Your strategy for business is the foundation for a safe and productive company. Employees may come and go, but your strategy for business endures throughout the life of a company.
Incorporating work procedures into your business strategy doesn’t just help onboard new employees. They also ensure that the company produces quality results for its customers and internal stakeholders.
The ongoing benefits of incorporating work procedures into your strategy for business are endless. This article explains all the advantages of work procedures, the different work procedure types, and a step-by-step process of building them into your operations.
Why Include Procedures In Your Strategy for Business?
A work procedure results from organizing responsibilities, tasks, people, equipment, and tools in the best sequence possible. It is a transcendent principle that guides employees toward producing quality work. Companies are constantly identifying the best way to complete a task. A work procedure represents the most productive, cost-effective method of action.
Why are work procedures significant? First, it is the optimal way to produce consistent results. A work procedure makes sure that the customer or fellow employee receives the best value from the sender. When you write out a standard, it increases the chances that the final result will be positive. It serves as an outline and roadmap toward productivity and sound products.
Work procedures also help a company’s strategy for business establish a culture of continuous improvement. Human beings create these standards, which means they may not always be perfect over time. An excellent work procedure is flexible and open to change. What works today may not work as effectively ten years from now.
A work procedure also fosters a safe workplace. Standardized procedures ensure the employee will complete the task and no one will be in danger. In manufacturing or settings with heavy equipment, work procedures are critical for the well-being of all employees.
Work procedures also make training new employees easier. A reliable set of procedures will keep tasks organized for new team members unfamiliar with the operations. It will also ensure that the company spends less time and money training the new employees. Therefore, productivity will rise.
Every organization has different needs for work procedures. However, most work procedures will fall into one of these four categories.
Step-by-step instructions are checklists, except employees must follow them in a specific order. This work procedure must be defined since the sequence is paramount. As a company develops step-by-step instructions, it must emphasize not skipping any steps. Doing so will cause safety and quality issues.
A checklist also referred to as a to-do list, is the most common form of work procedure. This work procedure can either be digital or on paper for employee distribution. Checklists are simple to create because they easily translate thoughts onto paper. The creator can establish headlines and then assign a set of subtopics beneath them.
A flowchart is an ideal way to outline a work procedure for visual learners. A flowchart communicates everything visually, but it also provides context around a specific step. Flowcharts use arrows and other shape elements to explain a holistic view of a process. Flowcharts also convey how one step feeds off another, which helps increase understanding among employees.
Procedure Hierarchy Lists
Hierarchical lists are handy for more complex procedures. If a task has a lot of additional information, hierarchical bullet lists or checklists will be a perfect solution. Hierarchical steps prevent the work procedure from being too lengthy or confusing. Sometimes it is challenging to explain an individual point. The writer needs to break it down into further information.
Now that you understand the concept behind a work procedure, we must explain how to build one. Because work procedures are long-term guides, they require much time and effort to develop. Here are the critical steps to know when forming a work procedure.
The first step is identifying which processes, workflows, or tasks need a procedure. There are multiple ways to build this list. The executive team can huddle to discuss options. It would also be wise to loop in leaders from different departments. That way, the procedure will cover all topics. It is a proven practice that a company surveys its team members since they are the ones who follow the procedures.
Once you form the list, you can send it around the company to ensure nothing is left out. From here, now I have a guide to building your work procedures.
Every working procedure has a “why” behind it. Forming a list of objectives for each work procedure is critical. The work procedure needs to solve a problem or deliver value. So, what is the problem you are trying to solve? What value will this work procedure provide for the employees? These are both questions that you must answer when creating each work procedure.
The chances are that a company has already developed procedures. If this is the case, these documents can serve as a template for building new work procedures. However, it would be best to evaluate the different types of work procedures outlined in this article. Then decide which format will best communicate the method of completing the task.
Before you create a work procedure, assess who your target audience is. Your leadership team might have a way of communicating issues, but will all employees understand it? There are three things to consider when writing a new work procedure:
- Employee experience: Will this work procedure be for a new hire, seasoned employee, or manager?
- The number of employees: Is the work procedure for a person, a small team, or many employees?
- Already-existing procedures: is there already a process or work procedure created? If so, how can the company improve upon it?
