Split your approval process with “Approve Separately” setting

Every month we shine a spotlight on a feature of policyIQ that is brand new, infrequently used or a little bit misunderstood.  This month we’re shining that light on a specific approval option for both Pages and Forms.  Have you ever noticed those radio buttons within the approval settings on templates for “Approve when published” or “Approve separately”?


For most content, this setting has a minimal impact on the approval process.  Changing this setting will only impact pages when the person who chooses to “Publish” the page is also allowed to “Approve” the page.  (On forms, the impact occurs when the person who “Submits” the form is also allowed to “Approve” the form.)  And the impact is more significant if the approval process also requires just one of the approvers to approve the item.

  • A selection of “Approve when published” tells policyIQ that if the person who publishes the page is also an approver, his/her approval is granted automatically when they choose to publish the page.  There is no separate approval step.  It assumes that if an approver is choosing to publish, their review and approval has already been complete.  If the page requires just one approval, it will automatically be set to the Published stage.
  • A selection of “Approve separately” is going to require a separate step for approval.  If the person who publishes the page is also an approver, the page will still be routed to approval and his/her approval will NOT be granted automatically.  The page will go into the Awaiting Approval stage.  A common misunderstanding, however, is that the individual who published the page is still allowed to also approve it.  He/she must do so within a separate, deliberate action.

When should you use the “Approve Separately” setting?

“Approve when published” is the default setting – and it allows for the fastest and most streamlined process.  If you are publishing a page that you can also approve, policyIQ is going to attempt to save you a step of the process.  But there are several reasons why you might choose to have the “Approve separately” setting on your templates instead:

  1. The Publisher should not be the Approver – In situations such as audit testing, it is often recommended that the tester have another team member do the final review and approval (even if the tester is the Audit Manager or Director).  For Test pages, we often see the “Approve separately” option selected.  (Again it is important to note that policyIQ will not prevent the same person from publishing and approving, however the action is split so that you can procedurally require this difference.)
  2. Approval should be granted at a specific time (such as the end of a cycle) – We see this situation most often in the Conflict Minerals implementations of policyIQ.  Because forms are locked down once approved, your process may be to leave forms in the Submitted stage until you are certain that no further changes or updates will be needed.  At the same time, you may have situations where the individuals who will approve the forms will also be submitting forms – on their own behalf or on behalf of someone else.  The only way to prevent forms from automatically going from Open <> Approved in those cases is to ensure that the approval must be granted separately.

Are you using the “Approve Separately” setting?  We’d love to hear your reasons and experiences with the various approval options.  And of course, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions!

This entry was posted in Features by Chris Burd. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Burd

Chris is the Vice President of the policyIQ group at RGP. She gets geeky about compliance and technology, and gets to spend every day working at the crossroads of the two. With policyIQ since 2005, Chris has worked with hundreds of policyIQ clients to implement technology and enhance their internal compliance environment. In past lives, Chris worked as a system implementation consultant, a e-commerce specialist, a customer service call center manager, and - for one short but memorable summer during high school - a machine operator on midnight shift in a plastics factory. In her free time, she spoils her nieces, reads too many books, and spends more time than she should taking photos of her cats. She's on a mission to visit the hometown of every US President - so far managing to get to 14. She would like to be a rock star when she grows up.

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