Unfortunately, maintaining concentration, focus, and full involvement is extremely challenging in today’s distraction-filled business environment. Industry studies show that, on average, employees are interrupted once every 11 minutes, or 43 times per day, with each interruption taking 3-5 minutes to resolve. Furthermore, 75 percent of these interruptions are neither important nor critical, such as asking for the latest-and-greatest documents, checking on status, clarifying instructions, etc. These non-critical, but constant, interruptions cost employees more than 2 hours each day, or 10 hours per week, in lost productivity. “Imagine working for five days, but only getting four days’ worth of output. Think about how that drags down productivity, morale, and your sense of achievement,” says John Way, President of Innovative Way, maker of the award-winning workflow management platform, Pipeline. “That is why companies that employ a workflow management solution have a huge competitive advantage over those that do not,” Way continues. “These systems pre-empt questions, streamline hand-offs, minimize interruptions, and keep everyone focused and in the flow.”
Taking a Holistic Approach to Work“Flow”
When most leaders think about workflow management, they tend to focus on back-end automation or task management, like to-do lists. “But, what about knowledge or governance,” asks Way. “How do workers know what to do, and how do you ensure that they do it correctly every time?” Unfortunately, most companies rely on workers to remember or hire coordinators or support staff to ensure the process is followed correctly.
Workflow management systems pre-empt questions, streamline hand-offs, minimize interruptions, and keep everyone focused and in the flow
Citing a success story, Way describes how they helped a company transform its new-hire pre-boarding, onboarding, and offboarding processes. He recounts, “When we did the initial analysis, we discovered that they were using an online to-do list app. There were lots of tasks, but there was no clarity on roles, responsibilities, or order of operations. For example, one pre-boarding task is to order a laptop, but there was no guidance on which make or model. In addition, there was no governance because people could complete tasks without providing the actual deliverables, such as the order tracking number and estimated date of arrival.” Without clarity or governance around tasks and processes often bottlenecked, workers were confused, managers were frustrated, and everyone suffered. Way states, “They were not set up for success. A to-do list, unfortunately, is not a process.”
After the analysis, the Pipeline Customer Success (CS) team met with department leaders and helped them clarify roles, responsibilities, expectations for hand-offs, and order of operations, as part of the Pipeline White Glove service. Then, the CS team mapped out the process in Pipeline for leaders and key stakeholders for review. “That was a lightbulb moment for us,” says one executive. “We have never seen the whole process mapped out from end-to-end like that and documented.” After receiving the leaders’ approval, the CS team trained the task owners and rolled out the process to the rest of the organization. Three months later, during the Quarterly Business Review with the client, the CS team walked through the performance metrics and identified areas where further improvements could be made. “What a difference,” says one executive. “It was like night-and-day. The Pipeline team guided us through every step. If we had tried to do what they did by ourselves, like in a DIY fashion, it would have taken us forever. What a great partner to have!”
Building on a Track-Record of Innovation
Successes like these are what make Pipeline an industry innovation leader because of its holistic approach to workflow management. In 2018, Pipeline won the Product of the Year award by CIO Review for its just-in-time approach to knowledge management, and in 2019, Pipeline was named Top 10 onboarding solution providers by HR Tech Outlook. Looking ahead, the company aims to help its clients extend their successes to include external team members, like vendors, suppliers, and partners. “Extending workflows across company boundaries is becoming a key business imperative,” Way explains, “because so many teams today are distributed.” Indeed, the challenges of training, enabling, and adhering to a structured process are magnified when team members come from multiple companies. Fortunately, that is exactly what Pipeline is designed to solve. With such a remarkable product, Way and his team are poised to transform the industry in the coming years.