Your company would want to create work procedures with the end-user in mind, which are the employees. Therefore, partnering with the employees to write them is critical. You already surveyed them on the best topics to include, but you should gain their input for every step of the process. Ask the team members about their most common challenges and pain points. Then, build these responses into the procedure.
Once you gain feedback from all internal stakeholders, it is time to start writing. Organize your notes so you can refer to them quickly. Once you complete the writing process, proofread the material and gain further feedback from your team members.
Work procedures have several short- and long-term benefits. Below are several reasons why the best companies have a reliable system of work procedures.
Standard work procedures are the key to long-term productivity for a company. When employees are knowledgeable about a process, they will perform it a lot better.
This knowledge transfer comes in two different ways. First, a work procedure will train new employees properly from day one. That way, they can do the job effective immediately. The work procedure will also be an accessible resource to reference when the employee runs into an issue.
The lesson here is simple: the less time an employee spends finding an answer, the more productive they will be. The company will lose valuable productivity when the team member cannot find the answer to a question. A quality work procedure solves this issue.
Work procedures are vital for environments with dangerous machinery, heavy equipment, or chemicals. While companies want to be productive, the number one priority is employee safety. Work procedures will keep employees aware of dangers and hazards. Well-written procedures will communicate what is forbidden, mandatory, or dangerous within the role.
When a work procedure documents a hazard specifically, it will lead to fewer injuries and accidents. To increase everyone’s awareness, photos, icons, and other visuals create the most visual impact.
Some work procedures will be required for compliance with regulations. For example, ISO 9001 is mandatory training for various industries and work environments. However, it can be time-consuming for your employees to update the documentation in advance for an audit.
Establishing a firm set of procedures will eliminate the need to do this. It will save time and hassle, but it will also allow the employee to invest more time in their current projects. Because standard work procedures make the work environment safer, it will also make it more compliant at the same time.
When there is written documentation for every process or task, it will increase the company’s overall knowledge. Employees will always have something to refer to when they are stuck on an issue. Work procedures are most effective when your team members need a timely response to an unforeseen situation.
A massive expense for companies is downtime and lost productivity. Having documented a reliable work procedure will prevent your employees from waiting for an answer. However, it is critical for the work procedures to be clear and easy to find. Having disorganized work procedures will not solve the issue at hand.
Streamlining and standardizing processes directly correlate with quality management and control. When there is a universal way to perform a task, it will make the results consistent. No matter what employee works on the project, the results will be quality when everyone refers to the same work procedure.
If there is a defect or problem with a product, a work procedure will also make it easy to identify where the issue happened. Flowcharts are great for this situation because of visual learning. Even better, the work procedure will improve as the process improves.
A reliable work procedure will also keep team members on the same page. The work procedure will provide a clear snapshot of every step of the process. A centralized reference point ensures that all employees refer to the same documentation, i.e., speak the same language. It eliminates confusion and enables cross-functional groups to communicate effectively with each other.
Standard work procedures also strengthen the goal-setting process. Knowing how to perform a task effectively will lay the groundwork for performance reviews and staff development. With a sound set of work procedures, all team members will progress in the right direction.
Training new employees is an enormous expense for many companies. Often, a new team member will have to learn about several new systems. Apart from the salary and wage expense, the highest cost is time. An existing employee will have to sacrifice time out of their schedule to train the new employee. Therefore, onboarding a new employee needs to be as efficient as possible.
A work procedure is an easy reference guide to onboarding this new team member. If the company documented procedures for all tasks, training would be straightforward, less time-consuming, and thus cheaper. It will also boost productivity in the long run because the new employee will learn the material properly.
As you can see, work procedures incorporated into your strategy for business are necessary for the long-term health of a company. Having a sound business strategy will boost productivity, elevate employee safety, boost product or service quality, and open the door for continuous improvement.
We laid out the blueprint for building work procedures for your business strategy. Now it is time for your business to execute. The most important thing to remember is to ensure everyone agrees. Survey your employees and loop in your department leaders. Write procedures as if the reader knows nothing about the task or system. A company is only as good as its people. When you do, it’s a win-win, and the employer and employee benefit from a set of work procedures.
Does Your Strategy for Business Include Work Procedures?
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