Every organization has business processes. How well these processes operate determines the efficiency of your business.
To get the most out of your processes, it’s essential to do workflow process mapping. Meaning, you need to create “process maps” of your workflows, which is, in most cases, done using flowcharts. This comes with a lot of benefits to your organization…
- Employee Onboarding – You can use the process maps as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to onboarding new employees.
- Process Standardization – Figure out what’s the best way to carry out the process and use it as the best practice across the organization. This ensures that all of your employees are carrying out the process as efficiently as possible.
- Process Improvement – Workflow process maps act as a guide to your own processes. They allow you to look at it top-down, find inefficiencies, and to correct them.
Workflow process mapping, however, isn’t the easiest of tasks. It involves input from employees across all levels of the organization, sometimes even including outside consultants.
At Tallyfy, we have internal process experts that help us map, improve, and optimize our workflow processes. Here’s how we approach workflow process mapping…
Workflow Process Mapping in 3 Easy Steps
Before you can even start with workflow process mapping, you need to establish a couple of things beforehand. First off, you need to decide on how you’re mapping the workflow. There are 3 possible options…
- Pen & Paper – The most straightforward option is to just draw the process flowchart on a piece of paper. While this option’s really easy, it’s not all that useful. You can’t share it with your employees, upload it online, etc.
- Graphing Software – Tools like Draw.io or LucidChart allow you to create flowcharts online. You can then either use the software’s internal database to store the diagrams or export them and save them on your own server.
- Workflow Software – Workflow Management Software is essentially graphing software on steroids. While you can’t create flowcharts per se, you can instead create digital workflows. The software allows you to set responsibilities for each step, deadlines, and so on. Then, it can enforce the workflow for you. Meaning, it assigns tasks, lets you know of bottlenecks, and so on. The downside here is that you can’t use workflow software to create flowcharts (and use them to gain insight on process improvement).
Then, once you’ve picked the tool, you need to pick the process you want to map. While it’s good to have all of your processes mapped eventually, you have to start somewhere.
Our rule of thumb is to start with processes that are underperforming. If the output is noticeably bad, you’d want to get this fixed ASAP.
If all of your processes are performing fine, though, then you’d go for the ones that are extremely critical for your business. i.e. the ones that have the most impact on your business (# of sales, product quality, etc.).
Once you’ve picked the process, you can start with the workflow process mapping.
Step #1: Bring Together a Team
Chances are you probably don’t know everything there is to know about the workflow you’re mapping. To get the picture right, you need to gather a team consisting of employees, senior management, and potentially a process expert.
The input from your employees can be a priceless asset in making the process map accurate.
If you’re part of a large corporation, the team can also act as evangelists for future process improvement initiatives. If you end up deciding to make major changes to the process, this might seem threatening for some of your employees (“maybe my job will become irrelevant?”).
Your team will help carry out the right message – that the changes you’re making are good for both the organization and the employees.
Step #2: Gather Information & Data
Most of your employees carry out the process with some variation. You need to figure out what’s the best approach & document that. Hence, you need to interview the employees who are working on the process first-hand. To get the best out of the initiative, you can even ask them for input on how to improve the workflow.
At this stage, you should also figure out the following…
- Who’s in charge of which process step?
- What’s the sequence of tasks that the process consists of?
- What’s the deadline for each process step?
You could also, optionally, determine what’s the process input, output, and duration. This can help benchmark the process if you’re planning on doing any improvements.
Step #3: Create the Workflow Process Map
Now that you have all the needed information, you can get start with workflow process mapping. This can be a bit different depending on whether you decided to go with graphing software or workflow software. So, we’ll explain how you’d go about with each…
Creating a Workflow Using Graphing Software
The first step here is to pick your favorite tool. For the sake of the example, we’ll cover LucidCharts. As a given, you need to first create an account.
Then, pick the flowchart template…
Pick a name for the workflow, and name each block for a step within the workflow. Here’s a workflow process map example for a support process…
As a given, you should connect the blocks based on the sequence of tasks, leading up to the final task (which ends the workflow).
Finally, you can save the workflow and export it as a JPG (or whichever document type you need).
Creating a Workflow Using Workflow Software
Workflow process mapping is a bit more complicated if you decide to go with workflow software, but the additional benefits you get are well worth it…
- Workflow Automation – Instead of having to manually assign different tasks to employees, the software does this for you. Once you’ve got the workflow set up, the system automatically executes it for you.
- Business Efficiency – Having a centralized place to manage your workflows can lead to higher efficiency company-wide. You’ll start seeing less missed deadlines, bottlenecks, problems, and so on.
So, if this sounds more up your alley, here’s how to set up workflows using the software.
As a given, step #1 is to create the account. If you want to give Tallyfy a try (it’s free!), simply head over here and register.
You should then get all the relevant employees on board the software so that it can assign relevant tasks.
So, hit the “new” button and then “invite co-worker.”
Fill in the form with employee credentials & repeat this as many times as needed…
Once you’ve got everyone on board, you can start setting up the workflows. You can do this in the “templates” section by clicking “create new.”
Pick a name for the workflow (for example, employee onboarding) and fill in the steps…
Depending on your needs, set up the instructions on how to complete a workflow step in the description, set deadlines, and so on.
Once you’re done with workflow, you can launch it from the template library & the system will take it over from here!
The Next Step: Improving Your Workflows
Now that you have the workflow process map, you need to figure out how to improve it. This is, after all, one of the most important benefits of mapping workflow process mapping.
Process improvement, though, is a completely different topic (and it’s not the easiest, either). If you want to learn more, you can check out some of our further readings…
- Guide to Process Improvement – Our step-by-step guide to carrying out a process improvement initiative.
- Process Mapping Tools – Want to learn about all the other tools you can use for workflow process mapping? These are some of the best out there.
- Process Improvement Tools [Complete List] – If you’re not sure how to come up with and implement process improvements, these tools will help get the job done.
Seriously, are you ready to conquer your processes?