What if you work without guidelines?
What if your tasks are passed on to you orally?
What if your business operates entirely with no strategies?
It doesn’t seem fair for any business, right?
If you launch a fresh venture or govern an established business, clear guidelines and strategies are a must because they can offer solid solutions for enhancing your operations. And what are these guidelines and strategies called? That is what is called Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
SOPs provide employees with coherent guidelines for performing their day-to-day tasks. SOPs help employees to avoid repeatable errors by making even complex problems simple.
Every business has various processes and procedures for completing specific tasks. Penning them in black and white will assist the employees in showing authentic and consistent performance.
This blog will help you discover the best techniques and strategies for creating an SOP from square one.
SOP- WHAT IS IT?
A set of guidelines or instructions used by employees to complete different activities is called Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Indeed it is an effective tool that brings out quality and consistent performance, thus ensuring companies’ policies are in line with daily tasks.
Also, SOPs help employees with detailed directions to perform regular tasks more productively. Predictably, you get to enjoy consistent outcomes at the end. For instance, a customer buys a mobile phone from you, for which you may have a set of processes made readily available to deliver the mobile phone faster. Structuralizing these procedures will reduce shipping errors and make other orders quicker than the previous.
SOP – DOES YOUR COMPANY NEED IT?
Of course, yes! Each department in any organization needs to have SOPs that clearly explain the guidelines on how to operate. Organizations differ, policies differ, standards differ, and procedures differ. However, the SOP provides instructions to better cope with specific and daily activities, thus ensuring tasks comply with the policies and standards of the organization.
For example, managers in banks often have SOPs. These guidelines help them handle customers’ needs while adhering to the bank’s policies. They provide detailed work instructions for dealing with account holders, their needs, queries, and money shortages.
Let me give the top four reasons why you must have SOPs:
- Organize Performance management
- Assistance to Smooth Process
- Relevant to Industry Standards
- Road to Future Growth
Organize Performance Management
Employee evaluation is a prevalent and must-need practice of any organization. It allows both employees and management to restart with conviction and new strategies. Perhaps SOP helps the management to streamline employee evaluations.
With a proper SOP that is common to all employees, management can legitimately evaluate the performance of their staff since the SOP assists the management with a set of instructions to measure. This helps to eradicate partial evaluations in the environment because, in most cases, employees are rewarded based on their performance.
Assistance to Smooth Process
It is the most crucial benefit of having an SOP. There are a few businesses that function without SOPs. They may operate with a small team on different activities. Each one will have their allocated role and responsibilities. However, if one of the employees leaves the company, they may not have the proper knowledge to get over a particular task. It happens, even now, in many companies.
Hence, SOPs help the company to go ahead with any task irrespective of who leaves the company. With the help of SOP, the company will have the process and job knowledge of the employee who left the company. It will get the company going under any circumstances.
Relevant to Market Standards
It may be a small business or a huge one, and all must operate in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements of a particular industry. They directly deal with the safety requirements of a specific business or industry.
Here comes SOP with its standard functions to meet the organization’s standards. Therefore, operating with proper and standard operating regulations is vital for any industry.
Road to Future Growth
Formalizing an SOP and following it till the end helps a company stand out in the market as a leader. Also, it facilitates the company for future growth in new markets or regions.
An SOP allows any company to replicate existing processes at new locations easily. For instance, if an existing company plans to expand to a new country or a new location, it can blindly follow its SOP. It will have a to z procedures that must be executed in a new region. It is an excellent advantage for a company to settle down faster and start working without delay.
SOP – HOW TO CREATE ONE?
A clear vision and specific goals will help you develop a classic SOP for your organization. It is okay if you have different SOPs for different departments. However, they all must journey towards achieving your organization’s primary goal.
After all, it is not rocket science. Just be careful and undergo a detailed analysis before drafting an SOP. You are not alone in this process since many were at the same stage as you. To help you, we have drawn five fundamental steps to craft an SOP.
- Choose a Standard Format
- List out the Processes
- Processes into Steps
- Implementation of the Procedures
- Periodic Analysis and Improvement
Choose a Standard Format
An SOP is created following the needs of your business and operating style. Therefore make it a standard one because it is not only concerned with the management but primarily with the employees who represent the heart of your organization. SOP has detailed procedures that help employees complete their tasks step by step.
Let your SOP not offer hard and fast rules and guidelines. Employees are not machines; they need free space to use their creativity and problem-solving skills.
One of the best processes within an SOP is an essential to-do list or a checklist where employees are provided with detailed instructions.
List out the Processes
After crafting a unique format:
- Commence listing out the processes that have to be included in your SOP.
- With that, start revising and reviewing each process.
- Let it Run through your employees to get their opinion on these processes. This process will help you brainstorm specific processes’ creation, modification, and rejection.
Once your employees review the SOP, let it go through the managers and stakeholders. And now, you will have a clear idea to ensure that the SOP covers your company policies and industry standards.
Processes into Steps
Now that you’re done listing out, and reviewing the procedures, move on to converting these processes into simple steps. The steps can help employees accomplish their daily tasks on time with super quality.
Breaking all these processes into multiple steps might be a hectic task but worth doing so. Because after this segregation, your employees will show productivity with real class.
Implementation of the Procedures
Hurray! You have triumphantly created an SOP yourself. Now it is time to put them into practice. Ensure all your employees have a copy of the SOP and exhort them to follow it without fail.
It is possible that your employees may take some time to adopt new business practices or routines. To make this process much easier for your employees, you must appoint managers to enforce adherence to the new rules. The process may be slow, but it will be a standard practice that will take the organization to another level of growth.
Periodic Analysis and Improvement
Post-implementation of the SOP, consider constant monitoring on the adherence of the process given to the employees. With the managers you have appointed, ensure that employees are making progress. At least have a meeting at the end of every week to analyze the impact of the SOP on each business process.
It will help you derive a plan of action for the update of the SOP at the end of the year. Also, it is not advisable to change the SOP now and then. Once in a year is fair enough.
Never forget to appreciate the employees if they adhere to the guidelines correctly!
Analogically speaking, SOP plays the role of the brain in an organization of any size. It provides the guidelines to operate as the brain stimulates the body to move and act. Simply put, it is a document containing step-by-step instructions under the company’s policies.
It actively comes into effect if only your employees follow the instructions. Otherwise, it may only remain on paper, thus becoming a reason for the downfall of your company. Therefore, create a classic SOP, explain it to your employees, monitor the process, and boost your standard yearly.