The Supervisor’s Guide To Evaluating Business Processes

It can be tricky for managers to maintain an up-to-date understanding of the systems or processes that are used by their teams. That’s primarily because those systems are in place to support their own workloads, and most supervisors don’t have the time to get ‘into the trenches’ unless there’s a workplace disruption.

Sadly, this reactive approach to process evaluation can come with its own risks. Contrastingly, taking a proactive approach where managers are periodically provided with insights into the evolution of processes, can help organisations maintain transparency between supervisors and their departments.

But how can supervisors become more involved in evaluating business processes without steamrolling or micromanaging? The methods we’ll be outlining today are a good start, so read on if you’re a supervisor who’s hoping to improve on your communications and collaborations when it comes to business process evaluation.

Conduct an internal or external business audit

One of the best ways to gain objective insights into business management systems is to conduct an internal or external audit. These audits can be carried out by an ISO consultant who also possesses a qualification in auditing. That way, you can ensure that your business processes align with internationally recognised ISO standards (like ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems).

And what’s the difference between internal and external audits? Well internal audits are conducted internally, or by members of your staff rather than by a third party. Most business owners prefer conducting internal audits as they’re less likely to disrupt your daily business operations and are more likely to provide relevant insights as your audit report will be written by a dedicated employee.

To schedule an internal audit, however, you need a member of staff who’s qualified to conduct the process. Thankfully, there are short courses available for professionals who want to attain these skills. If you don’t have team members who can conduct an internal audit, then you may enlist the services of an external auditor.

Work with staff to identify pain points in current processes

Even if your audit has returned valuable findings, it’s still wise for managers to begin an open discussion with their staff on the processes or systems that are currently being evaluated. Let them come to you with criticism or feedback on the current systems or processes that are in use to identify areas for improvement.

As they use these systems every day to manage their own output, your team members should feel that their personal insights and observations are both valid and valuable. And as an added bonus, team members who do feel confident in being able to voice these opinions are also more likely to take ownership of their professional role, which could result in a lower employee turnover rate for your business.

Leverage emerging technologies to support processes

With the number of business technologies and management software available today, another surefire way of being able to not only oversee but amend processes with ease is to digitise them wherever possible. This means using project management software to standardise the practice of moving tasks between departments, or even outsource work to contractors or freelancers.

You’ll find that integrating technology into your business processes will also streamline and perhaps even ‘future-proof’ your departments, allowing employees to free up time in their daily schedules to focus on innovation instead. In other words, digitising your business processes can help your enterprise stay at the forefront of its industry and as a fierce contender against your primary competitors.

Develop induction materials for new employees

They say that teaching someone else is one of the best ways to learn yourself, as the act of explaining a concept consolidates that information in your own mind. Similarly, one of the best ways to determine if a business process or system is efficient and effective, is to simply explain that process to someone with fresh eyes.

Managers and employees alike can easily identify flaws or potential problems in a process by mapping it out in a linear fashion and using language that can be universally understood. In other words, if you try to adapt your process into induction materials for fresh recruits and find that the systems are too difficult to distil into simple terms, then it’s highly likely that those systems could do with more refining.

Presenting overviews of business processes to prospective job candidates may also help streamline your hiring process. For instance, if your workplace runs on collaborative problem solving and you’re interviewing a candidate who has expressed that they work best autonomously, you can make well-informed hiring decisions based on both experience as well as culture and work model fit.

Maintain operational guidelines for your business processes

Finally, just as it’s important to communicate processes during staff inductions, it’s also vital to ensure that existing staff have resources and reference materials to follow whenever they do feel they need a refresher on how your business processes work. For this reason, managers should ensure that all business operational processes are accompanied by clear guidelines.

This includes breakdowns of your business workflow processes from every step of the system you have in place. Clear cut operational guidelines should also cover criteria for completion of all the individual steps that make up a process. That way, you can ensure that all boxes are ticked and all of your employees are consistently upholding their own individual responsibilities within an operational system.

Final words

All things considered, supervisors and business managers play a unique role in the evaluation of company processes. You’re simultaneously required to be involved and not involved. You’re required to helm at times and then at others, to take a back seat. So long as you are able to maintain perspective and acknowledge that your role is to support your team in finding the best solutions that work for them, there’s no reason why the process of evaluating your business processes shouldn’t be easy and intuitive itself.