Process change, or process improvement, is where businesses reflect on current ways of working to adapt their approach to increase speed, efficiency and reliability of existing processes. We’ve worked with businesses across a variety of sectors and know that, in most cases, this is much easier said than done.
1. Understand the change journey
Many decision makers are focused on the outcome and delivery of change journeys. However, it can be easy to overlook the way that the ‘nuts and bolts’ of ways of working can greatly impact change.
By understanding the ins and outs of policies, processes and procedures, leaders of the change journey (regardless of sector) can ensure consistency, clarity and compliance. This will in turn help with employee buy-in. It will also reduce the risk of friction within the workforce when amending or introducing new processes.
2. Inspire team confidence
Learning new ways of working can be a daunting prospect. Similarly, this is particularly the case for those who have worked in the business for a vast amount of time. Procedural changes will impact workers on a day-to-day basis. This is especially true when improving digital systems or switching up the way the workforce has been modelled.
To best ensure that the adoption of the new processes is handled as smoothly as possible, it’s important for business leaders to take steps towards ensuring that workers are comfortable and confident with the changes.
This can be ensured through clear communication at every step of the journey. It’s also important that relevant team members receive the necessary training before the changes are due to ‘go live’. And don’t forget to celebrate positive outcomes to ensure employees don’t revert back to old practices.
3. Consider the benefits of process change
The core of a successful project is being clear on what needs to be achieved, and why and how this will be done. Establishing these points of reasoning and ensuring that these are communicated consistently throughout the journey is essential.
Identify the correct pain points within current ways of working and then deliver on tackling these. By doing so, it’s likely that businesses will see a return on investment. This will include the retention of staff and more efficient working practices, encouraging a higher staff morale and performance.
4. Carefully considered and clear communication
By considering communication techniques, business leaders are more likely to inspire staff advocacy (see point two). The best way to achieve this is by being clear about who the key members of staff are that will support new ways of working and the integration of new systems.
Keeping communication open from the beginning makes it much easier to implement changes across teams. This can be achieved through consistent staff updates, either in person or via emails or letters. Similarly, provide training where required and hold sessions where staff members feel as though they are able to express concerns or ask questions.
5. Remember: change is continuous
Successful businesses must be able to adapt in order to succeed. Ensuring that there are enough resources available to maintain an element of flexibility in business processes is highly recommended. Remaining competitive means that businesses must be responsive to their market environments.
By ensuring that process improvement is embedded into the culture of a business, decision makers are able to create an environment that is able to efficiently achieve new strategic goals and potentially drive down overall costs.
Businesses must always remain flexible in the face of an ever-changing financial landscape. By implementing new processes that can adapt to both external and internal influences, decision makers are able to best protect organisations. Correctly managed process improvement projects can support business change, from compliance and regulation right through to mergers and acquisitions.