Improving workflows can have a significant positive impact on productivity and profitability. It can help foster growth and enable teams to adopt more agile and modern processes. However, as a business owner or manager, taking on such a task can be impossible with everything else going on. Additionally, introducing changes to workflows can sometimes be taken negatively by employees.
Empowering your team to make workflow improvements themselves is the ideal way to build self-sufficiency and responsibility among members. With this, they can identify issues and challenges more accurately, hence they will be able to create new workflows that will benefit the team. More so, they will be able to appreciate it and adapt to it easier if they are the ones who developed it.
Here’s how you can encourage your team to create new workflows:
Identify roles and assign specific tasks in a workflow to certain team members. Let them know that it’s on them if the role is not successful or the task is not done successfully. This will allow them to have the freedom to decide and take full responsibility for the task at hand. Giving authority is among the ways to effectively empower employees and encourage them to generate new ideas, get creative and take part in innovating for the company.
Accountability comes with caring about the process as well. Make sure your team knows why the workflow is important—who will benefit from it and what is the end goal. Let them know how much their task can impact the team and the company.
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Before asking your team to improve workflows, it is important to define clear goals and their various outcomes. There should be standards in place to help identify the challenges and the areas that need improvement. An implementing strategy that fits workflow needs should also be defined. This will help set the direction to where the team should go and how.
Set clear targets. For example, identify if you want to fully revamp your brand and workflow or if you have a certain focus like you want to cut costs, improve product quality, speed up productivity or improve sales. Also, provide them with a realistic time period to achieve these targets. These types of expectations can help your team make decisions that fit your business needs. The goals can also serve as key performance indicators or KPIs, allowing the team to monitor where they are at during the process.
Bring in an Expert
Bring in someone who can identify and implement a workflow strategy to fulfill the team’s needs. This way, you are empowering your team to create a workflow with proper guidance. It will help make them feel more confident to design and implement a workflow if they are guided and supported accordingly.
As creating a new workflow can be a seasonal task, you can consider hiring a freelancer or contract employee. Ideally, you can bring in Excel experts to help your team in realizing the workflow they have in mind without a lot of new technical tools needed. It is also a good idea to bring the expert back every so often to ensure the workflow is still efficient and does not need adjustments.
Keep it Consistent
Don’t ask your team to do one giant task then never bring it up again. Making change and adaptability a regular part of your business will help your team to be more proactive and comfortable with change.
Also, make your standards and expectations for your workflows realistic and consistent so your team always has a clear direction. Set up cumulative goals for the business and the team. This paints a bigger picture and allows team members to have something to look forward to. Progressive targets also help keep changes and growth a regular part of your processes. Letting your teams get comfortable with the idea that there is the next level will empower them to strive for growth both for the organization and their career.
Help Them Learn
Your team may not have all the skills necessary to start improving workflows on their own, especially if it’s something they haven’t tried before. Identifying strategies and designing a new workflow can require a bit of a learning curve.
Consider investing time and maybe money in education for your team. Allowing them to learn how to create an effective workflow for your business can provide great returns in the long run. If possible, always have someone available to coach and guide your team when they need it. Leading by example is also a great way to help inspire and educate your team. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge to help them get to know the business better and understand the goals being set.
Give Your Team Their Time to Shine
Allowing your team to start creating or changing their workflows on their own can be very challenging, especially when it’s something you have not tried doing before. But it is a vital part of the business process that will allow you to build trust in your teams while they gain valuable experience strategizing and making decisions on their own. Don’t be afraid to give them the opportunity to show their skills and capabilities. This will help them to engage and be more involved in scaling the company towards growth and success.