Friday January 9, 2015
The first day at a new job is always terrifying. I don’t think anyone’s immune to the wobbly knees, the flip-flopping stomach, and the dry throat of first day nerves.
I think that’s normal, and unavoidable.
I think it’s also normal for the first week or two of a new job to be an absolute mess of confusion – bewildering software, conflicting instructions, and a mass of new faces with names you can’t remember.
Normal, yes. Unavoidable, no.
We’ve talked in previous posts about how beneficial the Workflow Timeline is to small business owners. The live feed facilitates decision making, provides essential updates throughout the day, and helps to supervise the work of employees.
I was nervous, awkward, and shy for my first few days, but I was only confused for about an hour.
That’s because the Workflow Timeline is specifically designed to make an employee’s life easier. AllProWebTools has spent years tailoring the software to the needs of small businesses and their employees.
I learned how to use the Workflow Timeline with no training at all. On my first day, I was shown how to clock in, and then I was left to my own devices.
By scrolling through the live feed of the timeline, I quickly began to integrate into the strategies, culture, and operating procedures of the company. This knowledge of the big picture makes me more effective, more productive, and more inspired to do my best work.
You can get the same results from your employees by giving them the tools they need.
Here are five ways that the Workflow Timeline can give you happier, more productive employees with a self-starting work ethic.
1. It’s Easy to Learn
As I said earlier, I learned how to use the Workflow Timeline in less than a day. I’m not even especially tech savvy. Your employees can learn it just as easily.
Turnover in the U.S. is on the rise, and this means that employers have to find more efficient ways to train new employees. Some parts of training take a set amount of time, but time to learn company software can be variable depending on how intuitive the system is to master. This is especially important for small business.
- Some of the highest turnover rates
- Tend to have complicated software assembled from a variety of sources, or no software at all
- No spare time or money to train new employees
Using intuitive, easy-to-learn software is a permanent way to make the training process easier for new employees. The Workflow Timeline is easy for new users to learn, because it runs in much the same way as Facebook. The updates come in the form of posts, with a time stamp and a picture of the user that made the post.
New workers can quickly grasp the basic concept of scrolling through the live feed, and from there, their training becomes much more self-directed.
2. It Promotes Office Camaraderie
One of the hardest parts of starting a new job, for me at least, is getting to know everyone. Even in a small office, it can be difficult to pair faces with names, and to figure out what everyone is responsible for.
Many new employees spend weeks feeling isolated, which means they are:
- Less willing to ask for help when they need it
- Less sure where they fit in the big picture
- Less likely to seamlessly integrate with company culture
The Workflow Timeline helped me to quickly learn all the faces and names, because everyone was posting updates with their name and picture right there. By looking at the tasks and notes these users were posting, I could get a sense of what my co-workers roles were in the company. By the end of my first day, I had a general sense of who was in the office, and how each co-worker contributed.
This helped me to understand my role, and what gaps I was there to fill. I felt encouraged to use the Timeline and the tasking system to collaborate with my co-workers. I started to see what others were working on, which allowed me to offer assistance. I also started asking for input and help when I needed it.
There isn’t a lot of chatting or talking across the office here, but communication is happening all the time under the surface. It makes us more productive, more directed in our efforts, and happier as co-workers.
3. It Rewards a Good Work Ethic
At first, the tasking and timecard system was intimidating to me. Rather than clocking in at the start of the day, and clocking out at the end, we clock in and out each time we change tasks at work. When we clock out, we fill out timecard notes indicating what we’ve been working on and what we accomplished.
It’s a way for employers to make sure their employees are being productive and making the best use of their time, but I quickly realized that it serves another purpose as well. As an employee, it protects me from the dreaded question: “So what did you get done today?”
Whenever I’m asked that question, my mind has a bad habit of going black. With my timecard notes at my fingertips, I have a record of what I worked on, how long it took me, and what got done. I feel protected against being undervalued, because my hard work is always on display.
The tasking system also makes sure that I’m working hard on the tasks that are most important. All tasks have a set priority level, and my task list automatically reorders itself to put the most important tasks at the top. All I have to do is work my way down, and I can be sure I’m working on the most important tasks. I don’t have to ask what the top priority is for the day – it’s right there.
Psychology on productivity indicates that having tasks written out and prioritized allows the mind to work more efficiently. If you aren’t trying to remember tasks and prioritize them in your head, the mind has more energy to devote to problem solving and creativity, which is good news for your employees and for your small business.
4. It Reduces Mistakes
A lot of the anxiety new hires feel stems from the fear of making mistakes. My greatest fear when I’m starting a new job is that I will somehow misunderstand directions and do something catastrophic.
This anxiety continues for long-time employees, particularly if a lot of tasking and client notes are shared verbally, or based on periodic updates and reports. I was a receptionist for a massage school a few years ago, and if I had a nickel for each time there was a misunderstanding, I wouldn't need a job now.
In a Workflow Timeline, tasks are posted to the Timeline, so there is a copy available to everyone. No more misunderstood directions. Managers’ instructions are much clearer in writing, and if something goes wrong, the employee’s interpretation is defensible.
A mistake with a client can be the most costly kind of mistake, and many of those mistakes come about through poor communication. The Workflow Timeline posts all client notes, whether they’re made by managers, sales staff, customer service representatives, receptionists, or anyone else who interacts with a client. The system is completely transparent, so everyone is in the loop.
The Workflow Timeline also encourages long-distance communication. Even when the owner or manager is away, if they’re checking the Timeline, they’re in the loop. Employees can communicate with them to ensure they’re moving things forward in the right direction.
This kind of clarity allows employees to feel more secure, and makes them less likely to make mistakes. Armed with that confidence, they can be more effective employees.
5. Provides Sense of Purpose
Oftentimes, employees don’t have a clear view of the company’s progress and goals. This is one of the major factors in job satisfaction, and so it needs to be addressed.
Employees are more likely to contribute, work hard, have a positive attitude, and even just stick around, if they have a good sense of company direction.
Because new orders and leads post to the Timeline, it’s easier for employees to get a sense of new business and growth just by browsing the feed. It also builds a sense of purpose around acquiring new business, even for those not in the sales department. Everyone is aware of the sales pipeline and the process of lead acquisition, because it’s happening right before their eyes.
Employees who are actively engaged, and who feel confident and secure, are a valuable asset to any company, but especially a small business. The Workflow Timeline is a powerful tool to help bring new employees up to speed quickly, keep employees working hard, and foster a sense of community and purpose throughout the business.
Try it today! Your employees will thank you.