Category Business Processes

How Documenting Your Business Processes Can Make Onboarding and Training Easier

At the core of every business is its processes. You perform them every day, but have you ever taken the time to actually map them out and document them? Representing your workflow in this way offers a number of benefits for your business. One key benefit is that onboarding and training new employees becomes much easier.

Representing Your Business Processes Visually

The best way to document your business processes is to do it visually. It’s much easier for a new staff member to understand the workflow from a diagram representation than a piece of text content.

Business processes are basically mapped out in flow charts or variations of flow chart. A flow chart shows each step of a process in a square or other shape connected by lines or arrows. It illustrates how the task moves from start to finish.

Beyond the Flow Chart

Flow charts offer the most basic visual representation, but there are a few variations on this type of diagram that are useful for business processes.

The Swimlane Diagram. A swimlane diagram shows a process from start to finish but divides it into “lanes.” These are columns for different stakeholders, facilities, departments, or resources. It shows more clearly who is responsible for which part of a task.

Value Stream Map. A value stream map is a more complicated diagram where the work doesn’t just flow one way but in all directions. It’s useful for complex tasks that require multiple departments and stages, or that might be modular.

Seek Stakeholder Feedback

Don’t document your business processes all alone. Seek the advice and feedback of other stakeholders, especially if they’re the ones that are usually in charge of the process. You’ll also want feedback after documentation to make sure it’s clear and easy to understand.

Start with the Big Picture

When teaching new employees a process, you have to start by giving them the big picture view of the task. Explain where this task fits into your overall business and what specific goal it’s meant to achieve. At the beginning of the process, give them the resources and tools they need and what other preparations there are, if any. For your documentation, you may start with a brief summary that explains this.

Create an Archive of Resources

Create an archive of all your business processes and make it available to staff members. Encourage them to refer to these protocols as they learn. It will take some time before the job becomes second nature to them.

Why You Should Document Your Business Processes

Documenting your business processes helps you to train new team members. But it can also help in other ways. By investigating each process closely, you can look at ways to streamline and improve, making your business more efficient.

You can also look for ways to standardize, delegate, outsource, or automate, saving you more time and making life generally easier for everyone in your organization.

3 Ways to Simplify and Streamline Your Business Processes

When you’re looking at your business processes and trying to find ways to streamline for better efficiency, don’t forget that one option is to get rid of tasks by giving them to someone else. There are three ways to entrust tasks to someone else: Delegating, outsourcing, and automating.

Delegating Tasks to Your Employees

Delegating involves finding someone in your organization who can take over the task for you. It requires taking a regular task and mapping out each step so that anyone can learn to do it. The advantage is that someone within your organization already knows you and understands your business goals.

A good example of something you can delegate is social media activity. Social media requires you to be there every day, posting, monitoring, commenting, and interacting. You can easily get someone in your company to take over this activity rather than doing it yourself.

Other tasks that are easy to delegate include accounting, administrative tasks, data entry, IT, marketing tasks, customer service, and content creation.

Outsourcing to Someone Outside Your Organization

There are several reasons you may choose to delegate to someone outside your organization. You may not have the staff on-hand or you may not have staff that can handle the task you need to delegate. Instead, you can outsource to a virtual assistant or service provider outside your business.

In addition to the same tasks as above, you can also outsource things that require specific skills like graphic design, copywriting, programming, and other skills you don’t have the time to learn or resources to handle yourself.

For example, you may need to design eBook covers, advertisements, websites, and other visual content. It would take time to learn, so a better use of resources is to pay someone to do it.

When outsourcing, take some time to research and compare service providers before you choose one. The most efficient way to outsource is to hire a virtual assistant who can become familiar with your business and handle a great deal of work in one place.

Automate with Tech Tools

Software tools and apps can take over a great deal of routine tasks that don’t involve creative thinking or problem solving. With improvements in AI technology, there are more and more things that computers can do for us.

Things that can be automated include:

– Email replies

– Some social media activity

– Monitoring and analytics

– Signups and registrations

– Accounting functions like bill paying

– Customer management

– File back-up

– Organizational tasks.

Explore automation options and determine which of your tasks can be automated. Take advantage of free trials and use software before you make a purchase. Don’t automate any area of your business that requires the human touch.

All of the above options require some time and effort on your part to set up. To delegate or outsource, you need to map out business processes so someone can learn them. Automating involves some time choosing the right tech option. But this is time you will save later once you have it set up and running smoothly.