Workflows in the Right Work Environment Maximize Success
Workflows can transform productivity and efficiency. When as many steps as possible are automated, and when manual tasks like filling out forms are reduced significantly, a work team can accomplish more, and with higher accuracy levels.
But workflows aren’t entirely independent of their context. A beautifully designed workflow that greatly simplifies a procedure won’t make a department full of people who can’t stand each other suddenly get along.
A great workflow in a bad environment is better than a bad workflow in a bad environment, but ideally, you want a great workflow in a great environment for the best results and the best long-term prospects for your organization. Here’s how to get to that point.
What You Should and Should Not Expect from Automated Workflows
Workflows alone can’t save a toxic or failing business. Introduced at the right time, they may help to turn things around, but they can’t do everything on their own. You should expect workflows to increase efficiency and productivity, but you shouldn’t introduce them without thoroughly briefing the people who will be using them, or else you risk sparking rumors or alienating employees.
Likewise, you should expect automated workflows to save your business money, to reduce error rates, and to help people do their work with greater consistency and quality. But you can’t expect even the best workflow to make up for incompetent or apathetic workers. Here are some ways to ensure you create the most positive environment in which to introduce automated workflows.
Do a Walk-Through (or Two)
How much time do you spend on the front lines with your people who are carrying out everyday business tasks? Do you know what aspects of their work environment are good and what aspects are not-so-good? When you spend time in the main workspace, what do you notice? Do chairs squeak loudly on floors? Is direct sunlight coming through and annoying workers despite keeping the blinds closed? Is the climate control system doing its job properly? Any workflow – automated or not – will work better in an environment that minimizes annoying distractions and creates an atmosphere that is comfortable and conducive to productive work.
Talk to People
If you are considering automating parts of the customer service workflow, talk to the customer service team. Ask them what they have problems with the current way of doing things, and what would make their work more efficient and accurate. The same is true with IT workflows, HR forms, or any other type of workflow: talk with the people who will actually be using it and find out what they need in a workflow. If you have the right workflow software, you should be able to tailor automated workflows exactly to your business’ and your workers’ needs. Introducing workflows without consulting with workflow users is asking for problems and conflict.
Create a Workflow for Feedback and Suggestions
While you’re at it, make sure your organization has a workable system for providing feedback and suggestions. Online forms can be terrific for this, and there are ways you can assure anonymity if you want your workforce to be candid with their feedback (which you should). Some companies may use an internal social network, and this may allow posting and commenting on anonymous feedback and suggestions to allow management to get a better feel for the general zeitgeist. Employees want to know that they are valued and listened to, and a well-designed automated workflow for providing feedback and suggestions is a terrific way to ensure they are.
PerfectForms is forms workflow software that allows you to create workflows that perfectly suit your team’s needs, rather than creating workflows that you have to force your teams to fit into. With PerfectForms, you can incorporate suggestions and ideas easily, and test out workflows with ease before they are officially deployed. Better still, non-technical users can Create Online Forms and workflows with PerfectForms without knowing how to program, due to the easy, drag-and-drop interface. And best of all, you can try PerfectForms for free. It’s as easy as signing up for a trial. Great workflows in a great work environment: PerfectForms helps you make it a reality.