When managing staff in multiple locations, you need to develop a streamlined process that will improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure consistency throughout your organization.
Your plan should take into account the individual needs of your office locations and their employees. Streamling office processes between multiple locations requires you to take a centralized, yet flexible, approach.
Before you start sending out memos you need to take a step back, create your organizational goals and set priorities. And when you are working with multiple offices, you need to have a team-based mindset. Each office may have its own culture, hierarchy, or just a general “how we do things” that you need to consider.
Creating a centralized management process doesn’t mean a single one-size-fits all process. Your new system should replace inefficient or expensive tasks with new programs that better align with your organizational goals.
1. Evaluate Current Processes
The first step to streamlining internal processes to evaluate your current procedures. You may want to take note of everything you do in a day. Write down how long each task takes to complete.
Think about ways each task could be made more efficient. Look for any weaknesses in your current system. Are there areas in which miscommunication is likely to occur? How likely is the current system to produce errors in your work? And finally, is the time and cost of this process worth the end result? When you measure the Return on Investment (ROI) you should see a clear benefit. If not, this is likely a process that should be streamlined.
Let’s look at an example. As an HR manager, you are responsible for recruiting and onboarding employees at multiple locations. At the same time, managers in each office also share in these roles. This is a good time to identify areas in which you can reduce time spent on activities.
When onboarding a new employee, you want to spend as little time possible on administrative tasks such as filing paperwork. Both your time and your new employee’s is better spent on tasks focused on their key roles.
When looking for ways to streamline onboarding, you may want to write down “gather employee information and paperwork ahead of time” on your list. This will allow you to prepare in advance for your new employee’s first day.
2. Set and Prioritize Your Goals
Look at your core job functions, and then think about how each of those functions supports your organization as a whole. How does this job function position your company for success?
For example, when onboarding new employees, what are your goals? At the top of your list you probably wrote down something like “Set clear expectations for success” or “Familiarize with the company culture.”
You probably have a new hire employee training system set up. Many employers also have a 90 day achievement plan. These are great priorities! With these priorities in mind, your processes will focus on creating a successful HR-led employee onboarding and engagement process.
Your goal for your process is to set your employees up for success, so they can lead your company to success. And your goal for yourself is to focus on programs and processes that maximize employee potential.
What you probably don’t have at the top of your goal list is “create mounds of paperwork.” When your goals are clear, you can begin to eliminate anything that stands in the way of achieving those goals.
Now that you know what to focus on, you can decide what can be minimized or eliminated.
3. Outsource and Automate
Wait, a minute. Does this mean we are trying to outsource you out of a job? Of course not! When you eliminate time-consuming tasks, you create more opportunities to engage in projects that really matter.
You probably don’t have “fills out forms quickly and efficiently” on your LinkedIn profile. Most organizations have already automated task-based processes like payroll or invoices. Employers recognize that these jobs are more suited for sophisticated software programs.
When managing an office across multiple locations, you likely have many other tasks that could be outsourced to a single centralized vendor. Doing so can free up valuable employee time and improve consistency.
One process many companies are choosing to outsource is issuing employee ID badges. This is a great task to outsource because you probably don’t have a “Senior Manager of Issuing ID Badges” who would be miffed at losing out on this great role.
By having one designated ID badge vendor, you can create a standard company badge design that is universally recognized across all branches. Many companies find it useful to further differentiate their badges so that interns, contractors and employees are readily identified.
With a central ID badge system it is easy to create a universal look and feel for your badges while still identifying important details like branch location and employee level.
Because you have already identified “gather employee information and paperwork ahead of time” on your task list, you can easily order the employee badge and have it ready for the first day.
4. Create a Centralized Communications Plan
Once you have identified an area to streamline, in this case “managing employee ID badges” you need to make sure this new process is effectively communicated to your individual office managers. You should also create a centralized system for managing shared responsibilities such as maintaining employee information.
You will also need a centralized system to manage this new process. Many offices with multiple locations use a centralized Intranet to manage employee records. Your new employee ID badge system can be added to this system, letting you or your office managers generate paperwork and order badges with one database.
By sharing a single database, you can track what tasks have been completed and by whom. This will eliminate oversights and redundancies, while maintaining consistency in your procedures.
5. Document and Evaluate Your Process
Finally, you should document your new process and set a time to evaluate its effectiveness. Did your new approach save time? Money? Have your colleagues bought into the new process?
Once you have determined the success of this project, your documentation can help you to identify new areas you can streamline.
Your new streamlined processes should set you, your employees, and your company up for success.
Managing multiple offices can present unique challenges. But with the rights systems in place, you can create a streamlined workflow process that will keep your office running smoothly.