Now that you have your Purpose clarified, and the right People in the right places, how do you go about supporting your people more fully?

The first thing that comes into most people’s minds at that question is training! And yes, training your people to do the functions of their jobs is critical (if you want to keep them that is). Over 40% of employees who are not effectively trained in their job functions leave the organization in the first year of their employment. So yes, training is very important (and the topic of future posts).

But what about the design of the job you’ve asked them to do? Has the job been designed thoughtfully to provide efficient and logical processes? Are the processes and procedures clearly defined and regularly refined?

Take, for example, the new membership setup process at a local gym. All the new member’s information is entered into the main database, and then re-entered into the program that prints their new ID and then RE-entered again into the security system to activate their 24/7 access to the building to work out. Imagine how excited (not) the front desk staff will be when you run a new membership special this Spring and announce your goal of adding 250 new members in 5 days! This is just one example of a myriad of inefficient internal and customer-facing processes we subject our people to every day.

Sometimes inefficiencies are glaringly obvious, like the example above. However, oftentimes the inefficiencies are hidden because everyone has just gotten used to doing things the inefficient way (or worse yet, found shortcuts that may or may not support your company’s desired end result).

Process mapping is one way to really begin to understand where redundancies, unnecessary steps and bottlenecks occur. It is a systematic way to visualize processes, from the very simple to the highly complex. This exercise can be done internally, but we’ve found it to be more impactful when it’s completed with an outside party that is not familiar with the process and can ask the difficult questions—especially “Why? Why do you do it this way? Why is this step necessary? What happens if you don’t do it this way? How do you verify it is done? How do you communicate the process to different departments?”

Developing a habit of continuous process improvement will help your company be more productive, efficient and resilient. When your company has a culture of continually looking for ways to hone existing processes, you are better able to respond to unexpected external influences that might require you to change a process to be complaint with a new regulation or provide a better product to a customer.

Next time, we’ll delve into how you can begin to assess your company’s processes and find ways to continually improve them.