5 benefits of process mapping

As your business grows, your expanding teams will deal with more complex organizational structures. These added responsibilities and projects can quickly become cumbersome — even overwhelming — when the scope of work outpaces employee capacity or disrupts their typical approaches to work.

When this happens, burnout can creep up on your team, especially in small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic made burnout an even bigger issue, especially among team leaders. In fact, a wide-reaching study by leadership research group Development Dimensions International found that close to 60 percent of these leaders reported feeling “used up” by the time their work day is done, which is an indicator of serious retention problems.

Using process maps right before this breaking point is an incredibly helpful way to better manage operations and free your staff from excessive workloads and repetitive tasks. Process maps go beyond keeping track of the day-to-day details, allowing your business to perform more effectively on multiple fronts. Here are five other benefits of process mapping.

1. Streamline workflows

Repetitive tasks eat up a lot of time you need to work on higher-level projects and strategy. One of the biggest benefits of process mapping is that it streamlines repetitive workflows to save your staff time.

Process maps outline the essential process tasks, spelling out their details plainly for your employees — doing this transforms these time-consuming actions into easy tasks. This works especially well for processes like creating purchase orders, approving time-off requests, and other basic responsibilities that can be an administrative burden for your team to deal with when more pressing work is at hand or deadlines loom.

2. Establish best practices

Process maps go beyond clarifying roles and assignments. They lay out every business operation’s optimum flow, establishing a blueprint for the best practices you want to see in action.

As projects gain more stakeholders, you can build off of early versions of your process maps to tackle more complex tasks that take longer to complete. Process maps set a standard for your administrative, universal tasks that you can use to build more complex maps — whether you’re building a kanban board with swimming lanes to track project management or a value stream map to direct your manufacturing divisions.

A set of best practices aimed at efficiency reflects a culture of transparency, creating a standard for all employees to follow.

3. Find opportunities for improvement

The ongoing goal of process management is to keep the gears of business turning at all times, even during downtimes or tough market conditions. At the same time, you want to continue finding ways to improve all aspects of your business and tackle inefficiencies whenever possible. One of the benefits of process mapping is that it makes you especially aware of these opportunities for improvement.

The visualization of process maps give you a big-picture view of your business in action, showing you holes in workflows or unnecessary points of repetition. For instance, in an administrative process such as budget approval, you and your team can use the process map to check if having too many decision makers is clogging up the pipeline and slowing down approvals. The map might reveal that you could reduce the number of eyes on certain tasks or lower the number of approvals, freeing up people’s time for other responsibilities and speeding the approval along.

For example, with Jotform Approvals, you can build process maps that you can easily change whenever you need to refine the way your team completes a process. You can also automate repetitive tasks, like sending notifications to approvers, to further expedite them. Jotform Approvals’ easy-to-use and customizable approval templates give you ideas for improvement and serve as a good starting point to make new and better workflows as you uncover more ways to use process maps.

4. Make knowledge-sharing easier

Process maps make knowledge-sharing easier and more common. Without a process map, you’d have to host extensive or time-consuming onboarding events to outline basic responsibilities. But with a process map, you automatically have a shareable document that makes knowledge-sharing a snap.

This is especially true when you’re translating processes across departments or welcoming new team members. If someone on your finance team needs to understand a process within manufacturing, a process map with a well-known symbol language — like business process model and notation (BPMN) — makes this communication much easier than hosting a series meetings. Process maps create understanding across teams that don’t otherwise always use the same terminology, bridging the gaps between them faster and boosting their ability to work together.

5. Keep records of your process

One of the long-term benefits of process mapping is being able to track your growth and development in process management over time. Each version of a process map is essentially a record you keep for reference, so they can help you track the growth and development of your routine business functions and key workflows — and the impact they have on your company.

Documenting your processes is also handy for compliance. Having these detailed records ready for regulatory check-ups is vital to avoiding any litigation headaches. If you’re involved in the finance industry or your work extends beyond the borders of your country, process maps that show you follow international and local rules and regulations will serve you well if you ever have to prove compliance. Plus, they keep your team accountable to these regulations.

These five benefits of process mapping show how these simple but handy tools have widespread and long-term positive effects on your business. Take the time to deploy them in your day-to-day operations to help your teams and your company thrive.

Photo by Yan Krukau

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