Simple is Good – The 3 Step Quarterly Review

Simple is Good – The 3 Step Quarterly Review

When it comes to building process maps and automated workflows, simple is good. Processes can easily become bloated and laborious if you aren’t careful, so it’s a good idea to try and make them as basic as possible.

 

As simple as it gets

One of our favorite flows is the 3-Step Quarterly Review. This process is about as simple as it gets.

Performance reviews are a great place to start with process change. They are an essential part of how a company functions. The review process has a dramatic impact on employee morale. It also sets the role of professional development and formalizes a continuous feedback loop.

By limiting the review process to 3 steps, you can ensure that staff complete their reviews nice and quickly, with minimal stress.

3 steps

Our 3-Step Quarterly Review consists of the following:

Employee Feedback

Start with the employee. This is going to be different for every organization, however you could include questions such as “What are you most proud of over the last 6 months?”, “Do you feel your role has changed since your last review?” or “What areas would you like to improve in?”. If you have formal KPIs, this is a great place to put them. Remember that the purpose of a review is both to evaluate performance and identify development opportunities. Your questions should reflect this.

 

Manager Feedback

When it comes to evaluating employee performance, you are looking at the measures of success (e.g. KPIs), patterns in performance and distinct behaviors. The questions in this section should be the same as the questions posed to the employee. That way you are both evaluating the same thing, and you can easily discuss disparities.

 

Review Meeting

The meeting should always start with the manager outlining the purpose and agenda of the meeting. From there, the employee will have a chance to walk through their responses, expanding on why they felt a certain way. Once the manager has shared their notes on performance, any disparities between the two can be clarified and discussed. The employee should then be given a chance to provide feedback on the manager. Lastly, goals should be set and an ongoing development plan put in place to assist with the employee’s goals.

Is that all?

That’s all there is to it. You could make this process a whole lot more complex. Most companies do. That’s why a lot of review processes drag on over 1-2 months and end up with everyone resenting it.

We found that by moving to a much more simple review process we could shift from an annual to a quarterly review system. This made the reviews easier for both managers and staff, shifting the process from a necessary evil to a genuine feedback system. 

Build it yourself

Feel free to use the 3-Step Quarterly Review for your own team.

The simpler, the better. Breaking processes down to a few simple steps is the best way to ensure compliance and ease of use. The biggest challenge you will find in process improvement is resistance to change. So make it as easy as possible for those involved. Without all the excess, they’ll love how easy your new processes are and will quickly become supporters of the change.

If you’d like to learn more about how Flowingly can help you on your process improvement journey, get a demo today!

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Release Notes – 2019 R4

Release Notes – 2019 R4

In our fourth release of 2019, we’ve worked to make Flowingly even more powerful and easier to use. We’ve been hard at work adding and improving features that we know you’ll love.

If you haven’t seen the latest features and performance improvements, here are the highlights of our September release: 

 

SharePoint Integration

Flowingly forms embedded on SharePoint can now integrate with your single sign on (SSO) to prepopulate fields with a user’s details. This means you can now add a leave request or approval form to your intranet and cut down on hours of tedious form filling. We have even more functionality for SharePoint coming up, and our SSO support will be a game changer.

New Modeler Graphics

Our flow modeler now has a shiny new look. It’s an even cleaner experience to design and build your flows.

Full Special Character Support

We’ve extended special character support to all user-editable text fields. Flowingly can handle everything from a mu to a macron.

Improved Bulk Import

Bulk import now has additional functionality and control for onboarding large numbers of users.

Bug Fixes

As always, we’ve been working hard to iron out any issues and adding small improvements here and there.

If you’d like to learn more about how Flowingly can help you on your process improvement journey, get a demo today!

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What is Lean Process Improvement?

What is Lean Process Improvement?

Looking for a way to make sense of the complex parts of your organization? Know there are error-prone areas in your business? Wish there was a way to provide more clarity to your employees so they can be more productive? If you’ve answered yes to any of these, lean process improvement could be just what you need.

 

What is Lean Process Improvement?

Lean process improvement is a user-centric commitment to continually trim excess from an organization’s operations. From its origins in the Japanese manufacturing sector of the 1950s, lean process improvement is an approach that’s heavily geared around maximizing the productivity of people and the processes they power.

Improved customer experience should be one of the ultimate outcomes of lean process improvement – either directly or indirectly. If the proposed changes will not make a noticeable difference for the customer, there is no business case for undertaking such an initiative.

What are the benefits of Lean Process Improvement?

There are two types of benefits regarding lean process improvement. The first type broadly fits under the umbrella of improving business efficiency. It does this by:

Reducing excess

By eliminating wasted time or errors in a process, companies can either do more with the same amount of resources or can divert the cost savings to grow another area of the business.

Delivering value faster

Trimming the unessential processes of a business can shorten the time taken to accomplish a task – increasing its cost-effectiveness and scalability. 

The second type of benefit that lean process improvement offers is lifting the overall retention of businesses. The key aspects of this are:

Improving employee morale

Any form of ambiguity or lack of clarity around business process can negatively impact an employee’s productivity. Having well-defined processes helps negates this. This added clarity provides a roadmap to follow. So when employees deliver from an operational perspective, they’re more satisfied. And if they’re more satisfied, they’re less likely to be tempted by the greener grass at other businesses.

