New business owners often tend to focus on their core business activities and allow non-standard processes to creep into the management their organization or company. Anytime they need something done — be it posting something on social media or calculating the payroll — they rely on an ad-hoc processes.
This approach, while effective for task management, it cannot compete with a good workflow management system. Over time, it can put the company at risk of low customer satisfaction, compliance failures, issues with business operations and more and can bring it down.
Effective and repeatable workflows are essential for a successful business, however small or large they are. For this, organizations need effective workflow management.
Let’s explore eight best practices businesses need for effective workflow management. But before that let’s define workflow management and have a look at its benefits.
What is workflow management?
Workflow is any set of activities to achieve a specific objective. It could be setting up an employee profile in the digital workplace, calculating an employee’s attendance, or adding a new client to a CRM.
Workflow management identifies these activities in an organization, and analyses and organizes them to make them more efficient and reduce the associated risks. Workflow management also aims to standardize workflows across an organization and may use automation and other solutions to streamline them.
Workflow management is similar to process management, but the latter has a larger scope and is about optimizing multiple workflows and activities within a process.
Is workflow management the same as project management?
Workflows are repeatable activities that may or may not be part of a project and are performed regularly throughout the life of an organization. On the other hand, projects are created to achieve a set of objectives and are stopped once they are met.
Workflow management focuses on continuously monitoring activities and workflows to improve them. The focus here is on building robust and standard processes to create workflows. Project management is about delivering the outputs and producing the deliverables according to specifications. Project management usually has a set of goals and a defined set of parameters to achieve them.
What are the benefits of effective workflow management?
Here are eight benefits found in the best workflow management software solutions:
Workflow management software can reduce error
A workflow management system can improve visibility within the organization
A workflow management system can reduce the workload for employees
Workflow management software can improve productivity in the organization
Workflow management systems facilitate better collaboration
Workflow management software can reduce the cost of business
Workflow management software can reduce stress for employees
Workflow management can improve project management tools
1. Workflow management software can reduce error
Ad-hoc processes are prone to errors. These processes may not clearly specify the deliverables or goals and the final output may not be what was expected necessitating reworks and wastage. With the right workflow management system, companies can monitor their activities more closely, optimize and standardize them, and reduce the possibility of errors.
2. A workflow management system can improve visibility within the organization
Without workflow management, managers and stakeholders may struggle to understand the activities in the organization. It will be difficult to identify the tasks different employees are performing and how they are completing them. Workflow management makes the organization more transparent and offers more control and visibility to managers especially with repetitive processes.
3. A workflow management system can reduce workload for employees
Workflow management tools can drastically reduce the amount of manual labor that employees must do. By eliminating tedious tasks such as data entry, document creation and duplication, automating workflows can make it easier for teams to focus their energy on more meaningful tasks.
Automation also allows teams to track activities in real time and spot any potential issues or conflicts quickly. Reducing workflow for employees through automation can lead to increased morale and improved productivity, making businesses more successful.
4. Workflow management software can improve productivity in the organization
With a workflow management system, managers can ensure that their team has all the right tools to do their tasks effectively. The company can understand and mitigate bottlenecks to productivity and make their employees more productive.
Automation reduces manual work and the potential for mistakes, allowing teams to focus their energy on more important tasks. Automated processes also make it easier to track activities in real time, quickly spotting any potential issues or conflicts. Implementing a workflow management solution can lead to improved productivity, increased morale among employees, and an overall boost in business success.
5. Workflow management systems facilitate better collaboration
By standardizing workflows and communication, a workflow management system leaves little room for miscommunications. Both managers and employees can communicate well with each other and collaborate efficiently.
Automated processes make it easier for teams to stay on top of deadlines, quickly sharing any changes to documents or tasks with the rest of the team. By eliminating tedious manual work, teams can focus their energy on more meaningful tasks, such as brainstorming and problem solving. The result is streamlined collaboration and improved communication across the board, leading to better business success.
6. Workflow management software can reduce the cost of business
By avoiding mistakes and reworks, workflow automation can mitigate the wastage of material and human resources. Companies can also avoid fines and penalties, unnecessary downtime, and other costly problems by streamlining their workflows.
7. Workflow management software can reduce stress for employees
When employees don’t have a clear picture of what’s expected of them or if they don’t have standard workflows, they’ll have to create ad-hoc workflows for every task assigned to them. This approach can leave the team prone to errors and can leave the employees stressed out while working on a task. Workflow management tools can reduce this to a large extent.
8. Workflow management can improve project management tools
Automating workflows using project management tools can help streamline operations and increase efficiency. By utilizing workflow automation, businesses can reduce the amount of manual work required to complete projects and eradicate the potential for simple mistakes.
Automation also allows teams to stay on top of tasks faster, allowing them to focus on more important projects and goals. Solutions such as Cadynce provide users with a platform that easily integrates with existing project management software, allowing teams to take advantage of automated processes. Workflow automation can be a powerful tool in improving project management and helping businesses become more productive.
8 Best practices for effective workflow management
1. Set goals for workflow management
Before you implement a workflow management system, it’s important to decide the goals you are trying to achieve with it. As with any change, large-scale workflow transformation may be overwhelming for the change management team as well as the employees.
Once you’ve set the goals for workflow management, the team can make quick decisions to drive those metrics and employees will have a better picture of what they’re supposed to do. It will also be easier to get stakeholder support when you can show clear returns.
2. Collaborate with stakeholders and communicate with teammates
Management and stakeholder support is crucial for the success of any program. To achieve this, the workflow software implementation team must work with managers to understand their expectations and plan the change accordingly. Working with an executive champion can help motivate the rest of the team to adopt workflow management methodology and solutions into their business processes.
When implementing workflow management, it’s important to clearly communicate the goals to the employees and equip them with tools and training to achieve them. The team must carefully listen to their concerns about workflow management and alleviate them to ensure full support from them.
3. Invest in a workflow management software
A workflow management system can help streamline workflows within an organization. It helps managers and employees to understand the workflows and collaborate better. These solutions track workflow status and improve visibility into their organization. Managers can use them to quickly find the source of delays and bottlenecks and make changes accordingly.
It can also help the teams picture their workflows and better understand how they’re connected to each other
4. Automate manual and redundant tasks as much as possible
Modern workflow management software can help teams reduce their manual and repetitive tasks to a large extent. Most of these solutions follow a low-code or no-code approach and anyone within the organization can configure them with little or no training.
Automated workflows can help employees focus on more important tasks and reduce their workload to a large extent. It can also reduce errors and prevent reworks and wastage.
5. Define workflows clearly
Ensure that at every stage, the person tasked with the activity has all the information they need to manage projects and tasks successfully. Employees should be able to use the workflow to finish their activities with little clarification from others. This includes what they’re expected to do, the deliverables, how the task will be measured, and who will be supervising the workflow.
6. Standardize workflows
Workflow management should attempt to remove ad-hoc flows from the organization, particularly if they’re executed repeatedly. Good workflows allow for flexibility but also minimize deviations from routine business processes.
Standard workflows should consider all aspects of the activity; managers should analyze the risks associated with them and design the best workflow management to mitigate them. It should also clearly specify the information and tools necessary to execute the best workflow management ever.
7. Prioritize the steps in a workflow
Some of the steps in a workflow will be absolutely necessary, while some may be good to have, and some others may be a contingency or for very limited situations. By prioritizing these steps, employees can better allocate their time and resources instead of following up on an unimportant step or activity.
8. Audit workflows and iterate them regularly
Regular audits are necessary to keep the workflows updated and effective. Even with the best planning and analysis, it’s tough to get all of the workflows right on the first try. You have to monitor and analyze the workflows regularly to identify inefficiencies and iterate them.
Besides, as the organization changes and the business process evolves, its needs will change and the existing parallel workflows will have to be changed accordingly and the idea of sequential workflows can be introduced.
Common workflow management mistakes
These are some of the most common workflow management mistakes:
Not setting good goals for managing workflow
The goals and metrics you’ve set for implementing workflow software will drive the initiative. It’s a way of communicating to your team what you expect from them. Once you’ve set the metrics, your team will work on driving them up, so the wrong set of goals can completely change the direction of your initiative.
When setting the goals, make sure they don’t just track the progress of implementing the initiative, but also how workflow management contributes to the organization’s bottom line.
Not investing in workflow automation
Workflow automation software is a must for making your organization efficient especially when using legacy systems. Workflow management best practices have evolved a lot in the last decade and currently solutions take advantage of these changes. Automated tasks can improve productivity within the organization and can help reduce costs in the long run.
Without investing in workflow automation, businesses are missing out on key ways to improve their operational efficiency. Automation and process optimization can reduce errors, eliminate manual tasks, and streamline processes for maximum efficiency. This can save time and money, as well as improving customer satisfaction.
Companies that lack automated solutions are likely to experience delays in production which can increase costs and affect customer satisfaction rates. Investing in a workflow automation solution such as Cadynce can help businesses get the most out of their operations by ensuring that tasks are completed quickly and accurately with minimum effort. Neglecting to invest in such technology can put any company at a disadvantage in this ever-changing digital world.
Not monitoring or iterating the workflows
Workflows shouldn’t be created once and set in stone forever. They have to be constantly monitored to ensure that they are functioning as expected. Over time, the company may pivot to a different direction or the organization may acquire new technology that can streamline the workflow even further. In some cases, some aspects of the workflow may take less time as employees get used to it, creating bottlenecks at other points.
Without constantly monitoring and regularly iterating the workflow, the organization cannot completely take advantage of these changes.
Non-standard manual processes
Without properly monitoring and managing workflows, businesses may be overlooking potential problems that can affect their productivity. An inefficient workflow can lead to delays, bottlenecks, and extra costs with little benefit for customers or the business itself.
Companies who neglect to regularly monitor their processes are likely to miss out on opportunities for improvement and optimization. This could lead to inefficiencies that could significantly damage the bottom line. By implementing tools such as Cadynce to monitor workflows, businesses can stay up-to-date on potential issues and actively manage operations. Failing to do so could cause a company’s profits – and customer satisfaction levels – to suffer.
Ad-hoc workflows are unavoidable for one-off tasks, but for repetitive tasks, organizations should have well-defined highly detailed workflows.
Lack of software integration
Organizations often use a multitude of software solutions to execute their workflows. Lacking software integration can create disjointed systems with different applications unable to communicate, resulting in inefficient processes. In today’s digital world, businesses must be able to seamlessly integrate their technology in order to maximize their efficiency and reduce any manual work.
Without integrated solutions, the time spent on tasks such as data entry and manual manipulation of data can increase significantly, leading to delays and potential customer dissatisfaction. Companies should look into solutions such as Cadynce which provide an integrated platform that allows for easy communication between different pieces of software. Not integrating software could lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities.
Check out Cadynce to streamline and automate workflows
Cadynce is a state-of-the-art no-code workflow automation platform proven to accelerate workflows in an organization and get employees on the same page. The solution is designed to empower employees and managers to execute their tasks quickly, efficiently, and effectively. The platform is easy-to-use, supports a wide range of use cases, and offers a wide range of integrations.
Ready to get started? Sign up now and join the workflow automation revolution.