5 key challenges of a manual approval workflow and how to overcome them

Challenges of manual approval workflow and how to overcome them

There is no better feeling than being able to complete an approval workflow rapidly and smoothly. But, as much as you strive to achieve this successfully, somewhere along the process there is always disruption. Moreover, something that interferes with your individual schedule of work.

As a result, planning your day becomes a task in itself. Simply because it is a manual approval workflow. These issues have a tendency of causing delays and unnecessary stress for you. As well, the delays create bottlenecks in the business’ overall operations. 

Wouldn’t it be great to perfect approvals in a timely manner. And, without anything interrupting the flow of the process?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a weight lifted off your shoulders if the task was easier to manage?

Ideally, yes and certainly possible. Using workflow software, organisations are digitalising their approval workflow and thriving. 

In particular, what used to be an unavoidable challenge is no longer an issue. In other words, you don’t need to bear with the unwanted stress. Optimizing approval workflows with process automation tools can make your workday a lot easier and less stressful.

Transforming a manual approval workflow into a digital process not only saves time and costs. But, increases productivity as well as making a positive impact to the environment. Paperless approvals allow organisations to engage in sustainable initiatives. 

Spreadsheets, emails and paper-documents devour company resources

manual-approval-workflowWhile paper in the office is still a go-to method for work, more organisations are aiming towards a paperless office. Additionally, businesses are switching from using emails and spreadsheets to more efficient digital tools. That is, when it comes to optimising their approval processes.

With workflow software, you can manage the approval process from start to finish without signing paper forms. Or, using spreadsheets or emails.

The utility of paper, spreadsheets and emails is specifically down to convenience of use. Simply because, many are so embedded in their natural ways of carrying out work. However, those who have decided to adopt digital transformation have realized how inconvenient traditional methods actually were. In other words, manual approval processes drain your businesses resources and you will see that once you upgrade.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced many organisations to begin digitalisation in the workplace. For instance, digital transformation was key to implement a successful remote working strategy. That is, to operate throughout the epidemic. Without the help of digital tools, working from home can be a complex situation for all.

According to market research firm IDC, organisations who have already begun digital transformation are far more resilient and agile.

They have already adapted to a digital workplace. So, going forward they just need to alter business models. 

Managing your approval process with paper requires substantial amounts time and effort. Specifically, resources dedicated to move paper documents around the business. As well, it can involve printing spreadsheets and manually inputting data into those spreadsheets. After that, requests and approvals need to be sent via email for the next approver and so on. Again, requiring much of employee time and effort, easily causing delays in critical business approval processes. 

The submission of a request, the approval of that request and the kick-start of a particular business process can and should run smoothly.

However, many issues can arise throughout the approval process when using spreadsheets, emails and paper. 


5 key challenges of a manual approval workflow 

1.  Manual approvals soak up employee time

Outdated systems and tools used to carry out the approval process overly consume employee time and productivity. For instance, using a paper form for requests might require manual input into a spreadsheet. Or, it may need to be physically delivered to a different department. 

Whatever the case may be, there will always be secondary manual re-work involved. Certainly, needing more time than necessary. That is, from carrying out manual approval processes.

On the other hand, workflow software can help you retain much of that previously wasted time. Simply by digitalising the approval process. Conserving employee time allows for better allocation of time and increases in productivity. Work can be completed at a faster pace, scaling operations better than ever before. 

2. Slow approvals cause delays and bottlenecks

It is no surprise that there are delays and bottlenecks. That is, due to the significant amount of time consumed when undergoing document approval. More clearly, it is not only approvals that are held up. But decision making and the overall business process in question are too. 

Bottlenecks in business processes are a recipe for disaster in terms of operational efficiency levels. For instance, delays lead to inaccurate decision making due to the pressure of getting it done fast. Therefore, it is extremely important to manage approvals with an easy to use, robust system.

With an approval process software like Kianda, automatic reminders are sent so that you never miss a deadline. Not only does this allow you to keep on track of approvals. As well, streamlining approvals with process digitalisation prevents a back log in requests. Also, approvals can be completed in a way that aligns with relevant internal factors, in a timely manner.

3. Lack of visibility affects communication and productivity

Using spreadsheets, emails and paper does not provide a clear overview of any approval process. For example, you might find yourself digging through a long thread of emails, tracking how long ago you submitted a request. Or, how about sending follow up emails, where you feel like you are bugging your manager or colleague?

manual-approval-workflowThese situations are not ideal. Without transparent insight into approval status, number of requests or approvals, it is impossible to create a productive schedule.

