5 key challenges of manual approvals 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 approval workflows 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 approval workflows were 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 with workflow software 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

paperless-business-processesWhile 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 with the help of an approval workflow software.

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 workflow 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 approval workflows 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 approval workflows manually.

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 approval workflows 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 approval workflows with an easy to use, robust system.

With an approval workflow 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, approval processes 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?

frustrated-employeeThese 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 workflow 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 workflows 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 approval 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 approval 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!

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Make your holiday request form an easy to manage digital process

holiday-request-form

Managing your leave or holiday request form processes with manual tools or legacy systems can be quite the headache. Particularly for those in the HR department. But also, for the employee who submits the request. Moreover, many potential issues can arise in your leave management processes. That is, when using inefficient methods. 

The issues that arise simply lie within the quality of the leave management systems and manual methods used. Hence why it is critical for businesses to implement and use a sufficient digital leave management system.

As technology continues to evolve, many organisations become less reliable on defective leave management systems. But rather, switch to more advanced workflow automation systems like Kianda platform.


Challenges of manually handling your employee holiday request form

Using paper-forms, emails and spreadsheets to carry out a holiday request form is inefficient and unreliable. Because there is no way to centralize the data, there is no way to see who approved what and when. And, that is just one example.

Let’s have a look at some very common problems with an inefficient leave request process.

Leave request gets lost in thread of emails

email-for-holiday-request-formThese issues happens way too often. An employee sends their manager an email requesting annual leave. But, receives no response. Managers are busy, some more than others. However, holiday request forms still need to be completed and on time.

However, when a manager has hundreds of emails to get through, it is very easy to miss some. Even the important ones. As a result, holiday request forms become lost or convoluted in email threads. This is a prime example of how leave requests can easily go unanswered.

Or worse, they could go down the road of being approved and forgotten about. This brings us on to our next big issue with a manual holiday request form.

Rushing decision making when approving leave requests

The whole point of having a structure on leave management is to be prepared and organized. To grant employee annual leave, managers must consider many factors in their decision making. An example would be when an employee is out of work for a day or more. Employers need to ensure that there are enough staff to cover. So, in this case, specific information needs to be acknowledged. More clearly, required information might be dates or person/employee role. As well, number of annual leave days requested and even priorities.

It is difficult to pay full attention to these factors when all of this information is in multiple locations. But, because of this, it is easier to rush decisions and tick approvals off your list. Consequently, you end up short staffed. 

For instance, David the marketing manager actually needs to work 2/5 of his requested dates for the launch of a campaign. But, the manager who rushed his request into approval status is unaware. As a result, David ends up being absent from the launch of an important campaign.

Sound all too familiar? 

Business man wearing blindfold trying to hit targetsLack of transparency and visibility in leave management system

Tracking, monitoring and recording annual leave are necessary and useful steps. Simply because they influence decision making. In other words, they assist managers in making correct decisions, based on whether to approve or reject employee holiday requests. When your holiday request form process is deployed using multiple tools, decision making becomes difficult. More clearly, it is impossible to have a clear overview of all leave requests and approvals.

Decentralized systems can cause chaos when it comes to managing a holiday request form. The knock-on effect from invisibility more or less provides a blind insight into the entire process.

In short, the lack of transparency makes it difficult to make decisions. As well as that, it is time-consuming and confusing trying to multi-task between emails, paper-forms and spreadsheets. By the time you have analysed your spreadsheet of who is on leave the same day Mark requested off, you forget where you put the paper holiday request form.


Leave Request Processes made easy

A digital leave / holiday request form is one of many processes that can be easily carried out using of workflow software. With the use of technology, managing tasks digitally has increased significantly. However, some organisations are still caught up with using outdated methods. And, or legacy leave management systems.

Many HR departments face challenges with manual processes. Even with simple tasks like holiday requests. Employee expectation of digitally managing tasks continues to rise. Simply due to increasing use of digital tools that promote mobility. 

Therefore, HR departments need to learn to adapt to new trends that assist them in meeting employee expectations. Also, they need to consider productivity increases from using more efficient ways of carrying out business tasks.

HR Managers improve processes by introducing digital technologies together with new strategies. By simply automating processes like leave / holiday request management, organisations can bring significant time savings.

In addition, by saving time you are also saving costs. For instance, managers take up a chunk of time just to carry out leave and holiday request processes. And by way of retaining this time, it can be dedicated to other aspects of the business. Resulting in completing operations at a much faster pace, ultimately scaling productivity.

Needless to say, optimising holiday request forms largely reduces administrative burden. So, along with improving quality in processes, work can be less stressful for many. Moreover, completing tasks with less challenges is much more motivating. And subsequently, a lot more rewarding.

It is time to ditch outdated paper forms and untraceable emails for holiday approvals…


Want to see what Kianda can do for you?

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4 reasons why you should adopt a digital holiday and leave management system 

    1. Reduce errors, save time and increase efficiency

    2. Greater visibility of approval status

    3. Automated approvals of requests

    4. Instance notification of rejection / approval status and regular reminders

Moving to a digital solution eliminates inefficiency and error-prone outcomes you might face. For instance, using Excel sheets for this purpose. Or even papers or back and forth emails. For the reason that managers need to prepare, absences should be recorded accurately. As a result, trends can be spotted and actions can be put in place.

Annual leave, sick leave, maternity or paternity.

Whatever the case may be. Leave of any form will not affect business operations when using an efficient digital leave management system. Digitally managing and tracking leave makes the process easier for managers and employees.

Manual holiday request management can take a significant amount of time to organise. Therefore, it is important to deal with these requests proactively. Especially when it is holiday season or when sick leave requests increase significantly. For example, due to an outbreak such as COVID-19.

Holiday approval form

To calculate sick leave requests made by the entire company for a given year requires spending hours or even days. And that is to just go through papers. Not mentioning distributing data or information to other relevant personnel.

On the other hand, if the information is in a digital system, it will only be a click away. To improve the efficiency, the first step is to move from paper to online forms.


A digital leave request form can do many things

With an intuitive digital approval workflow like Kianda platform you can manage and approve all requests in one place. As well as that, you can easily track all requests in Kianda customisable dashboard.  In other words, you can tailor your dashboard to your organisation’s unique needs. In doing so, you gain a crystal clear overview of everyone’s requests.

As a result, you can take precautions to ensure you have enough staff available. For example, during the periods of high demand such as summer you may need extra workers.

Neither you nor the employee will need to worry about miscalculations.

Optimising your holiday request form process quickly ensures a fair and transparent management to the staff. Consequently, improving employee satisfaction.


leave-request-form-templateHoliday request forms simplified

In a single platform, staff request annual leave by simply providing details and submitting. Then, managers approve and a record is saved in the system. This gives you full visibility and overview of all requests.

The flexibility of the form enhances collaboration and communication between relevant departments. Subsequently, allowing the process to flow smoothly and rapidly.

Access to the correct information is provided clearly. Therefore, you know when your staff is on leave, allowing you to prepare in advance. Employees can easily view their balance of remaining days and raise their requests. Managers get notified and they simply review and approve requests.

Managers can reject or ask for modifications from staff. As well, scheduled reminders are set for when a manager does not approve on time. As a result, approvals are submitted in a timely manner, allowing the process the be swiftly completed. Additionally, the reminder notifications prevent requests from building up or going unanswered.

It’s as simple as that!

Remove the hassle of paper leave requests with the use of an automated workflow software. 


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

Request a live demo


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