Organizations often struggle with a common challenge: how to on-board employees and begin the provisioning process in advance of the employee's first day while still maintaining the data integrity around the hiring process. Organizations running SAP approach this in a variety of ways. On one side of the spectrum, there is the organization that will perform the Hire Action in advance of the employee’s arrival, putting the employee in an active status as of their intended start date. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the organization that waits until the employee physically arrives prior to executing the Hire Action. Each of these approaches has its merits; however, the challenges that arise from these approaches are not insignificant.

  • For the organization that Hires the employee in SAP well in advance of their start date, there are a variety of questions to address:
    • What if the employee is a “no-show”? Would we delete or terminate a no-show? If we terminate, isn’t that going to throw off our reporting and falsely store an employee record for a person who never truly was an employee?
    • What about if the employee adjusts their start date?
  • For the organizations that wait until the employee physically arrives, how can the provisioning process effectively begin when the employee is not in the system of record?

 This is where the concept of a Pre-Hire Action can be beneficial. The goal of the Pre-Hire Process is to combine the merits of both of the approaches above, but also to provide some safe guards against polluting your organization’s hiring data and processes. In a Pre-Hire scenario, you enter a minimal amount of data required to get the employee into the system and to trigger other processes. While this process can have touch-points with your recruiting process it begins at the point of the offer acceptance and is thus not a recruiting process per se. You’ll want to initiate the Pre-Hire process upon acceptance of the offer of employment and the establishment of a start date. You’ll want to collect as much basic data about the employee as is necessary to begin your on-boarding processes. Typical examples would include: Position Assignment, Start Date, Personal Data, Office Address, Employee’s Address for mailing benefits materials, equipment details, etc. You may also wish to utilize this data to generate a network ID, badges and email address in advance, thus speeding the time it takes for the employee to become productive on his/her first day.
Pre-Hire Action:
The Pre-Hire process is facilitated by establishing a Pre-Hire Action within your Personnel Administration configuration. With this Action, you permit the initial entry of the future-employee’s data into your system of record. Typically, this action will create Infotype 0000 (Actions), 0001 (Organizational Assignment), 0002 (Personal Data), 0019 (Monitoring of Tasks), 0006 (Addresses) and 0105 (Communication). There are a few key points to consider when setting up this action:

  • An employee can only go through one “First Hiring” Action. This is designated by the function code in table T529A being set to 1. This tells the system to assign a personnel number (PERNR) for the employee and marks the first time the employee can exist within the system. 
  • Because the Pre-Hire action is desired to be the employee’s first entry into the system, it is important that it receive Function Code “1” and that this be removed from your regular Hiring Action. 
  • Because we’re performing the Pre-Hire in advance of the employee’s actual arrival for his/her first day, we should be pre-hiring the employee into an Inactive Status.
    • To further distinguish this type of Inactive employee from the rest of your Inactive population (those on leave, for example), you’ll want to take advantage of the Customer-Specific Status, which can be configured under the Actions menu in the IMG.
    • With the customer-specific status in place, configure your Pre-Hire Action to set this value to a designated “Pre-Hire” status along with the SAP Employment status set to Inactive.
    • You’ll want to check other downstream features and programs to determine whether this customer-specific status needs to be included
  • Because a Pre-Hired employee will not be paid, put him/her into Payroll Area 99 or your company’s equivalent for non-payroll relevant.
  • It is useful to configure a Date Type for use in Monitoring of Tasks (Infotype 0019). I recommend configuring an Expected Start Date and setting a reminder time to 1 week prior to arrival. This can be used to drive notifications to various interested parties and can serve to store the employee’s expected arrival date. 

Pre-Hiring Re-hires:
Another important note to consider is that Re-hires must be Pre-hired via a separate action. Recall that we set our Function Code for the Pre-Hire to “1” for First Hiring. Because of this, you will not be able to use this Action to Pre-Re-Hire an employee. You’ll need to establish an Action for the Pre-Re-Hire. It can be similar to your Pre-Hire action but with the Function Code set to “0” for Other Actions since you won’t be generating a new PERNR for a re-hired employee.
The big day has finally arrived and your employee has shown up for work – now what? Once the pre-hired employee arrives for his/her first day of work, it’s time to activate them in the system and collect the rest of his/her data. At this point in time, you can Hire the employee via your Hiring Action. This will set the employee’s status to Active and allow them to become viable for payroll, benefits, etc. If you’ve used the Customer-Specific status, it’s best to set it to Active as well for consistency’s sake. Your effective start date for the Hire is the employee’s first day of work. Be sure to include Infotype 0019 (Monitoring of Tasks) in your action so you can mark the task as Complete during Hiring.

Cancel Pre-Hire:
What if your pre-hired employee fails to show up for work? The beauty of the Pre-Hire Process is that you never have to show the candidate as an employee in your system because he/she has never been Active. In this case, the best course of action is to have a “Cancel Pre-Hire” Action ready to go. This action would behave similarly to a Termination but would be far more streamlined. Include only the minimal infotypes that you used for the Pre-Hire action in this. Set your Employment Status to Withdrawn as well as your Customer-Specific status. Be sure to mark your Infotype 0019 task as completed as well.

I hope you have found this discussion of the Pre-Hire concept to be valuable. There are many things to consider when designing your on-boarding process and not every option works for every company.  Luckily, the SAP solution is flexible enough to enable a variety of approaches for tackling this complex process.


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