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In our last HR-focused article, we talked about some of the pitfalls of traditional policy documentation, and the general features and advantages of using Confluence and Comala Document Control. In this article we’re going to explore some practical examples of what that might look like.

Building Your HR Space

Confluence Cloud and Comala Document Control are perfect tools to create and manage HR policy documents like codes of conduct, travel policies, and even entire employee handbooks.

A Confluence environment configured for Human Resources documents works like this. Your Confluence instance is installed either in a server, data center, or the cloud. In this instance you can set up spaces, and within spaces you have related pages. You could devote an entire instance to HR, or just one space in your company’s instance. Within your space you can have parent pages and child pages underneath.

For example, in Comalatech’s Team Success space within Confluence, there is a job description page, and each position in the company gets its own child page underneath, listing the responsibilities, expectations and so on. This space is open to all team members, so that anyone in the company can easily look up their own job description and that of their colleagues. Confluence’s easy navigation and access makes it a great tool for sharing this kind of information.

When it’s time to share internal communications and announcements, like a new policy or new team mate, Comalatech uses Confluence’s built-in blog feature. Blogs are organized not in a space hierarchy but by date published, making it perfect for information that is timely, but doesn’t need to clutter up your space. The latest blogs appear on a user’s home page in Confluence so they’re easy to find.

Making Sure Your Policies are Read

Whether you need to ensure your documents are read for regulation purposes, or you’re just sharing a memo with the team, you’ll want a simple way to assign users to read Confluence pages. Comala Read Confirmations is an easy-to-use app that does just that. Users receive notification when they’ve been assigned a page to read, and confirm reading a document with the press of a button. A report shows you who has and has not confirmed.

The Life Cycle of a Document

Confluence can quickly fill up with hundreds of pages and dozens of collaborators. When you want to enforce a process on your content, Comala Document Control gives you the ability to build custom approval workflows. Workflows can be applied manually to each page, or automatically to every page in a space. Let’s imagine a potential HR workflow with three phases, referred to as states:

  • A “Draft” state.
  • An “In Review” State for getting the document reviewed and approved by your HR Manager
  • A “Published” State, indicating that the article is ready to go out to your team.

You and your collaborators begin working on the document in the “Draft” state. Once it’s ready to be reviewed, you press a button to submit it. The document now moves from the “Draft” state to the “In-Review” state, and an email is automatically sent to a manager notifying them that they need to review the page. Comala Document Control also allows you to assign multiple reviewers, so you could have say, both the HR Manager and COO review the page. Another option would be to have more than one state with an approval. When the Port of Antwerp develops their policy documents, they use up to seven separate reviews from different departments, like safety and health, legal, and environmental protection.

But for our example, let’s say only the HR Manager needs to approve. Once they’ve read the document, the workflow gives them to option to reject or approve it. This could be done with the press of a button, or an electronic signature.

E-signatures require either a username and password, or a token generated by a third party authentication app like Authy, 1Password or Google Authenticator. If the document is approved, it moves to the final Published state, ready to be shared with the rest of your team. You can also create rules if the document is rejected, like sending it back to the initial Draft state.

The workflow can also be designed so that any updates to the document will restart the workflow, ready for another round of reviews. If you need to review the policy again after a given time, you can set an expiry date as well.

That’s one example workflow you could use for HR documents, but Comala Document Control allows for a lot of customization and even creativity. The Port of Antwerp also uses workflows to run a training module for users who are new to Confluence. A similar workflow could be created to guide new employees in any organization through an on-boarding process within Confluence.

As the nature of work evolves, the tools we use to manage that work also need to change. Confluence Cloud is a stellar platform for document creation and collaboration, while Comala Document Control provides the tool to manage those documents. For HR departments it’s a scalable and customizable solution which can be expanded through add-ons to create the exact system you need.