One question that is being explored as part of our research framework is how workflow management impacts on learning engagement.
Workflow management is often overlooked, and can have a significant impact on output, engagement and outcomes in job functions let alone learning engagement. Learning engagement of course is important in terms of helping people understand the work they do and hopefully do their job well, with some enjoyment and satisfaction.
Workflow management is not something that is front and centre of the NGO’s and not for profits I’ve worked at and consulted in over the years. It can feel and often is quite chaotic. Chaos is not the optimum state when working in crisis situations, but ordered chaos and workflow management can be critical to getting things done, and done well.
What are some things that can have a negative impact on workflow management?
Here’s a list of things we are working on that can have an impact, and reduce capacity to engage in learning anything new . Interestingly enough, Facebook use was not something anyone mentioned. It’s not as if staff don’t have personal devices with them to look at their Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Wechat or What’s app if they want to. Smart social media policies know this and allow for it, without making staff feel guilty for checking in on things.
The list (incomplete, please add any comments if you would like to)
- Not knowing what workflow is, and how it impacts the workplace and work outcomes
- Difficulties in information management,
- no strategy for streamlining internal communications
- Email overwhelm
- Call centre approach to customer service, without a call centre framework
- Interruptions to workflow due to roster systems or lack of staff coverage for customer service (e.g answering phones)
- Focus on time management instead of workflow management
- Using outdated software and negative workflow processes
- Staying with outdated or software not suited to purpose due to sunk costs
- Over-engineering everything
- focusing on performance management on outdated Key Performance Indicators that do not truly correlate to high performance
- Lack of workplace transparency in management and executive decisions and flow on impact to staff morale and engagement
- Outdated social media policies that do not utilise or engage with community aspects effectively
- Micromanaging staff
- Lack of user design or user experience knowledge when implementing systems
This list isn’t complete but it is some of the things our Peer2Peer Learning customers have been looking at. Customers are working on learning engagement as a way of increasing job capability, and looking at workflow impediments to engagement are a part of that.
The thinking behind this is effective and supportive workflow management can lead to greater workplace engagement, and ability to actually create time and capacity to work through online learning programs.
One of the biggest barriers to engagement is having staff logon to the training, let alone complete a topic or module.
We tested this across a range of training programs with one customer that had really terrible workflow processes in place, and not one staff member completed any online learning across four different compulsory topics linked to compliance in their position descriptions. The majority of staff didn’t even log in. In looking at why, it wasn’t time management – it was workflow management.
This is the list staff have come up with,, reported up to executives and management. What do you think? What other things can have a negative impact on workflow, and what are some solutions that could be trialed?