Investing money and time in a workflow solution holds the promise of significant value. However, if you have not utilized a workflow software solution in the past, you may be asking yourself: What benefits should I expect to gain from a workflow solution, and how can I make the right investment and deliver ROI? To help you think about this, in this series of blogs we’ll discuss five things you should consider. First up, increasing employee morale
While most lead with efficiency gains expected from workflow automation, we are going to bypass that in favor of outcomes that may be a surprise to some. Certainly, efficiency is an important part of the workflow equation; however, in most organizations, the most valuable and costly component is the organization’s people. Analysts that cover human performance have produced mountains of research showing that companies that outperform their competition regularly invest in their staff by providing training, incentives, career enhancement opportunities and competitive benefits. Yet, some who do all of these things well still struggle to achieve high levels of employee engagement. While their efforts are largely focused on retention and avoiding the costs of turnover, the best companies are tailoring their efforts toward morale. Their attention is turned to the day-to-day experience of their staff. They ask questions like: Are the tools they use easy? Are they effective? Do the tools increase morale or cause frustration?
Recent research on employee experience ties employee morale and engagement to productivity. This will come as a surprise to some managers, and confirmation to others: Your employees want to be productive. When they feel their work experience enables that, they are less likely to leave, and more likely to deliver great customer experiences.
In a recent discussion, an equipment manufacturing salesperson shared his frustration with an ERP system that required navigation through six different screens via complex menus just to print a quote that he could already see on his screen. This is the story he would tell whenever anyone asked him, “how’s work?” His frustration was always top of mind. I am sure you can hear stories like this in the voice of someone you know. It demonstrates a common situation with tools that generate functional deficiencies, effectively creating employee agitation. Is navigating through six different screens hard? Not really, but modern workers want an “easy button.” They expect something efficient so that they can spend time on meaningful activities, like calling a client to discuss a quote leading to success. But deeper than this, they also want the system to show them the next and most meaningful thing they should accomplish so that they can compound their personal success. They don’t want to spend time sifting through emails, stacks of paper, or anything else in order to figure out what they should do next. They want to get to going on that next thing with visible forward progress, and to know that others can see it as well.
Your workflow solution should provide your staff everyday benefits, including:
- Intuitive, easy-to-use work management tools such as dashboards and customizable task lists.
- Simple, highly visible work prioritization that promotes goal alignment.
- Tools that translate creativity into business impact.
- Reduction of time spent on lower-level repetitive tasks to free the employee up to focus on the higher-level activities that hold more value for the company, and are also typically more rewarding to the employee.
- Robust interdepartmental collaboration.
Next up, we’ll talk about how workflow solutions can enhance customer experience.
This post originally appeared on WorkflowOTG.com. Looking for more information on workflow, business process optimization and digital transformation? Be sure to check out Workflow magazine and subscribe to Workflow eReport.