If you look at your current workflow processes, you may feel that your business is on the right track. Projects are relatively organized, and there are no obvious issues that need to be fixed.
Sometimes, however, the biggest problems come from a series of tiny inefficiencies that you may not even realize are there. Add up enough of these tiny inefficiencies, and you can quickly find yourself with a business that is struggling to keep up with the competition.
Fortunately, there are some simple hacks you can use to streamline your employee workflow management and improve your overall efficiency. In this article, we will discuss six of the most effective hacks for doing just that.
Let’s dig in!
What does it mean to streamline employee workflow management?
The workflow of a business is the sequence of tasks that are necessary to complete a goal. For example, your business might create websites. The workflow for this could include tasks such as:
- Researching the best web hosts
- Creating a design brief
- Choosing a color scheme
- Writing the code for the website
- Testing the website on different browsers and devices
- Uploading the website to the host server.
Streamlining employee workflow management means organizing these tasks in a way that makes them more efficient. This can be done in a number of ways, such as using software to help automate tasks, creating templates for common tasks, and training employees on how to best work together.
Why does streamlining matter?
There are a number of reasons why streamlining employee workflow management is important, aside from the obvious goal of completing tasks more efficiently.
- It can help improve employee productivity. When employees know what they need to do and how to do it, they are able to work more quickly and efficiently. This can lead to increased profits for the business.
- It reduces the chances of mistakes being made by employees. This is because tasks are organized in a way that makes them less likely to be missed or done incorrectly.
- Communication between employees is improved, which can lead to a more cohesive team.
- It can help reduce stress levels among employees, as they will be less overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do.
Overwhelmed by the idea of trying to streamline your employee workflow management? These six hacks will make the process a little easier.
Hack 1: Analyze your current processes
This is one of the most critical hacks you can use to streamline your employee workflow management. Without a thorough understanding of what is currently being done well and where improvements can be made, you will not be able to effectively improve the process.
In order to analyze your current processes, it’s helpful to list out each process in detail so that you can see where there are potential choke points. Use a tool like a flowchart to help you visualize the process and identify any areas that need improvement.
You can also:
- Track how much time each task takes to complete.
- Survey employees on their experience with the process.
- Compare your current process to best practices in your industry.
- Meet with department heads to get their input on areas that need improvement.
By taking the time to understand your current processes, you will be able to develop a plan for improvement.
Hack 2: Create a PMO (project management office)
If you have the resources and people power to do so, creating a PMO can be an excellent way to streamline employee workflow management. A PMO is a centralized office or unit within an organization that is specifically responsible for the coordination and management of projects.
The PMO will act as a central hub for all project-related communications, documents, and tasks, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that nothing falls through the cracks. This will help to minimize bottlenecks and delays, and will ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget.
To assemble your PMO, take the following steps:
1. Assign roles and responsibilities
Decide who will be responsible for what within the PMO. This includes assigning a project manager to each project, as well as creating roles for coordinators, administrators, and support staff.
2. Develop standard operating procedures
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are documents that outline how a process is to be carried out. They can vary in complexity, but should always include detailed instructions on how to complete each task related to the project management process. SOPs will help ensure that everyone is following the same guidelines and that tasks are being completed consistently.
3. Create templates and forms
In order to ensure that all project-related information is organized and easy to find, create templates and forms for project documentation. This could include templates for meeting minutes, status reports, time sheets, budget tracking, and more.
4. Establish guidelines for communication
One of the main functions of a PMO is to ensure that communication between team members is effective and efficient. Establish guidelines for how team members should communicate with each other (e.g. via email, telephone, or in person), as well as protocols for handling disagreements or conflicts.
5. Track and report on project progress
The PMO should be responsible for tracking and reporting on the progress of all projects. This includes creating regular status reports, which will help to identify any potential problems or delays early on, so that corrective action can be taken.
6. Maintain project archives
Once a project is completed, the PMO should archive all relevant documents and files so that they can be accessed for future reference.
If you don’t have the resources to create a PMO, consider partnering with a third-party project management consultancy to help you get started.
Hack 3: Use workflow apps
Stuck in the past with pen-and-paper or even email-based systems for tracking employee workflow? It’s time to move on to better solutions!
Workflow apps allow you to create and track tasks electronically, in a way that is convenient for both employees and managers. They can be used on desktop or mobile devices, and are often customizable to fit the specific needs of your company.
Popular workflow apps include Asana, Trello, and Wrike. They allow you to create tasks, track progress, set deadlines, and share files all in one place. This can help reduce email clutter and ensure that everyone is always aware of what needs to be done.
Here are a few of the best workflow apps and what they offer:
- Asana is a popular workflow app that allows you to create and track tasks, set deadlines, and share files.
- Trello uses the kanban method to help you visualize your workflow.
- Jira is a popular workflow app for software developers. It allows you to create tasks, track progress, and set deadlines.
- ClickUp takes a collaborative approach to workflow management, allowing you to create projects and subtasks, track progress, set due dates, and customize the entire system to fit your needs.
If you’re not sure which workflow app is right for your company, do some research and ask around for recommendations. Once you find one that works well for you, be sure to train employees on how to use it effectively.
Hack 4: Upgrade your communication
Good communication is the backbone of a smooth-running workplace. When everyone is on the same page, tasks are completed more quickly and efficiently.
However, many businesses still rely on outdated methods like email and memos to communicate with employees. These tools can be slow and inefficient, leading to confusion and wasted time.
A better option for communication is a workplace messaging app. These apps allow employees to communicate quickly and easily with each other, without the need for email. This can save time and improve productivity.
Other ways to upgrade communication in the workplace include:
- Encouraging employees to ask questions when they don’t understand something
- Holding regular team meetings to update employees on changes and progress
- Creating a company wiki or knowledge base where employees can find information about their tasks and projects
With the right communication tools in place, your workplace can run more smoothly and efficiently.
Hack 5: Implement time tracking software
Many companies track time for payroll reasons, but the metric of time is also an incredible way to measure productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Time tracking software can help managers see which employees are slacking off, which ones are working too hard, and where there might be some inefficiencies in the process.
The data collected by time tracking software can also be used to see how long certain projects take, which tells you how efficient they are and whether they can be streamlined or optimized further.
This assists in boosting employee productivity as they now have tangible goals to aim for — not to mention the profit gains that can be made when tasks are completed more quickly.
There are a number of different time tracking software options on the market, so do your research to find one that best suits the needs of your business. We recommend Day.io which is an intuitive and user-friendly time tracking software that integrates with a variety of other business apps.
Hack 6: Make use of automation
Once you’ve started using software programs for workflow management and time tracking, you’ll need to learn how to make the most of them. Automation is key to getting the most out of these tools — especially if you have a lot of employees working on different tasks.
Automation is essentially the process of using software to do tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. This could include things like automatically inputting data from one program into another, or sending emails based on certain conditions.
The beauty of automation is that it can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to managing employee workflow. For example, if you have a program that can automatically create invoices based on data from your time tracking program, this will save you the hassle of having to input the data manually.
There are a lot of different ways that you can use automation to streamline employee workflow management:
- Automatically create invoices from time tracking data.
- Instantly import data from one program into another.
- Automatically send reminder emails to employees when tasks are due.
- Generate reports based on data from time tracking and workflow management programs.
For smaller tasks, it may seem unnecessary to use automation. However, you’ll be amazed at how quickly these smaller time savings add up, and how much more productive your employees can be when they’re not wasting time on manual tasks.
Ready to streamline employee workflow management for optimal outcomes? By implementing some or all of the hacks above, you can make your team faster, more efficient and better organized.