The How to for Process Review Segment 3
Previously, we discussed why process change in HR is so important and how to incorporate staff in any type of process review. Despite beliefs to the contrary, depending on scope, process improvement does not require significant resources. As indicated previously, even small process changes can have a very large impact.
There are dozens of process improvement techniques and quality programs that can seem daunting to even the most experienced person. Enter quality, lean, transformation or process review in Google and you will see literally hundreds of links pertaining to Six Sigma, Deming, ISO, and TQM.
So with all these techniques…..how do you begin? Remember, change is inevitable, start small. You do not need to spend hours analyzing all of the methods to find what works for you. All of the process improvement and transformation methods have similar techniques that allow you to get to the most important part of any process improvement, reduced inefficiencies and waste. What does that mean? Reductions in cost and simplified work leading to fewer errors, better response times and a more satisfied customer base.
In HR, we know the impact that fewer errors can mean to our response times and satisfaction among our key stakeholders and most importantly our employee base.
To begin, hold a meeting with your staff and identify any process that is time consuming, frustrating or frequently requires work to be re-done, clarified or where you know response times are poor. Ideally, this would be any process that touches an employee or other department – payroll, benefits or recruitment are often good starting points.
Document each step in the process. Try diagramming the process in a simple flow chart. While software pertaining to process flows is very helpful such as MS Visio, you can build simple flow charts in word, PowerPoint, paper or even a whiteboard. You would be amazed at how complicated simple processes can be when they are illustrated. Flawed processes often have multiple loops repeating steps. This process will also allow for employees to look at process and ask if all the steps in the process are required. I have worked with many HR staff who simply perform tasks because they were told to do so or they thought they needed to, only to find out that these steps are not required at all – there is no business need for the steps they were taking!
Why? Because we are creatures of habit; our natural reflex is not necessarily to ask the questions about why we perform certain tasks. We become so comfortable doing them, we don’t want to change. Often, we are too busy to even stop and look a process and see how it could be better. We have painted a picture as to how simple it can be for Human Resources to start on the path to process refinement and review. So what is next?
Please follow our blog next week to review additional process documenting techniques and real HR examples of process re-defined; stay tuned!