- To understand the basics of Approval Workflows.
- While a policy proceeds through the Approval process in PolicyStat.
What are Approval Workflows?
Approval Workflows are a sequence of steps wherein selected Approvers can either mark their approval or make edits to a policy while it pends for approval.
The topic of Approval Workflows is one of the Three Pillars of PolicyStat. For more on the Three Pillars concept or to view the other two Pillars, see this article.
All policies must complete the Approval Workflow process prior to becoming active and searchable.
Previous to PolicyStat, many clients documented approval processes through verbal, electronic, or physical methods. PolicyStat’s Approval Workflows help translate existing approval processes to defined, documented, and streamlined Workflows that maintain compliance with accreditation and/or regulatory bodies.
Approval Workflows (04:05)
All policies start in a draft format and pend for approval through an Approval Workflow. When the policy completes the Workflow, it becomes active and searchable. The graphic below displays the lifecycle process for a policy to move from draft to active within PolicyStat.
Sample Approval Workflow
How are Approval Workflows Started?
For more information on this process, see this article.
If the wrong workflow was chosen and a different workflow needs to put in place, the approval process must be restarted. The change to the new workflow cannot be made by Administrative Override.
How Are Approvers Assigned?
When creating an Approval Workflow, a Site Administrator selects users to mark their approval. A user can either be assigned to mark approval on their own behalf, or on behalf of a committee.
What Comprises Steps on an Approval Workflow?
An Approval Workflow must have at minimum one step with one user, or it can also have hundreds of steps and hundreds of Approvers on each step. Best practice dictates restricting Workflows to only the necessary parties to avoid a backlog in the approval process. That decision is to be decided on a local site by site basis.
However, before a pending policy can move to the next step, all Approvers on each step must mark their Approval.
Approve During an Approval Workflow
During the Approval Workflow process, Approvers can make approvals, comment, edit, and collaborate on any policy documents internal to PolicyStat. Once the Approver approves (by clicking Approve), automatic routing moves the policy from one Approver (or committee) to the next in line.
For more on how to approve a pending policy as it progresses through a workflow, see this article.
Reject/Edit During an Approval Workflow
If any Approver or Committee changes, edits, or rejects the policy, a new draft is created and the approval process restarts. This ensures Approvers view and approve only the latest version.
For more on how to reject or edit a pending policy, see this article.
What Happens Once All Approvers Have Approved?
By default, once the final Approver has marked their approval, the policy becomes Active. Any user can view the policy's content and search to locate the policy*.
However, an effective date can be scheduled for a date in the future. During this period, the policy will move to a status of "Scheduled" and will not yet be live and searchable. For more on scheduling an effective date, see this article.
Approval Workflow Process
Can Approval Workflows be modified?
If a document is pending approval and a different workflow needs to put in place on a document the approval process must be restarted.
Changes to an Approval Workflow including edits, creating new workflows, or deleting old are to be completed by a Site Administrator.
For more on those processes, please see this article.
If a user is on step one in an approval workflow and is not an owner for documents using that workflow they will not see the Edit button and cannot start a new version or make modifications. Users in the workflow will not have the Edit button until the workflow is started. Approvers needing to edit prior to the workflow starting need to have create and edit permissions for a policy area, then they will have the Edit button. Being in the workflow will only allow them to edit once a document has been started into the workflow.
DID YOU KNOW?
Approval Workflows cover the required steps for compliance, but PolicyStat also offers collaborative commenting to gather input from any PolicyStat users outside the Workflow within the tool.
For more on collaborative commenting, see this article.
Some policies require review by a committee, and sometimes membership in the committee can be fluid and change often. PolicyStat allows a committee to be named as part of an Approval Workflow, an Approval Workflow can list a committee name and designate one Approver as responsible for marking that committee's approval. That way, the committee can discuss the policy during a meeting and mark approvals without requiring everyone to log in to PolicyStat to do so.
In the example below, on Step 3 of this Approval Workflow, Scott Whitehouse would be responsible for presenting the pending policy to the HR committee. When the members of the HR committee agree to approve the policy, Scott will be responsible for logging in to PolicyStat to provide approval on the committee's behalf.
A quick disclaimer that some terms may differ for your location, but the concepts are universal. Area may be known as Policy Area, Department, Category, or another term on your PolicyStat site.
This article applies to the following user roles: