Business Process Improvement Consulting Insights
4 Steps to Ensure Improved Processes Deliver Expected Benefits
- Business process improvement consulting is all about redesigning repeatable work streams and applying technology automation. The goals are to reduce manual effort and cycle times and increase labor productivity and company profits.
- However, new ways of working come with change and many times that change triggers employee anxiety. It then challenges staff adoption of the new processes and technology. And if staff don't embrace the new work streams, they are destinated to deteriorate until they fail.
- Fortunately, there are four proven steps to gain wide scale and enthusiastic user adoption of new business processes and supporting technologies. These steps are shared below.
Business process improvement is the #1 contributing factor to increased staff productivity. Better ways of working and more automation allow employees to spend less time entering and fixing data and more time using that data to better serve customers and make more informed business decisions.
But as business process improvement consulting experts will advise, there are many reasons staff don't adopt new ways of working or automation – and will instead revert to the old ways or work around a new system. Consider the below 4 steps to ensure that new routines and automation are enthusiastically embraced by employees.
The 4 Steps Used by Business Process Improvement Consulting Specialists
Start with what's most important to staff
Employees adopt new processes or technologies when the pain of same is greater than the pain of change. New ways of working with new or redesigned technology must deliver benefits that exceed the effort.
Put a slightly different way, employees adopt new ways of working when those changes deliver what's most important to them. It's something we often call their performance, productivity and personal goals, or what we sometimes call their WIFFMs (what's in it for me.)
Employee goals are usually role-based. Sales reps want technology that saves them time and helps them exceed quota. Marketers want software that automates digital engagement or campaigns and increases conversions. Contact center agents want automation to resolve customer cases quickly and deliver positive customer experiences.
It's critical to identify precisely what is most important to employees and design the new steps or supporting technology to accomplish those goals.
Simplify, streamline and automate
Business process redesign is an opportunity to improve users lives, gain widespread technology adoption and drive some big cost savings. Multiple studies, including the most recent CRM Benchmark Report, show automation increases staff productivity by 15 to 34 percent. Those cost savings flow right to the bottom-line.
Agile Value Stream mapping is a popular tool among business process improvement consulting specialists. That's in large part because it doesn't just improve the status quo; it measures the value of what you do to eliminate non-valued added steps and activities. It also redefines tasks to be directly mapped to employee and business outcomes.
For customer facing activities, it also assigns customer value to each step and eliminates steps that don't contribute to an outcome. That's important because if your processes don't create value that customers care about or are willing to pay for, it doesn't matter how efficient, fast or cheap they are.
The combination of business process improvement and software automation will ultimately provide your best offense in securing user adoption.
Ensure success with change management
New ways of working bring new roles, responsibilities and control. Many times they bring an actual or perceived loss of control. That's a lot of change, and the problem with change is that it creates anxiety for many staff. And that anxiety negatively impacts employee adoption.
New ways of working will be endorsed by the few imposing the changes but not always so well accepted by the many receiving them. To bridge that difference, a change management program can systemically shift resistant staff from a current state to a defined future state. At the same time it will minimize productivity loss during the transition, create an environment for sustained change, and realize the benefits of change more quickly.
It's important that any business process improvement consultant team with a change agent to align the two programs. Some of the change management events and artifacts that will lower resistance to change and increase employee adoption include a change readiness assessment, communication plan, business impact analysis, learning and development tools, post implementation intermediation measures, and value realization measurements.
You can see in the above journey diagram how change management activities can be systemically rolled out to ensure resistance to change will not delay or derail objectives.
A change management program can be the single greatest tool to determine whether staff adoption is enthusiastic, sluggish or challenged.
Measure and intervene
The path to process and technology adoption is a measurable one. Staff adoption dashboards bring measurability to new ways of working and the realization of benefits.
User generated data is available to measure results and guide continuous improvements.
But recognize that resistance to change will be masked by staff who exhibit motions without results. Therefore, a staff adoption best practice is to measure actions, productivity and outcomes.
You want to know if staff are using the updated processes or technology as prescribed or failing to accomplish intended objectives. These types of metrics can be automated with dashboards that link user roles to transaction activities.
You will inevitably find activity shortcuts or fragmented activities not being linked together. These create opportunities for additional education, training, motivation or other intervention to achieve the realization of planned business benefits.