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PHOTO: Mahkeo

Businesses have swiftly adapted their day-to-day operations over the past few months. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to present new barriers across industries, companies must prepare for a year filled with challenges and opportunities. 

With current and future operational challenges bogging down company leadership, empowering all employees with better process management skills and resources ensures your whole organization, from frontline employees to the C-suite, has better visibility and control over responsibilities.

Process mapping and oversight needs to be a priority for all businesses today, and preparing teams with tools and resources must come from the top down. Companies must act with a renewed sense of urgency to develop dynamic processes and create stable growth environments during uncertain times. To begin sharing operational knowledge and ownership across your organization, leaders must first identify, define and map key processes across their organization.

The Newly Critical Importance of Process

Companies are no longer in a position to avoid process understanding. Work-related implications of COVID-19 emphasize our need for a renewed focus on process, as inefficient communications and workflows can make or break delivery of your product or service. The teams that will be most successful in the next year are prepared to execute on innovative ideas and adapt willingly.   

But without an adaptable mindset or sufficient resources, day-to-day operations — especially at the enterprise level — can break down. Processes are often most at risk when companies scale or begin working in new ways, much like the new work-from-home routines many companies have adopted today. Breaks to processes most often can be linked to poor process management and inflexible processes that don’t scale with your organization.

Process mapping that formalizes institutional knowledge sharing and cross-team collaboration can provide glue to hold your organization’s foundations together during and beyond the current crisis.

Related Article: Has Digital Transformation Left Your Business Continuity Plans Behind?

How Businesses Use Process Management to Respond to Organizational Change

With so much in flux at any given time, today’s businesses must prepare for anything. Employees need to be ready on a regular basis to take on new responsibilities, roles and modes of work even during “normal” operating conditions.

To ensure smooth transitions during process changes, teams must understand existing processes and take time to map their own. Follow these recommendations to formalize and map business processes:

  • Help employees define and manage their own processes. Needlessly complex processes that take multiple steps to complete bog down your teams. Often, for example, IT or personal-time-off requests require multiple back-and-forths between different stakeholders, creating long backlogs of requests. Using accessible digital platforms, companies can build applications that supply knowledge workers with simplified, streamlined process management tools.
  • Share process knowledge across your organization. Whether intentionally or not, institutional knowledge about certain subject matter can be kept vaulted by company leadership, departments and teams who own specific processes. However, being transparent about your company’s workflows is imperative to business success, as it builds opportunities for more stakeholders across your enterprise to develop an understanding of processes and be more comfortable when roles change or processes scale.
  • Continuously map processes as they improve over time. Good businesses run on good process management. Organized, carefully documented and rigorously managed processes that are central and safely catalogued build resilience that extends beyond the tenure of a single employee or business disruption.

Process mapping and management solutions can help organizations break through inertia caused by broken, inefficient or disrupted processes. By taking steps to proactively standardize processes from onboarding and offboarding to institutional knowledge sharing, you ensure your business — and the people who power it — are prepared to overcome any challenges and uncertainty that may impact your business.

Related Article: Business Process Management Success Starts With People