User Workflow Automation—Extracting Efficiency
Efficient employees are valuable assets to your company. When employees are efficient, projects get completed on time, clients are satisfied, and your company realizes increased profits. However, having efficient employees doesn’t happen automatically. No matter how good an employee is at their job, they’ll fail without the right systems in place.
Workflow automation is the ultimate system to create efficiency
Employee efficiency can be boosted through workflow automation. Workflow automation takes repetitive tasks and automates the process in a way that saves time, money, and effort. When an employee automates repetitive, mechanical tasks, they can spend their time tending to tasks that require their full, creative attention like brainstorming, design work, and spending more time with clients.
Are your employees working as efficiently as possible? If you feel like there’s room to improve employee efficiency, workflow automation will help. Even if you already utilize workflow automation, there’s always room to improve and strengthen your existing system.
Workflow automation gets long-term results
When you’re looking for ways to increase employee efficiency, there are only a few tactics that get long-term results. Unfortunately, many simple strategies used to boost productivity are short-term. For example, if you incentivize meeting performance goals, you might see productivity drop in the absence of that incentive. Or, your incentives might not appeal to all employees.
If you want to boost efficiency, you need to incorporate workflow automation into your company routine.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation automates tasks that employees have to repetitively engage in to get their work done. For example, an employee responsible for posting on social media needs to log in, create a post, publish that post, and then manage replies. The majority of those tasks can be automated by using software.
Using automated social media posting software, an employee can write posts ahead of time, use software to schedule those posts to go out at a specific time, and then move on to other tasks. With automation, there is no need to schedule an hour out of each day to post the day’s messages on social media. The employee is free to tend to other, more pressing tasks at hand.
Virtually any process can be automated to some degree, even when manual work is required. At the very least, tasks requiring 100% manual work can be scheduled electronically, and employees can use automation software to notify the team in real-time when those tasks are completed.
Why does workflow automation boost employee efficiency?
Every day, employees have a mountain of tasks they need to complete before they can consider their workday complete. Many of those tasks get pushed to the next day or are indefinitely postponed when late work piles up. When employees are constantly lagging behind, they get stressed out, and that takes a toll on your company’s bottom line.
Workflow automation boosts employee efficiency in the following ways:
- Reduces stress caused by task overload. When employees are behind on their work, they feel stressed out. It’s hard for anyone to produce top-quality work when stressed. Stress also inhibits concentration and productivity, contributes to employee turnover, tardiness, and poor relationships with co-workers.Strong workflow automation nips the problem of stress in the bud and allows employees to engage their work with a clear and focused mind.
- Makes task completion faster. When automated, certain tasks can be completed lightning fast compared to manual work. This saves valuable company time that the employee can use to focus on more important tasks.
- Reduces the amount of “busywork” tasks. Employees don’t sign up for positions just to perform repetitive, busywork tasks. However, that’s part of everyone’s job. Automating those tedious processes gives employees more time to do what they do best.
- Limits errors. Human error is unavoidable. Although it can’t be eliminated, it can be mitigated with workflow automation. For example, automated software can send messages to team members that require manual input to move forward with the task. Emails can be scheduled to go out automatically, but only when an employee reviews the email and clicks a button to “accept” the process and move it forward.
These are just some of the ways workflow automation increases the efficiency and productivity of a team.
How to implement workflow automation
- Create an internal team to review workflow definitions
Identify stakeholders within your organization who clearly understand the input, processing, and outcome of the task or tasks you need to automate. Stakeholders will determine reliability of input action, determine technology to be used for automation, and determine measuring and validation outcomes.
- Identify repetitive patterns that can be automated
Identify the patterns team members repeat on a regular basis and automate those tasks whenever possible.
- Identify task redundancy
Do you have multiple people working on the same tasks? Identify any areas of redundancy and simplify your process so that tasks don’t unnecessarily overlap.
- Identify expected workflow outcomes
What do you want to accomplish with workflow automation? Define your goals first and know what you’re aiming for before setting up any automated processes.
- Use applications to automate user actions A simple automation system we all are familiar with is an Inbox rule in our email system – an email arrives and your rule takes action (moved to a sub folder, for example). Other example applications or platforms to use for automation with increasing advanced complexity are Excel or Word macro, Microsoft Power Automate, line of business application built-in workflow platforms, and application programming interface (or API’s) allowing workflow triggers and commands to communicate across multiple platforms.
- Implement new applications when necessary
It’s easy to get used to using the applications you’re familiar with, but sometimes there are better options. Be willing to move your team to using new applications either in addition to, or to replace your existing applications.
- Establish baselines to measure user productivity and workflow efficiency
Establishing a baseline will help you accurately measure the progress from implementing workflow automation. Measuring progress accurately is crucial to getting your desired results.
- Repeat the above throughout all workflow areas
Once you establish a routine for workflow automation in one area, apply that to all other areas of your organization.
Need help implementing workflow automation? We can help!
If you’re ready to reap the rewards of workflow automation, but don’t know where to start, we can help. We will help you implement workflow automation into your daily operations and even provide ongoing maintenance and support.
Contact Bluetowne today to learn more about how we can help your organization reach new heights in productivity through workflow automation.