Workflows play a huge part in running a smooth business. They play a key role in streamlining and automating time-consuming and repetitive day-to-day organizational tasks by maintaining a set organizational processes.
This, in turn, improve your business’s efficiency and productivity increases. There is a wide range of benefits defined workflows can bring to an organization.
Besides helping staff and employees perform their daily duties more efficiently, workflows also help managers make better business decisions.
To understand workflows better in the context of business operations, this article aims to explore workflows, their importance, and some of the common workflow examples.
Put simply, a workflow process is a set of activities that must be performed to finish a business-related task. What is important to note here is that a workflow is repeatable and is created as per pre-determined actions, outcomes, or business rules.
Often confused with business processes, workflows are quite different. While a workflow process focuses primarily on the completion of a task, a business process is a broader term and is aimed mainly toward achieving an organizational objective.
For instance, new employee onboarding is a common HR practice that many organizations have in place. The objective of this is to successfully onboard the new hires/employees.
The various activities that are required here to complete this goal form a business process, whereas a specific task, such as assigning a new employee a business ID, is a workflow process.
Other than giving your business a proper structure and order, there are several other reasons why workflows are important.
Some of them are listed below:
With a workflow process in place, the responsibilities or duties of each job are clearly specified. Employees, therefore, know what they need to do to complete a task and what to expect as an outcome, thus increasing their job satisfaction.
Having a workflow process provides business stakeholders with a much better understanding of an organization’s day-to-day tasks and activities from start to end. This allows them to identify process inefficiencies and redundancies easily to be able to highlight the specific areas for improvement.
As most business workflow processes are standardized and help to get the work done faster, organizations end up needing fewer resources, which helps them save money and enhance profitability.
With a clearly defined workflow process in place, employees become more aware of the various communication channels and better understand the avenues to resolve their queries. This makes the employees more productive and allows them to perform and deliver their best.
A workflow process helps organizations identify various opportunities for automation.
For instance, during the new hire onboarding process, there is a range of actions such as assigning email ID, granting system access to new hires, and more that need to be initiated.
These are all very time-consuming tasks that can simply be automated, allowing HR teams to focus on more strategic tasks.
A workflow process is not a one-size-fits solution and varies as per the needs and challenges of businesses. To help you create more efficient systems and improve operations, here are some of the top examples of business workflows:
Employee onboarding workflows are designed to make the process of new hires' onboarding smooth and hassle-free.
An employee onboarding workflow program should include complete details of the employee, documents submitted, start date, and the employee orientation process. Post this comes the verification of documents and database updation.
An effective workflow for new employees allows the company to keep close track of the candidate's stage in the employee training and orientation process. It also offers new hires a proper checklist of various onboarding tasks that they can refer to assess their knowledge.
Here is an example of what a new hire onboarding workflow looks like:
A typical sales cycle involves a lot of manual paperwork and physical signatures that can potentially slow down the overall process.
Automating your sales cycle or shifting to digital ordering processes can significantly improve your customer service and long-term profits and reduce delays.
For instance, an automated sales order system is an excellent way that allows companies to create digital ordering processes. This can help reduce the chances of errors and misunderstandings while also speeding up the sales cycle significantly with easy-to-use forms and electronic signatures.
Here’s how an automated sales order workflow works:
Vacation request workflows aim to ensure that the team members get the required time off without affecting company productivity negatively.
A well-designed vacation request workflow helps you reduce the chaos when an employee takes personal time.
Here is how a vacation request workflow works:
Purchase orders are crucial for businesses as they help track spending. Further, companies often share purchase order documents with their suppliers to ensure complete accuracy in the ordering process.
However, working with manual purchase order forms runs the risk of unexpected delays and other similar contingencies.
An automated purchase order workflow, on the contrary, clarifies things such as various stages of the order and who is responsible for which stage.
Below is an example of a purchase order workflow:
Finding the right candidate and hiring them quickly is the priority for every organization. A well-defined and streamlined recruitment process is very important for making this transition smooth and organized.
Additionally, a seamless recruitment workflow is the key to ensuring that the right candidates/prospects find the opportunities and no candidate falls through the cracks.
Automating the lengthy recruitment process allows your talent team to focus on important aspects such as skills, values, and chances to succeed in the role.
Here’s how a typical recruitment workflow works:
6. Travel Request Authorization Workflow
As the name suggests, the travel request authorization workflow is used primarily to request and book travel for employees. It helps ensure that all employee-related travel is properly authorized and booked as per the company’s travel policy.
Apart from this, the travel request authorization workflow prevents unauthorized and/or excessive spending on travel.
Here is a sample of a travel request authorization workflow process:
An increasing number of organizations these days struggle with outdated and time-consuming manual processes.
One such process is generating expense reports that require employees to file them manually and track several overwhelming worksheets. This leads to unnecessary paperwork and a lot of time wastage that could otherwise be spent on more strategic and productive tasks.
Automating such expense approval processes is an excellent way to reduce inefficiencies in the process and save productive time to make the process more consistent.
Automation allows employees to configure expense report forms with mandatory fields and attachments, thus reducing unnecessary back-and-forth.
Further, leveraging automated expense approval software allows employees to track the status of their expense claims at any time. It also makes it easy for managers to approve selected parts while asking for revisions on others.
Here is an example of a simple expense claim workflow:
Automation is the need for any organization with multiple teams. For instance, incident reports are common in companies with multiple teams and need to be submitted and dealt with immediately to tackle issues.
Such incidents need to be evaluated by different teams to check and assess the corrective steps that can be taken.
Doing this manually can be too overwhelming because such instances require quick sharing of information with the employees.
However, automating such incident reports makes information exchange much faster. This, in turn, minimizes any wastage of time and also allows employees to address various issues faster.
Here is an example of a typical incident workflow:
A well-executed email campaign can bring in a lot of new prospects and revenue to your business. However, managing successful business campaigns can be very challenging for businesses.
Engaging with subscribers or customers that you wish to push further down the sales funnel requires a great deal of personalization.
Automating the email workflow comes in handy here as it helps you save time and manage your prospects/customers better across multiple channels with tailored efforts to each campaign goal.
For instance, an automated email campaign can be great for welcoming a prospect who has just subscribed to your blog. It will help you connect better with prospects and also allows you to take your relationship a little further by leading them to the content on your blog that they’re likely to engage with.
A sample email campaign workflow looks like the below:
A workflow is a detailed method of listing various repeatable steps or stages for a business process or activity.
The key highlight of the workflows mentioned in this post is that the steps typically have a specific flow or sequence from one stage to the next until the process is complete.
One of the main benefits of these workflows is that they bring uniformity to the process and allow everyone using them to complete the business process or activity the same way every time.
Having these workflows is especially useful within large workforces, as it helps streamline tasks involving multiple people, clearly lists who handles the tasks, and also indicates how long task completion should take.
One of the ideal ways to manage your company workflows is through powerful and feature-rich software. Organizations that choose to invest in workflow automation attract significant long-term benefits with their day-to-day processes.
It allows you to streamline the task and gives a comprehensive view of all the workflows running at any given time.
Leveraging powerful workflow software such as Hubler's no-code DIY platform, you can easily automate everyday business workflows and get rid of manual, time-consuming tasks to make your workplace much more efficient. Get in touch with us to learn more.