Conversations around productivity seem never-ending. Managers want their teams to get more done in less time and employees are already handling jam-packed days.
And in our post-pandemic, hybrid-first work world, the answer to sustainable productivity isn’t pushing employees to their limits. In fact, too much pressure on productivity (dubbed “productivity paranoia”) could contribute to employee burnout — something nearly 50 percent of today’s workers experience.
So, what do you do when you need to improve team productivity without contributing to potential burnout?
Streamline your processes.
Streamlining your business processes effectively eliminates or reduces time-consuming, frustrating, or complex tasks from your team’s plate while improving productivity. It’s a win-win.
Here’s how you can get started.
What are business processes?
Business processes are the tasks, activities, or actions your team or partners perform to deliver a product or service to your end customer. Each business process — no matter how short — accomplishes a particular goal for the organization.
Think of your business processes like a recipe. To reach your end goal, you need to follow a particular series of steps. One wrong move and the entire process can fall apart.
Business processes (like recipes) also make it easier to teach others how to complete a task. When you have established business processes, you can pass instructions along to ensure the outcome is the same each and every time, regardless of who is performing the task.
But just having business processes in place doesn’t guarantee success. Inefficient or outdated processes can actually make things more complicated for your team. Finding opportunities to improve and streamline those processes can boost team productivity and reduce frustrations.
How to improve team productivity by streamlining business processes
Here’s how you can get started streamlining your processes to boost productivity.
1. Audit your existing processes
The first step towards a streamlined process is to take note of where you’re starting. If you already have your business processes documented — great. If not, here’s everything you need to know to get started.
Identify what processes might be missing from your documentation or if any are outdated. What’s missing from your existing processes? What needs to be added? What steps or information is no longer accurate or relevant?
Streamlining business processes requires finding opportunities to simplify or eliminate unnecessary tasks or steps, but don’t get too hung up on making your processes perfect. At this stage, focus on listing your current processes, including what is working and what isn’t.
2. Automate the documentation process
Most manual documentation processes are time-consuming and resource-intensive. You need to collect input from SMEs, get approvals and monitor and manage edits manually — it quickly adds up to a full-time job (or two).
When other priorities come up, process documentation is one of the first tasks that gets set aside. Before you know it, months (or even years) have passed and your documentation is only partially complete.
But when your processes aren’t documented, your team can’t work efficiently. Strong documentation enables your team to:
- Complete tasks without needing to ask for help or clarification.
- Reduce errors and eliminate time spent fixing mistakes.
- Standardize processes to deliver quality products and services consistently.
Using a tool like Scribe to automate the documentation process allows you to realize the benefits and value of strong documentation without the heavy investment of time and resources.
Documents are created and finalized faster so your team can focus on more important work sooner.
Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that turns any workflow into written instructions — plus annotated screenshots. Here's one in action:
Save time while easily creating documents that your team can actually use. Here's what one user has to say about Scribe.
And with Scribe Pages, you can combine Scribes with video, images and more. Create dynamic and visual process docs that you can update, edit and use again and again.
Here's a Scribe Page that outlines how to use Gong.
3. Map & analyze your processes
To begin streamlining your processes, you need to take a critical look at each and every step. Using the list of processes you created earlier, start mapping out what each process looks like.
This is where a tool like Scribe can really improve the way your team works. It’s hard to remember each and every detail when recalling and mapping process steps manually and once your steps are written out, you need to chase down SMEs for input and approval. Scribe cuts out the complicated back and forth so you can create accurate process maps from the very beginning.
With Scribe, your SMEs can document their steps... while they complete a process. You’ll get an inside look at how those processes are actually performed, including all the intricate details that might seem unimportant.
Your team can then analyze these maps for inefficiencies, redundant steps, or areas of improvement. When analyzing your processes, here are a few things to consider:
- Is each step of this process necessary? Can any steps be eliminated, shortened, or improved?
- Is this process overly complicated? Do team members struggle to complete this process?
- Is this process expensive? Are there areas to reduce costs without sacrificing quality or efficiency?
- Is this process underfunded or lacking the appropriate resources? Would investing more time or resources dramatically improve efficiency?
In addition to analyzing each individual process, you’ll want to assess how your processes work together. Look for unnecessary overlap between your processes or where efficiency in one process could actually contribute to inefficiency in another.
Scribe top tip: It’s easy to say your processes need to be more efficient and your team needs to be more productive, but what does that actually look like? Set achievable goals based on your analysis.
For example — a process takes your team 15 minutes to complete. Instead of simply stating you want to reduce the amount of time spent on that process, get clear about how much time you’re hoping to shave off. Set a goal of bringing that total time down to 10 minutes start to finish.
4. Improve, test, repeat
Use your analysis to make strategic improvements to your processes. Here are some ways to do that:
- Remove unnecessary or redundant steps
- Reduce the number of checkpoints, approvals, or team members involved in the process
- Reallocate resources
- Invest in new technologies or systems
Once your adjustments are in place, run through your process to ensure it functions as it should. Compare your team’s productivity or efficiency with these changes. Are they able to get the job done faster, or are they still running into problems or bottlenecks?
If you’re still experiencing trouble, continue to refine your process until you’ve reached your desired outcome.
This is where setting goals can be helpful. If you know exactly what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to determine a clear stopping point in the improvement process.
5. Get serious about process enforcement
Establishing your processes and appropriately documenting them is a great business practice — but if your team isn’t actually following those processes, it’s all wasted effort.
When teams are left to complete tasks and processes however they please, it can lead to confusion, mistakes and wasted resources. Enforcing your optimized processes allows them to work as productively as possible.
But you also don’t want to risk micromanaging your team. Here are some ways you can ensure processes are being followed without feeling like you’re watching their every move:
- Make process documents easy to follow. Don’t overwhelm your team with overly complicated process documents or unclear instructions. Using images, videos, examples and other visuals can make documents easier to follow and more engaging.
- Make creating, updating and sharing process documents seamless. It shouldn’t be a hassle to get an accurate, comprehensive process document into your employees’ hands. A tool like Scribe can empower your team to update or create new process documents whenever necessary, so your team can always access the most relevant information.
- Use workflow management tools. Workflow management tools help you keep an eye on how processes are moving along — and they have the added bonus of providing task reminders to your team of each stage of the process they’re following.
- Be proactive about discovering inefficiencies. If a process isn’t working, be quick to find a better path. Staying on top of process optimization can prevent your systems from becoming stale or outdated so your team will be more likely to follow them.
- Prioritize training. Strong training is the key to long-term success and productivity. Make sure your team is appropriately trained on the processes they need to follow, the right way to complete tasks and how to use software or tools associated with those processes.
Make managing & optimizing business processes more efficient with Scribe
Streamlining your business processes starts with optimizing your documentation process. Scribe makes it easy to create, edit and share process documents so you can more efficiently train, educate, and update your team on the processes they need to follow.
And with Scribe Pages, it’s easier than ever to create comprehensive documents that cover an entire process from start to finish. Scribe Pages lets you include multiple Scribes, videos, text and more onto one page — no more needing to depend on another tool to add context or link Scribes.
Give it a try. Start turning your processes into visual step-by-step guides instantly with a free Scribe account.