I have been working with entrepreneurs and CEOs for the last 10 years as a HR Consultant. What I have learned from being in direct contact with the the board level is that there are many executives who tend to think that fancy and complicated is always better, even if they make your life impossible.

In this article I want to give you some points to erase that horrible idea from your mind. I would like to convince you that policies and procedures in your company should be as simple and easy to follow as possible.

How Complicated Processes Make Your Life Complicated

Last year I joined a company for what was going to be a short project. They were redoing their recruitment and on-boarding process. It looked liked a fairly easy task for me, as I have been doing it for a long time. But it didn’t end up being that simple.

Before my first official meeting with the CEO, he sent me a link to a folder that contained at least 20 videos from an online course, and many documents. The course had a fancy name and it had cost the company hundreds of dollars within a whole “plan” for the company that costed few thousands. 

The course had a man speaking about how the big corporations have grown, and how they delivered their projects. Most videos explained how your company could make millions, just following simple advice from him.

So the CEO wanted me to change the recruitment process to make it more effective, but to keep it how it was. Yes, you read that right: to change it and keep it the same way.

Why? Because he wanted to keep something he considered good. It was fancy and expensive, so why wouldn’t it be exactly what his company needed?

Let me explain why. Even though the recruitment process and onboarding described was not bad, and followed best practices, it was not what a 30 employee’s company needed. It was long, high maintenance, and non effective for them. It was good for a 10K+ employees company. Just not for them.

My client increased the amount of time dedicated to recruitment to make it his primary task. So he was not a CEO anymore, he was the HR manager. Even worse was that he was so tired of doing it that he lost perspective and was not even doing the right hiring because the process was not simple, neither efficient. But it had many fancy steps, so it had to be good!

Related:  #5 Barrier to Leadership – Not Believing

Luckily, I managed to convince him that this was not good for them and we did a simple and efficient recruitment process that improved the retaining process 100%.

Why Simple?

What people hear when you say simple is “lazy”. However, simple means simple. It can take hard work, but should be easy to follow.

How can you check if your policies and procedures are simple enough? When you implement a new policy, think about the following questions:

  • How many people do you need involved in this?
  • How many hours will be used to do this process completely?
  • Will people tend to cut corners to use it?
  • If people cut corners, does it really make sense for you to implement it?
  • Is it really necessary?
  • Do you need all those words or pages to do a simple process that could be explained in 3 paragraphs?

Change Management Requires Simplicity

From my experience, when companies start growing, you absolutely need to implement specific policies and procedures, or things will start failing.

The basics of change management explain that people will react negatively to any change you want to introduce. Whatever it is, there will be someone that doesn’t like it and will try to sabotage it. So why make it more difficult for them?

You need to bear in mind what will happen if you are not there to review it. Who will do it? Will it be easy to explain to everyone and keep track of it? Will there be consequences for those not following those actions? What kind of consequences?

Related Article: 5 Change Management Tips for Project Managers

Processes and Policies There to Support Your Business

This should always be your first thought when drafting a policy or procedure, “How is this going to help my business?” If you don’t have the answer to that, don’t publish or activate it.

After answering this, please respond to “How is this going to damage my company?”. You may not believe it, but complicated policies could heavily damage your company or reputation.

Don’t do it if the balance is not positive. And always remember: Simple is better.

How Can Leaders Make Their Lives More Efficient?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Mercedes Garcia on Twitter
Mercedes Garcia
Mercedes García is a HR consultant with extensive experience in working with small and medium companies, helping them to make their companies more efficient. She is also the editor of the blog HR for SMEs where you can find advise to make the HR function of your company more efficient and simple.
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