Last year, agencies and businesses realized the urgency of making quick changes to their SOP, Business processes that had functioned while operations were normal had to be quickly re-engineered to cope with a largely remote workforce and clients who still required services.
All activities from reporting and admin to client services needed to be rearchitected in weeks﹘if, not days.
Today, organizations are evaluating their activities over the last year while planning for the year ahead. Many have come to the realization that complete digital transformation has still not been reached. The problem comes from the fact that many of these process changes were activated immediately without considering their long-term implications.
Additionally, management may have underestimated the overall impact of COVID. While many thought it would be short-term, yet disruptive, this was clearly not the case. With case numbers still climbing, organizations are recognizing that these changes to SOP may need to be managed for the long term.
Because of these conditions, rethinking business processes is a priority. Those “temporary” changes must be re-evaluated to ensure they meet staff and organizational needs. In addition, risk and compliance must be factored into this still evolving environment. Failure to consider could have very serious implications for the agency or business. Organizations and agencies should take the following steps to continue to function during this time of rapid change:
Critical processes must be documented- With a number of staff continuing to work remotely or on A/B schedules. It’s crucial that everyone has a view into the processes that exist and how they work. This documentation should use an effective tool in a readily available location. Staff members must easily be able to verify specifics and authenticate that they are following correct procedures.
Staff must be included- Capable process management cannot be done without the participation of those who conduct the process. These team-members often have the best suggestions and fixes.
Start yesterday- While you might be tempted to wait until the pandemic is under control, however, starting immediately will put you ahead.
Start small and grow- Rather than looking at processes at the enterprise-level and getting overwhelmed, start with a proof-of-concept and scale where you find success. This start small and grow is a safe way to approach this type of workflow project.
Build feedback loops- If possible, embed feedback from staff into your “build” process. Recommendations should be encouraged. Consider using a formal project management method such as agile to introduce transparency and feedback.
Iterate- Process management always requires evolution, mandate changes, a new product is released, etc. Avoid setting your process in stone and allow for incremental improvements.
As business conditions continue to change, taking the time to review and redesign your organizational processes will pay significant dividends in the months and years ahead.