10 Signs a Company’s Processes Should Be Updated

29 Aug 2023


It’s tempting to assume that your work is done once you design, test, and implement a business process. In reality, as the market and industry evolve, so should a business’ processes.

Complacency is a good way to lose ground to competitors. By keeping a hand to the pulse of your business processes, you keep ahead of the curve and nip problems in the bud.

To gauge whether it’s time to update your business processes, you must ask yourself the following 10 questions.

10 Signs a Company’s Processes Should Be Updated

1 – Are you losing important documentation?

Are communications, reports, and other important documents not getting where they need to?

If so, this is a clear sign you need to lay out guidelines for how these matters are handled, or review and revise them if they’re already in place.

Poor communication and record keeping not only slows down an organization, it can potentially open it up to future liabilities.

2 – Are your customers dissatisfied or complaining about the same issue?

If you’re receiving poor customer feedback or getting multiple complaints about the same issue, it’s a sign that something needs attention.

It may not always be a problem with your business process, but it always pays to do your due diligence and review them anyway. Chances are there are some changes that could be made to help resolve any issues.

3 – Do you have to waste time fixing preventable mistakes?

A well laid out process keeps human error to a minimum.

If you notice your staff are making easily avoidable mistakes on a regular basis, it’s time to investigate and see where things are going wrong.

It could be that your existing process is flawed or could use a rewrite for clarity/clarification.

Set aside time to meet with your staff and get to know why they’re struggling on the relevant tasks.

Once you have the answers, incorporate their feedback into your revisions.

It’s a bit of extra effort that will save you much more in the long run.

4 – Is there confusion about who’s responsible for what?

Do you find that employees are frequently unsure about the exact tasks that fall under their responsibility?

If so, your process needs to be revised to better address who is responsible for what task, and at what stages of the process.

Much like miscommunication and loss of records, confusion about responsibilities slows down your organization needlessly and should be eliminated. Clear process documentation can help define exactly what each role or person is responsible for, as well as any hand-offs in responsibility that may take place during a task.

5 – Are things constantly falling behind schedule?

Are you regularly failing to finish projects or routine tasks by their deadline?

If so, you may need to review the processes involved for their efficiency. If the processes are already as streamlined as they can reasonably be, you may need to push back your deadlines going forward or expand your staff so you have the proper manpower at your disposal.

Pushing deadlines back may seem counterintuitive, but by eliminating the need for crunch you actually do more to increase productivity than harm it. With more time your staff is able to get more done and can focus on finer details that result in a higher quality of work.

In contrast, maintaining unreasonable deadlines for projects and tasks is an excellent way to get a ‘yes’ to the next question:

6 – Are your employees skipping processes to speed up tasks?

If your employees are routinely skipping processes or steps within a process, chances are you need to reevaluate whether the skipped processes are really necessary at all. If they are, look for ways to streamline them. 

Employee engagement is key here, get their feedback and understand why they’re skipping what they’re skipping. You should also make sure your employees understand the significance of those skipped processes, as staff who do are less likely to skip it again in the future.

Another aspect of this issue might be that your employees are feeling rushed. You can counter this by auditing your project timelines and making sure that they have a reasonable amount of time to complete the tasks you need.

7 – Are reports and updates for issues not being followed up on?

Letting unresolved issues go neglected is a surefire way to cause problems later down the line.

Consider specifying a deadline in your policies for the proper managers to begin investigating issues.

Also be sure to establish a clear chain of escalation for problems. This will help make sure they’re brought to the attention of the appropriate officers in your organization.

8 – Have you thrown money at a problem only for it to persist?

Sometimes ordering new equipment or expanding your manpower only treats the symptoms of a problem instead of the cause.

When investing funds and resources fails to do the trick, it’s time to take a look at your processes and see if there’s something you can improve.

Perhaps rather than new computers or monitoring systems, what’s really needed is more in-depth training or a different way to process client’s requests.

If anything, you should consider reviewing your processes first if the cause of the problem isn’t obvious. Exploring your options is fine, but exploring your processes can save you money.

9 – Do you have menial tasks that could easily be automated?

The truth is undeniable: There are some tasks that are just better left to automation. Data entry is an excellent example.

Automating routine, menial tasks frees up employees to focus on more critical work and can overall boost productivity.

Ideally this increased productivity will pay for the cost of setting up the automation and then some. Just be sure to do your research and choose a solution that’s both reliable and effective, otherwise all you’ll do is add needless frustration and make your employee’s jobs harder.

10 – Are your employees frustrated by the way current processes are carried out?

Have you ever wondered if your employees are frustrated by the way processes are done?

Ask them. No, really. Ask them.

It’s easy to assume you know best as the captain of the ship, but even good captains struggle to both monitor the deck and steer from the helm. This is why your staff’s input matters, as they’re the ones who have to carry out these processes on a regular basis and will be intimately familiar with their flow. They may even surprise you by suggesting changes that are not only more practical, but also cut down on operational costs.

It’s wise to welcome feedback and suggestions freely through practices like open door policies or suggestion boxes. This not only encourages staff to share useful ideas that may otherwise go unspoken, but also provides your staff with a sense of investment in your organization.


In Closing…

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it might be time to update your company’s processes.

Knowing you need to do something is often easier than actually doing it, though.

If you find yourself lacking the resources or direction to update your policies and make sure it communicates everything you need it to, consider enlisting a writing agency.

Devin Lawrence 

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