Case Study: Process Management, Your Best Employees Are Your Biggest Risk

Written by on May 30, 2013 in Process Management with 0 Comments

Best Employees Your Biggest RiskSituation:  Your best employee is getting ready to retire.  The employee has been with you for many years and knows what to do, better than you do!  In fact, you are not really sure what process the employee follows and whether the process is productive or wasteful.  You know that you need to begin to train others in this position, but there is nothing documented.  Or, if it is documented, it?s fragmented and old.

Question:  What should you do?

The first step is to put together a team of people who are familiar with the customer expectations and the organization.  Schedule a kickoff meeting to ensure everyone involved with the process understand what is happening and why.

The next step is to conduct a process assessment.  Identify all of the processes that the at-risk employee is responsible for and then document them.  We call this completing the ?As Is? process flow diagram or set of instructions.

Once you have this documentation, you can then analyze the process and determine ways to improve how the work is done.  We call this the ?To Be? process.  These steps are part of process improvement strategies or process management.

Process Management is defined as the ?application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques and systems? to improve processes with the goal of meeting customer expectations and requirements.

In my experience, most employees do not feel they know how to document processes or create procedural manuals.  There are technical barriers, for example unsure how to use word processing or diagramming tools.  There are knowledge barriers, for example the employee is not confident that they know the process well enough to create documentation.  And finally, there are confidence barriers, employees are unsure they have the skills necessary for the job so they defer to others.  These barriers are significant and must be overcome in order to evaluate and improve your work processes.

One way to reduce the barriers for process improvement is to hire an outside consultant.  The right consultant can lead the team through the process, provide training for using the tools to create great document, coach team members to improve their confidence and skill, and much more.

Conclusion:  Take a look at your current work processes.  Do you have employees who are solely responsible for one or more activities?  Are your processes documented?  If not, spend some time and create documents for your current state or ?As Is? process.  Then, hire a consultant to help you analyze and improve those processes to be more effective and efficient.  If you need assistance, Miller Productivity can help.  Give me a call.

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