Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are what smart businesses use to ensure consistency in business tasks and processes. Having consistent processes means delivering a consistent service or product to your customers. The benefits of Standard Operating Procedures and numerous, so I have picked some key ones to focus on in this blog.
What Are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
SOPs contain clearly documented step-by-step instructions and checklists that are simple for team members to follow. Having SOPs can considerably reduce errors, or should repeated mistakes occur, give the business owner tools to manage that with their employee.
As a small business owner, writing SOPs can seem like ANOTHER task on the ever-growing list. There is also the misconception that standardising and creating a set of SOPs limits the company (not the case as SOPs should be an ever-evolving document. But I want to tell you that the SOPs for your business may be one of the most essential communication tools in your business.
Here are some reasons why….
7 Key Benefits Of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
#1. They promote clear communication.
Well-written SOPs communicate clearly the responsibilities and duties of your team members. They do not have to count on their memories or everything they learned previously. They have simple directions at their fingertips with their role defined.
#2. They provide consistency as well as quality control.
SOPs ensure that the tasks needed to keep your business working get completed efficiently. Plus, regardless of who delivers the task or when it is delivered, the job is done the way you want it done. SOPs do not hinder your employees – or turn them into mindless robots – instead, they set expectations on what is needed from them to succeed.
#3. They help increase efficiency.
If your team understands your expectations, they know the goals and are more motivated to achieve them. Additionally, SOPs increase productivity for managers by saving time in having to train and re-train staff.
#4. They promote cross-training.
In a small business, you probably have “key players” who are the only people who know how to perform specific jobs. But what if that key player is out on holiday or sick? SOPs enable other employees to take on those tasks and deliver them to the same standard. It also allows you to outsource the work as a strategic growth plan.
#5. SOPs are essential to your team members’ performance process.
You can not hold your team responsible for tasks or processes if you have not documented what they have to do. Without SOPs, job performance can because subjective and a matter of opinion. However, with SOPs, managers can identify employee success and any deficiencies or shortfalls. Adherence to the SOPs forms a framework for your appraisal process, while failure to adhere can give you the evidence needed to progress any disciplinary procedures.
#6. They help create a safer working environment.
Easy-to-follow SOPs and appropriate training helps to reduce the chances of accidents. The fact tasks are documented and are available as reference means there are no excuses for not remembering the correct- safe -procedure.
Likewise, they could also reduce legal liability. If someone brought a case against you, you could demonstrate you have documented the correct working practice.
#7 They provide your team with motivation and inspiration.
Knowing how to do things right and what value their work brings to the organisation builds team loyalty and trust.
SOPs have the potential to enable organizations to improve quality without increasing costs and are well worth making the time to invest in putting these together. If you are unsure where to start my blog ‘How to create standard operating procedures’ may help, or book a no-obligation discovery call by dropping me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.