How involved are your employees in the decision-making process for your business?
Getting your team involved in choices about how your company should scale and grow might not seem particularly important at first. Most business leaders assume that if they can get the C-suite executives on board with a decision, and they’re keeping the shareholders happy, they’re on the right track.
However, your employees can be more valuable to your decision-making than you think.
Research indicates that involving your employees in how things get done in your company leads to an increase in employee morale, improved business culture, and enhanced engagement.
The more your staff members feel connected to the development of your brand, the more ownership they’ll take over their role in making your company successful. Salesforce found that employees who feel their voices are heard are up to 4.6 times more likely to perform at their best at work.
The question is, how do you get employees truly engaged in business process optimization?
Step 1: Map Out Your Entire Business
To get your team involved in process optimization, you need to ensure that you're listening to the thoughts and opinions of multiple people throughout the organization.
Don't get into the habit of thinking that your supervisors' and managers' insights are more important than the ideas of your front-of-line workers.
Remember, your sales teams and customer support staff are constantly having conversations with your customers. They could have their fingers on the pulse of what your clients need more than anyone else in your organization.
To encourage people in your team to get involved and give useful feedback, it might be worth exploring the idea of incentives.
For instance, maybe you could enter everyone who offers valuable feedback in a company-wide survey into a prize draw. This will give some of your team members the extra push they need to think about how they would improve your business processes.
Step 2: Make Giving Feedback Feel More Comfortable
If you're just beginning to get your team members involved with process optimization for the first time, they're bound to feel a little nervous.
Your employees won't have any evidence that you're going to respond to the feedback they give positively. They'll be looking for signs that they should feel free to say what they feel.
With that in mind, try to make it clear that your employees can always say what they're thinking and share their ideas without having to worry about repercussions.
Your employees need to see that you're patient, understanding, and open to their ideas. Show empathy when your team members voice their concerns and listen to their points with an open mind.
Remember, listening to each of your team members and encouraging open communication isn't just good for process optimization – it's ideal for retention too. Empathetic employees drive retention, according to 98% of HR professionals.
Step 3: Create Numerous Channels for Sharing Ideas
Communicating ideas on improving processes in the workplace needs to be as simple and flexible as possible if you want your employees to take advantage of the opportunities.
Don't wait until a monthly in-person meeting to ask people to stand up and share their thoughts in front of a crowd. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable doing that.
You need another way to collect feedback during the moments when your team members feel most confident and inspired.
Another important consideration is timing. Often, reporting small issues can slip your employee’s minds, although it could snowball and create greater problems down the road.
Ideally, your feedback process would allow employees to document their insights without having to frequently abandon their workflow just to fill out a survey or report. To achieve that, you can implement specific workflow software to track employee feedback.
For teams that are frequently on the go, you can opt for developing an app so they can share their thoughts wherever and whenever they are.
Apps are a treasure trove of useful data and insights and are particularly popular among users due to their simplicity of use. You could run regular polls and ask your teams to give their opinions on items from the app.
If your budget permits, you could even design a specific app that can report bugs, share insights, and capture screenshots or images for process optimization.
Step 4: Make Sure Everyone Sees the Benefits
There are various ways that business leaders can help team members to see the benefits of giving feedback and sharing ideas.
Incentivizing team members to leave responses on surveys and share their opinions with the chance to win great prizes is a good start, as we mentioned above.
You could also make it clear when you take notice of an employee's suggestion and show the results for implementing new ideas.
For instance, one of your teams might recommend automating a specific part of the process so they have more time to focus on other creative tasks. You could show how following that suggestion has increased team productivity and satisfaction while reducing error rates in your business.
Graphs and case studies that demonstrate the influence your employees are having on your processes are very powerful.
Don't forget to show appreciation for the people who do give feedback in a public environment if your team members feel comfortable with that. This will show your employees that you are actively listening to them and appreciating their input.
Step 5: Experiment with Different Methods
Finally, remember that there are various ways to collect insights and ideas from your employees.
If getting all of your staff together for an all-hands video meeting once a month doesn't lead to the right results, maybe it's worth trying something a little different, like creating a digital suggestion box where employees can leave anonymous suggestions?
Experiment with mobile and web applications that allow your team members to share their thoughts regardless of whether they're working in the office or they don't happen to be available for your monthly meetings.
Additionally, make sure that you pay attention to the requirements of different staff members. For instance, some of your team members may be more comfortable with public signs of recognition than others.
Be prepared to experiment with multiple different ideas and strategies until you find something that works for all of your employees. You might even decide to have various feedback channels available, so your employees have a range of options to choose from.
Get Your Employees Involved
Your team members have a unique perspective to share when it comes to growing and scaling your business.
Getting insights from all your employees on how you might improve and enhance your processes could be the key to running a more successful company. Make sure that you don't underestimate the power of listening to your team.