Poorly thought-out and inefficiently designed processes can be employee engagement (and potentially business) killers. But, finding time and resources to diagnose process problems can be difficult.
Here are three simple things you can do right now to start improving your business processes:
1. Choose one process that has a single owner and DOCUMENT IT.
All companies have processes executed by people who are the only ones who really know how to do that work. If they do it superbly every day, wonderful. What happens, though, when they are absent, or worse, give their notice? Piecing together the steps when the subject-matter expert isn’t there can be a monumental task and can lead to process failures. Ask the key employee to document the process. It doesn’t have to be a fancy flowchart diagram. A step-by-step list is a great first cut.
2. Remove frustrations in one of your processes.
There are many laudable goals for process improvement work (e.g., improving quality, increasing efficiency, fostering innovation). Sometimes the goal may be as simple as removing frustration with a certain step in a process if not the entire process itself. Pro tip: your employees already know what is frustrating them but may not know how to solve the issue or even feel empowered to address it. Go ask. You may find opportunities for some quick process (and morale) wins.
3. Explain one key process to stakeholders .
In Broad Cove’s process work we often hear process stakeholders (and sometimes even process owners) express a lack of understanding about the purpose and importance of a process. It is difficult to get folks excited about following a process if they are not even sure why they are doing it in the first place. Don’t assume everyone knows why you do the things you do. Take a few minutes to send an email – or maybe even make some time for a presentation – to explain to stakeholders why the process exists and what they are doing for the company when they follow it.