When most AV companies owners started a business, it’s typically just them and maybe a handful of people crazy enough to trust you.
The reason these other people are around is more than likely they bring knowledge and skills that allowed you to focus on other things.
Then it finally happens… one of these people that trusted you, or even yourself had to call out sick, step away, or is unavailable for a given period to perform a task that you or they usually do. Now what?
The scramble begins, people start referencing what they think they saw them do in the past and the frustration starts because the one piece of information they need to help them through this situation isn’t there.
So what’s missing? Accessible documented processes and procedures.
Now before I go into why these are important, I want to explain the difference between these two elements because often these words are confused.
The process is the overview of the steps that need to be taken to complete a task. Think of it as your main bullets in an outline like Step 1, Do X, Step 2, Do Z and so on.
The procedures are the tactical details provided for each process instructing you how to complete the task.
Here is an example of how process and procedures would work in the sales process.
Process: Step 1: Enter prospect info into CRM
Procedure: When entering the prospects information you must have the following information: Name, Email, Title, and Phone Number.
So now that you understand the relationship between having processes and procedures here are my top four reasons to document them:
1.) Helps With Onboarding & Training
You have done all of this work to recruit, interview and hire this new rock star to your organization and when they get there your trying to figure out who is going to help integrate them into your culture and business operation. Statistics show that 17% of new hires leave within the first three months and 20% of all staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment due to ineffective onboarding.
By documenting the processes and procedures for properly onboarding a new employee, you give your teams to the tools and resources to get that new hire off to a great start in getting integrated into your organization so they can become a productive resource as soon as possible.
2.) It Supports Confused Roles & Responsibilities
From time to time I have heard the frustration from executives and managers that they have defined roles and responsibilities within the organization, but employees still act like they don’t know what they need to do. Once we talk it through in many cases it hasn’t been they didn’t know what they needed to do (process) they didn’t understand how they needed to do it (lack of procedures). When you define the details of what needs to get done, it can bring clarity to a confused environment.
Consistency is my the most important reason for documenting process and procedures. With them it allows you to have a playbook for how you can train others to complete a task which will help you in delivering a consistent experience to a customer.
Back when I was head of operations for a global enterprise, I used to always share with the team how we need to become like Mcdonalds. Regardless of where you went in the world and ordered a Big Mac you knew you were getting an all-beef patty special sauce lettuce cheese pickles on a sesame seed bun ( I hear you singing it). Like Mcdonalds, the goal was to have standardized processes and procedures that we could train and implement globally. It would allow our teams to deliver a consistent experience regardless of who was involved.
4.) Analyze & Improve Efficiency
There is a phrase I firmly believe in, and I always add a bit to it which is “you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and you can’t control what you don’t document.”
Efficient utilization of resources is a significant focus for many organizations. But where organizations struggle in trying to understand how efficient their business runs is they don’t have any or all of their processes and procedures documented. When you can sit down and walk through the journey map of each process, process owners can audit more easily if the current procedures, personnel, software resources related to the process are still up to date, the best to have in place or need an overhaul to streamline the process.
Process and procedures I refer to as “the playbook” with clients. It’s the critical information that helps position you on offense and defense in the game of business. Teams who run the same plays become predictable and easy to defeat. Your processes and procedures operate the same way, and if you haven’t documented, assessed and updated them recently your team may be easily beaten by the competition.