Also, good collaboration is harder to achieve when the idea of success is based on communicating through emails that can easily become hidden.

 

Approval software platforms like Kianda offer a crystal-clear view of the approval process from start to finish. With customisable dashboards you can track and monitor your approval process based on real-time analytics. And, you can tailor your approval process flow and dashboard to your organisation’s unique needs.

Stop wasting your time chasing approvals. Let the system do it for you!

4. Compliance with company policies is difficult to achieve with manual approvals

Without deep insight into approvals, it is difficult to check if the process is being carried out in accordance with company policies. There is no straightforward way of seeing who is accountable for each approval, without having to search for it. And again, this could take up from your valuable time.

As a result, monitoring and tracking becomes difficult when undergoing an audit trail. 

With workflow software, you can easily and quickly capture information. An example of this is easily identifying who is accountable for a particular process. As well, approvers can provide a digital signature. This is a lot safer and more reliable than a wet signature on a paper document. 

5. Repetitive tasks from a manual approval workflow are demotivating and stressful 

Manual data entry is a repetitive, boring task that is prone to human-error. Mistakes are inevitable when using spreadsheets and paper-documents. Because of this, emails and other forms of communication bombard you with queries. For example, misinformation, errors or lack of clarity such as difficulty of understanding handwriting.

Physically taking charge of such inefficient processes like inputting data into spreadsheets is tiring. On another note, it is not particularly rewarding. Neither is trying to play catch-up in your inbox by spending half of your day responding to emails.

Automating approvals minimizes these stressful issues from arising, keeping employees engaged and motivated. Additionally, with a built-in query functionality, employees can collaborate all in the one platform. Meaning there is no need to waste a chunk of your day answering emails. All of the needed information regarding an approval will be at the tip of your finger. 


Hypothetical situation of manual document approval

manual-approval-workflowEmployee prints off a paper form to submit a request to start a new project. The request needs approval from 3 different stakeholders. The Project manager and department head need to approve the request based on certain factors. For example, having enough team members to cover the project. The Financial director needs to approve based on cost. For example, ensuring the project is within the budget threshold and aligns with company projections. 

Project manager is on the same floor, so can approve immediately. The request form is stamped and signed; one approval is completed. 

Next, the Department head and Financial Director are on the 6th floor. So, the employee sends the request to Department head first.

Department head approves 3 days later. Employee received the form and now sends it to the Financial Director. However, receives no response for a week. Then, the employee emails the Financial director to see if they received the request form. Unfortunately the document is nowhere to be found. And, that is the beginning of a delayed approval followed by hindrance in the kick-start of a project.

This is a scenario that can happen way too often, especially for large companies. It is time-consuming, laborious and stressful trying to keep on track of process and its current status. 

Why you need to adopt workflow software today

Outdated systems and tools prevent you from completing approvals fast and effectively.

On the other hand, you can digitalise your approval process with workflow software. The cumbersome workflow turns into a set of user-friendly online forms that manages multi-stage approvals. Digital signatures are captured and communication overall streamlined. With Kianda platform you can streamline your approval process rapidly and efficiently.

 

Kianda approval workflow dashboardOptimizing your approval process with process automation can help your organisation cut costs, save time and improve productivity. Also, eliminating repetitive, boring tasks will help employees to regain motivation that was once lost from using outdated methods. 

See what Kianda can do for you by requesting your live demo today!

Request your live demo

 

Related articles:

How a digital approval process can help you accelerate decision making

Relieve administrative burden of employee absence throughout COVID-19

Relieve administrative burden of employee absence throughout COVID-19

Tackle employee absence and leave requests with an efficient leave management system

Employee absence management without an efficient leave management system is a cumbersome task. That is, when handled across paper-based documents, spreadsheets and emails. 

Using these methods is lengthy, time-consuming and prone to human error.

With that in mind, the spread of COVID-19 has made employee absence management even more agonizing. That is, for administrative staff, HR managers and even employees. And, it is only expected to get worse. 

Leave requests and employee absences spike during COVID-19 Pandemic

employee absent

The global spread of the Coronavirus has amounted huge pressures on professional as well as personal lives.

