Standard Operating Procedures. The term alone sounds cold and corporate, but without them, your team won’t be as efficient as it could be. SOPs create a level of expectations and standards for everyday tasks, and they also help your managers know how to proceed in tough situations, like a disgruntled employee, an inventory challenge, or a PR misstep. SOPs are documented step-by-step procedures that make it easy for you and your team to know how to complete tasks (helping you avoid the, “Nancy taught me a different way…” argument).
We get it. Your business is different. Your employees are already trained and the manager knows how to deal with challenging situations and team members. Nonetheless, we challenge you to read our list of reasons you need standardization and consider whether you have areas that could benefit from SOPs.
SOPs Define Duties
Training for a new employee is fast and easily forgotten. The amount of education needed for a newcomer can be overwhelming. Use SOPs to communicate responsibilities so the worker isn’t stressed about remembering everything from week one’s training.
SOPs Secure Consistency
No matter who is working on a particular task, with standard procedures intact, the job is performed the same way. SOPs aren’t designed to turn your team members into automated machines, but rather, make expectations and responsibilities clear.
SOPs Improve Productivity
When your team members know what is expected, they can be more productive. Workers can use the checklists to complete tasks and managers don’t have to spend time reminding employees of what’s expected.
SOPs Validate Employee Evaluations
It’s hard (and by hard we mean impossible) to hold your team members accountable for processes that aren’t documented. Without SOPs, jobs evolve into a group of workers waiting to be told what to do each day. When procedures and expectations are clearly defined through SOPs, performance reviews can be easily tracked. When disciplinary action is needed with a team member, SOPs help define specific reasons for the manager’s action.
SOPs Support Team Training
A manager isn’t always needed for employee training when SOPs are in place. Experienced team members can train newcomers using the SOPs – as the process for a task is the same whether a team member has worked for the company for a decade or they’re still unsure which cubicle is for them.
SOPs are also a good way to keep your team safe. From the proper way to store certain materials to how to react to an emergency situation, written guidelines allow team members to prepare and react accordingly.
Writing SOPs can be time consuming, and we’ll admit, they’re certainly not the most fun thing you’ll do at work, but these documented expectations will save your company time, money, and potential liability in an emergency situation.
What are some creative ways you keep SOPs fun – or at least bearable – in your office? Comment below and let us know what works well for your team.
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