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The Need for Strong Workflow Management Increases Over the Holidays

Posted by | Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency, Workflow | No Comments

‘Tis the season to be undermanned. The holidays are hectic for everyone, both personally and professionally. Even if the end of the year happens to be a slow time in your particular industry, there is always work to be done, an opportunity to catch up, or even get ahead (who are we kidding with that last one?). None of that happens though because our lives get down right hectic this time of year. People need to take time off to travel or host guests from out of town, or do the unthinkable and carve time out just to be with their loved ones.

Requests are pouring in for PTO days or work from home time. Although stressful, your employees earned that time or that flexibility. With strong workflow management, everyone can get what they want this holiday season, and business doesn’t have to suffer.

Take Inventory

Perhaps more than any other time of year, you need to know exactly where you stand with deliverables and projects in a prioritized fashion. The Monday before Christmas isn’t when you want to find out you’re behind on a deadline. Firstly, productivity slows down during the holidays and secondly, there are fewer hands on deck, and you’re likely working with a short week. Strong workflow management is essential to ensure nothing falls through the cracks during the holidays.

If you’re like most organizations, you’ve tried about 342 different project management softwares and either couldn’t get employees on board, or the software simply didn’t work for your organization and the established workflow processes within it. Tailored, customizable workflow management software is the solution. Invest in software that your people will actually use, software that does what it says it does, manage work!

Plan Ahead

Now that you know where you stand, you can be transparent with your team about needs and work together to see that they are met. If we can get A, B and C to stage D, then we’re golden. If we can’t, these will be the expectations… It really can be that simple, the problem is that leaders are more often than not, out of the loop with the status of what needs to be done. That’s when you end up with a fully staffed office on Christmas Eve, although a few people would have been adequate. And now everyone hates your guts.   

Offer Structured Remote Work Opportunities

We know why so many leaders aren’t willing to offer remote work or flex work opportunities; they believe they’ll be taken advantage of and communication will suffer. Actually, that is completely the case, unless you have the right workflow management tools. Flex and remote work opportunities are one of the most favored employee incentives you can offer, but without the assurance and proof that work is getting done, employers aren’t willing to let that power go. When a team leader is offered a virtual bird’s eye view on every stage of every workflow, they can let go of that fear, and instead embrace accountability and transparency.

What would you need to see and be in control of to offer an incentive like work from home days, or flex hours? Whatever it is, I’m betting we can make it happen. We create customized software that can track and report on, well, just about anything. Let us help you get through the chaos. Call today 402-943-3733

5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Hiring Process

Posted by | Efficiency, Tech, Workflow | No Comments

As organizations grow, it’s important to make sure key processes like hiring are evolving as well. When you have a few resumes trickling in each month, there probably isn’t a need to revamp your hiring process, but anywhere from a few each day to a few each hour, calls for a hiring process upgrade. Human capital is the single most valuable asset you can have in business, how is that the processes we use to vet and obtain our human capital are often, so tragically disjointed and thoughtless? Know when to step it up a notch.

Sales Suffer

You will almost always see a dip in sales when hiring is a pain point. If your hiring process sucks, you are likely scraping the bottom of the talent pool, leaving your sales team to suffer with a slew of bad hires. Bad hires then lead to increased turnover, until you’re left in a costly cycle of hiring and firing just to stay up and running.

Time to Hire is Painfully Slow or Not Tailored to the Candidate

A disjointed process is also a slow process, which means the organization will be undermanned for even longer. In addition, good candidates will drop out if they’re made to wait too long, especially if they aren’t kept in the loop about the process. The current average time to hire is about 25 working days, which in our opinion is way too long. There is still onboarding, training and the learning curve to get through. If you needed this position filled last month, you’re farther behind than you thought. Beyond lag time, a poor hiring process is one that can’t be tailored to the timeline of the candidate and how quickly or drawn out they need the hiring process to be. 

You’re Not Sure Where Candidates are in the Process

If you’ve asked a candidate for their resume three times and you’re not even really sure what position they’re applying for, you need a solution, a streamlined workflow for hiring. Beyond wasting internal resources sorting through emails and figuring out who needs to be part of this decision making process, you’re making a terrible first impression on potentially awesome hires.

Email is No Longer Working

Email has several realistic applications in business, but it is certainly not meant as a candidate management tool. It doesn’t really matter what add-ons or apps you’ve acquired, email is not effective here. You need search, collaboration, workflow queues, automated candidate emails and a bird’s eye view of the hiring process for every candidate. Yeah, email can’t do that.

Good Candidates Turn You Down

A slow, inconsiderate, disjointed hiring process makes good candidates withdraw from the process. Transversely, the hiring manager likely won’t even know the candidate has moved on until they’ve offered them the job, putting them back to square one at a later time than if the candidate were made a part of the process. Good, experienced candidates have an advantage that means they don’t have to wait for you, and they certainly won’t continue a relationship with a company who has only shown them a negative employer brand.

In the end, a good hiring workflow frees up resources for what all organizations really need, recruiting. The hiring manager can get away from tracking resumes and focus on creating a pipeline of relevant, quality talent. While there are countless tools and products out there to help organizations with general hiring pain points, we believe in customized, total solutions at Volano. Out of the box solutions get organizations to an 80% solution, while customized hiring workflow software can get you to 100%.

To find out more about how Volano upgraded the hiring process for YMCA in Lincoln, click here.

