Writing standard operating procedures for your company is very important to do, but they need to be recorded properly or they’re all but useless. Below are some of the biggest mistakes that companies make when using procedure software for a small business. Learn these mistakes and work to avoid them for better procedures.
Saving the How But not the Why
One major mistake that business owners make with their standard operating procedure software is that they document how procedures should be done, but they don’t deeply explain why things should be done this way. When training new employees, it’s much more effective to explain how to do something if you have a reason for doing it that way as well. This reinforces the idea and ensures the best training and it’s something that can be done with procedure software for a small business when programmed properly.
Writing Procedures in a Negative Way
One of the worst mistakes that a company can make when using procedure software for a small business is to document procedures in a negative way. It’s important to specifically say what employees should do, rather than what they should not do. For instance, saying “don’t yell” wouldn’t work as effectively as “talk quietly”. It’s likely many trainees will just pick up on the yell and not so much the language around that word.
Writing Wordy Procedures
One of the surest ways to ruin the effects of quality standard operating procedure software is to write up procedures in a long and drawn out way. By stating something in a wordy way, you ensure that most people won’t really grasp the full idea of the procedure. Keep sentences short, and make ideas simple. This is the best way to pass ideas on so they are remembered.
Having Staff Members Write Procedures
Ideally, the procedure software for a small business will be operated by an accomplished writer that knows how to say things very clearly. The trick to making this work is pairing up a writer with a knowledgeable staff member to make sure the procedures are documented accurately. Some small companies have their regular employees fill out the standard operating procedure software because they figure they know the processes best. This is a good idea in practice, but often the writing won’t be as clear as it could be, which is why hiring a writer to work with a staff member is a better approach to using SOP software for small business.
Letting Executives Make the Documents
At some companies, the procedure software for small business owners is operated by the head of the company or one of the high up executives. This is poor practice because they rarely fully understand all the procedures. Instead, they need to be filled out at a lower level in the company.
There are many mistakes being made every single day at companies when it comes to standard operating procedure software. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to avoid as many as possible, and this list should help you get started with that. Read through it and apply what you learn when you use SOP software for small business next time.
Adding Too Much Detail
Very common mistake companies make when writing standard operating procedure is adding more detail than is necessary to get the job done right. Not only does adding too much detail add more work to the documentation process, it also slows people down when they are determining how to do the task as well. It takes longer to read through all that detail, and it can make the task seem overwhelming as well. Some procedures need to be documented in great detail, while others could be documented succinctly. Try to be as short as possible when writing procedures for best results. Keep this in mind when using SOP software for a small business.
Making Too Many
Just like with too much detail, it’s also possible to have too many procedures. If you have a procedure for everything at your company, you probably have too many. Sometimes procedures can even conflict with one another. Make sure that you are using your procedure software for a small business to document procedures wherever necessary, but avoid documenting too many procedures or you risk overwhelming workers and reducing the efficiency of your business at the same time. Think long and hard about what needs to be documented for your business to run, and document just those key procedures that should be at the core of your business.
Making Procedures for the Wrong Tasks
Sometimes SOPs are put in place to correct issues that are caused by another issue that should really be controlled. Imagine you run a restaurant and you have staff members that keep spilling food on the floor because they are working carelessly. It wouldn’t make sense to write up procedures about how to clean up all that spilled food throughout the day when you could just make up a procedure that would keep the spilling from occurring in the first place. Unfortunately, this is what happens all the time when writing standard operating procedures.
Relying on them in Place of Management
Good management is just as important as a good set of procedures and one should not be substituted for the other. Companies should keep managers watching over and helping employees while also providing quality SOPs for them to work with. Without good managers, employees are going to run into issues eventually or they won’t operate as efficiently as they otherwise could. Try to keep both of these assets in place at your business for the best results.
Not Testing them Thoroughly
Standard operating procedures only work well when they are fully tested and revised to work as efficiently as possible. Companies that don’t test their procedures or make improvements won’t benefit from them. If you’re relying on procedure software for a small business make sure you are learning and improving those procedures. If you aren’t making regular enhancements to your procedures you are missing out on the biggest benefit that they offer you and you’re likely wasting everyone’s time and resources as a result.