How your Business Processes Help Successful Change Management

Make change stick with effective process management 

As a manager, you want to achieve success for you and your teams. To remain successful, managers are consistently looking for new and better ways of servicing customers. Improvements and service enhancements have to be in line with your business strategies to ensure that your business remains focused on the end goal e.g., if you were a fine dining restaurant you would not remove the order taker with an app whereas you may in a more casual dining or fast-food operation.

Driving improvement and change requires a full understanding of your current ‘as is’. If you do not fully understand how your business is performing, the areas in which you are successful and your areas of concern, you will not understand the areas on which you need to focus on and where you need to create change.

Change rooted to process management is centered on three main categories, focused on adding benefit.  The three main categories are improved efficiency, improved customer experience, and improved profitability. Change is important but should not be pursued indulgently for its own sake.

To understand where you are today, the importance of measuring the strategic elements of your business can not be over stated. Your KPIs enable you to understand where certain pain points are, linked directly to your operational procedures and processes. If your processes are not clearly defined, then it will be very difficult to measure the business in absolute numbers.

When beginning the change process, we have found that working with client teams to start process mapping where the ‘as is’ today is the first step to really finding out what each person is doing. Getting your employees involved will enable you to fully understand what is really happening within the business. It will also give them the opportunity to voice their opinions in an informal manner and propose any potential improvements. There are numerous examples of staff coming up with innovative ideas and better ways of doing a job. An informal workshop is a great way to capture these ideas.

Once you fully understand where you are today, and the processes are mapped, you can then start looking at KPIs and the elements that need to be measured.  With the defined processes, it is easy to identify the owner of the KPIs. Giving one person the responsibility of one element of the business will empower. It enables a clear understanding of the impact they have on the overall business, as well as allowing recognition for the job they are performing. A good example of this is the dispatchers role in the ever-evolving delivery culture emerging around the world with the KPI of on-time delivery to the customer.  This measure encompasses many facets which need to be coordinated, including the driver, the operations, and the customer, and if off track, investigation to find the root cause e.g., operational inefficiency, not enough drivers etc.

Once you have been able to identify the areas you need to change, it is important to get those closest to the tasks involved in the improvement process. This will help create a culture of creative thinking as well as a sense of buy in when improvements are identified and rolled out to the wider teams.

Once the process is mapped out with the improvements, it should be clearly communicated. The most successful changes come from the people that are carrying out the tasks, so as a manager working with your employees and making them part of the improvement process will also mean that the improvement has come from those responsible for the task. You are therefore helping to create a sense of ownership towards the roll out and success of the change.

As the process is reviewed, we will have to ensure that the measures and the KPIs reflect the desired outcomes. Going back to our deliveries, this could be something as simple as changing the delivery schedule of a driver to after working hours in certain delivery areas to reduce failed first delivery attempts as a percentage of people are out at work and only available after hours. This change maybe area specific depending on the demographics of the location.

Once the process is mapped the operations manual will need to be updated. Based on experience, if this is written by the user, any areas that looked good on paper, but in practice may not work, are identified, discussed, and changed when necessary. It is important that the operations manual is in a short format made up of checklists, guidelines and easy to read processes. No one likes to read a long-winded manual! If it is not read, it will not be adhered to, and potential change will not be clearly identified and understood

Change is a constant and is something that everyone within the organisation should be looking for at all times. Customer facing staff have a clear insight as to how the customers feel while operational staff understand pain points, as they are dealing with them every day. This stresses the importance of communication between departments. Understanding and using this information to improve your business is essential.

Processes clearly identify lines of responsibility and communications with the ability to measure the performance of the business in line with the business strategy.

It is understood that management and businesses are required to make changes, how this is communicated, trained, and measured is essential to success. However, how we capture the vast knowledge of the people working within the business on a daily basis is not as easily understood and often not part of a company culture especially when the businesses grow.

Understanding your performance, pain areas, and working with your people on even the smallest elements of the business will enable a culture of change within the organisation. This gives a sense of ownership to all the employees and the drive to the best job they can to achieve the desired change.

Processes ensure each person understands their responsibility within the business, provide transparency, and create an environment for communication. Measures will highlight the business strengths and pain areas. They are the signal to start communicating as a whole to develop your strengths and focus on pain areas.

Change cannot be carried out by one person; it is a team effort.

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