Businesses change and grow over time. Working toward a culture of continual process improvement can help ensure we are serving our clients and our employees well. But where do you start with process improvement?
Often the best people to provide feedback on the day-to-day processes are those who live them daily: our employees. Our goal should be to create opportunities for regular, continual feedback rather than thinking of process improvement as a one-time project that gets checked off the list. Aim to create a culture where employees are empowered to share ideas and where continual improvement is expected and encouraged.
This might look like regular one-on-one conversations with each employee that focus on bettering their work experience and the final product delivered to the client. It might also mean some small group discussions around similar topics. Ask them where they see holes in the process or room for improvement. If they were to redesign or reimagine their workflow and process, what would that look like?
Having these open conversations about process improvement sometimes mean critique of existing processes that you as the business owner or manager created. Remember that sometimes we implement things based on the knowledge or the capabilities we have as an organization at the time. They likely worked well when first implemented, but they may not be serving your business now. Part of building a culture where employees are empowered to offer suggestions is being receptive to those suggestions.
After hearing the feedback, it’s important to act on the suggestions or empower the employees to create the new processes discussed. That’s the key to really engaging employees and getting their buy-in on the changes. If you continually dismiss the ideas, whether it’s because the business does not want to change or because some ideas have failed in the past, your top employees are likely to disengage or move on to another position. Our goal is for the employees to be a valued part of the team and to have a voice in process improvements. That means hearing their ideas and allowing them to implement some changes.
Engaging employees in process improvements is best accomplished through building a culture where employees are encouraged to offer ideas and know that their ideas will be heard and acted upon. Creating that culture consistently over time leads to much better outcomes than approaching process improvement as a one-time group project.
If you need help creating a culture that engages employees in process improvements, reach out to us at WhyHR to start a conversation.