How Workflow Efficiency Impacts Business Growth
January 15, 2020
By Adrian johnstone
A workflow is a formalized sequence of processes through which a piece of work passes from beginning to end. They help to streamline and automate repetitive tasks and increase the overall efficiency of an organization, team or individual worker.
Currently, 96% of global companies have some kind of process documentation, but only 4% actively measure and manage their documented processes. Though documentation is the first step toward greater productivity, it isn’t the only factor. Measuring and managing processes can help stakeholders identify new opportunities and create greater efficiency over time.
Your workflows have a direct impact on your business
Developing effective business workflows can be highly rewarding, but it’s challenging work. Business stakeholders need to develop processes that will make workers more efficient and less prone to mistakes today, but they must also be flexible enough to scale as the organization’s needs grow and evolve.
Before deciding how to establish and maintain your advisory firm’s workflows, consider each of the ways workflows help you achieve your mission:
Gain visibility into your business processes
Documented workflows give you the ability to visualize a complete set of business processes. Rather than looking at each task out of context, your workflows provide you with deeper insights into how each stage affects others.
This way, you can view your processes from a big-picture perspective. For instance, if your driving goal is to increase profits, you analyze your workflows for costly inefficiencies.
When you can see how each team member’s responsibility impacts everyone else’s work, you’ll better understand how the roles within your firm interact with one another. This may give you insights into how to improve collaboration. The more business intelligence you gain, the better prepared you’ll be to make process adjustments.
Eliminate redundant and unnecessary work
Redundancies can crop up in any complex organization. When you have multiple stakeholders working toward the same goals, gaps in communication can cause them to repeat unnecessary work. You may not realize where your processes are redundant until you’ve had the opportunity to review your workflows at the macro level.
Eliminating redundant tasks adds immediate value to your organization. Time previously spent on unnecessary work can be reinvested in other value-add tasks. The more useless tasks you remove, the better your teams perform.
Increase employee autonomy
Workflow oversight provides managers with peace of mind while also giving workers more autonomy over their daily tasks. Workflow automation increases this benefit by providing built-in compliance standards.
For example, if managers need to micromanage their workers and double check their work for accuracy, they’ll end up spending a lot of time on those tasks, to the detriment of their other responsibilities. However, if an automated system can audit workflows, managers can focus their time on growth-oriented tasks. Meanwhile, workers can manage themselves and focus on their unique responsibilities.
When you add workflow analytics to the mix, this benefit increases. Managers can quickly view analytics reports and make process adjustments based on real data. Over time, continuous improvement will help everyone become more efficient and accurate.
Improve collaboration within teams
As internal processes become more complex, the chances of disagreements between team members increases. For example, two stakeholders may have different opinions on how to adapt workflows to improve productivity and efficiency. Analytics solutions allow everyone to review real data to enact changes that are most likely to benefit the whole company.
Workflow documentation and automation helps to solve process disagreements by providing an accurate source of truth. Managers can see and identify inefficiencies at a glance, allowing them to settle disputes and make judgment calls quickly.
With everyone on the same page, communication improves. This means everyone can get their work done more easily and with less conflict.
Enhance your client experience
The productivity and efficiency of your teams are directly tied to client satisfaction. Advisors must closely collaborate with their clients to achieve their financial goals. In other words, no workflow is entirely internal.
When you improve efficiency throughout your organization, you can speed up client response times and spend more time helping clients solve their problems. In addition, you can more quickly address complaints and provide better client service.
Having a response plan in place for client questions and concerns ensures you answer inquiries in a timely manner. A better client experience means you’ll retain more clients and grow at a faster rate. After all, it takes more resources to gain a new client than it does to maintain an existing one.
Discover new opportunities
Automated workflows help you save time, which you can invest in building better client relationships. The risk of human error will be reduced, too, allowing you focus more of your energy on growing your firm rather than putting out fires or micromanaging your employees.
In addition, advisory firms are subjected to greater regulatory scrutiny than some other types of businesses. By working with customer relationship management (CRM) software with built-in compliance reporting, you can be more certain your processes are effective.
Make improvements faster with workflow analytics
Workflow automation makes it easier to manage tasks, important dates and compliance commitments. By moving beyond traditional CRM software, you can design and control every process that is essential to your business. And when you have the power to do this from a central location, you can put greater trust in your team.
In addition, powerful workflow analytics can help you understand how well your business functions. With comprehensive workflow reports, you can easily see opportunities for improvement so you can focus your energy on growth.
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