Have you noticed certain tasks getting dropped or processes taking much longer than you believe they should in your company? Or have some of your employees started to murmur about being overwhelmed? The problem might not be with your team; the problem might be your workflows.
This is a common problem among business owners. You hire a rockstar team, train them up to handle their role, and bring in the business. Everything should flow smoothly, right? Well…not always. When it doesn’t, it’s likely that at least one step in the process has been overlooked. While that step might seem small, it can quickly become a bottleneck – one that ends up costing you a lot of money.
You can prevent this by gaining a better understanding of your workflows and workloads. Here are some of the reasons I love using workflows in my own company!
On the surface, it might seem like overkill to detail out your workflows. After all, everyone already knows what they’re supposed to do. Won’t this just take unnecessary time?
In reality, this is one of the most profitable steps you can take. In my law firm, I found it to be an absolute necessity.
Each type of case my firm handled could be roughly broken down into specific stages, and each of those stages followed a fairly predictable path. Based on historical data, I could anticipate the number of hours my receptionist, paralegal, associate, and other team members would spend at each stage of the case.
This is easy to keep track of if you only have a few cases active at any given time; however, this simply is not the case if your firm is growing and profitable. (And that is the goal, right?)
When you have dozens of cases active at different stages, it can be far more challenging to keep track of the payroll hours needed to handle each one. If you lose track of those numbers, you can easily end up overwhelming your staff or overstaffing your team – and both will result in a loss of profitability.
Workflows and Profitability
One of the reason I love using workflows is that they provide an objective data set for me to refer to at any time. As the owner of a law firm, my workflows allowed me to accurately gauge the productivity and profitability of my team. They also helped me to make wise hiring decisions!
Because I had a strong understanding of how much time each team member would need to spend during any given month or quarter – and I could anticipate how much time each would need to spend in the coming months – I could keep fairly accurate track of each person’s workload and gauge when new hires would have to be made.
This allowed me to plan proactively instead of having to react out of panic. I guarantee that proactive planning is far more conducive to profitability and peace of mind!
Workflows and Workloads
There is another huge benefit to building out your workflows: they equip you to regulate the workloads of each of your employees. This allows you to make sure that no one on your team is overworked or underworked – and allows you to make sure that each team member is working within their zone of genius.
This will not only help to keep your team happy and productive, it will also help to improve your culture and your bottom line.
When your workflows are out of line, one of the common results is that certain employees – likely the ones you rely on the most – will be handed workloads that are unsustainable. Because they’re rockstars, they’ll power through for a period of time, but eventually they’ll get burned out. When that happens, one of two things will follow: either their work will suffer (and so will your clients), or they’ll quit.
When you have solid workflows in place, you can more easily keep an eye on your workloads – and on your team’s ability to thrive while serving your clients with excellence. You will be able to adjust assignments, delegate with ease, and anticipate when new hires should be brought on.
Sound good? It does to me!
If you would like to learn more about how to get your workflows under control – and how to use them for employee management and financial planning – let me know! I am putting together a 6-week Boot Camp to help business owners do exactly that, and I would love to help you figure out if it’s the right step for you. My team and I are here to help you thrive!