Imagine a heavily trafficked road with no street lights or signs. Drivers would be clueless about upcoming road hazards, how fast they can legally go, and where and when to turn to reach their destination. That same concept can be applied to an office that lacks an established workplace system. In this scenario, chaos still reigns supreme—but instead of lacking awareness about upcoming road hazards, speed limits, and directions, employees are missing information about potential project delays, deadlines, and where to deliver the finished product.
Workplace systems not only create (or restore, if needed) order but can be a conduit to successful business practices. In no particular order, here are five must-do tactics to implement into your workplace system to ensure your team is getting things done.
1 – Integrate an enterprise-wide project management methodology
Chances are that you’ve heard of at least some of these but may not know too much about how they work. Lean, Scrum, Waterfall and Kanban are among the most popular, but there are many more. The important thing is to find one that works for your organization and the types of projects or processes involved with your business.
For instance, Scrum focuses on creating small, cross-functional teams that complete work in short blocks called sprints. If your company provides a service or product that doesn’t involve an abundance of layers or steps, Scrum might not be right for you. On the other hand, Lean is all about removing waste, simplifying, and standardizing. So, you may be able to streamline your processes even further by eliminating waste like overproduction or time wasted waiting. If you’re interested, you can find explainers for project management methodologies all over the Internet, including this one from Workamajig.
2 – Ensure alignment on processes, goals, and overall culture
Culture is more than just a buzzword thrown around by HR people. It’s the foundation of your business and the umbrella under which everything rolls up. The services you provide or goods you manufacture are intended to solve a need, which should speak to your company’s culture and values. But in order for culture to mean anything, you must achieve employee buy-in—and that starts by walking the walk at the top.
The same goes for processes and goals. Whether it’s the nitty-gritty of delivering your service or producing your product or the overarching project management methodology you choose, all members of your team must be rowing the boat in the same direction. If they aren’t, you’re bound to just spin yourself in circles.
3 – Abide by the three Ps
The three Ps—policy, process, and procedure—are the underpinning of your workplace system and integrate directly with your project management methodology of choice. Remember our traffic example from earlier? Policy is the guideline that offers guardrails on how to safely proceed, process is the roadmap that leads the way to the finish line and procedure is the individual steps needed to get you there.
4 – Be willing to be flexible
Plans change (as do people, by the way), which means your organization must be adaptable at all times. That new product that you assumed wouldn’t sell right away may take off quicker than you thought, forcing the team to scramble and ramp up production. That’s when a willingness to be flexible and a commitment to your workplace system and project management methodology really come in handy.
But flexibility isn’t just for the end result. It applies to the process of getting you there as well. Don’t be afraid of shaking up the status quo if it’s not working. Identify ways to do something that takes three steps in two.
5 – Train people like their job depends on it (because it should)
In a lot of cases, employees who are continually making mistakes aren’t necessarily bad workers—they just need more training. Training, education, and development are significant aspects of a successful workplace system.
Be sure that your training includes goal-oriented messaging and metrics that give the employee something to shoot for and measure progress. In time and with added comfort, that can even evolve into a situation where the employee suggests their own goal metrics and presents to leadership for alignment.
Clarke Executive Services Group can help you build a workplace system
Because business owners often have their hands busy running the business and working to keep it alive, the down-and-dirty details like workplace systems often get put on the backburner. But thanks to Clarke Executive Services Group, that no longer has to happen.
We offer a variety of team solutions, including our Business Team Services that aid leaders in creating, monitoring and refining infrastructure, growth and sustainability through workplace systems. Learn more about our Business Team Services, and contact us today to learn how we can help you implement or utilize a workplace system with your team.