As much as we'd all like to have all the answers, unfortunately, we don't. This is why we need collaboration, teamwork, and communication tools to help solve problems that we cannot by ourselves. One powerful tool for achieving this level of collaboration is to establish an escalation process in your organization. An escalation process is a communication tool used to bring things to the attention of others. It clarifies the boundaries and routes of decision-making throughout an organization in order to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. This process minimizes the time it takes to escalate (or de-escalate) decisions beyond one's authority.
Why is Escalation Important?
Ensuring your organization has a clear escalation process is extremely important. Escalations are put in place to efficiently move high-priority issues up to a higher level to solve a problem and to ensure everyone understands the scope of their own authority through a clear process. The escalation path can be configured in KaiNexus to represent a specific route based on your company's unique needs. Keep in mind, you may have different escalation routes based on the issue and who has the authority to solve it. Having an escalation process is crucial because it drives accountability in individuals in the decision-making process, it saves time and energy by providing a clear escalation path, and it decreases the chances of an issue "falling through the cracks."
How it works in KaiNexus
In KaiNexus, our escalation Process is called the Escalation Module, released at the end of 2020. This Module is designed to bring any item to the attention of a specific user, team, or location.
The Escalation Module allows you to customize Escalation Tiers to represent a particular set of Users based on your specific escalation process. These Escalation Tiers can be unique per Template within your system, meaning you could configure multiple different escalation pathways based on your workflow within your system. Any User can escalate an item if they are a part of that item’s team.
One customer who does an excellent job utilizing the Escalation Module to its fullest extent is Woodfin. Woodfin has set up clear escalation paths to solve any problem they face as efficiently as possible. For example, as Idea teams work through the many different opportunities on their Idea Boards in KaiNexus, they may come across an item that exceeds the resources and capabilities of the team. The team then escalates the item to their Manager, including the team’s proposal of what the next steps should be and what exactly they need the support of the Manager for. If the Manager approves, they will De-escalate the item back to the team and provide assistance wherever needed, but if not, the Manager must provide their reasoning why and Escalate it to THEIR Manager; this process repeats until a solution is agreed upon, even if the item reaches the Executive team who has ultimate decision-making power in The Idea Network. Woodfin is a wonderful example of how organizations can implement the Escalation Module to support communication and collaboration efforts.
When escalating an Item, you have the option to escalate to a network location, role, or user. By default, all Users that are a part of its Team will get an in-app notification informing them that the Item is being escalated or deescalated to a specific Escalation Tier. You also have the option of opting into receiving notifications for specific escalation or de-escalation actions. In order to best visualize escalated items, you can set up an Escalation Board in KaiNexus. You can set up specific filter criteria in order to see items escalated to you or to your location. Under the “Specialized” category, there are filter options for both “Escalation” and “Escalated To”. Here you can specify filters to show Items that have been escalated to a specific Escalation Tier and during a specified timeframe. By setting up the escalation board, you and your organization can better visualize and manage all escalated items.
The Escalation Module works to increase visibility, provide accurate reporting, and ensure problems get resolved quickly.
Milestone vs. Escalation Modules
Although Escalation and Milestone Modules solve very similar problems, there are a few key differences. With the Milestones Module, you can create a configurable workflow that you can overlay on top of any of your templates. We call each element of this workflow a milestone. Consider the Milestone Module like a stop gate. For example, a project may need approval from another location before it can begin. Your request for approval will either get approved or denied. Although the process of configuring a path to solve a problem is similar to Escalations, there is a big difference. The Escalation Module differs because the problem that is escalated isn't always solved by being approved or denied, like Milestones. Keeping this difference in mind when deciding which Module is best for your situation is crucial.
The Escalation Module is a critical communication tool, useful in every industry to help people organize and streamline their improvement communications. For more information on the topics covered here today, be sure to check out our support site.