Smart SOPs and How to Write Them
By Steven Czyrny
Do you understand your business processes? If you find that your management team or employees are confused about their role in projects, or tasks remain unfinished, it’s time to consider your standard operating procedures.
If you have never put procedures in place, you are wasting time and money in your business. With a few steps, you can remedy this problem and ensure everyone knows their role, and your brand is maintained.
What are Standard Operating Procedures?
Standard operating procedures are checklists for repetitive or recurring tasks. These procedures explain how to complete projects and processes for each department.
Your procedures provide an overview of the tasks involved and provide the steps required to complete these processes. They also provide a timeline to complete each task. You can create standard operating procedures for different types of tasks.
- Customer and employee onboarding
- Content management
- Sales and customer service procedures
- Product launches
Any task that requires consistency will benefit from written procedures.
Benefits of Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures make it easier to train new employees. With the steps outlined, you can ensure these new employees understand what’s required of them. They make it easier to delegate tasks to employees, ensuring a defined role for each person.
These procedures also cut out mistakes or accidents during processes. If you have procedures in place, it’s easier to hold employees accountable for their work. You can use these procedures to identify areas that need improvement so you can increase productivity.
Procedures help you ensure all employees stay in compliance with any industry regulations. You can state these regulations clearly within the procedures so everyone’s on the same page. This makes it easier to outsource tasks if you want to use remote workers.
How to Write Standard Operating Procedures
To get started creating standard operating procedures, you want to make sure you’re clear on the processes involved in your business. You also want to keep employees involved in the process. This will ensure you’re able to answer all questions within the procedures.
List Your Processes
Start with a list of all the business processes. Talk with managers to make sure you know every project and process you have in place that needs a procedure.
Group these processes based on needed skillsets and related tasks. Check for any overlap so you can make tasks simpler.
Organize the Processes
Once you understand the processes, create overview procedures for different departments. Start with the basic overview and steps so you can see how many procedures you need for a project.
Break down the responsibilities and steps for the overall project, making sure to answer recurring questions about the process. Once you have this overview in place, break down your procedures based on tasks involved with the main projects.
These breakdowns will go into more detail about the steps required. This will also include a list of skills needed and quality assurance steps for these tasks.
Get Employees Involved
As you complete the procedures, you want to keep employees involved. Have them complete the tasks using these procedures so they can make notes. Encourage them to note areas that need clarification or have simpler methods.
Have them make notes through their processes early on so you have a starting point too.
Review and Adjust
Operating procedures can change with new technologies or changing projects. For instance, a CRM can provide a simpler method for customer onboarding, changing the procedure for this task.
You should review procedures at least once a year to make sure they’re still relevant. Make adjustments as needed so your procedures are simple and complete.
Outsource the SOP Process
If the creation of standard operating procedures seems too time-consuming, you can outsource the process. A business analyst can work with your teams to create professional procedures that meet your business needs.
If you need help with your standard operating procedures, contact us to discover how to get started.