Steps for automating approval workflow

The approval process for any workflow is vital to ensure the integrity of the process and manage the process as per the set organization policies. Unfortunately, managing the approvals may be a headache especially in cases where different people are involved in the approval process.  However, the approvals can be a lot easier if the process is automated. It also saves time and prevents a situation where some vital approvals are forgotten along the way. 

There are several software programs that can help managers manage processes that require multiple approvals in a uniform manner and automate the approval process so that the forms move to the next level once it has been approved on a lower level. Here are some easy steps to take to prevent back and forth emails that come with manual workflow approvals.  

Bring together tools that can help automate the approval workflow 
The fewer hours that the managers spend approving processes, the more time they have dealing with other vital tasks that need their attention. The first step to enhancing this is choosing tools that help you automate the process. Look for a solution that is flexible to handle both complex and simple approvals. The ideal software enables to create customized approval templates for each of the processes that require regular approvals. 

Define your approval process  
 Before you can automate the approval process, you need to define the source of information, which the creators and approvers of the same. Think of all the sources and the flow of processes via the different levels of management. Next, you need to define the minimum qualifications for the form to move to the next level of approvals. Define reasons why a request for approval can be denied. There should also be a way that lower managers can make notes regarding their approvals to higher level managers.  Moreover, the systems should have a mechanism of notifying the concerned persons when their time comes to make approvals to avoid any delays.

Let the automation tools do the work
After you are done setting up the system for approval workflow, allow the automation tool to do the work. It is a common thing for managers to keep sending emails and attaching forms for other managers to see even when the same is sent through the automated process. The faster that teams eliminate unnecessary back-and-forth communication, the more productive they become and more efficient the automation tool becomes.  

Keep improving the automation tasks 
Once the workflow approval process starts to work, it is important that you re-evaluate the system every few months to determine areas that require re-engineering. Your management of the process should be focused on eliminating any unnecessary steps that only delay the whole process. You can remove some approvers, choose a schedule for particular approvals, and so forth to make the system fit for organizational needs.