Almost every entrepreneur or small business owner knows the feeling of wearing multiple hats to ensure their business can scale without too many overhead costs. But, you must start delegating to grow your small business, or you’ll quickly run out of juice, and your company won’t be able to reach its true potential.
But, it’s your company! How can you just hand over control to someone else?
Well, that’s where automation comes into place. By letting a safe, secure, and reliable automated process handle mundane and repetitive tasks, you can focus on doing what you love.
When it was first introduced, ‘automation’ was often referred to as merely a buzzword that will fade away eventually. However, as more companies started benefitting from it, it became so much more. After all, programming a process to run independently without any manual intervention can save time and money while eliminating risks!
However, automating a workflow for your business is not an easy task, and if you get it wrong, it can be more disastrous than helpful. You need to see the big picture while paying attention to the smaller details that go into it.
In this blog, we have provided five crucial steps you need to adopt to automate your company’s workflows successfully. Before we delve into this, however, let’s check some of the top benefits of automating workflows.
3 Benefits of Automating Workflows
Workflows can help to streamline and automate repetitive business operations, reducing the possibility of errors and enhancing overall productivity.
This, in turn, has a significant impact on your business. Managers can make faster, sharper decisions and staff can cooperate in a more productive and agile manner. While the benefits are endless, we’ve highlighted three of the most prominent advantages of automating workflows.
Save Time – Increase Production
The main advantage of automated workflow is that it saves time. The phrase automation relates to mechanization and computerization, which saves time and completes a job with accuracy by increasing speed.
Saving time on a job is directly related to saving the employee time to engage in other productive tasks rather than executing a job with mechanical repetition of procedures.
Increase Accountability and Reduce Micromanagement
While it could be difficult for you to let go of control, many studies have shown that micromanagement is one of the biggest reasons employees leave their jobs.
Automation negates the need for micromanagement entirely. By explicitly outlining your workflow, everyone knows what tasks must be completed, who will complete them, and when they must be completed.
This, in turn, will raise job satisfaction for everyone engaged and, most likely, improve management-employee relationships.
According to Harvard Business Review, workplace communication is crucial since it influences every other part of the business.
In certain circumstances, miscommunication is the root cause of organizational conflict, with employees and management ostensibly “disagreeing,” even if both are pursuing the same goals.
This brings us to another significant reason why workflow automation is essential: process visibility and responsibility can significantly improve workplace communication.
This communication will help to reduce employee turnover and make day-to-day operations run more smoothly.
How To Automate Your Workflow?
Now that you know why automation is essential, it’s important to do it right. It’s not going to be easy because your company needs to change at a root level. The first step you need to take before you get started is to evaluate and answer the following questions:
- Are you ready to make your organization smarter?
- Are your employees qualified to make a move from a traditional process to a new methodology of working?
- Can your organization deliver the same or better quality after automation with a lesser workforce?
If the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes, follow the steps below to ensure your automation workflow is seamless.
Find The Right Processes To Automate
As not every business activity is a viable option for automation, it’s imperative to determine which procedures are best suited for it. Processes that require a lot of time and resources and are prone to human mistakes should be the first to be explored for automation. If they can be sped up with automated processes, more time can be spent on other company practices.
Define & Clearly Structure Your Business Goals
Once you identify the right processes to automate, the next step is to clearly define your business goal and how automation can help you reach it.
Your goal could be to increase throughput, reduce cycle time, or free up resources for other productive duties in a single process.
For example, you could want your employees to spend less time entering data and more time analyzing and optimizing processes.
It could be anything, but you must demonstrate how automation can help you reach your company goals and how you will monitor your progress.
Identify The Right Automation Solution
The next step in the automation process is probably the most important. You need to decide what solution you’re going to use to automate the workflow. It’s crucial to find the right software to help you and your business carry out the automation seamlessly.
For example, if you want to automate your accounts payable process, many smaller details need to be taken care of. Hence, you need to find software that can help you accommodate all of this.
With rising demand, there’s no doubt that there are several options available on the market. To shortlist the right choice for you, ask the following questions:
- Does the software work for the process you want to automate?
- Does the software adopt necessary data security measures?
- Does the software match your budget?
- Is the vendor compliant with government regulations?
Involve & Train All The Stakeholders
The employees would next be trained on how to use the new workflow software.
Any new change implemented by management is constantly faced with resistance from employees who believe it is unneeded.
As a result, it’s critical to incorporate end-users from the beginning and include them in talks to be a part of the decision-making process. This holds end-users accountable and encourages the finest ideas to emerge.
Providing a clear transition path from the present manual procedure to the new automated system and adequate training to help them come up to speed would go a long way toward ensuring the success of this move.
Giving up control can be challenging for any entrepreneur. But, you need to focus on undertaking activities that can make running your business easier. By automating specific mundane tasks, you can use your creativity and time on other things that can help your business expand.
That being said, even after automating your workflow, you need to constantly collect data, analyze and optimize the process to ensure it’s running smoothly and delivering the best results!