3 Tips to Sprinkle Joy into Work Processes
By Lucy Rowell, Founder of Impactful Authority
Over the last 20 years, in nearly every company survey I’ve seen, employees rank processes as an area that needs improvement. The feedback keeps coming, but the results don’t change.
I get it! Processes can feel rigid, burdensome, complicated, and slow for many people. At the same time, we know they’re required for quality, transparency, and efficiency but the positives often don’t feel a big enough pull to get people excited to use them.
We know we need to do better, but we just can’t seem to get it right.
Let’s be realistic, processes are probably not going to be everyone’s favourite thing. There are ways though to add a sprinkling of joy around processes with the aim to move processes out of the complaint zone and into a zone of contentment, if not even happiness.
A SPRINKLE OF INVESTIGATION
Now is the time to unleash your inner ambitions to be Hercule Poirot. What I’ve found is that the process is often not the problem that needs to be addressed. It's something around it, but people associate the process as the higher-level problem. This could be that decision-making speed is causing delays and frustration, vendors are not performing as expected, or training associated with a process is complicated.
Asking questions, using your deep listening skills and digging deep into the main causes of people’s concerns will make sure you’re focused on solving the real problem.
SPRINKLE TRAINING AS NEEDED
If you remember the first week in your current job/role, you may remember the long list of processes you needed to be trained on to meet all the compliance requirements. No doubt this is an essential part of onboarding. My challenge to you is to consider how much needs to be covered immediately and to take an approach whereby people take training on processes as needed.
This does require a few key things to work:
- You need to identify what is essential core training.
- What is critical to this working is individuals need to know how to easily find those just in time trainings and what they cover in advance; I recommend when individuals start, they’re given an overview of the essential training and why it’s essential, as well as the types of additional processes the company has and where they can find the information when they need it.
- Where possible, also find fun and interesting ways to make the training fit for purpose, enjoyable and memorable for employees.
- Make sure training comes in different formats to support different learning requirements. Not everyone likes videos or 10-page documents to read. Be dynamic or offer alternatives for people who need them.
SPRINKLE PROCESS INTO YOUR CULTURE
While processes may not be the first thing that jumps to mind for your company culture, they are an essential component. A culture where people feel ownership for the processes – whether that be implementing, providing ongoing feedback, or evolving the process as part of their onboarding – sets the baseline for how processes are considered within the company.
We know that a shared sense of ownership in any setting increases people’s engagement, especially when they start to see they are part of the change happening. When this is coupled with ensuring the reward and recognition practices also contribute to the process culture you desire, you immediately start to see positive shifts.
IMPLEMENTING THESE TIPS SUCCESSFULLY
Whether you love or avoid them, processes are here to stay! If you’re struggling to keep employees engaged, remember a couple of key points:
- Spend quality time deep listening and questioning
- Keep things simple and fit for purpose (the processes itself, training, evolving, etc.)
- Create a shared sense of purpose (why they’re important, how everyone is responsible, and how they can contribute to their evolution)
- Be practical but dynamic
About the Author
Lucy Rowell is a coach, consultant and podcast host catalysing the impact of individuals, teams and organisations. Lucy has over 20 years in senior leadership roles within the area of Data Science in global corporate organisations, as well as being a previous chairwoman for a large non-profit company. She has designed and implemented a number of innovative large team/organisational transformations.
She is the founder of a boutique agency Impactful Authenticity (with a podcast under the same name), where she works with leaders and teams to unlock and harness the power of authenticity to create high-functioning, tightly connected, impactful teams everyone wants to be a part of.