Effective workflow management is one of the most important things to get right in terms of business processes. A few little tweaks to get things running more smoothly make the difference between breaking even and turning a healthy profit in 2023. So, here’s how to get started! But first, what actually is workflow management, anyway?
What is Workflow Management?
The term workflow management refers to how tasks are identified, organized, and coordinated in a business to produce a specific outcome. Workflow can encompass a multitude of steps and processes that could include a combination of people, devices, machines, and systems. Making workflow management as effective as possible means improving, optimizing, and automating workflows to boost output, eliminate duplication or repetition, and cut down on errors.
What is workflow management? It’s about making sure your business’s systems, workforce, and processes are running like well-oiled machines. This ramps up efficiencies, saves money, and generates higher levels of profit.
How to Improve Your Business’s Workflow Management?
Many ways exist to improve your business’s workflow management. Most are easier than you think to initiate. Below are some of the best ways to get started.
Using automation as much as possible in your business is one of the easiest ways to enhance your workflow management – not to mention boost staff morale! Now automation tools exist on the market for everything from human resources processes to time-consuming content creation and editing tasks. They free up workforce time, reduce errors, speed things up, and, as a result, boost productivity and reduce costs.
Automation is often a great way to raise your team’s morale and motivation, too. It frees your employees up from repetitive, dull jobs. This way, they concentrate on more interesting projects better suited to their skill sets.
Think About Task Dependencies
As part of the process of documenting workflows within your team, or overall business, it’s important to consider task dependencies to identify ways to streamline processes and avoid log jams in the system. Dependencies are so important as they inherently impact resourcing and scheduling.
Being realistic about where dependencies lie and thinking ahead to plan ways to ensure that workflows continue to run smoothly and without interruption can have a major effect on how smoothly tasks and larger projects play out.
Concentrate on Communication
Great communication processes always underpin optimal workflow management. This isn’t just about ensuring that every single member of the workforce understands their role, responsibilities, and interdependencies. It’s also about putting in place high-quality collaborative tools. This is especially important in remote or hybrid teams. These teams need extra care to make sure that everyone stays on the same page.
Consider bringing on board digital communication and collaboration platforms to boost communication. Also, think about deploying VPN connections. This way, your team members stay in touch on their devices from home via the business connection without compromising on security.
Create an Information Bank
Having your business’s key information regarding processes, systems, etc., scattered randomly around is one of the worst enemies of effective workflow management. Every ten minutes that an employee needs to spend hunting for information on, for example, how to operate the office scanner or the protocols for sending emails to outside agencies, is ten minutes that they could be spending doing something more productive – and profitable!
Creating a central hub or bank of information can result in massive time savings and help ensure consistency. This is vital for optimizing workflow. Likewise, this hub could be digital or paper-based. Most importantly, it contains as much information and is as easily accessible as possible.
Get the Onboarding Process Right
Get things off on the right foot by making sure that your onboarding processes are comprehensive and consistent and that new team members have everything they need to hit the ground running and undertake all the tasks expected of them. This includes everything from stationery to software.
A great induction process will start well before your new employee’s first day. Sending them out an information pack with key business information and details of their role and day-to-day tasks is a great way to get the ball rolling and promote better workflows from the off.
Conduct Regular Workflow Audits
Once you’ve identified and made the changes required to improve your business’s workflow management, the process isn’t over! Keeping workflow optimized needs to be a ‘live’ activity to remain effective. This means conducting regular workflow audits – quarterly is usually ideal – to take into account, for example, newly onboarded team members, new projects, or new digital tools that your team has begun to use.
It’s a great idea to get the whole team involved in a workflow audit. Everyone discusses possible updates or optimizations and how to incorporate them.
Great Workflow Management: The Takeaway
As well as creating more efficient processes with less waste, better workflow management is also likely to result in a happier, more motivated team and more slickly running systems. Effective workflow management could be the difference between having an average year to enjoying a profitable one. So, why not use the guide above to get started making the tweaks required to boost your bottom line today?