (for starting workflow or validation rules). Then using the ORD to export content of MDF entries to SFTP server (on regular basis) and using the import job in provisioning to fill the data in background element.
  • For our case is necessary to create two objects. First object is work history item:object_definition_item
  • This will store each value provided by the employee but we need ability to enter multiple rows in one time so we need to create parent object with associationobject_definition_header
  • The next step is creating the UI for the parent objectexternal_work_UI
  • Not with picture but you need to add permissions and configure Employee files/People profile to display this object to the employees

Cool, this was the easier part of the solution now let’s move to the next step and this is ORD configuration (I don’t have print screens as it available only on customer and not demo instance).

  1. Go to detailed reporting in ORD and create a report on both MDF objects. Use the header as relation to userId and the rest as a content of the report.
  2. Filter only active entries as well. Create calculated column for the second column because this column needs to have the same name as background element. Set the value of this column as the name of the column.
  3. The report must contain (in our case) following columns:
    • ^UserId – userId of an employee
    • outsideWorkExperience – static value outsideWorkExperience
    • startDate – start date from the item object
    • endDate – end date from the item object
    • employer – employer name
    • title – job title
    • businessType – type of business
  4. Save the query and create a report distributor bundle with target to SFTP server, set this bundle to be exported each night at 2:00.
  5. Go to the provisioning and create scheduled job “Live profile import” with data overwriting and schedule this job to take the file from sftp server each day at 4:00.
  6. The data will be pulled into standard background element and can be used for talent search and all other necessary functionality on background element.

Are there any other options? Yes, you can filter only entries entered by last 24 hours and add only increments. Than the configuration will change a little bit.


3 thoughts on “Workflows on employee edited portlets”

    1. Yes, my idea was not to use any other integration platform (Boomi or HCI). So it’s easily achievable for anyone with basic functionality (ORD, SFTP)

  1. Hi Josef,

    Very Helpful Information.

    But my query is on general MDF portlets. Whenever workflow is triggered for MDF portlets,

    1. Approver will not get update option as they get like standard portlet such as Job Info or Personal Info Change.

    2. The record will be displayed before the approval workflow is complete and it will not show pending approval in each portlet like Job Info or Personal Info.

    Whether both are expected behavior or let me know if I am doing any mistake in config.


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