Creating employee-friendly workflows and introducing them to your team can ensure new workflows deliver your desired results. Imagine that you’ve spent months designing new workflows that enable your title agency to deliver exceptional closing experiences. These workflows check all the boxes when it comes to designing modern workflows—standardization to deliver consistency, automation to reduce manual tasks, and integrations to improve collaboration with partners. You’re excited about all these workflow enhancements to help your business provide faster, simpler closings. Finally, you roll out the new workflows to your employees.
You expect happier employees and better processes, but instead, you’re met with pushback against these new workflows. What went wrong?
In this case, it may have to do with employee adoption. Employee adoption refers to your team’s understanding that change is necessary for your business to succeed and evolve to new conditions. Earning employee adoption requires strong leadership, proactive communication, and a clear understanding of the benefits of new workflows.
Tips for creating employee-friendly workflows
As described above, new and improved workflows are nothing without the employees implementing them. Workflows that are difficult to follow or unclear about their benefit can lead to a lack of employee adoption. Not only does this cause frustration among employees, but it can also result in errors and slower processes that hurt overall business operations. For title agencies looking to introduce new workflows to their teams, using the following tips can improve employee adoption and increase long-term success.
Trust: design intuitive workflows that instill trust
People are creatures of habit. Many employees are likely to favor older processes that they’ve grown accustomed to—like checklists and manual spreadsheets—because they understand how to use them and how they work. In short, they trust them. Factoring in employee experience helps employees trust the process of improving workflows. New processes need to be more than just simple; they need a defined, easy-to-understand structure that employees can rely on. Designing workflows with an intuitive structure makes it easier for employees to know what to expect when changes happen.
Standardization: create a culture of accountability by incorporating standardization into workflows
Standardization enables businesses to provide consistency to clients regardless of which employee is managing a transaction. It also helps companies better evaluate how their workflows perform when they can compare similar processes. By standardizing workflows, title agencies can make learning new processes easier for employees and make evaluating performance more efficient. Both of these factors increase accountability by making the process of tracking workflows more transparent.
When everyone is expected to follow standardized workflows, title agencies can better understand how their employees are adhering to designated processes and if they can be improved upon. For example, if all employees consistently skip certain tasks, it may be a sign that title agencies should evaluate how useful these tasks are during transactions.
Simplicity: reduce unnecessary steps to avoid overcomplicating workflows
Workflows with elaborate decision trees may seem like they’re giving employees everything they need to complete a variety of transaction types. In practice, employees may create workarounds to manage overcomplicated workflows. Not only can this increase errors, but it also means that employees are not following the same processes (thus reducing the benefits of standardization). Instead of focusing on addressing every possible situation, title agencies can use exception management to remove less common tasks and simplify their workflows. Doing so can also reduce workflow debt, which is the hidden cost that results from a complex and unmanageable schema of tasks, workflows, and automations.
One way to remove certain manual tasks is to use automations that are available to your team. In Qualia, for instance, users can configure Smart Actions to create groups of tasks and automations that will only apply when certain conditions are met, such as when a payoff or HOA contact is added to a file. This feature can help users accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously and reduce redundancy during transactions.
Implementing new workflows: an exercise in change management
The next step after designing easy-to-adopt workflows is introducing them to your team. Focusing on employee adoption during this transitory time can help title agencies launch new workflows more effectively. Consider the following steps when introducing new workflows to your team.
- Test out new workflows: Before you launch new workflows to your entire team, test them out with a small group of employees. Ask these employees to try out the new workflows, provide feedback on how they can be more effective, and share if any processes are confusing.
- Explain the “why”: Employees who fully understand the benefits of new processes are more likely to adopt them long-term. When introducing new workflows, explain the “why” behind changes, such as more efficient processes and a better client experience. Additionally, explain how these changes benefit employees’ day-to-day, such as providing automation that enables employees to complete their tasks faster. During this time, it’s also helpful to use a chart or drawing to help employees visualize new processes and how they flow from one task to the next.
- Train employees on new processes: Avoid rolling out new processes without training employees on how to execute them correctly. Give employees a few weeks to learn new systems and ask questions instead of expecting them to pick up new workflows right away. During this initial rollout period, set a training deadline to ensure that all employees complete training by a specific date.
- Encourage employees to provide feedback: As your employees begin using new workflows, encourage them to evaluate processes and provide feedback. Asking employees specific questions, such as how long new processes are taking compared to older processes, can help title agencies see if changes are effective. Lastly, continue asking for employee feedback on a regular basis (such as bi-annually) to ensure that new workflows are still effective over time. When gathering feedback, listen to employees to understand any concerns and find solutions that work for your employees and business goals. Not only does this help employees feel like they’re being heard, but it also increases the likelihood that employees will adopt new workflows long-term.