The 3 Ways You Can Start Supporting Your Sales Staff

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The sales team. Their success is your success, yet so many companies do little more than offer the same standard, played out incentives to drive success. Investing in your sales team makes so much business sense, but you have to know what investments to make. Maybe let’s skip the ping pong table this year and reconsider what your sales staff actually needs from you to be successful.

Implement Workflow Queues

We run into this often. A sales team works their collective butt off to lock customers in, and then the customer is lost to poor customer care. Instead of that customer representing recurring revenue they are likely bashing your products or services. The crying shame here is that it usually isn’t a person’s or department’s fault, but rather the unfortunate outcome of a flawed process. When something is no one’s job, no one is doing it.

Workflow queues should be put into place to, well…help work flow. Consider all the steps between the sale and when the product or service are delivered. Depending on your industry, there can be dozens. Workflow queues are created to make sure that once a step is completed, an automatic queue is given to keep the process in motion with right people and information needed to get to the next step, in a transparent effective way.

Find a Sales Friendly CRM

When decision maker considers the tools, software and technology for their sales team, they don’t often hit the mark. Consider these stats from the 2011 CSO CRM Sales Effectiveness Study-Key Analysis

  • Only 19% of companies reported that increased revenues was a benefit of CRM.
  • 64.1% rate their CRM system as Somewhat Useful or Minimum/No Value in understanding consumer market.
  • 50.3% rated their CRM as Somewhat Useful or Minimum/No Value in ensuring their reps have identified key stakeholders.

You wouldn’t give a chef an Easy Bake oven, and you shouldn’t give the staff that drive the success of your organization tools that aren’t right for them. Instead of the out of the box CRM, go with a customizable option. Your company is unique, your processes are likely of your own design. Bring something to the table that complements and supports your team. The software should tailor to your team, not the other way around.

Revamp Your KPIs and Incentives

Out of date and irrelevant performance metrics have a sad way of sticking around. Be sure your KPIs are measuring the actual factors that drive success among your sales team, the rest is just plain annoying and a waste of company resources. In an earlier post on the blog, about common KPI mistakes, we learned that no more than 10 KPIs are useful, beyond that it can get hairy.

Still giving away those blenders when someone hits a sales goal? Ditch the old school incentives and find out what actually motivates your team. We’ve found the best way to find out what your team’s drivers are is to -get ready, this is very scientific- ask them! Days off, flexible work schedules and work from home time are gaining popularity, especially among Millennials. The best part? These types of incentives won’t put a dent in your budget.

These are just a few of the simple, yet effective ways you can start supporting the backbone of your company -your sales team. Help them help you by providing them with the support and motivation they need. Find out what Volano’s role in that looks like now.

The ROI of Information Management

Posted by | Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency, Workflow | No Comments

When employees constantly have to sift through resources, dig to find passwords and find the right person to grant them access to information, it’s more than just an annoyance, it’s a serious waste of company resources. There is a surprisingly high cost associated with the mismanagement of information and resources.

A McKinsey study revealed the average worker spends 1.8 hours each day searching and gathering information. That’s insane, right? One fifth of your payroll is paying for information mismanagement. This is a problem.

Email is a Culprit

Another McKinsey 2012 study reported office workers spend about 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails. A large portion of that time is dedicated to searching email. You’ve done it, scoured through several emails to find one little snippet of information that likely should have been captured and stored in a centralized, easily retrievable place. Email is not a tool to store or organize information and it certainly can’t take the place of a project management system. It just wasn’t built for that, yet, we continue to waste time and search.

Lack of Accountability is a Culprit

Email doesn’t provide the environment where accountability thrives.  Here’s a scenario: Your sales guy just won a new deal and a week later the client calls him up to ask for the delivery date to be a week sooner.  The salesperson says sure and later emails the operations manager and cc’s the project manager to let them know this.  That operations manager forwards the email to a few supervisors which end in the abyss that is the email server.

A few weeks later the client calls the account manager and asks where we’re at on the delivery.  The account manager has no idea that the delivery date was pushed up a week.  They can’t reply to the customer with any confidence if the order will be on time.  They need to “research the answer”.  They need to find who may have taken accountability for this because expectations were not clearly defined.

This process happens in different ways and scenarios all the time because there is no explicit accountability in everyday processes.

Take a moment and think about what your work day would be like if you had all the information you needed, without roadblocks. Obviously, there will be external hold ups no matter what you do, but what if everything internally were to flow exactly like it was supposed to? The correct information was in the right place, expectations were defined and explicit, and accountability of for each step of the process in this wonderland workplace was built in.

We help businesses find their workflow wonderland. We create software that makes work flow the way it’s supposed to. Find out how to get more work done now.

The primary route to efficiency

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“Differentiation is the essence of strategy, the prime source of competitive advantage. You earn money not just by performing a valuable task but by being different from your competitors in a manner that lets you serve your core customers better and more profitably.” Chris Zook and James Allen

Process or product differentiates you from your competitors. Volano knows that as you scale your business – you must follow the same process and create the same consistent product despite your growth.

Custom software provides efficiency.Repeatability

Repeatability is a measure of a system’s consistency to achieve identical results across multiple teams and multiple cycles. The ultimate goal is to have both a highly accurate and highly repeatable business process. Repeatability is the primary route to efficiency and scalability. Custom software can enforce business processes in a highly repeatable way. This kind of software brings differentiation, scalability, and repeatability. This is how software can be your competitive advantage.

We call this workflow. Volano builds workflow systems that allow you to repeat what works…and efficiency follows. Software to Make Work Flow.