Automating Your Workflow Processes

August 15, 2015

Automating workflow processes can significantly impact your business, boosting your bottom line— through streamlined communication, enforced accountability, and minimized costs thanks to a potentially broad range of solutions as simple as an email template or as complex as project management applications.

Business processes are described as a series of actions in an organization’s activities. For example, the process for selecting a new hire at a company requires a standard set of steps. The initial touch point of interviewing a job candidate sets off sequential actions. If the interview is successful, human resources is brought in to undergo background checks. Creating workflow processes that work means considering what parties are involved and what sequential steps are necessary.

Automating these steps would enable the process to move forward seamlessly and consistently. Each team member would receive a prompt or reminder at a set point in the process and eliminate unnecessary manual communication.

Other reasons to re-engineer a workflow process include:

> Boosting customer satisfaction

> Improving efficiency of operations

> Improving quality of products and processes

> Reducing costs

What to Consider
Consider these points when structuring a workflow redesign:

1. Streamline communication. Eliminate unnecessary/ extraneous emails and phone calls.

2. Minimize costs from errors. While automation doesn’t entirely eliminate errors from the system, it creates a shared space for tracking jobs and items. This reduces the need for one-off communications to team members to initiate the next stage of a process, as well as enforcing accountability.

3. Gain insight into the evolution of your business processes. By monitoring your workflow through automated processes, business owners or managers can track how the processes unfold in the workplace, and whether the tools resolve problems or lead to bottlenecks later in the process. This provides relevant feedback that allows you to alter processes in order to make work easier or a workflow more effective.

The Gaps in Tech-Driven Communication
With the rise of tech in the workspace for automating processes or communicating, it can be easy to overlook the key component necessary for using these tools—human interaction.
Consider these tips whether your business is implementing a workflow system scaled for major manufacturing or relying on communication systems for remote employees.

> Add perspective to distance.
If you’re communicating via teleconference or phone, give the other user some idea or contextualization of your location and surroundings. It builds a connection and shows where potential distractions or interruptions may occur.

> Don’t blame the person for the technology.
Poor connections and dropped conference calls can be irritating—but they’re not necessarily reflective of the other parties. Stay open and flexible when tech hiccups occur.

> Build systems that align with the way people work.
Technology that makes work easier should do that— not over complicate or bog down existing processes. No matter what system you use, gain buy-in among employees so they’ll use the system to improve their daily tasks as well as the company’s efficiencies.