Work procedures are usually formed, arranged, and completed for a particular purpose based on current need. Unfortunately, they can easily become “the norm” for getting work done by utter repetition. There is already shared knowledge, in many instances, within your organization on how to improve the work flow. But we need to communicate! Without communication, participation, and the shared ideas between managers and employees, changing any one work procedure becomes awfully problematic.
Here are six steps to help examine problematic procedures and create new ones to take their place.
Outline a solitary work procedure
This should be a fixed, monotonous procedure. Having an exact start, middle, and end will help identify problem areas. The speediness of one particular process is not a work procedure. Streamlining the way an office distributes payroll and updates its financial records is.
Break down the work procedure
Breaking down the work procedure into as many distinct steps as possible. The more granulated—the better. Senior managers will most likely need more information and specifics of a work procedure they do not perform on a regular basis. Dispense these steps out to employees so they can use their daily experience to help fill in the blanks. Find out how many steps are done on paper, how much of the information is being repeated on other forms, and pay attention to how the information is stored. Is it organized and easy to access?
Invite involvement from everyone who is knowledgeable of the work flow chain
Hunt for opinions on how to improve productivity. It is helpful to know that someone in your workplace is running back and forth from one office to another to complete a form, because its part in the process is not automated. Senior managers may not know how much time is spent on non-electronic procedures. Therefore, involvement from all levels of employees is crucial.
Consider your employees’ needs and their ability to execute change
Refrain from doing anything too dramatic—a tiny loss in employee productivity can sometimes pay back double in job fulfilment. Natural streamlining often occurs on its own with each employee. If an employee looks forward to the five minutes it takes them to walk from one end of the building to the other as a psychological break than a little dullness of routine might pay off in the long-term. Purpose to make the work flow well-organized enough for your employees so they may rest in their ability to understand and predict their day.
Putting work flow improvements into action
Start small with extraneous parts particular to any work flow procedure. This can be through streamlining payroll processing by having one software program for payroll processing, payroll tax filing, and deposits. Omitting paperwork through computerized automation is a great example of step-by-step process elimination your employees can handle.
Duplicate this process for each procedural problem you wish to address
Give incentive to your employees for their opinions through point systems, prizes, and competitions. Gift cards and pizza parties are also great rewards for thoughtful input. Valuable suggestions that create change in the workplace benefit everyone. Making work procedures more organic, and replacing monotonous and difficult processes will create a happier, more engaged cohort which is favorable for your business in the long-term.