People Resources

Approval Process

Terminology of Approval Process

Approval Process

An approval process is an automated process used to approve records or form requests. It neatly visualizes the workflow of the approval process at each step along with the name of the Approvers. You can check the details of the approval process like when a record is submitted for approval, status of the record - Approved/Rejected, and who approved.

Approval Request

An approval request is an email, notifying the recipient that a record was submitted for approval and that is waiting for his/her approval.

Assigned Approver

The Approver is the user responsible for approving an approval request.

Criteria

Set one or more criteria to satisfy the approval requirement. The approval process will be triggered when all the criteria requirements are satisfied.

Actions & workflow of Multi-Level Approval Process

Multi-level approval is a chain of approval process for a particular record. You can customize the approval process for each form as you require. There are 7 different approval actions. Let's see how each action in the Multi-level approval works.

Reporting To: 'Reporting to' has up to 5 levels of approval process and it depends on your organization hierarchical structure.

Note:

  • The email notification for the approval process will be first sent to the first level Approver. The process will be carried further to the next level only when the leave request is approved at the first level. If not, the approval process will end at the first level itself.

Department Lead of Login User: Department Lead of the user who is sending an approval request.

Approver based on Role: Approver can be any defined role in your organization. If you choose 'Admin' as the Approver for the form, any employee who has the 'Admin' role can approve the leave request.

Department Head: Your organization may have various departments like Accounts, Engineering, Marketing, Finance Department etc., If you choose Zoho Accounts in the 'Department' field, then only the Head/Manager of the Accounts Department will be able to approve the request.

Department Members: Department members are those who belong to a specific department. If you choose HR department as the 'Approver', members those who are in the HR department will be able to approve the request.

Employee: All the individuals in the organization will be listed. You can choose any individual from the list as Approver.

Allow employees to choose the approver when adding a record: When this option is configured, employees are at liberty to choose the approver without any restrictions.

Note:

  • Any Approver who has the 'Administrator role' has the right to approve a form request.

Criteria Based Approval

Defining criteria will neatly organize the flow and makes approval process much easier. Set one or more criteria to meet the requirement conditions in order for the records to be filtered and send for approval. You can configure multiple different criteria for each approval process and also you can configure multiple individual approvals for one single form based on different criteria.

For example, for the 'Leave' form, you can configure individual approval process for 'Sick Leave', 'Casual Leave', 'Maternity Leave', 'Vacation Leave' etc., with different criteria based on the conditions. The approval process will be triggered when all the criteria requirements are satisfied.

Configuration of Approval Process

Only Administrator(s) of the account can configure the approval process for the forms. Once the approval process is configured, the form record added will go through the approval process. Simultaneoulsy, an email notification will be sent to Approver(s) and other users in the 'To Address' list notifying about the record. Approvers can view the approval records under Home --> Approvals.

How to configure Approval Process

  1. Log in as Admin
  2. Click 'Setup' at the top of the page.
  3. Under 'Automation', click 'Approvals'.
  4. Click 'Add Approval'.
  5. Choose the form for which the approval process needs to be configured.
  6. Name the Approval process.
  7. Under Criteria section, click 'Set Criteria' to define criteria for the form.
  8. Fields are grouped into 2 categories: 'System Fields' and 'Form Fields'. System Fields (Role, Department, Designation and Location) is default for all forms whereas Form Fields will list all the fields belonging to the selected form and these fields will differ based on the form selection.
  9. Set the approval criteria for the form using the listed fields as per your requirement.
  10. You can either manually configure Approvers to approve/reject the form or enable the system to auto approve / auto reject the form based on your requirement.
  11. To add multi-level approvers, click the Add(+) icon and select the 'Approver' type. Approver types are as follows: 'Reporting To'(up to 5 levels), Department Lead of Login User, Approver based on Role, Department Head, Department Members, Employee and Allow employees to choose the approver when adding a record.
  12. Configure the email template.
  13. Click 'Save'.

Note:

  • If criteria doesn't match, the system will automatically approve the form.

Approval Execution

As you can configure multiple approvals with different criteria for a single form, execution flow must be set for the approval process to be executed in a perfect way. This will send the records submitted for approval in an order and in the way you want them to be approved.

How to configure Approval Execution flow

  1. Log in as Admin.
  2. Go to Setup at the top of the page.
  3. Under 'Automation', click 'Approvals'.
  4. Configue multiple approvals for a form as you require.
  5. Once done, go back to the Approvals listing page.
  6. Choose the form name from the drop down list.
  7. Approvals corresponding to the selected form will be listed.
  8. Hover your mouse pointer over an approval.
  9. Just drag and drop it in place as per the approval execution order.

Use Cases

Here are few examples to show you how effectively criteria based approval works in certain use cases.

Leave Type Approval

Let's take the Maternity Leave Type as an example for this scenario. Say, if your organization allows up to 90 days of leave for Maternity leave type. If your employee is taking more than 90 days of Maternity Leave, then you need to configure Approval. You can configure multi-level approval as per your hierarchical structure.

Here, let's take Reporting To --> 2 level approval process as an example. If an employee applies for maternity leave for 100 days, it will go to the first level who is the direct 'Reporting Manager' and then to the Second level who is the Product Manager. Once the Reporting Manager approves, the request will go to Product Manager for approval. If the request is rejected at the first level, the approval will not go the next level.

Here's the process flow explained one by one of how this approval will work.

  • Employee applies for Maternity Leave for 100 days.
  • If it is equal to or less than 90 days, the leave request will be automatically approved.
  • In this case, the leave count is greater than 90 days and it satisfies the criteria condition.
  • So, the approval process will be triggered.
  • First, it will go to the first level approver who is the direct 'Reporting Manager' of the employee.
  • If the leave request is approved, it will go to the second level approver who is the Product Manager.
  • If rejected, the approval will not go to next level approver.

