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Process improvement ideas: The ultimate wishlist

Process improvement ideas: The ultimate wishlist

October 4, 2021

If you’ve been in the business game for a while, you know that great processes are the key to success — and quality process improvement ideas can help make them even better.

But with only 4% of companies currently measuring and managing their processes efficiently, it’s clear there’s major room for improvement.

Get it right, and the benefits are huge. In fact, business leaders agree that addressing process issues could yield a 36% increase in revenue, 30% cost savings, and a 23% decrease in business risk.

Pretty cool, right?

So, what’s the best way to approach process creation? How can you make sure your teams actually use company documentation? And what key process improvement ideas can take your systems from good to great?

We’ve compiled the ultimate process wishlist to help create systems your teams will love. Plus, a couple of our favorite documentation pros share their thoughts on how to build killer processes.

Check it out!

Process improvement ideas: The ultimate wishlist

  • #1. A fool-proof writing strategy
  • #2. Simplicity
  • #3. Employee involvement
  • #4. Continuous improvement
  • #5. Transparency with employees and customers
  • Grow your biz with the ultimate process improvement ideas
Ready to build the ultimate processes? Get in touch for a free Whale demo today!
Lists are a form of power

Wishlist item #1: A fool-proof writing strategy

As President at Hurley Write, Pam Hurley knows a thing or two about how to create killer documentation.

And for Pam, there’s one process improvement idea that beats the rest: A fool-proof writing strategy.

“A lot of companies make two mistakes when creating processes: 1) They task the person(s) who do the tasks with creating them (and they may not know the secret to writing effective processes). Or 2) They task a writer to write the process (and they may not be familiar with the process),” says Pam.

Diving into process creation before you know how to either run or write a process can set you on the wrong path from day one.

Luckily, Pam has the answer.

“Everyone can learn to learn to write effective processes but, as with all writing, there must be a strategy in place to do so,” she says.

For Pam, the reason a writing strategy is so important comes down to employees’ ability to understand the process.

“Whether an employee uses a process all comes down to the writing — in other words, employees won't use processes that are hard to follow and/or difficult to read and understand,” she says.

“You can't encourage employees to use processes that aren't well-written or usable.” — Pam Hurley, President, Hurley Write

But creating a great SOP isn’t just about the words you use. It’s the whole package that counts.

“The writer should also understand how to use graphics, voice, sentence structure and white space to create usable processes,” says Pam.

Wishlist item #2: Simplicity

When it comes to great process improvement ideas, Benjamin Lander founder of Asamby Consulting takes business to the next level.

His consulting company helps set up operations for companies across the globe — and the one thing Benjamin believes paves the way for streamlined ops is simplicity.

“The #1 thing I like to see in quality processes is simplicity. A process needs to be simple enough to be easy to execute and take work off the teams' plates. Overly complex processes are often (not always) a sign that there's still room for improvement,” he says.

With 84% of employees planning to stay longer in companies that provide a simple workplace and 95% more likely to trust their company’s leadership, it’s clear simple processes are win-win.

Wishlist item #3: Employee involvement

That’s not all Benjamin has to say about creating and improving quality processes.

For him, encouraging employees to actually use documentation is just as important as keeping them simple. Now that’s a process improvement idea we can get on board with. 👌

Here are Benjamin’s top tips to engage employees with your processes:

  • “Involve employees in process creation/ documentation right from the start: This will increase ownership and prevent the ‘not-invented-here-syndrome’. If people have a say in how work should be performed, they're much more likely to adopt the process.
  • Use the right tools for the use-case: Documentation of processes is great in an onboarding process or at the roll-out of processes. For other processes, a workflow is the better solution. The key is to find the right way of documentation and the right level of simplicity to make things as clear as necessary but as easy to consume as possible.
  • Sell employees of the idea of processes and continuous improvement: First, make sure the team understands that it's not about telling them how to do every little thing, but that every world-class operation uses processes to ensure repeatable high-quality outcomes. Second, establish a continuous improvement process that gives teams the space to address process issues, so they realize that by using the process as it is today, they actually have the opportunity to form it for the future,” says Benjamin.
“Make things as clear as necessary but as easy to consume as possible.” — Benjamin Lander, Founder, Asamby Consulting

Wishlist item #4: Continuous improvement

Thanks to our documentation experts, you know you need to understand how to write a process, keep it simple, and get employees onside.

But it’s the continuous improvement of your processes that has the biggest impact on your ROI.

Here’s how to keep your processes relevant and employees engaged, no matter where you are in your documentation journey:

  • Designate some time every month to discuss process improvement ideas, and ask your teams to contribute for extra creative input.
  • Delegate processes to subject matter experts within your teams, so the people in the know are involved in regular updates.
  • Send subject matter experts regular update reminders.
  • Create a to-do list for updates and improvements. For example, ‘Documentation should be scanned during each update for anything that takes too much time/resources,’ or ‘Simplify any dense jargon’.
  • Share updates with on-the-ground employees who actually use the process, so every update is noted and used.
“Not a day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere.” Masaaki Imai, Organizational Theorist and Management Consultant

Wishlist item #5: Transparency with employees and customers

From explaining how you plan to build a process, to owning any errors, transparency is the name of the game here.

Because the more employees understand about process creation and improvement, the more likely they are to engage with it.

And it’s not just about your employees.

86% of consumers say transparency from businesses is more important than ever before, while 58% want brands to become more transparent and honest about their processes and products.

In other words, if you can share your processes and own your mistakes, your brand is guaranteed to grow.

🐳 Whale Deep Dive: How clothing brand Patagonia shines a light on its supply chains

For outerwear clothing company Patagonia, transparency is key to great business and great impact. The company highlights exactly what goes on in their supply chain to build trust with employees and consumers, and motivate themselves to do better.

Through their ‘Footprint’ project, employees and customers can check in with a 360-degree view on how and where each product is made. And if part of the process needs improvement? Patagonia owns it and asks for suggestions.

Now that’s what we call a proactive process improvement idea. 💪

Grow your biz with the ultimate process improvement ideas

Every business pro knows it takes time to build great processes — and the more process improvement ideas you use, the more likely your business is to succeed.

From building a fool-proof writing strategy, to making sure your employees are involved throughout, this process wishlist is a great starting point to create killer systems your teams will love.

With a great plan and an eye on improvement, your processes are guaranteed to help improve your bottom line from day one.

Ready to create A++ processes your teams will love? Get in touch for a free Whale demo today!


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