Improving customer satisfaction

Unfortunately for businesses, customers seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to broken processes. Their high expectations mean that any hint of friction is often magnified, and thanks to the competitive environments most companies compete in, this means people can easily take their custom elsewhere.

But if you get your processes right and every part of your business is in harmony like a symphony orchestra, then your customers will be satisfied and stay with you long term.

What’s the best foundation for Lean Process Improvement software?

Processes often start out simple, but they can easily blow out and be very difficult to keep track of once established. Business process management and workflow automation software is the answer. In order to get the best ROI when embracing lean process management, there are two vital elements a business needs to get right.

One process to rule them all

The most effective implementors of lean business process management software share one thing in common – their entire company buys into the approach. While individual departments can operate lean, they will eventually operate at cross purposes with others, and waste and excess will result.

It’s a way of working, not a project

The final key to implementing and maintaining effective lean business process management software is to understand the paradigm shift that it is a mindset, not a one-off endeavor to dot is and cross ts. Yes, there will be times employees or departments want to take shortcuts, but this will affect the whole business. This is where Workflow Automation software comes to the fore, as it enforces compliance organization-wide.

If lean process improvement is bought into by all employees all the time, the organization will in turn reap significant rewards.

Want to find out how going Lean can help you streamline your processes? Get your free demo of Flowingly today.

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The Best Processes Come From Within: Empowering Your Team To Own Their Processes

The Best Processes Come From Within: Empowering Your Team To Own Their Processes

Business processes, the systematic actions a company undertakes to produce its competitive advantage, are essential for its success in the market. All companies have them, yet very few companies acknowledge or mine them for their true value. So how can you define your business processes? It starts, carries on, and finishes with people. Here’s how:

 

The people who will use the processes need to build the processes

Your staff are the lifeblood of your organization, without them, your business wouldn’t exist. That’s why it’s crucial to have them front and center on your business process journey.

Speak with your employees, work with them, watch them, listen to them, hear what they say and note down what they don’t. Your team often knows what the optimal workflows look like, which means by working with them you’ll have a more realistic, comprehensive business process understanding.

One other bonus of bringing staff on this journey is that they’ll be more likely to support any change that may occur as a result (and you know how much people love change) if they’re seen as valuable contributors. 

Empowering ownership of processes

We all know the feeling of getting burnt, with the affected part of the body telling the brain “ouch, something has to change because I can’t stand this for much longer”.

Businesses are no different. Employees are the equivalent feedback mechanism for the business, playing a critical part in maintaining and fixing business processes.

Apart from having employees build the processes so they’re invested from the start, what else can be done to encourage such ownership?

  • Set up a system that rewards employees for proactively seeking improvement.
  • Always keep key outcomes front of mind to create a bigger picture for their outputs.
  • Make the documented processes easily accessible so they’re always in mind.
  • Consider utilizing the feedback features of your workflow software so employees at any level can continually refer to other shared insights.

 

Creating a culture of improvement

Just because you document your business processes doesn’t mean your employees will seek continual improvement, let alone prescribe to them. You need to create a culture of improvement, which has to happen from the top (in an Undercover Boss kind of way if needs be).

Through our experience working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, we’ve noticed two points worth keeping in mind when instilling a culture of improvement:

Highlight excellence. In ordered to recognise the excellence, you first need to identify what it looks like in your business, field, or industry. Once this has been established, acknowledging parts of the business or employees will motivate the right kind of behaviour and drive business success.

Expect greatness… over time. High performance is an achievement that’s progressively unlocked over time. Don’t expect excellence immediately, but rather take time in the planning phase to ensure you have a pragmatic timeframe. And also don’t settle for when you think you’ve ‘achieved’ excellence, because all you really did was reset the bar.

 

So where do the best business processes come from?

Take the governance approach to business processes. This entails ensuring your employees drive the development of your processes, empowering employees to own the processes so they can fix them when required, and instilling a culture of improvement where employees know they have an equal and valued part.

 

You don’t need to wait either… start collaborating with each other on process improvements now by getting a demo of Flowingly.

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Flowingly achieves SOC 2 Type I certification

Flowingly achieves SOC 2 Type I certification

Providing a highly secure service is core to our Flowingly values. All of our systems, controls and processes are developed with security, availability and compliance as key design principles.

Today we are proud to announce that we have officially achieved SOC 2 Type I certification.

What this means is that we Flowingly adheres to the five “trust service” principles:

  • Availability – the system is available for operation and use as committed or agreed
  • Confidentiality – information designated as confidential is protected as committed or agreed
  • Privacy – personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and destroyed in conformity with the commitments in the entity’s privacy notice and with the criteria set forth in Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP)
  • Processing Integrity – system processing is complete, accurate, timely, and authorized
  • Security – the system is protected against unauthorized access, both physical and logical

Protecting the data and privacy of our clients is just part of what we do. It is something we promise to all clients, both big and small. We have done this since our inception and we continually challenge ourselves to make sure we adhere to these principles. Our SOC 2 Certification provides you with additional assurance that we have all the right processes and controls in place to protect your data and ensure the availability of our service.

If you would like a copy of the Flowingly SOC 2 report, please email us at security@flowingly.net

What is SOC 2 Type I?

 SOC 2 Type I reports are a comprehensive certification within the Systems and Organization Controls protocol. SOC2 Certification is issued by outside auditors. They assess the extent to which a vendor complies with one or more of the five trust principles based on the systems and processes in place.

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