What Are Workflows? (With Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Developing workflows for typical corporate procedures and activities is applicable to almost all positions and industries. Workflows are the means by which individuals perform tasks, and you may see them as a sequence of actions that the team can perform in a flowchart or checklist. Learning more about workflows can help you improve business operations and accelerate business processes by providing an organized method for consistency, efficiency, and productivity. In this article, we answer the question, "What are workflows?", discuss its importance, explore tips for workflow management, and provide some of its examples.

What are workflows?

You might be wondering " What are workflows?". A workflow is a technique for enumerating the repeated phases of a business process or activity. Usually, the stages in a workflow follow a certain order or flow from one stage to the next until the process or activity is complete. The primary advantage of adopting a workflow is that everyone who uses it completes the business process or activity in the same manner. This is particularly beneficial for large workforces to simplify processes involving several individuals by displaying what tasks to complete, specifying who handles duties, and indicating how long tasks might take.

Related: Understanding Workflow Automation and How to Use It

Why use a workflow?

Workflow management software simply generates a categorized checklist that facilitates the organization of sequential procedures. Almost every process is suitable for representation as a flowchart or checklist. Observing examples of workflow applications might help you:

  • improve business operations

  • eliminate redundant actions

  • reduce costs and expenses

  • create automated processes

  • educate team members or management

  • promote company objectives

Tips for workflow management

Here are some tips for enhancing your workflow management:

  • Encourage employees to take breaks. Breaks may stimulate individuals to momentarily participate in activities they like. This may help improve their mood and enhance their ability to concentrate after a break.

  • Minimize multitasking. By concentrating on one job at a time, a team member may limit distractions. This can also help increase the likelihood that they might create high-quality work.

  • Reduce stress. Reducing stress at work may help you and your colleagues concentrate more efficiently. You may minimize stress by taking regular breaks, fostering a healthy work atmosphere, and encouraging team members to seek help by asking questions.

  • Promotes time management: Workflow management is an excellent tool for keeping a project on track. It also provides clients with more precise timeline projections.

Workflow examples

Here are some examples of when you might implement a workflow:

Employee recruiting workflow

Creating a framework for employee recruiting helps ensure that new employees don't miss crucial information throughout the process. An efficient workflow for new candidates may reduce recruiting errors and enable the organization to follow the candidate's progress through the hiring process. Having a checklist of recruiting activities and understanding the phases of the process are also beneficial for new candidates. There are workflow management solutions that businesses may use to establish efficient and realistic recruiting operations.

Related: 14 Recruiting Strategies to Find the Best Candidates

Stand-up meeting workflow

Workflows for stand-up meetings can help ensure all participants adhere to the meeting's agenda, have a common understanding of its purpose, and remain focused on achieving its objectives. The following are examples of what you may include in a workflow for a stand-up meeting:

  • introduction

  • record meeting

  • note yesterday's work

  • state today's work

  • address any problems

  • get 100% participation

  • prioritize notes

  • list sources

  • review checklists

Customer support workflow

Workflows for customer support are important for ensuring that support employees can give timely and consistent responses to frequent customer care queries. Customers that have a great experience and get outstanding customer service are more inclined to increase their spending and return to the business. When support employees use a customer support process, they can give high-quality and prompt answers to frequent client inquiries. If an odd question slows down a support agent, the agent might add the question to the workflow so that a quick and correct answer is available the next time the question arises.

Related: Project Quality Management: Definition and How-to Guide

Customer onboarding workflow

A repeatable strategy for onboarding users is essential to reducing churn. Customers who first sign up for a company's service or product may become repeat customers if they recognize its worth. A customer onboarding workflow allows team members to know where the client is in the onboarding process and helps ensure the customer has a positive experience, which may increase the success and profitability of the business. Some customer onboarding workflow technologies provide the modification of an individual client's workflow procedure.

Related: 9 Onboarding Best Practices To Increase Work Productivity

Approval workflow

Businesses often have approval procedures for time off requests, invoices, and work orders that may need the approval of numerous managers or executives prior to final approval. For instance, the marketing, finance, and business development employees and CEO may be required to accept a project proposal. A structured approval procedure might accelerate the process as all signatories can see the requests and the approvals' current status. A workflow for approval may expedite the decision-making process.

Content promotion workflow

A content marketing process specifies all the necessary procedures for promoting content, allowing you to repeat your promotional efforts. A workflow enables you to adhere to a tested procedure to help guarantee that your content receives the necessary exposure. Your content marketing strategy is effective when your first promotion increases awareness, others share your material, and the number of shares is high and rising. Initial marketing may involve e-mailing subscribers, sharing content on social media, or contacting bloggers.

Travel workflow

Large organizations may have personnel travelling for a variety of purposes, including client meetings, investor meetings, and training. For many businesses, travel entails many procedures, so a workflow may assist the traveller in staying organized and avoiding omissions. The ability of travel workflows to specify tasks and subtasks provides the traveller with a useful checklist of tasks to complete. Housing, utilities, food, bills, clothes, packing, and tickets are examples of travel-related workflow items.

Podcast publishing workflow

Establishing a podcast publishing procedure can facilitate the success of your podcasts and encourage your audience to listen to each episode in its entirety. As a team member completes tasks in the process, the other team members may see the podcast's development at each stage. A podcast publication procedure may provide listeners with consistently good episodes of podcasts.

Content marketing workflow

For the material to score highly in search engine results, it's to satisfy certain criteria. Due to the many criteria and needs that the team is to meet, a well-designed content marketing workflow can help guarantee that the material satisfies all SEO conditions and follows essential content marketing and copywriting method standards. It can offer a strategy for engaging consumers with your content and achieving quantifiable outcomes. Common checklist elements included in content marketing workflows include:

  • use a headline with a high-volume keyword

  • have over 2,000 words of content

  • use alternative text for images

  • check grammar and spelling

  • publish the content

  • build at least five backlinks

  • promote the content on social media

  • have employees share the content

  • run the content with paid ads

Sales order workflow

Physical signatures and manual paperwork can potentially slow a sales cycle, so digital ordering processes can improve customer service, reduce delays, and promote business viability. For example, companies can create digital ordering processes with automated sales order systems. A sales order workflow that's fully digital can reduce the chances of errors, omissions, and misunderstandings while speeding up the sales cycle with mobile-friendly forms and electronic signatures. Here's an example of an automated sales order workflow:

  • A salesperson creates the sales order.

  • The manager approves the sales order.

  • The VP approves the sales order if discounted.

  • The external client signs the sales order.

  • The client receives the billing invoice.

  • The client pays the invoice.

  • The fulfilment department delivers the product.

  • The record department organizes files and saves digital documents.

Related: How to Manage People (With Steps and Essential Skills)

Incident workflow

Multiple teams often evaluate incident reports, and the teams are to handle them as fast as possible to resolve issues. Because of this, incident report processes benefit from becoming automated workflows to send electronic reports to relevant parties automatically and share information with teams more quickly. Here are some stages you might find in an incident workflow:

  • An employee reports an incident.

  • The first team assesses the incident.

  • The first team passes information to the department head.

  • A department head identifies a solution.

  • A department head creates and assigns a response team.

  • The response team implements the solution.

  • The response team performs a risk assessment to avoid future incidents.

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