Work is changing and fast. This past year saw companies switching from in-office to remote work seemingly overnight. And many companies weren’t ready. They simply didn’t have the right practices in place. They were still using the same tools, processes, and methods that had worked for them for the last decade (or more).
That’s why process improvement exists. It challenges companies to take a proactive approach to analyzing current processes and identifying ways they can be improved. Whether it’s hiring more people, eliminating steps in a workflow, or adopting new technology—it’s only when companies give their current state a good hard look that they’re able to see how they can make it better.
The truth is companies must adapt to changes in their industry, their economy, and the world at large in order to survive. Process improvement makes that possible, but it’s not easy. Change never is. But having the right tools in place can help companies address even the strong challengers of process improvement.
Employees Resist Process Improvement
Change can be scary. It invites risk and a whole lot of unknowns. And when it comes to work, the research is clear: employees would much rather have control.
Take tools, for example. Employees prefer to stick with what they know. That means old-school spreadsheets hosting all their formulas, email inboxes that are hundreds, if not thousands, of messages deep, and digital files organized in a way only the employee understands. They crave that predictability and routine, even if it’s not terribly efficient.
It’s not that employees are opposed to new tech, but the reality is that companies seldom implement new tools effectively. Instead, they thrust tools on employees and then move onto the next item on the change management agenda. This leaves employees feeling frustrated, unsure how the new tool benefits them or the company, and, ultimately, not onboard.
Empower Employees To Work In Meaningful Ways
Choosing tools when you don’t have an accurate grasp of what your teams need to do their jobs can have disastrous effects on the employee experience. Job satisfaction and engagement suffers, and, over time, a poor experience can affect the organization at large.
The truth is your employees want tools that help them get their work done, help them see how the new tool positively impacts their daily work, and answer that ever-pressing question—what’s in it for me?
Choosing tools when you don’t have an accurate grasp of what your teams need out of those tools to do their job can have disastrous effects on the employee experience.
Tools like Trello Enterprise empower employees to collaborate and understand the bigger picture. They see their contributions and how their work fits into a larger project or initiative. And they see it all in real time.
With Trello, employees can easily view projects, communications, and improvement efforts using boards and team workspaces. Whether it’s a marketing team collaborating on external communications or a development team planning for their next sprint, Trello helps teams stay in sync, no matter their geographical location. Everything they need—information, workflows, and access to one another—exists all in one place. And with its intuitive design and templates, Trello helps teams learn the tool as they work and supports digital adoption across the company.
Workflow Inefficiencies Bog Down Process Improvement
Effective process improvement demands continuous forward momentum. But inefficient workflows can slow progress, or worse—bring everything to a standstill.
Imagine a classic assembly line. A toy car moves through several stations, and each station adds a different piece—the frame, wheels, doors. But when it comes to the station that applies paint, each color needs to be mixed first. Very quickly, cars pile up. Soon, that backlog seems insurmountable.
Bottlenecks are a common workflow culprit. They make it difficult to predict output, like how quickly a team can complete a project or release an important software fix. The problem is that, very often, bottlenecks are not identified until after they’ve already impacted your work. But with the right tools in place, you can monitor workflows and address bottlenecks before they get out of hand.
Identify Bottlenecks And Automate Tasks Where You Can
Work that happens in bursts rather than in a predictable flow might indicate a bottleneck. Say a design team needs their lead to sign off on concept sketches before they can take their idea to a finished product. If there are several ideas pending approval, designers might have a lull in work before the mad rush to finish a project.
For the design team, their team lead presents a bottleneck. They aren’t trying to cause a workflow disruption, but bottlenecks often indicate poorly allocated resources or an outdated process. Identifying them allows teams to brainstorm solutions.
Trello Enterprise gives teams that high-level visibility into how tasks move through their workflow. With lists like Waiting Assignment, Researching, or Pending Review, teams can very quickly see where cards start to pile up and investigate the cause.
Teams can filter by member assigned to see if a teammate is overloaded or who might be free to take on some extra tasks. Filtering by due date can help teams determine if there are too many tasks to complete in a certain amount of time or prioritize which tasks to tackle first.
With Trello Enterprise, teams can also take advantage of unlimited automations to reduce the number of repetitive tasks. How does this help bottlenecks? Consider the team lead tasked with creating the same cards at the start of a development sprint or go-to-market campaign. Using the card repeater or even board templates can automatically spin up tasks or projects, so the team can get started with work without waiting on their lead.
