In business, a workflow is a sequence of processes required to complete a piece of work or procedure. There are some instances where the workflow is a unique sequence that is unlikely to be repeated; however, most workflows refer to tasks that are repeated, and it is essential that all processes are completed.
Many businesses struggle to ensure consistency between instances where a particular workflow needs to be followed. With traditional checklists, it is too easy to skip steps or sign off before a process is complete.
For example, when a new member of staff joins the company there are several processes that need to be completed such as checking eligibility to work, confirming working conditions, setting up computer accounts and registering with payroll. This on-boarding workflow is repeated for every employee and the whole workflow should be complete within a reasonable time-frame.
Workflow automation minimises mistakes
It doesn’t take much imagination to work out what would happen if you forgot to tell payroll about a new employee or didn’t get the right access privileges enabled. Workflow management software allows you to create an onboarding procedure that can be used whenever a new employee is welcomed.
Forks in the flow allow you to choose between variants of the same process - for example, ensuring that you perform extra security checks for certain sensitive positions. Each process in the sequence will need to be completed before the workflow can be considered to be complete, ensuring no steps are missed out or skipped.
Process ownership ensures accountability
Workflows can belong to a single employee, or be completed by multiple personnel or teams across the organisation. Where multiple people are involved each task can be signed off ensuring that an audit trail is completed should a problem arise in the future.
Deadlines improve productivity
Sometimes processes need to be followed up with further action a set amount of time in the future. This too can be written into the workflow, and workers alerted when further action is due. This can significantly improve performance in areas such as sales, where reps can be reminded to make contact with leads after a set amount of time has elapsed.
Overdue tasks can also be flagged up, so you can be confident that all processes are being completed, and that none are overlooked through being overdue.
Workflow Automation allows better analysis of performance
Many traditional metrics of productivity are poor indicators of true performance, but workflow automation allow you to mine the data for a better picture of how well teams are functioning. Workflows in progress, but with many overdue tasks, could indicate that a team or member of staff needs extra support and can be flagged for further investigation.
Don’t just take our word for it
You can only really appreciate the improvement in productivity, reduction in errors and potential for performance tracking that workflow automation can bring through trying it for yourself. Simply sign up for a free trial and see what automation workflow software can do for your business.