Creating a process map is the first step you should take to enhance your business processes. It can help you understand how a process operates and pinpoint inefficient steps that might otherwise go unnoticed.
In an ideal world, every business process would be documented using a process map. Employees would have everything they need to do their job and know precisely how to execute each step.
However, this isn’t always the case – 60% of employees struggle to access the information they need to perform their tasks. This suggests that companies aren’t doing enough to document and streamline their processes, potentially leading to decreased performance and productivity.
So, how can you improve your processes? And how can you ensure employees have the information they need?
Using a process map is a great place to start.
In this article, we’ll cover what a process map is, how it can benefit your business, and how to create one.
What is a Process Map?
A process map is a visual representation of a process, using symbols and text to describe each step.
Typically, a process map looks like a flowchart. It can range from a simple flowchart to a more complex, cross-functional one touches multiple departments.
A process map can be used to document an existing process or to model a new one. Its purpose is to gain a detailed understanding of the process and then potentially simplify it.
How Does a Process Map Benefit Your Business?
A process map breaks down each step, helping you identify automation opportunities, leading to reduced operational costs.
With a process map, every team member can see their responsibilities, clarifying who does what and how involved each person is in a particular process.
Enhances Knowledge Transfer
When employees leave the organization, they take their knowledge with them. Documenting this knowledge in a process map ensures it’s preserved.
When everyone knows their role, mistakes are minimized, and the risk of employees duplicating work is reduced.
Improves User Experience
Employees appreciate swift processes, whether it’s ordering a new computer or getting employment documents signed. Mapping out each step of a process highlights areas for improvement.
Detailed workflows in a process map ensure all necessary records and documentation are in place.
5 Steps to Create a Process Map
Process maps contain valuable information for your business. They show how your processes actually work, not just how you think they should.
1. Set a Goal
Determine the objective of the process and the expected outcome. Engage decision-makers to ensure everyone is aligned.
2. Involve Relevant People
Identify the resources needed to map the process. Consider that different steps might require different individuals or departments.
3. Gather Necessary Information
Identify the main steps in the process. Engage with your team and those currently using the process. Collect as much information as possible to facilitate future work.
4. Draft Your Business Process
Choose a tool to draw your business process. Many free tools on the market today offer the functionality you need to create a clear process map. Once you’ve chosen a tool:
Map out the departments involved in the process
Use distinct symbols in the process map to clearly differentiate each element
Outline the entire process from start to finish
5. Seek Feedback from Colleagues
Before implementing the process, gather insights from others in the organization. Invite colleagues to provide feedback and ensure the process is comprehensive.
With today’s tools, creating a process map is straightforward. Most tools offer drag-and-drop functionality with ready-to-use symbols and lines. The most time-consuming part is mapping out all the steps of the process, but it’s also the most crucial. Dedicate the necessary time to map out the entire process and involve those affected by it.