SOPs, also known as Standard Operating Procedures are more important than you may realize.
Try and picture a world where operating procedures don’t exist. A world where car manufacturers don’t have standardized procedures for quality assurance and maintenance crews don’t follow strict checklists when inspecting an aircraft. You wouldn’t want to ride that car, nor be a passenger on that plane, right? Yet this is the reality of many organizations – either completely lacking SOPs or completely ignoring them due to their outdated nature.
The results of inconsistent SOPs range from inefficiency to lost profit, all the way to injury and even death. Without a doubt, one of the simplest ways to streamline your business is having Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place.
Organizations seeking to optimize their day-to-day business activities use SOPs to create consistency in how processes and tasks are performed. They consist of clearly documented, step-by-step procedures and checklists that are easy for employees to follow and greatly reduce the chances of mistakes.
In this post you will learn the reasons why it is important for your business because they provide the following:
Consistency and Quality
SOPs provide much needed consistency across your company, ensuring that the tasks which keep your organization running effectively are done the way you want them to be done. SOPs makes it easy to find out what policies and procedures are in place to handle repetitive business scenarios or tasks and standardizes many crucial processes. Through a standard routine, employees enjoy more predictability in their work environment and can sharpen their skills on each task to raise their overall performance.
Ease of Replication and Organized Growth
As your organization grows, you may decide to set up different locations where employees will replicate the various work processes. Having SOPs makes it easy to replicate processes across your organization. Employees at each location can use the same operating manual to identify how to perform a standard procedure. You can also track the productivity of each site based on the levels of performance for each standard operating procedure.
Reduce the Learning Curve for New Employees and Increase Productivity
For on-boarding employees, a well-written SOP is crucial in order to quickly grasp how things work in your organization. By referring to the SOP for a particular procedure, your new employee will know exactly how to perform the assigned task, without having to ask you about it. Additionally, people that have a clear understanding of what is expected of them are more productive and more likely to achieve peak performance. SOPs significantly increase productivity by ensuring that certain tasks that need to be done on a daily basis are well-documented.
Delegate Tasks and Ensure Business Continuity
When a key staff member is not available for whatever reason, work does not have to stand still. By referring to the SOP someone else can take over the urgent tasks. A good SOP will include an organizational chart of the business, as well as a short job description and contact details for each staff member. If you need to delegate a certain task, you can see at a glance who will be able to help or advise you.
Improve Performance Management
How can you hold employees accountable for tasks and processes that aren’t documented? Without SOPs, job performance often becomes a matter of opinion. With SOPs, managers can clearly identify employee successes and communicate deficiencies during quarterly or annual performance reviews.
Useful in Writing Job Descriptions
It can be difficult to evaluate the contribution of employees in a small business. SOPs form the basis for listing critical business processes as well as daily tasks and assigning responsibilities for each. Therefore, they become the baseline document for drafting job descriptions of each member of your team.
Create a Benchmark of Service
While your customers may never catch a glimpse of your internal SOPs, they will certainly know how professionally you run the business. Having ‘Service’ SOPs ensures that each member of your team has a clear understanding of the expected outcome of service interactions. This could include the way a customer is spoken to on the phone, the resolution to a customer problem, or the time it takes to complete a customer order.
If you are struggling with structure in your business book a call today and I can help you outline the SOPs you will want to implement in your business to prevent growing pains going forward.