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Eight reasons why you need standard operating procedures

Eight reasons why you need standard operating procedures
  1. They facilitate communication

Well written SOPs clearly communicate responsibilities to employees. They don’t have to rely on their memories, or all the things they learned in their training when first hired.

  1. They provide consistency and quality control

SOPs ensure that no matter what day it is or who is working, the tasks that keep your organization running effectively will be done the way you want them done. They don’t hamstring employees or turn them into robots. Rather they provide security because each employee knows what’s expected of him or her, rather than guessing what needs to be done daily.

  1. They help increase productivity

People who have had clear communication about what’s expected of them are more productive and more likely to achieve peak performance. SOPs also increase productivity for managers by saving them time “retraining” employees or reminding them of what needs to be done on a daily basis.

  1. They facilitate cross training

Many organizations have “key players” who are the only employees who normally perform certain tasks. SOPs allow other employees to fill in and complete tasks they don’t normally perform if those key players are on vacation or out sick.

  1. They’re essential to the employee performance evaluation process

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. When it comes time to discipline or terminate an employee, clearly defined tasks, as opposed to broad job descriptions, give managers the ability to justify their disciplinary or termination actions.

  1. They support peer accountability and coaching 

When SOPs are clearly documented, employees can help and coach each other when learning new processes, rather than relying on a manager to do so. They also give employees the opportunity (and grounds) to correct/redirect their peers when tasks aren’t being performed correctly.

  1. They help create a safer work environment 

Clearly written SOPs, along with proper training, reduce the odds of accidents or injury because tasks are written. They may also reduce legal liability should an incident occur.

  1. They provide staff with the motivation to do things RIGHT

Well written SOPs not only clearly outline the HOW of procedures, but also the WHY. When you communicate sound reasons why employees should perform tasks in a certain way, they’re more likely to do so.

Although SOPs may not be fun to write and they’re time-consuming to create at first, the time spent writing them is time well spent when you consider the cost of not having them versus the benefits when you do.

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