This article is Part 2 of a 3 part series on creating procedures and instructions for your business. Click here to See Part 1 and read why procedures and instructions are important for your business in the first place. You can also read Part 3 where we go through the best tips for creating procedures and work instructions in your business.
So, there are ten benefits below, but there’s a common theme to each of those ten points.
Scroll down and scan them.
Do you know what that common theme is?
The answer is one word, and it’s crucial to your business.
In fact, if two similar businesses were to compete directly, the business that has mastered this one word would crush the other at every point – from sales, service, overhead costs…anything you measure. I could even argue the business owner who mastered this one word would sleep better at night…
As you read over each of the ten points, try to think of what that one word could be.
Ten Benefits of Putting Procedure and Instructions in place for your employees:
1. So everyone knows how to do their jobs.
This is the obvious one. Does every one of your workers know how to do any part of their jobs at any time? Having what they do documented with instructions ensures they at least know. They will spend less time remembering/asking/guessing at what to do and instead spend more time being productive.
2. A hands-off training guide.
With procedures and instructions, new hires can learn how to do their jobs faster. They know the boundaries of what they need to know, realize what they still need to learn, and avoid doing extra work that is not needed.
For seasoned employees, they are serve as refresher tasks they don’t do often enough to remember exactly how to do them.
3. A way to keep knowledge in your company
Have you had a key person leave unexpectedly? You probably felt the brain drain as things only that person knew are now gone. They might have to be re-learned through painful experiences with the customer (complaints, callbacks, and rework).
The knowledge of your employees has measurable value, because your business was paying that person while they were learning on the job or maybe you even paid for formal training. Documenting that knowledge with procedures and instructions preserves that knowledge instead of paying others to relearn the same material, either through training or trial and error on actual customer jobs.
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In my earlier post about procedures and instructions, I discuss the value of the instructions for a toy car. Event having simple and straightforward documentation in place can get the person to the finished result in a consistent way, and do it as quickly as possible.
The result of this consistency is everyone knows what and how it should be done because it is documented, so there’s no excuses for forgetting or not having all the info.
5. Consistent service
If you define what great service is in your procedures, then your employees can follow and be confident they are at least pointed in the right direction and given a framework to succeed.
Building quality into your business processes can later be used as a great marketing tool you can share with your customer. They want to hear how quality and consistency is intertwined in all aspects of your business.
6. Flush out broken processes in your company
You might write a procedure for the replacement of a certain model of equipment, but realize you have no specs or manuals on that machine. You would make sure you get that documentation, or at least make a note on the procedure to get the docs when the time comes to need them.
7. Create a measurable feedback loop
Users of your procedures and instructions will likely provide feedback once used. Do they reflect reality, or need to be changed? This also helps to create a culture of problem-and-solution seekers in your company.
It’s also easier to spot and correct repeat offenders of those who are not following the instructions. If something was not done per the instructions and problems resulted, this creates a more logical and free flowing discussion with the person as you reach and understanding of needs to be done.
8. A way to finally think things through in your company.
Work on the business instead of in the business…is what the business gurus will say.
Of course you need to do Owner Stuff, but you don’t want to let the day-to-day things slip by either.
Do you have loose ends that keep you up late or outright losing sleep? Those could be the first areas you look for to systematize with procedures.
So many things are created haphazardly and at the last second. Documenting each step in a process guides your thinking to focus on each logic step in a process before problems can happen.
9. Paves the way for official company HR policies
Once you have workable procedures and instructions in place, you could work adjacently into making formal Human Resources (HR) policies and procedures for your company. Or if you already have them, update them to reflect any changes.
10. Procedures and instructions can make your company more valuable.
The less you, as the owner, are involved in the day-to-day operations, the more attractive your company would be to potential buyers of your business if the day comes when you want to sell.
Investors or buyers prefer businesses that can run a much as possible on its own, and they will often pay a premium for it.
Before putting procedures in place in your business, you should know why you are doing this in the first place. You’ve read each point. Which among these are what you hope to gain from the most? What’s most important to you and your business?
So, what’s that one word I hinted at the beginning of this article that each of these ten points relate to?
The answer is Predictability.
By the way, I’m making a simple way for workers to use work instructions and checklists during the job. Checkout the demo for more info.
This was part 2 of a 3 part series on procedures and instructions for your business. You can read Part 1 where we discuss why create procedures and instructions in the first place and help address objections, and also Part 3 where we go through the best tips for creating procedures and work instructions in your business.