A 2022 State of Digital Maturity study found that approximately 75% of employees working at less mature companies are negatively impacted by inefficient workflows.
The lack of a streamlined workflow not only costs your staff's well-being and motivation but also leaves a gaping hole in your budget. The study shows that an employee wasting two hours daily on repetitive or inefficient tasks costs, on average, $13,345 yearly.
How can you prevent this? Workflow automation software like workstreams.ai increases business productivity, saves time and money, and gives you the confidence that your workforce operates efficiently. Read on to see how you can improve business processes in your company.
4 steps to a streamlined workflow
Simply put, a workflow is the collective, often repeatable, steps you need to take to complete a task or reach a specific outcome. This can be a part of a bigger process or a one-time activity. Efficient workflows ensure that all critical business processes are done well and on time.
You can organize just about any management, supportive, or operational processes into an optimized workflow.
When we talk about streamlined processes, we mean eliminating unnecessary or redundant steps, automating repetitive tasks, and modernizing work to improve business efficiency.
Map the processes and analyze your current workflow
Take your time to map out the aspects that need streamlining to get a clear understanding of their purpose, function, and current effectiveness.
For every business process, identify its critical elements, which include:
The people, teams, systems, or tools (anything from project management software to instant messaging apps) that impact the work processes and workflows
The individual steps and activities that lead you toward the desired result
The information and resources that are necessary to execute each business process
The trigger, action, time, or condition that starts the workflow
The desired outcome
Workflow mapping is easier with workstreams.ai. You can use our tips and templates to make this planning stage easier and clearer than doing it by hand on paper. You'll also be able to prioritize goals and subtasks as you go.
Aligning each department and project to the company’s big picture can make or break a business. Highly aligned organizations grow revenue almost 60% faster and see over 70% more profit than those that struggle to keep everyone in line with the broad goals.
Not to mention, a visual representation of your business processes is just that much more memorable. As it turns out, vision is the #1 sense our brains rely on, according to John Medina, author of Brain Rules.
Identify problems and automation opportunities
Break down each area that requires streamlining into bite-size projects to avoid getting overwhelmed. This will also help you create flexible and manageable agile workflows later on. Some questions to ask yourself when you want to improve internal business procedures are:
Do your current process management technologies help you deliver the expected business outcomes?
Does the workflow produce value or waste?
Does it involve any unnecessary steps or risks that you could avoid?
Is there friction that slows down the process and can be avoided?
Can you improve how your workflow functions with existing tools and resources, or do you need additional systems to help you automate key business processes?
Are some steps costing you more money than would seem reasonable?
Once you answer these questions, you should know which aspects of your existing processes could use some improvements.
At this stage, you can also interview the people closest to each of the various processes you work on. These interactions will help you identify potential obstacles that are hard to see from a distance. Ask questions like:
How do certain activities relate to customer relationship management and client satisfaction?
Does the current workflow improve or diminish the employee experience?
Are there any steps that feel unreasonably time-consuming?
Do you often struggle with delays or tight deadlines?
The answers to these questions should provide enough information to determine what you can improve, eliminate, or redo.
The types of tasks you can streamline with good business process management software are typically:
If you need more help, you can check out our creating a workflow step-by-step guide.
Document the changes you’ll make
However tempting it seems, don't skip this step. Documenting every implemented change ensures that everyone stays on the same page. It makes it easier to stay in line with legal processes, new protocols, and procedures. You'll be especially glad you keep track of everything when it comes to onboarding or employee training.
When done poorly, it can lead to costly errors, breaches in security, lower business productivity, and poor customer engagement or satisfaction.
Test, monitor, and revise if needed
After implementing streamlined business processes, test their effectiveness, ideally with a small team, so that you can make quick adjustments. However, don't delay making the changes company-wide – it's all about continuous process improvement, and inefficiencies are bound to arise regularly.
You must determine the variables you'll measure to track your progress precisely and keep them in line with your company or department.
Here are some examples:
Sales – lead conversion rate, lead cycle time, lost leads, annual contract value
Human resources – employee retention rate, engagement, cost, time to hire
Financial processes – invoice processing time and cost, duplicate payment rate, payment matching
You should get actionable data approximately three to six months after implementation. Collect monthly information about your business operations to see if and how streamlining is helping you consistently achieve ideal outcomes. Remember that workflow optimization is an ongoing process, so don't be discouraged if you don't see the desired results immediately.
Streamlining processes with workstreams.ai
Digital business process management eliminates tons of paperwork – and the confusion that comes with it, not to mention the time and paper waste.
