Standardizing Workflows for Improved Team Performance

| December 6, 2023 | By

Often, companies only look to new software to improve team performance and efficiency. While technology can help streamline operations, standardized workflows and processes are critical for organization-wide alignment. Before implementing new software, document and optimize your team’s workflows first. 

Creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) with checklists, process documents, templates, and guides provides many benefits, including:

  • Reduced mistakes - With clear steps and expectations, there is less room for misunderstanding. Team members can follow procedures accurately.
  • Better cross-training and onboarding - Documented workflows help new team members get up to speed faster without learning through word of mouth.
  • More consistency and compliance - Standardized workflows ensure tasks get done the same way each time, meeting quality and compliance needs.
  • Increased focus - With defined procedures, team members spend less time figuring out the following steps and executing more. 
  • Streamlined collaboration - Aligned SOPs across departments enable smoother handoffs and cross-team workflows.

Documenting step-by-step procedures, checklists for repetitive tasks, and protocols for collaboration takes effort upfront but provides long-term benefits. 

For example, standardizing client onboarding at a consulting firm involves Gathering a cross-functional team to map each step from sales handoff to delivery to accounting. Outlining handoffs, decisions, and tasks. Optimizing and simplifying where possible, removing redundancies. Compiling the workflow into a detailed SOP document. 

Now, new client managers can smoothly onboard per the guidelines. Sales know when and what to hand off. Billing aligns payment collection. With everyone on the same page, onboarding is streamlined, and clients get a consistent experience.  

When evaluating new software, ensure it supports existing workflows rather than dictating misaligned processes. Look for customizable solutions that allow configuring ideal workflows. The technology should optimize, not replace, SOPs.

Tools like Asana, monday.com, and Smartsheet help teams digitally manage and track standardized workflows. CRMs like Salesforce automate handoff and task management between departments. Forms and document builders enable template creation for repetitive tasks.

But optimize workflows before implementing new software. Clearly define protocols, document processes, and streamline cross-team workflows. With SOPs as your foundation, select tools that genuinely enhance procedures. 

By optimizing workflows before new software, teams can maximize adoption, reduce confusion, and realize full technology benefits. Standardized procedures create a strong foundation for tools to boost performance further.