Getting employees to work more effectively is a constant challenge. Whether your staff members are part of a vast government agency or work in a large corporate environment, finding ways to improve efficiency often seems … muddled.
Even though Employee A could work faster, she’s always waiting on Supervisor B, but he has to get approval from Department C, and so on. Situations like these often leave you wondering how you could ever improve employee effectiveness without starting from scratch.
The key is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. You do this through process mapping.
Process mapping begins by gathering everyone involved in the process (from high-level managers to front-line personnel) and defining every step in executing that process. A process map then takes those steps, implements any improvements and diagrams everything visually.
While process mapping helps with any number of other functions, such as compliance, resource allocation and agency or business process improvement, the exercise also improves employee effectiveness. Here’s how:
1. Involvement And Morale
Involving every relevant staff member in the process mapping exercise empowers employees in a way they may have never felt before. It’s a uniquely human characteristic: People experience improved camaraderie when physically present.
Virtual communication can’t match the immediacy of physical human presence, so an in-person meeting is more effective. Plus, during the process mapping exercise, team members collaborate more easily and don’t feel as if they are facing the problem alone.
You also improve morale by showing that this frustrating, complex process is being handled and that each employee has a part in the solution. In addition, when you meet physically, you get immediate feedback – communicating to employees that they are, in fact, being heard.
2. Big Picture Communication
Agency or business process modeling also creates organizational empathy between employees by showing them the big picture. In the process mapping exercise, they understand the confusion and irritation of their fellow staff members, preparing them to collaborate on a solution that betters everyone involved.
With a visual understanding of the entire process, employees also become aware of how their work affects others down the line. Once Associate B grasps that his work habits slow down everyone else, he’s empowered to change those habits because he understands the bigger picture. Your process map shouldn’t just diagram the present process, but it should also identify problems in the process and improve upon them with a new, future map. This enhanced process map empowers individual employees to execute a shared vision, giving each employee specific ownership for new improvements.
3. Best Practice Dissemination
In any large organization – whether government or business – variations in practices constantly accumulate. Production does Job A different than Engineering, who differs from Communications, and so on. At best, your processes vary; at worst, they’re endlessly tangled.
But, data visualization draws attention to these variations, letting you prune the inefficient and propagate the most effective. After your first map is complete, point out who on your team is executing tasks exceptionally well. With everyone present – and a pictorial process map in hand – one person’s great idea becomes the whole organization’s best practice.
The more often you bring your team together for process mapping, the more often they learn these creative and efficient solutions from one another. Instead of you delegating down best practices that may or may not work, employees learn from their peers and only implement effective habits that have already been proven to succeed.
Improving employee effectiveness in your agency or business doesn’t have to be a battle against jumbled workflows and poor processes. Instead, execute a process mapping exercise with your staff members to identify bottlenecks and highlight best practices. After your process map is diagrammed, your team understands the bigger picture of your organization’s core functions and they work more effectively to make those processes happen.
Looking for more data visualization and process improvement ideas? Click on the button below to download a free guide from Big Sky Associates on turning your abstract data and numbers into concrete success.