By: Jenifer Melton, Greenstone Professional Services Analyst

Recently, we worked with a small cooperative struggling with a communication breakdown between all staffing levels—a co-op that had seen a larger-than-usual amount of staffing changes. The higher turnover rate was disintegrating the staff’s ability to be effective, the lack of staffing transparency hindered the ability to identify the proper person for the proper job; even the part-time and contracted employees weren’t getting clear feedback on their own job duties.

What is the Health Check/Detox System?

With the ineffectual communication becoming a major issue for the co-op, we decided to implement our Health Check/Detox system— a holistic approach we designed that collects and evaluates certain data:

Current company practices
Data sets
Current company configuration and versions
Overall employee productivity
Overall employee knowledge

With our Professional Services team executing the Health Checks and Detox, we’re able to provide an accurate examination of the entire company, rather than focusing on singular components.  We’re able to objectively collect and interpret data, and thus able to make effective recommendations for process improvements that might otherwise have been overlooked in an internal review—it’s certainly difficult to perform an impartial diagnosis while actively in the trenches looking at margins and transactions!

Taken separately, our “Health Check” is shorter visit, typically a great way for us to focus on simply documenting and providing a record of any issues, while our “Detox” of a company is a longer-term, more practical application plan for solutions to any found problems.

How does it work?

An important part of our process is to collect all employees together and have an actual, organic discussion—we usually find that allowing all employees to have a free-flowing meeting quickly uncovers the differences in policy and protocol between departments. And perhaps more beneficially, we find that providing employees space to share concerns and ideas acts as an informal way to increase camaraderie and helps get the team working together to help us build them a better, more efficient process.

We typically like to say “You don’t know what you don’t know;” in other words, if a company (or single employee) is unaware that “something” exists, how will that “something” get utilized?  By identifying the “unknowns” in employee knowledge, we’re in a position to fill in those gaps. Both the Health Check and Detox systems enable us to not only identify these gaps, but also to execute new enhancements and show the company proper ways to use them.

Think you don’t need a detox?

Even the most efficient companies can benefit from Health Checks/Detox to identify possible inconsistencies in their systems. We’ve worked directly with many well-organized, efficient companies—one in particular had us run a Health Check prior to a merger. What we found, while none of it particularly detrimental, still unearthed inconsistent practices and minor discrepancies among the different company departments; our simple Health Check allowed the company to undergo an internal review and retraining to establish consistency across the board, which only served to strengthen an already-strong company.

Smooth operating ahead

As for our crumbling co-op, we ran a Detox that helped them identify where the communication issues lay, as well as pinpointed a number of financial data messes that needed to be unraveled with immediate care.  Through the Detox process, we were able to recognize and rectify the issues plaguing the co-op.  We were able to get job duties thoroughly documented and set a ‘policy and practices’ plan in place for training and cross-training to maintain consistency and order in the flow of data.  We also provided significant available enhancement assistance, as well as an enhancement upgrade implementation plan—and after a successful upgrade, the co-op enjoyed new functionality and put most of our recommendations to practical use, allowing for a smoother, more efficient and communicative company.