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How improving complex processes leads to happier employees

Organizations tend to be customer-focused and look to improve common customer-facing processes first. But, behind the scenes, employees often have to manage multi-step workflows that involve paperwork and manual review/approval. 

These complex processes are part of a tangled web of legacy technology and siloed knowledge. And, they're one of the biggest hurdles organizations face when it comes to providing a great customer and employee experience.

Let’s unpack complex processes and learn how improving them can make for happier employees.

What is a complex process?

Organizations tend to prioritize updating and digitizing revenue-generating processes. 

But complex processes are:

  • Logic and/or rules-based workflows that happen behind the scenes and support the organization’s core business functions.

  • Often manual and complicated (hence the name), they require experienced employees to complete them properly.

  • Usually only known to those who’ve worked at the organization a long time or by those who are familiar with the systems that interact with them.

The burden of managing complex processes 

Complex processes are elaborate labyrinths of different checks and balances. Most of the time, these processes are dependent on various systems and knowledge of them is shared across multiple teams, adding to the complexity. With so many obstacles, naturally, productivity takes a hit. 

To top it off, training new employees on complex processes is difficult. The knowledge often lies with process owners who’ve made informal, jimmy-rigged steps work for them, and they’re often undocumented.

How teams can help improve complex processes 

Employees want to work where they can access technology solutions that are easy to use, up-to-date, and make their jobs more efficient. Here are some steps organizations can take to solve complex processes quickly while making employees happier: 

Bring teams to the table early and often

The people that deal with complex processes are employees, not leaders and executives. So, when it comes to planning for which processes to improve, involve those on the front. They’ll be able to provide some insights into:

  • Where error rates are the highest
  • If system knowledge is hard to maintain
  • Where the pain points lie
  • The cause of delays
  • Which systems are hard to work with

High error rates and processing times result in rework, unsatisfied customers, and frustrated employees. So, conducting frequent surveys and ensuring there are consistent feedback loops around pain points is crucial to streamlining complex processes.

Let employees build new solutions

“The realization that the employee experience — the perceptions and feelings caused by complex interactions with colleagues, systems, and processes — has a powerful effect on performance is taking root in digital workplace strategies.” - Gartner3

Once you’ve met with frontline employees, or those who work with the process day in and day out, it’s time to roll out a new solution. But, instead of embarking on a journey that could take years to fix, give the tools to business users to take the reins.

Here’s what business teams can accomplish with the right solution:


Don’t just set it and forget it

Once the new solution is rolled out, talk to employees and see how it’s working for them. Set KPIs, find out if they’re being met, and adjust as needed. 

For example:

  • How much time is saved?
  • Are fewer resources involved?
  • Are submissions going up for customer-facing processes?
  • Are processing times faster for back-office staff?

By setting targets and checking them frequently, employees will feel more closely involved in the process, feel listened to, and like knowing they have the power to fix what isn’t working.

Let employees solve their own problems

There are millions of rule-based interactions employees work on daily. By giving teams the tools to eliminate redundancies and digitize manual intake on their own will make their lives ten times easier, and they’ll ramp up quickly with minimal training.

A small improvement can turn into a big catalyst for business growth, and you’ll soon find out that treating your employees as your most valuable customers will benefit your organization in more ways than you thought possible.

Why complex processes stall your automation and digitization efforts

Sources and credits



3A Digital Workplace Is Crucial to Digital Transformation, Gartner, Published: 26 April 2019