9 examples of workflow automation to help your team

Every department has its own tedious, repetitive tasks. These take up valuable time, so it’s not surprising that employees who want to work on more interesting projects shove these rote tasks aside.

After all, if given the choice between completing a background check or manually entering in a new hire’s information, most human resources employees will pick up the phone and start calling references.

It’s not just the HR department that can benefit from workflow automation. IT, marketing, finance, legal, and sales can all be more efficient by minimizing the time spent on repetitive routine tasks.

Here are nine examples of workflow automation that improve productivity and job satisfaction.

  1. Creating tasks

  2. Think about all the tasks that aren’t done promptly because they get lost in someone’s email inbox.

    An automated task creation system is the solution to that problem for every department in your organization. You can set up an automated workflow with a task management system that notifies the person who’s been assigned to the task and checks back with them for updates.

  3. Generating invoices

  4. Generating invoices doesn’t bring your accounts receivable staff any joy, especially if you bill a client for the same amount every month. An automated workflow can create and send those invoices on a set schedule, freeing staff for tasks that require their higher-level skills.

  5. Manage leads

  6. Efficiently following up on sales leads is an essential, but time consuming, task that can be automated to allow your sales team to focus on the later stages of the sales funnel. An automated workflow system can sift customer inquiries on your website, populate your CRM system with the relevant information, then route the lead to your sales team for follow-up.

    The workflow automation system can continue to assist your team with automated follow-up emails. This helps the sales team move the lead through the sales funnel until they’re ready to buy.

  7. Reimbursing employee expenses

  8. Consider all the steps involved in reimbursing employees for expenses. The employee emails an expense report to a manager, the manager manually approves it, and then the manager forwards it to the finance department, which then has to manually key in the information from the report before cutting a check to the employee.

    Workflow automation can simplify the process. An employee can fill out a form and submit it, and their manager can review and approve it. The report can then be routed to the finance department, where the information is automatically pulled into the system and the reimbursement amount added to the employee’s next paycheck.

    To speed this along even more, you can set up rules to automatically approve recurring expenses, such as an employee’s mobile phone bill.

  9. Onboarding new employees

  10. Manually entering a new employee’s basic information is tedious and time consuming. Workflow automation can speed up this process by having new employees input their information and submit it directly to the human resources staff.

  11. Writing legal documents

  12. Workflow automation systems that generate routine legal documents, like sales contracts and nondisclosure agreements (NDA), can save your legal department time, which they can then spend on more important tasks. Instead of creating new documents each time, the legal department merely has to review the information the system populates into the template.

    A similar non disclosure agreement template
  13. Managing trouble tickets

  14. Trouble ticket automation helps the IT team handle requests for technical assistance efficiently. Instead of employees emailing the IT team when something isn’t working, they can submit a form. Your workflow automation system will then assign the ticket to a specific support person. This keeps requests organized and easier to manage, which means the IT team will respond to the request faster.

  15. Mitigating “shadow” IT

  16. “Shadow” IT is technology used by employees without the knowledge and oversight of the IT department. While it’s laudable that employees have the initiative to use their own tools, it can cost your company a lot of money when something goes wrong.

    An automated workflow avoids these problems by using an alert system that automatically notifies an administrator and blocks shadow applications that haven’t been approved by the IT department.

  17. Approving vacation requests

  18. If you’re just getting started with workflow automation, vacation requests are a fairly easy place to begin. Rather than an employee emailing their request to their manager to approve and forward to payroll and HR, the employee can request vacation in the automated system.

    When the manager approves the request, the information is already populated into the HR and payroll systems so that it doesn’t have to be entered manually. The system will note when the employee is on vacation to make certain other employees don’t take the same time off and leave you shorthanded.

These are just a few examples of workflow automation that make organizations more efficient. There are many other ways you can use automation to reduce manual tasks.  Taking time to evaluate your processes will reveal the repetitive tasks that can be automated to save your team the time and energy needed to grow the business.

This article is originally published on Feb 28, 2020, and updated on Jun 22, 2020
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