No matter your industry or job function, almost every employee is subject to some form of approval process, whether it’s a boss, board or client. Getting your work approved is most often beneficial, both for you and your brand, as it acts as a type of quality control to ensure your work is correct and in line with strategy.
While most approval processes are efficient, some chains of command may actually hurt your overall performance. Companies and organizations must find the balance between arduous and informal – a sweet spot attained by perfecting the rigors of the approval process. Litmus Software recently wrote about four failures of the email marketing approval process that can derail even the best of campaigns.
One failure that costs a company time and resources is having too many approvers. Too many cooks in the kitchen means a longer approval process and conflicting edits can slow down the final product. Litmus explained that four or more approvers was reported as “burdensome”, while those claiming only one approver thought it was “lax”, meaning two or three people is often the sweet spot for employees.
Another flaw is bringing a high-level executive to the table. Involving executives generally slows down the approval process because of their often-limited availability and accessibility. Litmus found that “[employees] who describe their approval course as appropriate involve VP- and C-level executives less often than those with a cumbersome approval process (22.2% vs. 34.8%).”
Also bogging down the timeline for approval is the frequency of last-minute changes, which can be a sign that the approval method isn’t functioning properly. Errors and edits should be caught in the first round of approval, with any additional people only scanning as a final backup. When mistakes slip through the cracks and are only caught in the nick of time, it’s time to evaluate the structure and staffing in your approval process.
Finally, approval lead time is one of the most important factors for success. Processes that leave very little time for approval can indicate the procedure is too lax. While it is important to be timely, quickness can sometimes lead to recklessness. Depending on the size or quantity of the project pending approval, employers can determine the estimated approval time to ensure each approver has enough time to appropriately edit the final product. Litmus states the ideal time is roughly 24 hours before the due date.
The ResponseGenius email solution has a built-in approval process where comments and edits can be made and tracked directly into the creative stored in the system. It makes your approval process, regardless of how you decide to structure it for your organization, extremely simple and systematic.
So, evaluate your company’s current approval process and determine if you’re applying best practices. If not, use these benchmarks in your business to ensure your final delivery is efficient AND impeccable.