Through process reviews with clients over the years, I’ve realized that many organizations are evaluating new strategies and HR tech to increase efficiency throughout their company.
What’s standing in their way? Poor documentation of their own processes. Without a solid foundation in place, it’s hard to know where to start the documentation process. It’s an overwhelming experience, to say the least. It’s also what’s preventing organizations from getting the most out of their HR tech investment.
What is Process Mapping?
According to LucidChart, a process map is a planning and management tool that visually describes the flow of work by showing who and what is involved in a process - whether that’s when and how your employee's leaves are approved, or how your product gets manufactured and shipped.
Process Maps are used for:
- Increasing understanding of a process
- Analyzing how a process could be improved
- Identifying bottlenecks in processes
- Employee Onboarding and Training
- Improving communication between individuals engaged in the same process
- Internal and external audits
- Planning projects
Check out this great Process Mapping 101 resource from Lucidchart.
How to determine if process mapping can help your documentation and HR strategy
If you’re not sure you need to start process mapping, here are 5 types of inefficiencies to look for:
- Communication Breakdowns “When did we start doing it that way? Nobody told me”
- You need sign off from more than two people to complete a task
- Manual data entry - Expensive, time-consuming, numerous errors
- Data silos - Data is accessible to one department but isolated from the rest of that organization
- Poor reporting and metrics - Missing crucial information about your business
How inefficient processes hurt companies
I read an article in Entrepreneur where researchers found that companies lose 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies. That’s a mind-blowing number, but what baffled me, even more, is that the study went on to say that when the organizations were confronted about the huge losses, most continued to “make do” with their current applications and systems even if they were not the right solution.
In the book The Silo Effect, there’s a story that covers Sony during the peak of their success. The PlayStation department gated its technology and knowledge from the rest of the company, even as the company’s CEO tried to break down departmental silos. As a result, Sony failed to capitalize on a series of huge technology shifts in portable music players and the rise of smartphones that, at the time, Sony could have dominated with their technological advances.
Prolonged inefficiency in a department or an organization can lead to further issues. These risks include low morale, lack of trust amongst employees, and inaccuracy and frustration becoming the norm.
When should you implement process mapping in your organization?
- If you don’t know where or how to begin a newly implemented process or improve upon an existing inefficient process
- If you are overwhelmed with outdated, labour-intensive processes
- If you are considering going to market for new HR tech
- If you’ve previously tried to map your processes, you may want to consider bringing a different set of eyes in to help. This can be someone else on your team, someone in your organization who has experience with process improvement, or an external third party.
3 Positive Outcomes from Process Mapping Your HR Processes
Here are three positive outcomes of process mapping that I’ve compiled through working with clients:
1. A look into the future
When you can see your organization's current state compared to your ideal future state, you’ll get a clear and concise vision of where you want to be, either as a department or a company. This visual representation will help you to identify the gaps between your current state, and what you need to change in order to get there.
2. A better business case
Now that you’ve mapped out your current and future state, you have a much stronger business case to push for new HR software/tools. By having the information and metrics to reinforce and confirm what processes need to be improved, you’ll have a much higher chance of executive buy-in.
3. A much-improved employee experience
Ultimately, process maps create an employee experience that fosters engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity through having the ability to see where you are now and to understand where things can improve. By reviewing your current and future state, you can redesign processes within your organization to create more engaging experiences for your employees. This is key as statistics show that 87% of employees who are engaged at work are less likely to leave their company.
How to get started
Through my experience of implementing process maps with clients, I’ve found that starting small and identifying the processes you most frequently find yourself doing is a good first step.
1. Identify the Process - What process do you want to improve? Pick one!
- Offboarding process
- Recruitment process
- Onboarding process
- Absence requests
2. Now, gather information by:
- Observing the process from start to finish
- Reviewing existing documentation
- Having one-on-ones with your team and those who are closest to the task
3. Map it out. To do so, start with your beginning and endpoints. Once you know what those two stages look like, you can begin filling the gaps between and determining where decisions are made.
I’ve mapped out a new hire onboarding process using two different visual techniques:
If you want more information to help you start process mapping, check out these resources:
Here are different software tools to create simple maps:
Improve workflows and engage your team with tools built for you
If you’re ready to start evaluating different HRIS solutions, we’ve got you covered with our Complete Buyer’s Guide for HRIS Software. In it, you’ll find an overview of the benefits of HRIS, a feature list to help you identify a shortlist of vendors, and a detailed comparison guide to help you align your needs to the right solution.