Kids aren’t the only ones that experience growth spurts – startup companies do, too. For these young and expanding companies, growing pains typically appear during workforce planning and people management.

The majority of workforce and growth planning at Atlassian (and across much of the tech landscape) is done through spreadsheets. They use requisitions to outline how many engineers, product managers, and any other role a company plans to hire for in the future. In turn, companies plan their budgets and forecasts to ensure the right talent is on board.

At Atlassian, our People Tech team turned to our own product Jira Service Management to help support our expansion and streamline processes, saving us thousands of hours in workforce planning. Learn how Jira Service Management can also save time for your organization.

The reality of workforce planning

How Atlassian HR solved its data problem using Jira

Requisition and workforce planning doesn’t just affect HR teams. It also trickles down to the recruiters, hiring managers, and business operation teams who make decisions toward that plan.

Because there are a lot of people involved, things typically don’t go as planned – position scope changes, projects get pushed back, and people need time to make decisions. All of these factors make requisition changes more difficult and time-consuming to complete. And we’re talking thousands of hours to complete.

“There are constant changes to requisitions that happen between operational planning and recruiting teams’ readiness to initiate the hiring process, which causes churn and manual tasks for recruiters,” says Apeksha Rai, Atlassian’s Head of Talent Acquisition, Tech Enablement.

These changes can include start dates, job descriptions, skills, and who the person reports to on the team. Any delay in hiring could mean that a project is delayed because a key team member wasn’t there to help.

Understanding, managing, and solving requisition problems

Using Jira Service Management to improve HR

Atlassian is no stranger to the growing pains of managing requisitions and workforce planning. In the last year alone, the company grew by more than 2,300 people. To manage requisitions for jobs, Atlassian’s People Team – what we call our HR team – uses Workday. Changes to any requisitions mean that a member of the talent acquisition team needs to dive into Workday, request the necessary changes, receive approvals from required teams like finance and legal, ensure the changes are fully executed in the system, and then communicate back to the hiring manager that the changes have been successfully made.

Suffice it to say, workforce planning and execution are stressful and complicated for hiring managers, recruiters, and organizational leaders.

“It worked when we were a smaller company. But now that we’re shooting for 25,000 employees in the next three years, that engine is clogged by manual tasks and a lack of automation,” Apeksha says. “We were hitting a breaking point and you can’t just hire a hundred more recruiters to solve this problem.”

Every change on a requisition goes through two to five different workflows before a role is actually filled. And these workflows need to be executed in a specific order, or the data becomes messy and inconsistent. When you scale it to hundreds of roles that need to be filled (at the time of publishing, Atlassian has over 500 open positions), you have a massive problem with how many steps are involved in the process.

Any company that’s growing will feel the stretch.

Creating an IT solution from within

Companies have solved these growing pains in the past, but not without stumbling. In Atlassian’s case, the People Tech team looked to our own products to help find the solution. 

For Atlassian, the original requisition data exists in Workday and is synced to Jira Service Management. Through the process built by the People Tech team, teams enter any requisition changes through Forms in Jira Service Management – a dynamic form creator that enables custom workflows that can be based on how users answer questions. For example, a question focused on a change in the salary range would automatically trigger a message to the team in charge of approving the salary change.

Any changes that require approvals from various teams create an automated notification for approvers to sign off on the changes.

All those changes and approvals are captured as data in Jira Service Management. Once all the approvals are complete, the changes are automatically synced to the original data in Workday.

workday flow chart

“Now recruiters can use this service management portal created by IT to pick a requisition, make edits, and specify what needs to change,” says Paul Biagio, a senior IT manager for Atlassian’s People Tech team. “If it needs approval, the right people are automatically added to the workflow as approvers. All the relevant information needed to review and approve the change is available in one place.”

Building scalable business processes

Three months after the team rolled out this workflow using Jira Service Management, more than 2,500 changes to requisitions have been processed through automation. Before, the average time for a single requisition change from creation to resolution was nine days, according to our People Tech team.

But the new process shortens that time to a matter of minutes, saving thousands of hours in effort and waiting. It also has limited the opportunity for human error – a likelihood that increases as more requisitions and teams are involved. 

“You have to build your business processes as simple as possible, eliminate any unnecessary approvals, and empower teams that use the process through self-service,” Paul says. “Any time a company grows, there’s this chance to automate your business system processes in a mindful way. I’m glad we found a solution that utilizes the best aspects of our HR systems and our own products!”

Learn more

For more stories about Atlassian IT solving People Team and HR challenges, check out the Connected CIO page.

How Jira Service Management can save thousands of hours in workforce planning