Inefficient workplace processes and procedures can create bottlenecks and slow productivity. By identify and strategically improving processes in your business, you can make space for organizational growth without experiencing downtime or a loss of productivity.
Why Improving Processes Promotes Organizational Growth
When small businesses are founded or new teams are made, often it is done without much attention on establishing formal processes and procedures. Instead, how things are done in the workplace evolves organically based on who is available and their own preferences and assumptions about how to complete the tasks at hand. This level of informality can be manageable among small teams with low productivity demands. But as your organization grows, those informal processes can hold you back from greater productivity and easy expansion.
Standardizing and improving processes across your company promotes growth by making it easier for new team members to step into the role. This may temporary – such as when an employee is on vacation or to fill a gap – or they may serve as a permanent addition to the team. Improving processes ensures that institutional knowledge is not lost when a worker becomes unavailable. Standardization can also:
- Eliminate uncertainty in expectations
- Improve clarity of purpose
- Increase productivity
- Boost morale
- Improve accuracy
- Facilitate cooperation
Because everyone on your team is using the newly improved processes, you can rest assured that the tasks will be completed to the same standard, no matter which team member is assigned. This makes space for new hires and encourages organizational growth.
Improving Procedures in a Collaborative Work Environment
Improving internal processes and procedures is also a great way to engage existing team members in fulfilling company goals. This is because the first step to improving processes is listening.
By asking your team members where they struggle or need additional instruction, you invite them to collaborate on developing an efficient and productive solution. This can increase employee buy-in to the new process, since they will see the changes as improving their working environment, rather than simply a new system they have to learn.
If you are considering implementing new procedures, be sure schedule time to brainstorm solutions with your team members, research solutions to the problems raised, and provide employees time and training to adjust to the new way of doing things.
How to Improve Processes Without Downtime
Many small business owners resist or procrastinate on improving processes because they worry about a loss of productivity or downtime during the transition. They may try to wait until business is slow or they are fully staffed to make changes that could improve efficiency and help workers meet their growing demands. But improving processes does not have to involve downtime.
Certainly, as discussed above, it will take some time to brainstorm, refine, formalize, and implement new processes and procedures. However, not everyone in your company needs to make the shift at once. Whether you are integrating a new software or creating checklists for internal processes, you can roll out the changes gradually, allowing some employees to transition while others are available to pick up the slack. Then, those still using the old process can be brought up to speed, and you can “sunset” or resolve the old process. This two-step adoption process means that someone on your team will be operating at full capacity at every stage, so you will never experience downtime.
If your team is small, you can also roll out these improved processes on a per-project or per-client basis. This will allow you to test the new procedures on a portion of your client base before making a sweeping change that will affect your bottom line.
Get Help Improving Processes and Policies in Your Workplace
Improving processes and procedures is an investment worth making in your company. What you lose in short-term productivity and personal hands-on supervision you will gain in overall efficiency and employee satisfaction. But it works best if you get help improving processes and policies from an organizational consultant. By facilitating brainstorming sessions, compiling survey responses, and investigating solutions, your organizational consultant can help you plan your company’s procedural future without committing all your time to the process.
David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 25 years’ experience in improving processes in the workplace. Through business consulting and facilitation, David helps businesses and teams improve productivity and minimize downtime. Contact us to meet with David to move toward high organizational functioning today.