Many employees face a new working environment with their office in their homes. On the other hand, some employees have had limited options regarding working from home or working at all.

Millions of people across the world have been directly affected by COVID-19 from contracting the deadly virus. Deeming them medically unfit to work, ill-related absences have risen. Not to mention, the amount of people waiting to be tested and in self-isolation. Unfortunately, also unable to work. 

In addition, occupational roles that require physical presence cannot implement working from home. Because of this, many workers have had no other choice. But, to avail of annual leave or temporary time-off. That is, under specified circumstances.

For example, many front-line staff depend on childcare facilities in order to go to work. With restrictions in place and no creches or schools open, significant amounts of essential workers had to stay at home. This has created both shortages of staff, as well as a substantial increase of leave requests.

Administrators and HR managers bear with these demands. Simply, as a consequence of employees being directly and indirectly affected by the virus.

On top of these causes of employee absences, there are general leave requests. For example, maternity and paternity leave, bereavement leave, sick leave unrelated to COVID-19 and others. 

Leave dedicated to holidays or vacations is usually the most common type of annual leave. However, with various restrictions across the world, employees are ‘saving’ their annual leave days. 

Leave requests expected to plummet after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

Worldwide, most mass gatherings, events and holidays have been cancelled. And, regardless, many countries have legally obliged people to stay indoors unless they are out for essential travel. 

With nowhere to go and nobody to see, people have no essential reason to take annual leave for pleasure purposes.

Looking forward to overcoming the Pandemic, employees are optimistic about a sunny getaway before the year is up. This is expected to have a knock-on effect for business operations in two ways.

1) Overflowing of leave requests, giving administrators and HR managers additional paperwork.

2) Shortages of staff if approved, depending on managers approval.

Employers are becoming overwhelmed with possibility of employees submitting requests for the same time periods. Hence, it is important to utilise the most appropriate leave management system to efficiently manage employee absences and leave requests.

work overloadTo be specific,  paper-based systems makes the leave requests an even more complex process.

Also, the deferral of annual leave in bulk will create an additional problem for companies. Of course, if approved. The lack of employees post COVID-19 will inevitably strain business operations. 

 

With a robust leave management system, you can prepare for employee absences. In short, managers can track and monitor how many employees are absent. Simply, to ensure there are enough workers to sustain business.

Digital transformation is reconstructing how companies carry out business processes.

In particular, digital transformation can convert leave management from a laborious, painful task, to an easy, efficient digital process. That is, with business process automation tools, such as workflow software.


Streamline leave and absence management with digital leave request process

Paper documents and spreadsheets are considerably the main tools used to handle employee leave requests and absences. While these methods can get the job done, they soak up a great deal of employee time.

Before a request even receives approval, administrators need to fill out a form. Then, assign it to several people across other departments. And, manually submitting documents makes collaboration harder to achieve.

It is important for employee leave requests and absences to reach all relevant people involved. And to do so, quickly. Ideally, accepting or approving requests works best when done instantly after receiving them.

However, sometimes this is simply not possible. Managers need to make sure that there are enough employees to sustain business as usual. In addition, using paper forms for annual leave or absences is certainly not reliable.

Paper documents can easily get lost. The form could have a mistake or wrong information. Or, it could land on the wrong persons desk. Similarly, a digital file could also end up in the wrong folder on a PC or sent to the wrong email address.

Human error is inevitable. You might have highly skilled and intelligent staff, but these are simple and common mistakes that are easy to make.

Because of these issues, the approval process is pro-longed and requests can pile up. As a result, the task becomes difficult and confusing. On the other hand, with the correct tools, managing leave and absences can be a breeze. 

A manager needs to be in a position to react fast to prevent bottlenecks and delays in approvals. 

Business process automation platform can swiftly transform leave requests from a paper-based system to a digital process. With a digital leave management system, employers can better manage employee leave requests and absences. 


Overall benefits of automating management of employee leave and absences

These key features of digital leave request form will ease the process for administrators, managers and HR teams. But, that’s not all, there are overall benefits to the efficiency of your business.

1- Customisable dashboards

With customisable built-in dashboard, managers can track and monitor numbers of requests and approvals. In short, the dashboard provides a transparent overview of the number of employees that are on leave or absent. As a result of improved visibility, HR teams and managers can make better decisions when carrying out approvals.  

