Approval Workflow Management in Slack

updated on 16 August 2021
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Slack has become a unique means of communication in many workspaces. This messenger dramatically improves the speed of communication between team members. 

Nowadays, teams use this tool to discuss work-related tasks, which hastens the decision-making process and eliminates communication bottlenecks. 

It also allows a great deal of flexibility in handling conversations, which could be problematic when a more structured decision needs to be reached.

However, the Slack app leaks built-in features to track and manage the approvals, and often teams have to rely on some third-party approval management software or go without it which leads to inefficient workflows.

So, let’s explore the significance of approval workflow management and the tools required to implement it.

What is Approval Workflow Management System?


Approval workflow management system is a system that assists organizations in lowering operational costs and increasing employee satisfaction by defining request and approval processes, automating approval workflows, and increasing process visibility.

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Every organization experiences challenges in approval workflows because they depend on manual approaches to getting approvals and signoffs. 

But why spend more time on administrative tasks and paperwork?

An approval workflow management system can handle all these tasks.

Organizational hierarchy often requires that many business processes include approvals from management. As a result, such processes require pre-defined approval workflows. 

The most effective way to optimize the efficiency of such workflows is to automate them using approval workflow management software. This is an effective way to keep your business on the path of growth and productivity.

Moreover, waiting for approvals in the workplace can be as exhausting as waiting for the pizza delivery at midnight. Fortunately, with Slack integration, the process can be optimized for speed and optimum delivery of approvals.

Approval Workflow Case Study

Let’s examine employee expense requests as an example of an approval workflow. Employees of any organization must receive approval from higher-ups before making any purchases at the company's expense.

So, check out the necessary procedures:

  • The employee first submits an expense report to the head of the department. 
  • The head of the department reviews the data and approves or rejects it. If the details are approved, the report goes to the finance department.
  • The finance department reviews the expense report.
  • Then the finance team either approves or requests additional information for clarifications.
  • The approval report is sent to the finance department to complete the payment via bank transfer or cheque. 

In most cases, there are quite similar approval processes that apply to IT teams when processing Access Requests or Sales teams when processing Quote Approvals.

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Why does Slack Need Approval Automation?

As stated earlier, Slack’s lack of a built-in approval workflow leads to problems with the approval processes. These issues include:

Slow feedback

Requests for approval could go unread for days and often culminates in a continuous spamming of colleagues with messages or reminders. This process can take even longer when your respondents are in other teams above your paygrade.

Undocumented decisions

Your decisions need to be auditable for later to increase accountability. Imagine you approved the purchase via chat some months ago, and you’re unable to find that approval message when the finance dept comes knocking later.

Unclosed communication loops

Several obstacles hinder smooth communication within a company. And in the process, a lot of vital information gets lost in transit. For instance, after you get approval to hire someone for your team, you’ll need to send the offer to HR and await permission to bring them aboard. 

Without an automated system, some steps could get lost along the way. As a result, the information loop never actually gets closed. These issues form a strong reason why Slack needs approval workflow automation. 

Why should Approval Automation in Slack become Part of your Team's Operations?

Apart from offline processes, every company should optimize online operations with cloud-based tools. These automated systems provide a secure and centralized platform to monitor all communication. 

Here are the benefits of optimizing Slack with automation systems:

Restores order

When Slack workflows are optimized and automated, it restores a degree of organization to departments and office teams’ internal and external workflows. Therefore, approval workflows will become more structured and free of human-made errors.

Minimizes costs

Such business processes automation minimizes wasteful practices and removes redundancies. This strategy also reduces any unsupervised expenditure that could arise as a result of inefficiency.

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Encourages accountability

When workflow processes are automated, they become clear and transparent for all parties involved. Every employee can monitor the workflow and project statuses in real-time. This transparency in workflow management improves accountability for all business operations.

Improves Compliance

The more optimized the workflow automation, the higher the chances of employee compliance to industry regulations and making credible audit trails.

Increase Workflow Efficiency

Increased efficiency is the most convincing argument for built-in workflow automation in Slack. Automated workflows enable you to minimize errors and detect bottlenecks early. And by addressing these obstacles, you improve efficiency and productivity.

What kind of approval types make sense on Slack?

Since Slack is acting as a  premium replacement for regular emails, it should be the sole access point for all approval workflows. Here are some approvals that make sense in Slack:

Quotes

When it comes to Sales, the approval speed matters since lost momentum dramatically increases the chance of losing the deal. So if you want to outpace your competitors and make sure that all quotes are delivered on time - you should consider automating this workflow. Since your Sales team is already on Slack - it makes perfect sense to use approval workflow integration for easier access.

Access Requests

Sometimes corporate policies and regulations require to get approvals for the access requests to folders and private channels. Provided accesses should be reachable, and those records should be accessible. A faster process of approving these access requests will speed up onboarding and increase overall productivity.

Expenses

For purchase requests, which are one of the most common approval workflows, it’s important to document who approved what and how much was spent. These records are essential when compiling financial reports.

Documents

When it comes to document approvals, it is important to keep track of the approval stages and instantly provide feedback. The approvals and e-signature integration with Slack helps to speed-up this workflow and get responses in minutes instead of days.

Time-offs

Since the entire team is already on Slack, it appears to be the perfect place to handle things like time-off requests. Employees can log their time using integrations like Google Calendar.

Customer Onboarding

When signing up new customers, several tasks and work items need to get approved. Slack integration allows teams to handle various aspects of the onboarding stage without extra hassle.

How can Approveit enhance your workflow management?

Approveit is an incredible approval workflow software that enhances your workflow management. This tool comes with several advantages that favor most business structures. 

Some benefits of Approveit include:

Faster approvals for on-site and remote team members

With Approveit, employees can ask specific team members to approve expenses, quotes, invoices, and other documents on the Slack app. You also get instant notifications when your request is approved or rejected with comments.

Approveit saves you a lot of time and provides a long history of all requests without having to search in emails or DMs.

Greater convenience for managers

This Slack workflow automation software allows managers to accept or reject incoming approval requests with one click. The add-on also allows the creation of custom approval workflows. You can also keep track of all approvals without wasting time on long searches.

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How Approveit Works?


Here is the basic working principle of ApproveIt:

1. Initiate a new approval request

Click on the ‘ApproveIt’ icon in the Apps section of your Slack DMs and initiate a new request by selecting the ‘New Approval Request’ button.

2. Specify the approval type or select ‘General’

You can add new approval types from the dashboard, and they will become accessible to you and your team members.

3. Enter what you want to get approved and select the completion type

Input your request body (quotes, expenses, time-off, etc.). You can also add links to a file or URL. Then, click on your preferred completion type: "Everyone Must Approve" or "First to Respond."


4. Choose Approvers and Watchers (if needed)

You can choose the General Approval type and select team members you’d like to be notified of the outcome (watchers). If you select a pre-programmed approval type, approvers will be set automatically. Then, click ‘Submit’.

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5. Wait for Approvals and Comments

You’ll receive instant notifications when your requests get approved or rejected by the manager or team members.

Conclusion

Approval workflow helps companies to organize and improve their workflow. This process streamlines the efficiency of every operation and centralizes the data. Most companies use Slack, but the stand-alone app has limitations in communication and workflow organization. 

Therefore, you need an additional approval workflow management tool when handling approval workflows. With Approveit, you can optimize your company’s operations and increase productivity. Try it for free today!

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