What is a Workflow Process?
Workflow Process refers to a series of activities that take place in order to achieve a business outcome. In most cases the process is linear and proceeds in a sequence determined by actions or pre-defined business rules.
The process receives inputs and produces outputs. Work flows through the process and may be transformed or simply passed along to the next step by the workflow engine.
While the idea of workflow processes began in the manufacturing sector, modern businesses have adopted the term to capture and optimize business processes. This is often referred to as “business process management.”
New Hire Process Example
The example on the right shows a straightforward new hire process workflow, diagrammed for clarity. The various steps of the process may be handled by people spread across multiple departments over the course of the process. In some cases a step may be handled by an automated function (for instance, sending out a thank you email or letter) while others will require human intervention.
Benefits of a Workflow Process
- Streamline and speed up internal workflow by reducing manual entry and request handling.
- Track request status (completed, pending, or in-progress, etc.) in real time
- Identify performance trends (group and individual) over time.
- Identify process redundancies.
- Switch from single to parallel processing of tasks.
- Eliminate circumvention of organizational business rules.
- Provide staff members with reminders and alerts when tasks age.
- Allow for 24/7 access to approve and monitor requests and tasks.
- Allow staff and management to focus on value-added projects and tasks.
- Reduced license overhead for enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, etc.)
- Monitor team progress against Service Level Agreements.
- Identify and remove process barriers or bottlenecks.
- Reduce errors and re-work.
- Reduce risk of improperly approved requests, contracts, hires, etc.
- Improve compliance with audit trails.
- Increase output and increase productivity.
- A unified, personalized request workflow experience for employees.
- Better align tasks with the skillsets and assign tasks to the most appropriate staff members.
- Drastically reduce paperwork and associated costs and waste.
- Reduce need for manual decision making and handling with business rules.