What is a workflow management plan? As day-to-day management responsibilities crowd your schedule, you may be looking for a better way to improve internal operations. A workflow management plan provides an infrastructure of current or projected tasks to achieve an organized system that guarantees productivity.
Why Your Team Needs a Workflow Management Plan
The abrupt shift to remote work has driven many teams to operate independently. After years of working from a distance, organizations have learned to conduct operations without a physical location. Teams coordinate responsibilities via Zoom calls, project management platforms, and check-in using instant messaging apps. Long commute times and protracted in-person meetings are no longer a necessity.
The tremendous success involved with remote work may cause you to question: is a workflow management plan necessary? Why do I need one?
While remote operations can increase individual productivity, collaborating online is still a significant issue. Lack of collaboration hinders teamwork by blurring lines of communication leading to disorganized processes and low-quality work.
Developing a workflow management plan for your team, whether your team operates solely online or from a physical location, improves communication and ensures members complete each task with the utmost quality.
Developing an Effective Workflow Management Plan
A workflow management plan focuses on developing a business structure that improves long-term team processes. Without it, miscommunication and confusion regarding tasks result in an inefficient workflow. While day-to-day project management is essential, many often confuse it with workflow management. A team can complete a project successfully, but there are various aspects involved that guide a project from start to end. For example:
- How did your team communicate regarding the project?
- What could the team have done better?
- Was every team member present during each meeting?
- What was the productivity level compared to previous projects?
- Were deadlines met?
Teams must first establish and then manage their workflows to ensure the structure provides support for the long-term. A workflow management plan creates ownership and accountability. It sets teams up for success by designating tasks and steps.
A daily stream of tasks must be managed appropriately and compiled into a systematic flow that team members can easily follow. Every step involves precise communication and organization to ensure successful completion while staying productive and on budget. More importantly, developing an optimal plan involves catering to company needs as well as your teams. The planning stage is the first step in developing a workflow management plan that works.
Step 1: Get Everyone on the Same Page
With increased remote work comes the need to manage team members across many digital channels such as email, instant messaging, or Zoom. Digital communication in a remote world inevitably involves increased coordination regarding tasks. However, there is a fine line between consistent coordination and micromanagement.
Micromanagement involves excessive monitoring between a manager and employee. This management method is common for workers operating in person as it is easy for a manager to walk over to an employee’s desk to check in. The same rings true for remote employees when micromanagement occurs via email or instant messaging.
While micromanagement may originate from positive intentions, it often decreases employee morale and increases stress. Studies show that 70% of employees consider resigning their positions when micromanaged, and 30% follow through with resignation due to increased pressure.
It's important to get everyone aligned regarding tasks to reduce the need for increased check-ins and avoid losing valuable team members. Managers may argue for the need to monitor employees, but they can seek less intrusive methods. For example, in addition to conducting Zoom calls, ensure every team member understands their clearly defined responsibilities as well as expectations. Managers can utilize tools such as a Kanban board or a platform like Trello when assigning project tasks. This way, all team members can understand the project’s stage and individual responsibilities with a glance.
Suppose your team struggles with email-related tasks such as managing responses or delegating assignments. In that case, a shared inbox solution is beneficial in granting teams access to one company inbox to manage incoming emails together instead of separately.
Gmelius offers a collaborative shared inbox solution that allows managers to assign conversations using priority levels and tags.
Gmelius prompts team accountability by aligning everyone without risking miscommunication or missed opportunities. Team members can even add personal notes for additional context regarding a conversation.
Step 2: Invite Visuals Into Your Plan
You’ve likely utilized workflow diagrams within your company, but they are also useful for developing a workflow management plan.
Workflow diagrams offer a visual overview of processes to help employees understand the steps involved and goals of a task and how to complete them per company policies. Mapping out processes defines how a sequence of events must occur to ensure success.
For instance, a real estate team responsible for staying connected with potential buyers may find it challenging to stay connected as a new stream of tasks crowds an agent’s schedule. However, following up with leads is half the battle in closing a deal. Building a connection could mean the difference between a closed sale, or a missed opportunity.
Developing a diagram for how to manage leads could be what saves employees from losing potential buyers. The following illustrates an example of a potential workflow for how a real estate agent handles a new lead.
Displaying this in-person on a whiteboard or making it available online to a remote or distributed team offers a simple reminder of how to handle a new lead, and could keep your team on a successful path when follow-through is lost to an increased workload.
Step 3: Utilize Basic Tools to Expedite Tasks
Teams benefit from using visual reminders of policies and procedures. Additionally, email templates build similar responses that align with company goals and values. Amid a busy workday, simple tools that streamline minutiae are easy to forget. Email templates offer an innovative way to simplify the composition process and invite structured company policies when language and tone get muddled by countless responses.
Gmelius offers shared email drafts and Gmail templates to help teams build responses together to make the most of highly performing emails and share ideas for connecting with clients.
If a team member finds success in an email sent to a high-quality lead, that email can be saved as a template to streamline productive and successful work.
Step 4: Automate Where Applicable
Automation is a key solution in helping your team stay on track with important assignments. Automation reduces the need for human intervention by using rule-based logic to streamline tasks with AI or other forms of technology. Implementing software that invites automation helps teams limit menial tasks to focus on those that need extra care.
When reviewing company processes and developing a structured plan, take a look at where the bottlenecks lie. What tasks are the most time-consuming? Here are some common tasks that can be automated:
- Email responses
- Marketing campaigns
- Social media posts
- Meeting Invites
- Task assignments
Taking a moment to review what needs to be completed by humans versus what can be automated saves hours for both you and your team.
Step 5: Optimize Processes Using Analytics
You’ve developed a plan and implemented it. What’s next? The simple answer is to watch your strategy unfold into an ideal workflow management structure that leads to success for your organization, but that’s not always the case. Often, you still need to make adjustments to improve workflow management into a systematic structure that can scale as your organization faces new changes.
The best way to gain insight into internal operations is by using concrete data to analyze what is working vs. what isn’t.
Finding a workflow management tool that offers analytics gives managers a simple and effective way to review team member performance, company progress, and opportunities for improvement. With Gmelius, managers can view essential email metrics to determine open rates, response times, and time to close an email.
Managers can also view employees' workloads and determine if they are over-encumbered.
Managers can implement a simple fix like adjusting assignments and create significantly better results for a company—particularly if your team is operating with a larger staff. You can manage the workload of up to 50 employees in one click while also gaining insight into the strengths and weaknesses of operations. Developing a successful workflow management plan is essential for teams, but improving it is just as important.
Gmelius and Workflow Management: A Recipe for Success
You need software to help drive tasks and build team communication and collaboration to get the most out of a workflow management plan. Gmelius offers various tools to help teams manage workflow collaboratively and effectively. Often, workflow management involves bringing together multiple solutions to drive results. With Gmelius, everything is accessible through one platform: Gmail.
Whether your team is looking to automate email tasks or streamline project assignments, Gmelius offers all the tools you need and more to develop a workflow management plan that works. Check out our features and integrations and learn how Gmelius improves team communication and collaboration. Ready to get started? Sign up today!