How Forest Incentives Boosted Employee Performance With a Central Knowledge Base
Matthew Louridas—director of operations and client services at Forest Incentives—was the go-to person for all process-related issues at the company.
When the organization began to expand and was faced with problems of a lack of proper documentation, it all fell back on him. The manual documentation system that the company had relied on for so long could no longer sustain their activities, leaving their workflow disorganized.
It became apparent that they needed a more solid workflow system to forge ahead.
After several Google searches followed by a thorough vetting, they adopted SweetProcess. Matthew tells us how the software has been instrumental in streamlining the organization’s processes and improving its services to clients.
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About Forest Incentives
Forest Incentives offers a range of services including fundraising, e-commerce, retail order management, warehousing, and fulfillment. For over 35 years, the organization has helped nonprofits and public media to achieve their goals and grow their net revenue.
The US-based company has expanded its services over the years, offering front-end interfaces through invoicing collections and reporting all kinds of other back-office activities.
Forest Incentives leverages its expertise in direct-to-donor fulfillment, sourcing media, and branded merchandise, and customer support, to deliver a unique value proposition to its esteemed clients.
The Constant Worry Over Inefficiency
Forest Incentives caters to its clients with a custom approach and specific guidelines to their businesses. The different steps and rules must be followed to the letter for success, but the absence of an effective workflow system was a threat to making that happen. The Microsoft Word documents that they were using for documentation were not enough as the documentation was not well-organized.
“Creating the documentation was one of the biggest hang-ups for us when we were trying to use our old system to document things in Word documents, at least for me. I would get extremely frustrated.”
The fear that his team members could make mistakes at any time due to a lack of information was a constant worry for Matthew.
“I think maybe a little less dramatic thing that was giving me heartburn also is thinking of all of the things that our teams were doing that could have been improved and could have been documented.”
Discovering SweetProcess in the Nick of Time
It became apparent that the company needed a solid system in the wake of its expansion. A lot of their processes that needed to be documented were left hanging, and it was a challenge to update the few that were documented.
“It was on our leadership team’s list of things that we needed to accomplish as we were expanding the services and our team. Formatting was inconsistent and keeping track of versions was a big issue. The task was to find something easier. A simple internet search and some vetting and we came onto SweetProcess.”
On why he and his team chose SweetProcess from the options they came across, Matthew says it was easy to use in creating, storing, and organizing documents.
“To be honest with you, it was just the clean interface and the easy use of reading, storing, organizing, and creating the documentation.”
The SweetProcess Effect in the Organization
The operations at Forest Incentives before SweetProcess served a purpose but there was room for improvement. Matthew and his team initiated the improvement by adopting SweetProcess, and the results were evident almost immediately.
The SweetProcess effect was felt in the following areas:
1. Easy and automated documentation
Documentation is a crucial element in streamlining business operations. The inability to capture important processes succinctly is a problem as employees may not have the full information to perform their duties. Even when business processes and procedures are well documented, having them scattered in different locations slows down the workflow as information may be hard to find.
“Our issue was that things that needed to be documented weren’t documented and were just outdated. What we had were old Word documents living out in our company drive. The fact that it automatically generates a flow chart to accompany your procedure, that’s cool. The automatic versioning was awesome.”
2. Accessible and centralized knowledge base
Having access to work information enhances employees’ performance and promotes independence. Team members can dive into work mode and get things done when the information they need is at their fingertips rather than constantly asking others for it.
“We use SweetProcess to store some of our file templates that are involved in a particular procedure, so it’s kind of like a centralized location for not only the procedure but all of the tools that need to go with it.”
The information documented in SweetProcess can be accessed by all employees with authorized access. Anyone can perform tasks if the need arises, using the documented information at their disposal as a guide.
3. Effective collaboration
Collaboration at the workplace increases productivity but it causes a setback when team members are not updated with the progress of work. A delay by a team member to make their input stalls the workflow.
“When we would get those alerts or scheduled emails where there was another action that needed to take place, we actually dropped the URL of the SweetProcess procedure into those emails. That way, when the email gets triggered to whoever needs to do those actions, they have the link right there. They click on it and then they’re instantly in the procedure taking care of whatever the next step needs to be. It just makes it seamless for the next person to follow whatever needs to happen next right.”
4. Great user experience
Adopting a new workflow tool often comes with reservations from employees as they are unsure of what to expect. Learning how to operate the system from scratch causes uneasiness, and there is a tendency for pushback. But that was hardly the case with SweetProcess at the organization. The employees fell in love with the system because it was easy and fun to use. Matthew reveals that this feature stood out for him.
“What stood out for me with SweetProcess is the cleanliness of the interface. Not only does it make it that much more effective once we’re up and running with SweetProcess but the simplicity for other users made it really easy for us to get buy-in from the rest of the company at different levels. We saw that our team was generally excited to document things.”
Streamlining Operations to Take Away Your Stress
According to Matthew, the team at Forest Incentives became more relaxed after streamlining their operations with SweetProcess.
“There are a lot of things that were kind of floating in our own heads…so not having that and having a place where [our ideas are] all there and we don’t worry about anyone getting hit by the proverbial bus.”
Matthew shares some streamlining advice to give you and your team peace of mind about your operations.
“You can really increase someone’s confidence in using your procedure by including a lot of supporting documentation like photos and screenshots, matching the file that they need to use, putting the URL to that other web tool that they need to accomplish this just right from the center.”
Expanding the Business with SweetProcess
Matthew and his team are fixated on expanding their organization and they plan to leverage SweetProcess to the maximum on their mission. He says that they will use SweetProcess to tighten their operations as they hire new people and expand their services.
“A couple of the things that we’d like to accomplish this year are using more features. They have a really awesome task assignment feature within SweetProcess. We use it a little bit but not as much as we could and the scheduled reviews where you can go back and audit your own procedures.”
Streamlining Your Business Operations Made Easy
The unanimous decision that SweetProcess is an effective tool for the organization is evident in what it brings to the table. From helping the company to expand its services to enhancing employees’ performances, business operations at Forest Incentives have been improved. Do you want to replicate their success in your organization? Here is your chance. Sign up for a 14-day free trial on SweetProcess. No credit card is required.