Lack Of Collaboration Opportunities Means More Time Spent In Meetings
For decades, teams have relied on meetings to share information, give input, or come to a consensus on a topic, yet employees agree that meetings are largely unproductive and a waste of time. But it can be a hard habit to break when it’s how work has always gotten done.
Unfortunately, meetings cut into the time employees need to get their own work done. Meetings disrupt their flow, and in an effort to find distraction-free pockets of time, employees will come into work early, stay late, or avoid coming into the office altogether just to get their work done.
Process improvement challenges teams to find better, more efficient ways to work, and that includes how teams meet to share information. The good news is that technology gives teams the gift of virtual collaboration, which helps them get work done anytime and from anywhere.
Empower Employees To Connect From Wherever They Are, No Matter The Time
Changes to the workplace landscape have more teams connecting remotely or in a hybrid of at-home and in-office. As a result, teams rely on tools to help them accomplish shared work.
Collaboration tools allow employees to connect in real time or when it’s more convenient for them. This asynchronous method empowers employees to focus on their necessary tasks, then check notifications and messages when they take breaks or at a specific time in their day.
But collaboration tools are more than just a means for getting work done—they also help remote and hybrid teams feel connected. These shared workspaces become the center of team activities and interactions.
Collaboration tools are more than just a means for getting work done—they also help remote and hybrid teams feel connected.
Trello Enterprise gives teams fully customizable workspaces where they can be strategic about how they collaborate. Conversations about a specific topic can be kept in a relevant card by tagging team members, and employees can enable the card’s Watch option to be notified of updates to a conversation or task. With Trello, all interaction is documented, making work searchable.
Power-Ups make brainstorming easy by letting teammates vote on proposed items. Think new features, which tasks to tackle next, or which virtual team-building event sounds fun—reaching agreement or consensus has never been easier. And if meetings are necessary, whether virtually or in-office, team meeting boards can help teams keep everyone on task.
Poor Knowledge-Sharing Practices Cost Time And Money
The larger your company grows, the more difficult it can be to share information between departments, teams, and employees. Often, companies have the wrong tools in place or too many tools altogether, leaving employees unsure where to even start looking for the info they need. And these poor knowledge-sharing practices can cost large enterprises an average of $13.3 million annually.
When information is spread across several tools or stored on team members’ personal computers, employees spend more time sorting through resources or unknowingly re-creating resources than they do completing their actual work. And all this extra work takes a toll on the employee experience. In a survey of 1,001 employees, 81% expressed frustration at not being able to find the information they need to do their job.
Not having access to necessary information is even harder for employees new to the demands of remote work. Consider the recent shift that companies across the globe made in response to the pandemic. For many, collaboration and productivity suffered as they struggled to move conversations from email inboxes to shared workspaces and resources to a central location rather than a company network.
Their teams needed visibility into where everyone was with a project and the different conversations that were happening. The shift to remote work shined a light on the inefficient practices that made this transition difficult.
Give Teams Centralized Knowledge Management
With centralized knowledge management, you create a “single source of truth” that your entire company can draw upon for information and answers. This level of transparency fuels process improvement as it makes it easy for team members and leadership to find the information they need to make informed decisions.
Trello Enterprise excels at knowledge management. You can dedicate an entire board to a topic, like a deep-dive on a product or everything your new employees need to know about their onboarding process. Positioning information in an open and easy-to-bookmark location makes it easy for your employees to find the information they need without fear of looking ignorant or bothering their coworkers for help.
With Trello, teams reap the benefits of knowledge updated in real time. As teams master the process of sharing information, employees can trust that the information they’re reading is the most current. Past drafts or in-progress drafts can be dated and attached to cards for historical reference so that new members of the marketing team don’t pull old branding slide decks thinking they’re current.
Worried about employees accessing information they shouldn’t be able to see? Don’t be. Whether at the company level or by department or teams, Trello lets your Enterprise Admins set board permission so that only approved employees can access specific boards or workspaces. That means extensive profiles on customer accounts, sensitive financial information, or secret in-development product features are safe from accidental internal and external exposure.
Process Improvement Starts At The Top
Change is inevitable. When companies stay agile in their practices and tools, they’re better prepared to navigate whatever new trends or circumstances their industry or the economy brings. As a leader, you have the power to make that happen. Not only can you drive the necessary process improvement, but you also have the power to give your employees the tools they need to make these efforts a success.
Make sure your teams have what they need to weather any storm with Trello Enterprise.
Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!