Workflow consistency lays a solid foundation for your employees to deliver quality services or products consistently to customers. Promoting or improving consistency within any system results in laying the cornerstone of a great and long-lasting company — this consistency, in turn, helps create, develop, and improve flow through every aspect of your organization.
An organization’s workflow is “comprised of the set of processes it needs to accomplish, the set of people or other resources available to perform those processes, and the interactions among them.”
Clarify the Mission of your Business
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it is imperative to maintain a consistent and concerted effort to focus on your core purpose, values, and principles, which should flow down to the daily operations of conducting business. The consistency which you promote in what you believe, or lack of it, lay the basis and creates the expectations for your employees, clients, and customers.
Consistency in the workflow is way more than just repetition of duties. A mission statement, crafted with sincerity, is a fantastic way to ensure workflow consistency in an organization. Every decision and direction should be guided by the mission statement. It is meant to contain the description of the purpose of the organization as a whole — the purpose, values, and principles of the organization.
Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO, emphasizes the need for companies to stick to their values and be “willing to hire and fire based on them”. What most employees find at most companies is that the mission statements are only PR statements. Little do they know that an organization without a clear mission is more like a ship without a rudder and compass.
Develop Clearly Defined Operational Plans & Policies
When an organization’s objectives have been established, policies provide guidelines on the way they are achieved. You use policies to formally express your organization’s culture and belief system. What you decide as your culture is not as important as expressing them clearly and consistently following them over a long time. Your culture evolves into a habit of some sort for your employees after a while of practicing it.
You set out work standards in your policies that lead to consistent work processes that make work more efficient and services of higher quality. For example, if your employees spend a ton of time manipulating an Excel spreadsheet, why not invest in a software program that offers long-term solutions since Excel can have limitations.
Standardization – which you can do through online forms – simplifies the process of work and combined with automation, you have a high-quality and consistent workflow
But also understand that a good organizational workflow is not simply about improving efficiency. Operational plans and policies direct the team on how to accomplish a goal. A consistent workflow will help accomplish those goals in a timely manner, leading to services and products in compliance with standards of practice.
Consistency in Communication
In a perfect business world, the workflow would be perfectly consistent, employees working together in perfect harmony flowing like a river going the same direction. But you must realize it takes a considerable amount of great consistent communication on a level that every employee can understand to achieve anything close to a perfect consistency in the workflow.
Effective communication promotes consistency within a system.
Slight changes in policies and procedures must be communicated as soon as possible to keep every employee up to date. However, this depends on the industry. An industry such as manufacturing would rely less on good information in comparison to a business delivering healthcare in the service industry. If your business relies heavily on high-quality information, valuable information can be lost with poor communication networks, which results in interruptions in workflow and low-quality service.
Adopt Technology to Improve Communication Channels
When you’re in an industry that relies on information or if you’re constantly changing what’s going on at work, it can be hard for your employees to stay up to date. By using software in the workplace, you can keep everyone on the same page. Proper notification and participation with an agenda to get everyone moving in the same direction. Any information pertinent to their particular needs must be communicated quickly.
Collaborative technology can create new ways for your employees to carry out their work better. They can share knowledge that can be turned into action instantly. Collaboration technologies can also provide direction, so workflows can be optimized consistently to improve quality and increase productivity.
With these technologies workflow can be consistent; working groups will have standardized work plans, with objectives, roles, and tasks laid out in advance. Team members can then use the platform to apportion work, conduct discussions, share updates and the latest information, review checklists and obtain approvals.
Using collaborative technologies in your organization allows you to study how effective the process is and how to constantly make the process better. Adopting technology for your workflow leads to efficiency in the organization’s system, thereby resulting in higher productivity and quality service.
Keep these tips in mind if you’re trying to improve the workflow consistency of your business. It may take some getting used to it, but it is extremely beneficial for the future of your company.
**About the Author: Evelyn Lopez is an SEO specialist and link building strategist with Webris.