2- Request modifications

Managers can even request employees to modify their request if necessary. The manager might suggest altering the date. This reduces lack of required staff or employee shortages, allowing business operations to sustain.

3- Scheduled reminders

Automated emails are sent to the manager if approvals or rejections are not completed on time. This allows teams to not let any requests go unnoticed and prevents delays and a build-up of requests. Because of this, administrators don’t get an uncontrollable overload of work. As well, employees are better satisfied as they are not waiting around for approvals or answers. 

4- Calculate annual leave days

The digital holiday/leave request form automatically calculates employees remaining days of annual leave. Therefore, there is no need for either an employee to keep track of their annual leave days. Managers also don’t need to manually keep a record by tracking, calculating and inputting data into spread sheets and so on. 


Why you should use a workflow software for employee leave management

Managing leave and absences using traditional methods is laborious and drains resources such as time, money and technically human resources. By dedicating so much time to this process, it costs your business money that can be saved. 

On the other hand, using workflow software to streamline employee leave requests and handle absences can bring efficiency to your business. All three factors, time, money and human resources can be retained by implementing a digital solution. 

The COVID-19 epidemic postponed many holidays and vacations for people around the world. But, normality will return soon. Meaning, employees will be eager to getaway once restrictions are lifted. 


Kianda’s digital leave request form will allow you to eliminate risk of human error and speed up the entire process.

Prepare for your employee’s leave requests. Avoid the administrative burden by transforming your employee leave management system with Kianda no-code workflow software. 

Want to see what Kianda can do for you?

Request your live demo today!

 


Derya SousaAuthor: Derya Sousa COO of Kianda Technologies 
Helping companies to operate paperless, delivering custom business applications rapidly with no-code digital process automation platform Kianda.

 

Related articles:

Remote working: Why digital business process is the key enabler for working from home

Make your holiday request form an easy to manage digital process

 

Webinar: How to turn inspections into an easy digital process

Site inspection app webinar
Digital site inspection webinar

In this webinar series, you will learn how to turn inspections into an easy digital process.


So, organisations that require frequent inspections, need checklists that contain large amounts of data. However, that data is often unreliably, on paper documents. 

To be more clear, traditional methods used to carry out inspections generally consist of papers, scanned documents, signatures, Excel sheets and so on… But, these aren’t exactly efficient ways to record data or more importantly, to store it.

Kianda offers a no-code platform that allows you to create digital inspection checklists and workflows. In short, it organizes and stores data, generates documents and captures signatures on the go, digitally.

Adopting new technologies that can automate a business process will benefit industries that conduct frequent inspections such as construction, engineering, manufacturing and others. 

So, it’s time to transform your inspections into a more efficient process.

Above all, you will save time, reduce costs and eliminate paper.

In other words, a digital process will allow you to carry out a site inspection more rapidly than a manual one. In addition, you can say good bye to paper documents and hello to more efficient ways of recording and storing data and information.

We hosted this webinar to show you how to turn inspections into an easy digital process using Kianda platform. During the webinar, Osvaldo demonstrates how to use a site inspection app, along with the advantages.


Don’t miss out!

Join our expert Osvaldo to learn about how to turn inspections into an easy digital process

By the time you are finished watching this webinar you will understand:

-How Kianda platform works

-How to use the site inspection app with Kianda platform

-Key advantages of using a digital inspection checklist

 

Presenter: Osvaldo Sousa

Osvaldo is the CEO of Kianda Technologies with almost two decades of experience in the IT industry has developed many successful enterprise solutions across a broad range of technologies. He is the subject matter expert in digital workplace collaboration solutions.



Related Articles:

How to manage site inspections efficiently, while easing the process and raising the standards

About Kianda:

Kianda is a no-code business process automation and workflow software.  It makes it easy for companies to automate complex business processes connecting people and existing company systems.

Kianda is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is being used by businesses across the globe. It is helping users to digitally transform core business processes improving compliance and enabling faster decision making, and higher productivity.

Want to see what Kianda can do for you?

Request a demo

Change Request Process

Change request form template

Is your organisation managing change request processes with emails, sheets and paper forms?

Does it cause difficulties when tracking change requests, approvals, the status and storing this information online?

Digitalising this process not only will save you time and paper. But also, you will have full visibility of the process. As a result, your team can collaborate in a more efficient way.

