Once you’ve come up with your plan for updating business processes in need of improvement, and secured the necessary resources, you will need to communicate, implement, and periodically review these changes. This blog post provides some tips for each of these tasks.
Communicating business process improvements
Many employees are likely very comfortable with the business processes you have in place. Regardless of whether they think these processes should be improved upon, it will take time for them to learn and adjust to the new workflows.
Make sure you communicate any significant changes to business processes before the changes are made, especially when it comes to workers involved with these processes on a daily or weekly basis. In most cases, they will appreciate having a chance to voice concerns or questions ahead of any big updates.
There’s a good chance these individuals already have some knowledge of upcoming changes if you involved them in the process mapping and redesign stages (always a good idea). Any last-minute feedback from employees can help you tweak processes for the better.
Implementing business process improvements
Actually implementing business process improvements could take a matter of minutes, or a number of weeks. It really depends on the extent of the changes being made. For small changes, such as skipping a step in a process or seeking approval from a different colleague, the most important requirements are supporting workers involved with the modifications and perhaps updating formal process documentation.
When it comes to new technology systems, new employees, and/or significant changes in responsibilities, it’s important to allot sufficient time for completing the updates. Regarding technology, it may be wise to run the new system and procedures in parallel with the old system and workflows. This can help establish they work as expected, and produce the desired results and changes.
When it comes to new employees and/or responsibilities, take the time to properly train workers and help them adjust as opposed to expecting immediate perfection and satisfaction. Because these individuals are taking the time to learn new processes, lower your expectations for their overall productivity during the next few weeks. If the improvements have been well thought out, future productivity gains will outweigh any short-term productivity losses.
Reviewing business process improvements
With the new system in place, it’s a good idea to benchmark the old systems and procedures against their replacements and upgrades. Do the new processes fix the problems they were intended to improve?
As with earlier steps in the business process improvement process, poll the people directly involved with the new procedures and tasks. Do they feel comfortable with the changes? Have the “improvements” really accomplished what you and your team set out to do?
Remember that improving business processes isn’t a single static event. It’s a good idea to periodically monitor the processes and procedures that you have in place to ensure that they function efficiently and effectively. By spotting problems early on, you can minimize their impact on your business.
To help ensure the success of business process updates, it’s important that organizations communicate changes to relevant staff before implementation as well as review any changes periodically. Employee buy-in, as well as continual analysis of process effectiveness, are crucial for guaranteeing workflows truly change for the better.