If you have successful business processes already in place, congratulations! That’s a great first step! Yet there are still benefits to be realized by increasing their efficiency. Improved productivity is obvious; you can do more work faster, but what about other benefits?
Streamlining your processes can:
- Encourage a culture of improvement.
- Free up resources.
- Increase profitability.
- Improve customer happiness.
Better processes can even enhance employee morale by reducing frustration and time spent on tedious tasks!
In today’s video, ProcessDriven CEO Layla Pomper outlines five ways small business owners can increase process efficiency and reap the rewards of a more efficient workflow.
Tactics for Process Improvement
Layla recommends adding these five tactics to your process toolbox:
1. Bigger Batches (timestamp 01:00)
Batching refers to taking tasks you already do and doing them in greater quantities in one sitting.
Some examples of batching include sending five pitch emails in one day rather than one per day for five days, creating two pieces of content in one session every other week instead of one per week, or submitting two weeks’ worth of reimbursement requests at once rather than one by one as they arise.
Batching increases productivity and reduces procrastination and distractions by allowing you to focus on one task without continually reestablishing concentration. Schedule mentally challenging batches during your peak energy times and save more mundane, low-value tasks for when you have reduced energy, like that mid-afternoon slump.
2. Fewer Batons (timestamp 04:40)
“Fewer batons” means reducing the number of people involved in a process. If you have one person drafting a blog, another proofreading, and a third person scheduling and formatting it, there are more opportunities for that baton (the blog) to drop. Think skipped steps, miscommunication, or redundant work.
In this case, it may make more sense to have the blog editor schedule the post once approved, reducing one hand-off and the need for a third person.
A fancy word for this is disintermediation, and you see it in supply chains where a manufacturer sells direct to consumers rather than through a wholesaler or retail outlet. Same principle! Disintermediation doesn’t work for every process, but sometimes it makes sense to reduce the number of people involved in approvals, sales, or other operational procedures.
3. Specialization (timestamp 07:40)
There are some instances where the opposite is true – rather than eliminating a hand-off, integrating a specialist to oversee a leg of the process will be more efficient.
It’s not uncommon to see many job roles combined into a single position, especially in marketing. You may have one person in charge of writing and editing blog and social media posts, creating graphics, and scheduling content. They may also be tasked with editing videos, handling SEO, and doing A/B testing of paid ads. Phew!
But what if that one person is super-efficient and excellent at only a few of those tasks? They might be awesome at writing and editing, but graphics and video aren’t really in their wheelhouse. In this case, these tasks will take longer and produce lower quality results than if we hired a second person to take on the graphic design and video work. The increased efficiency and effectiveness outweigh the cost of the specialist.
4. Silent Approval (timestamp 10:05)
I think we’ve all been in a position where we’ve sent something off for approval from either a manager or client, and it disappeared into the void. We’re left wondering, “Is it approved? Did they receive it? What happens next?”
Creating an agreement of silent approval can eliminate this wonderous waiting period by establishing a protocol that says, “If no response is received within this time frame, it’s understood that the item is approved.”
If you’re a service provider, this is an excellent clause to work into your contracts for intermediary approvals (i.e., not final approval) and can be a real time saver! Regardless, you should also ensure this is established and transparent in your initial communication asking for approval.
5. Carrots and Sticks (timestamp 12:35)
Carrots and sticks are incentives and penalties that align with our project goals. So, if your primary objective is speed, your carrots and sticks would incentivize or penalize fast versus slow task completion.
In the video, Layla uses our support ticket process as an example. It’s essential that ProcessDriven members receive support help promptly. If the goal for stage one in the process is to reply to a support request within one business day, you might reward the employees who have a 100% response rate that meets that metric — while coaching or addressing the people who fall short of the goal.
Suppose the employee reward is public appreciation or a $5 coffee gift card. Not receiving those things may be enough of a “stick” to get the other team members to try harder. Continued failure might be met with a manager meeting or, in severe cases, a write-up.
These five ways to improve process efficiency can be applied to many different situations and business types. Employees and managers should always be on the lookout for ways to optimize and refine their workflows. Just as your organization evolves, so should your processes!
If you enjoyed this video and want to learn more about business processes, workflow, efficiency, and work productivity, visit our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button. Join the conversation in the comments and let us know what worked (or didn’t) for you!
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Until next time, enjoy the process!
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