A change request is a documented proposal for an alteration to any configuration item, product or a complete system. In project management, a change request regularly emerges. That is, when the customer has specific needs. For instance, an expansion or modification to the agreed-upon deliverables for a project.

In this change request template we gathered business rules, steps and fields. They are commonly used in organisations when managing a change request workflow.

Someone who is documenting or reporting the procedure starts the request. A user or a group who is responsible for the approval of change request gets notified. They then decide whether Change Approval Board (CAB) meeting should be scheduled. In the same workflow, schedule, review and implementation are all managed step by step. Business rules and actions allow you to have a clear definition of your change strategy and risk assessment.

IT Helpdesk collaboration

In addition, this change request template can be used together with IT Support Helpdesk. For example, a ticket raised by an end user via IT Helpdesk workflow, may require a change in a project or a system. In this case, to facilitate the flow, two processes can be connected together. Depending on the outcome of the first process, it can let one process start after another. Also, you can carry the information between processes.

Many benefits of automating Change request management process:

    1. Achieve faster deployment times and lower the risks associated with the changes.
    2. Have a standard way of handling and storing the information related to the process.
    3. Avoid unnecessary email communications and paper work.
    4. As a result, digital processes will bring productivity with faster resolution times. Also, efficiency for auditing and reporting purposes.

Start your digital transformation today!

Reduce time and increase productivity with workflow software. Automate your change request process with Kianda platform.

Kianda is a NO-CODE platform that empowers business users to accelerate digital innovation. For more info, visit Kianda.com or our blog for the latest news and articles.


Let us show you with a free customised demo what Kianda can do for you.

Request a live demo today!

More IT Service Desk Solutions

Cyber Security Incident Response

Performance Appraisal Process

Employee appraisals dashboard

Most companies carry out performance appraisals annually. Annual reviews usually are not enough. Employees need more frequent performance reviews to keep them focused.

But why do companies do performance appraisals only annually?

This is because, employee performance is not easy to track. In short, it requires time and effort putting a structure on it.

Managing performance reviews via spreadsheets and emails can easily be a nightmare. Especially for companies with a large number of employees and operations in different locations.

Managing Employee Performance Review is not a hassle any more!

Kianda workflow provides a single place for Human Resource Management. This employee review template helps to organise the performance appraisal process for all staff.

The process flows digitally and efficiently without delays. Management and employees receive automated alerts until they assess and provide feedback on employee performance. That is, including guidance to enhance tasks as required.

HR templates

With a standard workflow and a central location to monitor the progress, the whole process gets simplified. As a result, employee performance appraisals become less time-consuming.

Automated workflow starts as on scheduled basis and sends alerts to task owners. Notifications remind employees to complete their tasks. As well as that, to update the relevant departments/individuals on the completion of tasks.

Performance is easier to track and manage at a rapid pace with Process Automation

With this template not only will managers just maintain accurate records of overall employee progress. But, also they will rest assured that employees understand the content of their feedback clearly.

This way, performance evaluations will be made faster and easier for managers to complete.

If you implement a digital process to manage performance appraisals, it will go a long way toward having a standard and efficient procedure in which Human Resource Management, other managers and employees are all aware of their tasks and they all have equal visibility of progress.

Want to see what Kianda can do for you?

Request your live demo today!

Other HR Workflow Templates

Employee Onboarding Process

Make your holiday request form an easy to manage digital process

Workflow automation software Kianda sponsors European SharePoint Conference – as featured in The Record Technology Magazine

Kianda BPMWe talked about our Kianda journey to date to The Record Technology Magazine and about our sponsorship in the upcoming European SharePoint Conference #ESPC18.

Workflow automation software Kianda was launched in 2017 in European SharePoint Conference in Dublin.

We will be sponsoring the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference in November 2018. The Microsoft partner officially launched during the 2017 conference.

“We are thrilled that, since our launch last year, more than 5,000 enterprise users are now building cutting-edge digital process automation solutions across several industries using Kianda,” said Derya Sousa, the company’s co-founder and commercial director.

To read the full article click here Record Magazine

Kianda is a no-code business process automation and workflow software.  It makes it easy for companies to automate complex business processes connecting people and existing company systems.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Kianda is being used by many businesses across the globe to digitally transform their core business processes. Also, improving compliance, enabling faster decision making, and higher productivity.


Want to see what Kianda can do for you?

Request your live demo today!