Having a set of standard operational processes in place is essential for any business. It’s what helps your company ensure that necessary work gets done efficiently and effectively. However, in today’s business world, many companies struggle with finding good process acceptance and making sure their processes are executed as desired – especially if they’re not clearly defined, or if there’s a general lack of buy-in from the team(s).
In this blog post, we’ll explore what it takes to help employees follow established processes. From setting clear goals and expectations, to providing the necessary resources and support – these tried & tested measures will help you foster a culture of accountability and drive your business forward. So, if you’re looking to boost your operational productivity and keep your team on track, this blog post is for you!
Why is it important to follow processes?
Processes and procedures are critical for any business that’s interested in achieving its operational goals. This may sound a bit exaggerated – but it’s true. Processes allow you to execute your core business activities consistently, efficiently and in high-quality – while also satisfying customers’ needs, and adhering to important industry standards too. By implementing and enforcing effective process plans, businesses can improve their odds of meeting customer expectations, reducing time-to-market, and ultimately successfully hitting their targets.
In the lack of a proper process structure, however, there are no rules. And this means there will be inconsistencies, mistakes, potential duplication of efforts and overall varying quality in how things are done in the organization.
A defined process blueprint describes the preferred way of executing a business activity – and by doing so, it gives guidance to the people doing the work, leaves less room for error and creates a proven recipe for achieving the desired outcome time and over again.
Why do employees tend not to adhere to processes?
Despite their importance, it’s not uncommon for employees to struggle with following processes and procedures. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but we’re outlining a few of the main ones below:
- Lack of understanding: Employees might not fully understand the process, or might not get the importance or ‘bigger picture’ behind it.
- Insufficient training: If employees aren’t adequately trained on the processes, they might also struggle with following them.
- Poor communication: Not taking the time to properly communicate and introduce employees to the established processes, might also lead to less engagement from the involved parties.
- Resistance to change: Some employees on the other hand might resist changes to established processes in general, especially if they feel that their way of doing things is just as effective.
- Personal habits: In some cases, employees might simply have habits or ways of working that are difficult to break, even if they are not in line with the company procedures.
- Inefficient processes: Another reason why employees do not follow processes might be the fact that processes simply don’t work (even if we know that this may be hard to accept).
How you can help your employees follow processes
To make it easier for your employees to accept and therefore follow (new) processes and procedures, we’ve outlined a few simple measures you can try out. Keep in mind, there will always be people who are unwilling to adapt to new circumstances. But it’s most often the case that teams are actually open to giving new things a try – particularly when they can relate and see the value behind them. So, without further ado, here are a few of our top recommendations that’ve proven successful in our practice:
Clearly define and document your processes
Making sure your processes are transparently documented is one of the most important steps in getting employees to follow them. This means creating step-by-step instructions, as well as any necessary templates, forms, and guidelines. Once created, the documentation should be made accessible to all employees – this is what sets the foundation for its larger buy-in and acceptance.
On top of having the documentation available, you also need to make sure that it’s maintained and kept up-to-date as your practices evolve. Remember: your documentation is only as helpful as it is accurate. In this case, a process management tool can be particularly handy – allowing you to seamlessly adjust and build on your existing documentation over time.
For more insights on process documentation and how to create one effectively, be sure not to miss our blog post on the topic!
Train and support employees
Training is a crucial step for ensuring that your employees understand and consistently follow processes. This includes not only the initial introduction, but also ongoing support for all employees performing the tasks, as needed.
To do this in an effective manner, consider offering in-person training sessions, creating training materials or guides, and setting up a system for employees to ask questions or get help when needed. You can also consider pairing new employees with more experienced ones, for additional support and guidance.
Introduce business process controls (ICS)
If you’re looking to consistently guarantee good process performance in the long-run, we recommend introducing business process controls. They can be an immensely helpful solution in all steps of process execution, giving you assurance that processes are carried out smoothly and effectively.
As with any other implementation, following a structured approach is key to success with business process controls too. Take a look at our 6-step implementation guide and learn how to efficiently introduce process controls in your organization.
In summary, a uniform and consistent way of doing core business activities is the recipe for success for any organization. To enhance efficiency, productivity, and overall operational performance, it is essential to:
- Document and clearly communicate established processes to your employees
- Make their expected contributions transparent
- Foster a culture of accountability and responsibility
- And regularly review/modify your processes to ensure their improvement and accuracy over time.
By implementing these measures, you can help your employees stay focused and work effectively, ultimately leading to improved success and performance within your organization. And most importantly: business process controls can be your biggest ally in this endeavor. Leverage them to ensure seamless execution and optimal performance of your processes at all times.
If you want to learn more about business process controls, how they work and why you should implement them in your organization – be sure to check out our blog post. Or download our compact ICS poster for a quick overview of the key implementation steps and tips, at a glance!