Increasing employee efficiency leads to greater levels of output with the same amount of resources. This is a key factor in achieving workplace goals and results, helping businesses to reduce unnecessary efforts and therefore expenditure. It's important for employers to focus on helping their employees work smarter, not harder.
But how do you achieve this? Examining workflow performance helps to identify trends and processes that can be improved upon to ensure internal processes are optimised. When considering workflow analytics, keep the main objective of each process in mind to help eliminate or automate manual tasks and achieve long term benefits for your business.
What Are Workflows?
Workflows refer to the procedure used to accomplish repeatable objectives. Essentially, they’re a series of tasks that are run through sequentially every time that objective needs to be reached.
They are often presented in graphic form by business analysts as opposed to a list of all the steps involved. The creation and documentation of those diagrams can typically be performed by workflow management software, based upon the textual inputs that are made by users.
This graphic representation makes it easier for people to visualise business processes, which in turn makes it a much simpler endeavour to analyse workflows and identify improvements. Such software also grants the ability to have the entire workflow tracked from start to finish.
What Do Workflow Analytics Tell You?
The purpose of workflow analytics is to identify areas of an organisation’s workflow such as processes or tasks that are redundant, in addition to workflow bottlenecks and workplace layouts that are inefficient.
The improvement of workflows enables organisations to make more efficient use of its resources, particularly in regards to processes where work gets handed off from one team to another. This can result in bottleneck situations where a team is slowed down while waiting for work to be passed on from another team.
Likewise, workflow analytics can also help to identify scenarios where workers are spending time performing tasks that aren’t actually necessary. This can be the case with established processes that have to go through a number of different steps in order to reach completion. If businesses are able to successfully eliminate redundant processes, employees can focus on outcomes and spend their time more productively.
How Does Analytics Help with Workflow Efficiency?
The analysis of business workflows is of crucial importance in increasing the efficiency of organisational processes, making the completion of each task less costly. Even the smallest of improvements to the overall efficiency of a process can ultimately add up to a lot of money being saved when that process has to be performed many times by an organisation.
For example, given that some manual and redundant tasks can often be eliminated entirely, or at least automated, organisations could benefit significantly from identifying these tasks and adjusting processes accordingly.
Reports that no one actually reads are a classic example of this that can take up hours of preparation. Often this happens because the reason the reports were initially required is now non-existent, but the procedure requiring the generation of such a report is still in the workflow.
There are also many other benefits of efficient workflows including shorter lead times for clients. Being able to achieve an outcome at a much faster rate can also be very motivating for employees in regards to improving their own performances.
Simpler workflows also make it a lot easier to onboard and train new additions to the company, particularly those who will be working remotely.
The Steps of Workflow Analytics
Complete analysis of all workflows should be conducted, even if some of the resulting improvements are expected to have a much bigger impact than is the case with others.
The tasks that should be prioritised are the core ones responsible for revenue generation for the business, with analysis of support functions to be completed after.
The order that tasks should be analysed will vary from business to business. Businesses should think about what their organisation does, how and why it does this, and what the function of each department in the company is.
The identification of an organisation’s core tasks from start to completion of the revenue generation process can vary depending on sectors or industries, with some businesses focusing more on production and others focusing on sales as the first step.
Every step in the workflow needs to be identified and thoroughly documented. It is in this particular stage that a seemingly trivial step can be identified as the cause of larger problems for the overall efficiency of your workflow.
Look at each step in the workflow and ask if it is actually necessary to perform in order to complete the overall objective. If this question seems oddly difficult to answer, the step may well be unnecessary and only wasting your resources.
Almost all workflows go through different departments, so knowing what those departments actually do is of vital importance.
Ready to Improve Workflow Efficiency?
Now that workflow inefficiencies have been identified through analytics, improving efficiency is the next step. To gain a better understanding of the steps involved in selecting and developing a workflow solution, read more about this checklist for forms. It’s particularly crucial for your business to continually optimise workflows to ensure a greater focus on outcomes and increased levels of productivity.