Distractions and tedium are some of the largest worker demotivators and time wasters. Though most are not able to articulate it, their stress through lack of efficiency, error-prone manual process, and duplication puts them in a mindset of the kind of vigilance that wears people out.
If your workplace is busy for the sake of being busy, putting one fire out after another, and cranky over lost or missing and wrong information, with team members at odds with one another over incomplete follow ups and things falling through the cracks, you need to look at how the culture, efficiency and brand of your business is failing to live up to its potential.
There are four key areas you're going to benefit from that every business must realize has enormous impact on growth, profit and success : Employee Engagement, Streamlined Communications, Accountability, and Scale.
Once you start to work through your workflow process analysis with a critical eye, and start to rebuild it with fewer humans at the helm you get a new perspective that will open your eyes to building your brand, growing profits, and expanding operations – doesn't that sound more fun than putting out fires and duct taping a frayed workplace culture?
Start with establishing what is high level "meaning-based" work, and what is low level "repetition-based" work. A simple benchmark to consider is whether a task requires interpretation or problem solving before moving forward. If the answer is no, then it's likely a low level task that could be automated.
It can be a powerful realization, breaking out meaning-based work for your staff. It leads you to consider your team as a constant source of value rather than grinding out linear repetition. Once you see your staff in this light, they become part of the larger brand growth in your mind. Even the most junior staff, with the right training and systems in place, become brand ambassadors by living the meaning-based contribution to your daily operations.
When you streamline your communications both internally and externally, you're putting the power of the moment into your team, your management and your customers at the right time. Managing by email is so often a go-to simply because it's the de facto grunt work tool everyone has. Problem is, it's a terrible, context-less, collaborative nightmare waiting to skid off the runway at a moment's notice. With the right CRM, accounts management, invoicing, and projects management tools, you put the message, accountability and timing delegation in the power of your people and customers.
While delegation is a key element of efficiency here, it's also empowering for your staff and customers to feel that they have the tools at their fingertips at the right time, in the moment to get their job done. Examples of automated communications can include :
- Welcome messages for customers
- Educational familiarity/tutorial drip campaigns for customers
- Automated invoices for renewals to customers and sales staff
- Reminders for unpaid invoices to customers
- Task due reminders for staff
- Subscription account reminders to customers
- Batch completion notification to everyone
- Sales/CRM communication reminder to salespeople
- Product availability notification for customers
- Real time product availability across stores for staff
It's clear that this list could go on forever. The most important thing is that this isn't just your team, your management, or your customers that feel more connected when information is at their fingertips. It's everyone. 24/7.
When we engage our team, we empower them, we trust them, and with that trust there is accountability. Where automation provides just in time accessibility to information, it also delegates the responsibility and expectation that the responsible person or people act accordingly. With that expectation there are checks and balances in place to transparently share and see the expectations put on us and our team and customers – all stakeholders, so that we can collectively deliver the product or service on time and to expectation.
This is where accountability and empowerment come together. Your culture embraces the challenge, the responsibility and being part of the team effort to get the job done.
With your automation in place your workflow moves in multiple streams. You can address bottlenecks at the individual level and the departmental level and continue to find new optimal flows to further improve. The key at this stage is that you're moving to the proverbial "next level". You're at the point where your team and your customers have, at their fingertips, what they need to get their jobs done regardless of where they are or what time of day it is.
This is a powerful transformation for you. It moves your business processes from a linear queue to a non-linear parallel flow – all organized, accountable, and tracked. Your team culture is more at ease, and your customers feel like they engage with you to easily and clearly get what they need at any time.
Now ... you're ready to grow.