If I asked you to name the top reasons why employees leave their jobs, what would you say? Aiming for higher pay or a more flexible work environment, you’re working with a horrible boss, poor work life balance. All true and valid reasons. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, over 47 mil persons quit voluntarily. It has been referred to as the Great Resignation. In addition, the country was coming out of Covid which also had something to do with this phenomenon. However, how many of you would guess that poor technology and outdated manual time-consuming processes are another major reason employees leave jobs. A study by Deloitte found that poor technology was the second most cited reason for employees quitting their jobs. Additionally, a survey by McKinsey found that 71% of employees felt that their technology was not up-to-date and that it hindered their productivity. Gone are the days when employers could afford to say, “we will do it this way because that is how we have always done it.“
Before we go any further, let’s define what a business process is and the role technology or software plays in the execution of business processes. A business process is a series of steps that are performed to produce an expected result. It is the way a company does business. The execution of business processes normally uses technology to enable successful execution. Therefore, business processes and technology are beautifully intertwined.
In our last article, we discussed several reasons why business owners fail to acquire and adopt the software they need to enable them to run the business more efficiently. However, it is sometimes simply because they are too busy keeping their businesses afloat or do not know where to start. Does this sound familiar?
According to a global study, process inefficiencies can cost businesses 30% of their annual revenue, and it was discovered that 26% of an employee’s day is wasted on avoidable chores, unnecessary tasks, and outdated processes. More than a third (38%) of employees surveyed said their employer is still reliant on manual processes, and nearly half (48%) said they would be more productive if they had better office technology and tools. Your business processes can either enable you to scale and maximize growth with efficient, productive teams, or it can be the source of dissatisfied customers, financial loss, and even departure of good employees.
We are in a very interesting time today. Social media, proliferation of technology, and a connected global world have made today much different than 20 years prior. Skills and labor shortage are one of a number of big disruptors to business according to CEOs surveyed by Deloitte in 2022. Therefore employers who have good people probably want to keep them. Turnover can be very disruptive, especially for small businesses. At the start of the pandemic, we began to hear terms like “reimagine the work environment”. This can mean a lot of things. Ultimately, organizations want to do a great job of delivering value to customers in line with their goals and make revenue. However, if this can be done while creating a better work experience for employees, who in turn can give a better experience to their customers, then it is a win for everyone.
There are a number of issues that can be improved with better business processes.
Let’s take a look at some common problems that companies face in their operations.
Good communication and collaboration is critical to any well run organization of all sizes. Poor communication due to poor technology can lead to high turnover. In today’s fast-paced business environment, employees need to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively in order to get their work done. Without the proper tools, employees may find themselves spending more time communicating and less time actually working.
For the past 30 years, or so, email and meetings have been a main source of communications. However, today, many have seen how apps like Slack, Teams, Text messages can really improve communication. And good communication tools can lead to less meetings and there is much research on how much time is wasted in useless meetings that seem to never end, that could have been done as effectively using a Slack channel or Microsoft Teams channel.
Poor business processes can also lead to a less flexibility and mobility of employees, increased stress and lead to burnout. With the rise of remote work and flexible schedules, employees expect to be able to work from anywhere and at any time. Poor technology can make it difficult for employees to work remotely or on the go, which can lead to dissatisfaction and ultimately increase turnover rates. In our connected society, employees expect to be able to connect and form simple tasks using a mobile device.
There is always room for errors when manual data entry is overused. Even the most conscientious employee will make mistakes from time to time. Data entry errors that result in inaccurate databases can have a significant impact on an organization in terms of data reliability. Businesses may lose money as a result of poor data management. This is often one of the best opportunities to enhance business processes and look for opportunities to adopt automation to reduce errors. Think about a process that results in a company receiving data from partners and having the data automatically processed and loaded into corporate systems within minutes to replace a manual review and entry process. Problem transactions can be flagged and sent to employees to review. This is a much more efficient process and better use of time.
It is difficult to manage and grow a business if you do not have visibility into how the company is performing and where you can improve, demonstrating the importance of data. Business reports are critical for assessing your company and setting you on the path to success. However, even when data is available, leaders may receive inaccessible or incorrectly reported information as a result of a lack of real-time reporting, simply because there was too much process involved.
Business process automation can help solve this problem by connecting multiple systems into a single repository for data, built-in rules reduce or eliminate data manipulation, automating generated reports instead of pulling reports manually from different systems.
By improving the reporting process, your team will have more time to focus on critical business tasks and allowing organizations to have the data they need to make critical business decisions and analysis.
If there’s one thing that kills productivity within a company, it’s process. When difficult, tedious, manual processes are used, employees must spend time performing repetitive tasks that could be automated with software applications. Employees performing repetitive tasks throughout the day can lead to fatigue, boredom or a feeling of being unproductive.
Looking for opportunities to improve processes like integrating automation could make a big difference. It also allows them time to focus on more important things and reducing the likelihood of errors that could cause issues later down the line. This will improve productivity and allow employees to add more value to your organization.
The implementation of more flexible processes with the adoption of new technology highlights the need for better security. That means that business owners have to be intentional about adopting new processes that enable them to use technology that limits risks. But also be agile enough to conduct regular reviews and adjust. Things like data breaches, can damage a company’s reputation and lead to loss of trust from customers and employees alike. However, it is no reason not to tweak business process and even adopt new technology; you really cannot afford not to. But also provide training and support for these tools to ensure that employees are able to use them effectively.
So, where to start?
For organizations that do want to embark upon the task of improving their business processes, there is no time like the present to get started. Jeff Bezos has a famous quote, “In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.” Any major business improvements start with an examination of current business processes. This does not have to be all encompassing. Start with 5 to 10 key processes. This includes identifying the steps involved, identifying bottlenecks or inefficiencies, and gathering data on process performance, such as time and resource usage. Look for things that are used the most that all employees complain about. You probably already know and it is on your list of things to address. If you listen, you will notice that employees often complain about things that when addressed, can almost immediately lead to higher satisfaction. These are quick wins that can evolve to long-time wins. This information is then used to prioritize areas for improvement and lay the foundation for developing a new and more efficient process design.
Many great organizations have learned the hard way that success today doesn’t guarantee success tomorrow. Rather, it is the companies willing to redefine who they are and how they operate that will win in the digital age.
Velocity Technology Associates has a full range of Business process automation services including everything from process optimization to automation solutions. Our services are tailored to meet the specific objectives for each business.
By Ben Williams