Timesheet Approval

Criteria based approval works best for Timesheet case. Timesheets are generated mainly for the approval process to get a summarized report of an employee's time logs and to know how much that employee has worked on a particular task. Timesheets can be auto generated by simply configuring the 'Scheduler' which will generate timesheets periodically and send them for approval as per the scheduled frequency and time. You may filter timesheets to be send for approval by setting up criteria. So, only timesheets which meets the criteria requirement will be send for approval.

For example, let's consider an employee should work minimum of 45 Billable hours per week. For this case, you can set criteria as shown in the image below.

  1. Say the Scheduler is configured like this: Role: Team Member. Department: Zoho People. Designation: Developer, UI Designer and Quality Analyst
  2. The Schedule frequency is configured as Weekly, Friday at 4 PM for all Billable status.
  3. Let's say the approval criteria is set as shown in the image below.
  4. If the billable hours is between 40 and 45 hours, the approval will go to the single level Reporting Manager.
  5. Let's say the approval criteria is set as shown in the image below.
  6. If the billable hours is greater than or equal to 45 hours, the timesheet will be send to 2 levels based on the organization hierarchy. (ex:) Reporting Manager and also the Product Manager.
  7. Let's say the approval criteria is set as shown in the image below.
  8. If the billable hours is greater than or equal to 50 hours, the timesheet will be send to 3 levels based on the organization hierarchy. (ex:) Reporting Manager, Engineering Manager and also the Product Manager.
  9. Let's say the approval criteria is set as shown in the image below.
  10. In this case, if the billable hours is less than or equal to 40 billable hours, the timesheet will be auto rejected by the system.

Now, let's consider the same scenario for priority based approval process.

  1. If the priority is set as shown in the image below, following approval process will take place.
  2. If a timesheet of 50 billable hours is send for approval, first it will check the priority order.
  3. The criteria matches with the first level priority which is greater than or equal to 45 billable hours.
  4. The criteria matches with the second level priority too which is greater than or equal to 50 billable hours.
  5. Both the priorities are matching the criteria requirement. However, as per the approval rule, if the criteria meets the requirement at the first level, the process will end there itself without going to to next level priority even if it meets the requirement.
  6. So this priority order will not work.
  7. As per the configuration, time logs that are greater than 50 hours must go through 3 levels of approval process.
  8. So, here you need to set priority based on the configuration as shown in the image below.
  9. If the priority is set as shown in the image above, the timesheets will go through 3 levels of approval as per the configuration rule.

Leave Count Approval

We have provided 'Cumulative Fields' specifically for the Leave form. Using criteria, you can define the maximum leave count for a leave type, an employee can avail for a month or for a year. Let's consider, an employee can avail ony 2 days of Casual Leave per month. Up to 2 days of Casual Leave, approval is not needed. It will be auto approved. If it exceeds 2 days, the request will be send for approval based on the configuration.

In the image below, we have defined 'This Month Leave Count' for Casual Leave Type is 2. So, if an employee applies for more than 2 days of Casual Leave, the approval process will be triggered. The request will be send for approval based on the approval hierarchy.

Edit Approval Process

To edit the approval process template, please follow the steps below

      1. Log in as Admin.
      2. Click 'Setup' at the top of the page.
      3. Under 'Automation', click 'Approvals'.
      4. In the Approvals listing page, click Edit.
      5. Modify the template.
      6. Click 'Save'.

Enable / Disable Approval Process

To enable/ disable an approval process template, please follow the steps below.

      1. Log in as Admin.
      2. Click 'Setup' at the top of the page.
      3. Under 'Automation', click 'Approvals'.
      4. In the Approvals listing page, click the Status check box to Enable/Disable the approval.

Delete Approval Process

To delete the approval process template, please follow the steps below.

      1. Log in as Admin.
      2. Click 'Setup' at the top of the page.
      3. Under 'Automation', click 'Approvals'.
      4. In the Approvals listing page, click Delete.

Records waiting for Approval

The records that are waiting for approval will be listed under the Approver's Dashboard.

To view the pending requests,

      1. Go to 'Home'
      2. Go to 'Approvals' tab and click 'My Approvals'.
      3. Click 'Pending' tab to view the pending approvals.
      4. Click 'Approved/Rejected' tab to view the list of approved/rejected requests.

Records submitted for Approval

The records submitted for approval will be listed under the Requester's Dashboard.

To view the list of records submitted for approval.

      1. Go to 'Home'
      2. Go to 'Approvals' tab and click 'My Requests'.
      3. Click 'Pending' tab to view the pending approvals.
      4. Click 'Approved/Rejected' tab to view the list of approved/rejected requests.

Save Draft of Form

When you create a new record in a form, you can either save the partially filled form as a draft or send it for approval. Generally, when you submit a form record, it immediately goes for approval. However, while creating a form record, you can determine whether the form should be submitted for approval or just saved as a draft.

For example, while adding a record in the 'Employee Form', you might not know all the details of your employees. In that case, you can just save the form in it's current state and send it for approval once when you finish filling out all the details.

How do I Save a form record

      1. Log in as Admin.
      2. Go to the 'Organization' tab.
      3. Choose the form.
      4. Click 'Add Record'.
      5. Fill out the details.
      6. At the bottom of the page, uncheck 'Submit for Approval' option.
      7. Click 'Save'.

You can later edit the form and send it for approval.

How do I view my Drafted Forms?

    1. Log in as Admin.
    2. Go to the 'Organization' tab.
    3. Choose the form.
    4. Click on the drop-down list of 'All Requests'.
    5. Select 'Drafts'.
    6. All drafted forms will be listed.
    7. Edit the form to send it for approval.

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