You don't need a different tool for all your work processes. With the right workflow automation software, you'll have everything in one place. workstreams.ai can automate various aspects of your business, from HR to accounting, and even serve as a team management platform.
workstreams.ai co-founder, Roman Roznovsky, describes the tool for streamlining business processes as such:
“workstreams.ai is designed to empower individuals to prioritize, collaborate, and ultimately get things done. It’s more than just a web task board. … It’s a versatile, yet easy-to-use, AI-powered platform that provides a lot of knowledge and insight that can be used cross-departmentally to enhance productivity.”
The workstreams.ai Hiring workflow can serve as recruitment software when set up correctly. Store your candidates' LinkedIn profile, CV, availability, and salary expectations – all in one place. You can also use it to set recruitment stages, organize screenings, and schedule interviews.
Follow each candidate's progress easily and share the database with every team member involved. You can even use labels and custom fields to sort through applications with just a few clicks.
Our digital Marketing Agency workflows let you create processes and workflows for content marketing, ads, product launches, lead management, and anything in between. You can save the ones that work best for future use or get inspired by one of our own campaign management templates from the library.
The visual project overviews can include:
Drafting campaign outlines for approval
Tracking performance and expenses
You can communicate with your entire marketing team from workstreams.ai, or integrate it with Slack and Microsoft Teams to skip emailing and keep everything in real-time.
“Customer satisfaction should be viewed as a strategic company asset that must be optimized, not maximized, and certainly not ignored.”, say HBR's customer experience experts – G. Tomas M. Hult and Forrest V. Morgeson. Handling client feedback, queries, and problems affects numerous aspects of a business's functioning, such as market share, revenue, profitability, client loyalty, and overall success.
workstreams.ai can help you manage all your customer support and customer experience tasks from one place. Set up repeatable processes so your team can always provide the same level of service. With the time allocation feature, Kanban boards, and in-app calendar, you can effectively prioritize tasks, manage time, and stay on top of queries, never missing an issue.
Such streamlined communication saves time and makes replying to queries much less overwhelming. It also plays a crucial role in establishing strong customer relationships.
A Feedback Loop workflow can help you standardize the process of giving and receiving feedback. Only roughly 40% of employees say their company asks for their feedback once a year and almost 80% of those surveyed say it's not often enough. We can't stress enough how important providing and receiving feedback is – it reduces burnout and improves employee retention and contentment.
Pre-built, easy-to-fill-in forms, reminders, and a loop encouraging constant improvement within your team will help you achieve more than you thought was possible. Everyone can submit their thoughts and opinions in the same format – your HR department will thank you for it!
Separate procurement software tools aren't necessary for small and medium companies. You can easily keep track of all your business spending with the workstreams.ai Procurement workflow templates for one-time or recurring purchases. Use them to:
Submit sales requests
Track order placements
Organize total payments
Reconcile accounting processes
The workstreams.ai Time-off Requests workflow includes:
Pre-made templates for requesting vacation, sabbatical, and parental leave
Space for all relevant information, such as the duration of the requested leave
Options to track the status of leave requests
With clear insights into your employees' availability, you can always adjust your schedule for maximum efficiency. You'll thank us in the summer and winter holiday seasons.
Department heads who manage multiple accounts love this type of work process automation. With our Account Management workflow, you can:
Align your strategy with company goals
Delegate tasks to your subordinates
Evaluate team members
Track deadlines of multiple projects
Label and color-code tasks for easier filtering and batching
Speed up the client onboarding processes
This will help you stay on top of your workload and your team's productivity and track metrics for wiser, data-driven decisions.
When you take the time to automate processes within your business, you gain improved productivity and communication. Other benefits of streamlining include more free time and budget, clarity and consistency, minimized risks, and reduced boredom from repetitive tasks.
If you're looking for a versatile and user-friendly workflow management solution that will aid you in streamlining business processes effectively, workstreams.ai is the answer. You can customize one of our existing workflows to your liking or create your own workflow from scratch if that's what you prefer.
Sign up to start streamlining your business processes today.
How do you streamline business processes?
Use one of the many workstreams.ai templates for streamlining business processes. You will find different options for marketing, feedback, customer support, or account management in our library. Customize them to fit your needs to save time, promote transparency, and increase productivity.
Why is it important to streamline processes?
A streamlined workflow increases efficiency, reduces waste, and saves time and resources, ultimately improving productivity and profitability. It also enhances consistency and quality in delivering products or services, resulting in better customer satisfaction and competitiveness in the market.
How do you streamline a project?
There are four main steps to streamline a process workflow:
Map and analyze the current approach
Identify opportunities for improvement and automation
Document the planned changes
Test, monitor, and revise to keep improving