It seems everywhere you look, ChatGPT (or another form of AI) is being used at workplaces to improve workflows and relieve workers of their menial tasks. After all, as Business Process Consultant and Asana expert Marquis Murray notes, automating processes like these can be effective in preventing burnout. This, he says, is because most tasks that can be automated are those that are tedious and exhaust us the most. Automating those tasks, then, allows workers to focus more on engaging, creative, mentally-stimulating tasks. Murray further notes that companies can actually further improve productivity and make more of the tools they invest in by making their workflows more streamlined and straight-forward, especially while team members continue to work remotely. So, how can you further simplify your workflow processes?
To find out, we interviewed Murray for some expert advice. And expert advice we received!
How to Simplify Your Workflow Processes
Workflow optimization might sound daunting at first, but in reality, it’s simply the process of making workflows faster, more effective, and more simple. This is crucial for ensuring your organization is staying agile and up-to-date with the latest trends and changes in the industry. After all, these days, staying agile is what can truly make or break an organization.
This is where experts like Marquis Murray step in.
For years, Murray has helped teams optimize their workflows, improve systems, and help them implement new software or forms of automation, or make existing ones function better. To do so, he often deconstructs and rebuilds workflows to create systematized, streamlined, and optimized processes for long-term sustainability.
But his expertise in the area certainly did not grow overnight.
When starting his own organization, he noticed that his own workflows were stunting his productivity and engagement, even while hiring new staff members to help delegate some of the work. He says, “I was the one having to train them over and over again, repeating myself, and so I eventually just got frustrated and […] started to record videos of everything that I was doing.”
Specifically, Murray started recording many processes using Loom.com to walk employees through tasks without having to repeat himself as regularly. From there, he then began examining more workflows, seeing where certain tools could be used to improve unautomated processes, or even how tools that are being used could be used more effectively.
And sure, Loom is a great tool to invest in for increasing productivity; Murray surely was able to complete other work instead of repeating already explained material. But more crucially, after recording these processes, Murray found himself less bogged down by tedious work. “That’s really my mission,” he says. “That’s why I’m here: to eliminate team burnout.”
Relieving Workers from Repeatable Tasks with AI
As much as we and many whom we’ve interviewed on our blog page, heavily support remote work, we nevertheless recognize where it can become tricky with streamlining workflows. Murray notes that many employees struggle with uncertainty about tasks and responsibilities when working remote. And this can lead to working longer, but less productive hours and less engagement with work due to burnout.
So, wherever possible, Murray advocates for automating repeatable tasks.
In addition to preventing burnout, this can also be crucial for ensuring a level of stability within the workplace. So, even if certain workers go on vacation or end up leaving the organization, the company faces fewer roadblocks in workflows.
As well, as Murray notes, automating tedious tasks can allow employees to focus their talents elsewhere. This allows them to feel more engaged with their work, which is especially important when working remote and often in isolated environments.
“It’s extremely powerful—” Murray says, “once you introduce automation—what you can do.”
Marquis Murray’s Top Two Tips for Optimizing Team Processes
The trouble with optimizing team processes is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every company. But that’s why experts like Murray exist! Organizations need one-on-one attention and bespoke solutions that can individually address concerns that are specific to their environment, industry, and employees themselves.
But if Murray was to offer any advice that could help many—if not all—organizations, it would be that which he himself learned through experience.
1. Document everything early and often
As he previously mentioned, Murray at one point found himself repeating certain instructions and teaching processes over and over to employees as his organization began to grow.
So, specifically for early-stage start-ups and solopreneurs looking to scale up their teams, Murray recommends documenting every process possible sooner than you think. Often, that is, leaders will wait until they’ve hired three to four workers before feeling the need to document anything.
“But by that point,” Murray says, “it might be too late because you’re now spending your time—like I was in the beginning—onboarding these folks. So, as soon as you can, everything that you do, document it.”
This applies to leaders, managers, and even the workers with the boots on the ground. This way, if anyone ever leaves an organization, no matter their role in the company, the gap they leave behind can be filled as seamlessly as possible.
But this brings us to Murray’s next point.
2. Don’t hire too quickly
If there was ever a piece of advice that would hit the nail on the head in this topic, it would be Murray’s second point: “Don’t hire until it hurts.”
That is, as Murray has learned from experience, the moment you start hiring more team members, nearly everything within the organization becomes more complicated. From payroll and HR, to task delegation and cross-departmental communication, the more team members that are added, the more coordination is needed.
Murray suggests, then, growing slowly and only hiring once workflows are stable and hiring another team member becomes a must in continuing everyday processes. This starts by testing processes, documenting them, and then only when absolutely necessary, bringing on more team members to help in these processes.
Simplifying Workflow Processes Starts with You
Of course, you can’t depend on others alone to change how your organization functions. As Murray says, if you want to improve your team processes, you need to start with what you’re doing.
“What a lot of leaders overlook,” he says, “is to actually talk to their people. Talk to the people who are actually following these processes every single day and get their input. Ask them what they want this to look like. Because a mistake a lot of leaders will make is they’ll […] make this change and not consult anyone.”
As well, when leaders think up new solutions on their own, they often think within a vacuum. That is, they don’t consider how these solutions will practically function when implemented with other processes.
So, consult your fellow team members and leaders. Conduct interviews and surveys to consider everyone’s input fairly. And most importantly, trust your team members. There’s a reason you hired them, and again, as Murray notes, you’re wasting your and their time and resources if you don’t listen to them.
If you still find yourself needing an outside eye for additional support, reach out to professionals like Marquis Murray!
Summary: After meeting with Business Process Consultant Marquis Murray, we conclude that organizations can improve productivity and employee retention by simplifying workflows. In many cases, this looks like automating certain processes with new tech or more effectively using existing tech. In other cases, it looks like making sure all processes are documented and well-established by all team members to maintain stability in the workplace.
Special thanks to Marquis Murray for the expert advice in this article. For more information on streamlining work processes and improving communication across your organization, check out www.marquismurray.com.