6 tips to modernize your SOPs in 2018

For organizations that have multiple teams and locations, it’s critical for them to have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to not only systemize their internal processes for better efficiency but also provide a consistent customer experience. Regardless of how good your product or service is, there’s no faster way to lose a customer than providing an inconsistent experience.

SOPs done right create a huge value for your business but SOPs done with clunky paper manuals using difficult-to-understand language are detrimental to your business. SOPs should utilize modern tools that implement your processes in the desired way but also provide two-way feedback loops so that the SOPs created from the headquarter constantly gets improved and updated based on the field’s feedback.

Organizations have realized that informal, ad hoc communication is just not enough to deliver the consistency needed in SOP dominated industries; retail, restaurant, hotel, construction, manufacturing, healthcare and logistics. Here are key takeaways in modernizing your SOPs for the success of your business:

1. Get the tools in order

SOPs are usually documented in clunky paper manuals or Word document on the company’s shared intra drive or might even have their SOPs in their Intranet. But all these tools, even the Intranet makes finding and utilizing these SOPs difficult for your employees. Intranets are too static and lack both the interaction and the engagement for the employees. Additionally, Intranets and paper manuals make your SOPs too rigid without any appropriate mechanism for receiving the feedback from the field to improve your SOPs on an ongoing basis. You need a tool, with which you can easily create, update, simplify and modernize your SOPs with better interactivity and collaboration tools for your employees. The ideal tool should be a one-stop platform, where employees can find the important SOPs, training materials, company updates and communication with an aim to provide better consistency in customer service and sales across locations.

2. Find the balance between standardization and flexibility for your organization

You will need to find the right balance between the standardization and the need for improvement on the fly. The moment you have more than two locations and more than 10 employees, you would need to standardize your processes in order to provide the clarity that your employees expect from you. But depending on the industry such as marketing or design agency, where the rules of the game are changing at a faster face, you would ideally have less rigid SOPs, giving more room to creativity for your employees to create new standards on a more regular basis. However, industries such as restaurants, hotels, logistics, healthcare, retail, construction, you would need to have less dynamic SOPs with continuous feedback loop and interactivity to improve those SOPs on an ongoing basis.

3. Include your scattered workforce in SOP conversation

Your scattered workforce in the field are doing their jobs on a daily basis and they regularly find new ways to improve your processes. Hence, your SOP software should allow you to easily gather inputs from the field in creating and updating your SOPs. Some of Sparkwork’s customers have run internal campaigns asking their employees to record a video of them doing a certain process in their company and those ones that have significantly improved an existing process are rewarded. This newly discovered process is then standardized throughout the organization.

4. Jargon-free language

SOPs are known for being long, incomprehensible texts that no-one likes to refer to. Technical terms used in SOPs should be clearly explained in plain language. There shouldn’t be any room for interpretations or errors. Your SOP language should be representative of the widely accepted language in your company and industry.

5. Use videos and images

Unless mandatory, avoid using texts at all. As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words whereas a video is worth a million words”, we believe that organizations should have a platform that actively sources images and videos created in the field by their scattered workforce and use the crowdsourced materials to modernize their SOPs with a lot of pictures and videos.

6. Regular and easy updates

SOPs should be regularly updated to reflect the progress that the organization’s newly learned skills in improving and old SOP. With the ability to crowdsource on the improvement of the processes with new tools, organizations are able to update their SOPs more easily without major costs to the company.

We believe that SOPs are critical to the success of any organization that have multiple locations and teams, when properly done they provide the clarity, accountability and consistency. Your scattered workforce should be able find the important SOPs, training materials, company updates and communication in one-stop platform such that they work in tandem to provide better consistency in customer service and sales across your entire operations. Please book a 60 mins demo from this link and learn more how you can also unify your SOPs, engage your scattered workforce via online training, modern communication and knowledge hub.

Learn more about Sparkwork from https://sparkwork.io and book an online demo. We help companies bring their scattered workforce on the same page, improve productivity via efficient onboarding, online training, collaboration and employee engagement.