Automation Workflow - Need Help

I am working on an Approval Process workflow.

With reference to the above:

1) Approval process should go from Approver 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5

a) When Approver 1 approved, then go to Approver 2 and so on

b) When Approver 3 decline, then admin will make changes and restart at Approver 1 (this is true for every decline)

The issue: Some approvers may be on leave or some approval item may not be applicable to them

I have an issue creating the automation workflow as there are too many combinations of possible flow.


Row 1 above: If Approver 1 approved, then it will go direct to Approver 4.

Row 2: If Approver 1 approved, then go to Approver 3, if approved, go to Approver 5

I have created the following automation:

1) 1 automation for normal approval from 1 to 5 (without "on leave/not applicable" in between) - No issue

2) 4 other automation for "skipped 1", "skipped 2", skipped 3", "skipped 4" (skipped meaning on leave / not applicable) - the flow is broken where if Approver 2 is on leave, the automation is sent to Approver 1 and 3 at the same time. And with different combination, different people will receive the approval request simultaneously, instead of one after another, after the earlier approver has approved.

Appreciate help and assistance.

Thank you.


  • ChrisC
    ChrisC ✭✭
    edited 03/10/21

    I'm also interested in the approval workflow process - I have a similar situation to the OP above, where I need to send an approval request to multiple users.

    As I understand it I can setup the approval workflow in two different ways:

    1) A chain of individual sequential approvals as per above. Recipients can be listed in designated columns in the sheet or hard coded in the workflow setup. This allows individual responses to be recorded on the sheet, but has the downside that a slow or non existent response from one user prevents notification to the next one in the chain.

    2) Put multiple names into a single approval request workflow action so they get the notification in parallel. However this seems to allow any of the recipients to 'approve' and only one response is recorded in the sheet.

    I think both the OP and I would like a workflow system that allows notification to go to multiple recipients at the same time, and their individual responses to be recorded on the sheet. Is this currently possible using the 'approval' functionality?

    A workaround I can think of is to use only the notification email workflow and prompt the users to go into the sheet and manually select their response in the sheet.

  • Hi Vivien,

    Seems like a complex workflow. I have an idea to simplify it, and then I hope we can build upon to create a solution. so here my two cents.

    Idea 1: Do the complex next workflow approver in a special column.

    Idea 2: Use that column to create the worklows. So workflow are simpler.

    Step 1:

    Create the speical column can have as an output a number: 1, 2,3,4, or 5. which tell wich is the current approver tha need to approve.

    Step 2:

    now you just create 5 automation works, that when a row change and the special column has a specific number, and the approve status is blank then it seems the approval to the correct approver base on the special column number.

    Step 3

    Now the complex part. create a formula for the special column that capture all the buisnees rules, so that it ouput the correct approval number. here you can use a series of nested if statements to achieve that. Checking if approve status is blank, if approve is on leave or no applicable to deternie what should be the current number for approval.



  • Vivien Chong
    Vivien Chong ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Abraham Sanchez Thanks for your suggestion. I believe it works.

    Indeed, I think the complex part is step 3, to get the right formula to show the correct Approver number so that the automation can be triggered accordingly. Will need more timed to work on the formula then.

  • Vivien Chong
    Vivien Chong ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @ChrisC You got it right, if you use your option 1, someone may stall the entire approval process. But I guess the admin will just need to monitor every now and then to ensure the process is running well. If someone is not responding, will have to find out: is it a wrong email (non-existent), is that person simply doesn't respond, and to take the right corrective action.

    Fo your option 2, I will not go that way as in my process, each approver's response has to be recorded accordingly.

    I used the workflow automation and create for every probability and came up to around 30 automation for this approval process alone. 😂

    I think is we can work out on @Abraham Sanchez suggested formula (in his step 3), we will then need just a few automation rule to get the process going.

    Hope you will find a suitable way to get your approval process going.

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