A Short Guide to Building a Process Improvement Culture on a 600 EUR Budget (yes, it's possible!)
You’re a people leader in a bootstrapped company and cost-efficiency is your middle name. While hypergrowth is fun, the next big challenge you’re facing is to optimize the heck out of everything! The bigger you’ve grown, the more of your processes are functioning at sub-optimal levels; ad-hoc, not streamlined or aligned, ping-pong across teams, inefficiencies, and stop-gap solutions everywhere. While that’s startup world for you, it’s putting some serious dents into your net revenue and length of your runway, which is definitely not a cool thing.
Here's how we’ve put smart working at center stage in Mitto, without breaking the bank.
The first step is to make process improvement (yawn!) sound cooler than a polar bear in shades 🐻❄️. We kicked off our process revolution with a splash – by giving it a catchy name #WorkSmart@Mitto, it captured everyone’s attention and set the stage for a culture shift towards smarter working.
WorkSmart survey! People love to have their voices heard and we needed data to understand what problems people were facing. We sent out a survey to tell us what processes were blocking their achievements, what are the barriers to optimization and any great solutions they had up their sleeves. The survey wasn’t just about data though – it was also a savvy move to tap into the intrinsic motivation of employees. By inviting them to be part of the solution, we triggered a sense of ownership and belonging – essential elements for sustained engagement.
Making process improvement personally relevant was the next strategic move. The performance review module, hosted on BambooHR, incorporated a pivotal question: "In the past 6 months, what organizational processes have you improved?" This subtle inclusion underscored the importance of process enhancement in individual success, reinforcing the idea that optimization is not just a corporate directive but a personal growth opportunity.
Injecting an element of fun and recognition, the introduction of the WorkSmart Champion Awards added a layer of excitement to the initiative. We selected three people who had excelled in process improvement and announced their awards during an All-hands meeting, together with a tangible 200 EUR prize.
This not only incentivized employees but also highlighted and celebrated their voluntary contributions to making the workplace more efficient. Also, seeing colleagues winning the awards inspired others to join the momentum.
Within a short span of six months, the WorkSmart initiative transformed process improvement into a hot topic within the company. People, motivated by intrinsic factors, voluntarily and self-initiatively started to address inefficiencies in processes – because fundamentally, process improvement enhanced their own work environments and the ease and speed with which they could accomplish their own goals.