Workflows in an Organization

Author: Jeff Morris

What is a workflow?

A workflow, in simplest terms, is a series of steps which must be followed in a particular order so that an objective is met. There are many workflows in any organization, and it is important that the software that you choose to run your business adapts to your company’s workflows, and not the other way around.

Organizations have workflows for scheduling, checking employees in and out of shifts, processing payroll, and countless other processes. Let’s take a look at an example of a workflow for handling vacation requests.

Employees need to take vacations to get a break from work, so that they may return to work relaxed, re-energized, and ready to work at peak efficiency again. It is important for organizations to ensure that employees get to take off time that they are owed as part of their employment agreement. It is also important, though, that their vacations are scheduled such that there is a minimum disruption to work. This means, for example, that there are other employees able to cover the vacationing employees in their absence.

Most organizations have a set of rules that govern how far in advance employees must schedule their vacations, specific dates when they cannot be away from their jobs, and one or more approvals required from the employees’ supervisors, managers, and/or schedulers, etc.

To support a vacation workflow, employee scheduling software must be able to allow the employee to see how much vacation they are entitled to, choose the dates of the vacation desired, enter an optional note about the request (for example, why the dates chosen are important to the employee, and whether other dates would be equally acceptable). Once the vacation request has been submitted, an alert should be sent to the person who needs to evaluate the request and approve or deny it. If approval is granted by that person (for example, the employee’s direct supervisor), then perhaps another approval, or more, are required – such as the department head.

It is important for the employee to know the status of their request, and ultimately, whether the request has been approved or denied. If the request has been approved, then any shifts the employee was scheduled to work during the vacation need to be changed to “open”, and another employee found to take those shifts. If the employee wasn’t already scheduled to work any shifts during the vacation time, the staff scheduling software must be made aware that the vacationing employee isn’t considered as available for any shifts on the vacation days.

It is important for a company’s management to know how many employees are requesting vacations and for what dates, so a vacation schedule is needed.

As you can see, managing the workflow for vacations at a company relies on various functions of employee scheduling software. The areas include communication (employee making request to supervisor, and supervisor relaying approval to employee), data analysis (is there coverage for the dates when the employee proposes to be away?), scheduling (adjusting shifts and/or preventing the employee from being scheduled), record keeping (tracking accruals – vacation time earned and used), and reporting (total vacation time scheduled/requested/accrued by department or company, etc.).

If the company’s scheduling software doesn’t have the flexibility to manage all parts of the vacation workflow, additional effort must be made in other systems to track this information in other applications, and extra work may be required to ensure all the necessary systems are updated with the correct information. It is easy, in that situation, for errors to creep into play, costing the company, and maybe even the employees, to lose valuable time and/or money, increase their frustration, and create extra unnecessary work for employees and management.

Celayix’s employee scheduling software provides the power and flexibility to meet the most demanding requirements of a vacation workflow, and many other kinds of workflows, too. To see how a software solution can adapt to your workflows, instead of you having to adapt to a rigid workflow dictated by the software, contact Celayix to arrange a free live demonstration today.