When you are looking to employ new staff in order to grow the company you need to understand what processes they are going to be tasked with. If the processes they are to be given are not clearly defined in terms of the inputs, outputs, steps and its purpose how will they, or you, know if it has completed successfully?
A vast amount of information for a growing company, or most companies actually, is held in individuals heads so it is worth investing in creating a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual or file.
A Standard Operating Procedures manual is a written document that is used as a step by step guide on how to complete a job task or how to handle a specific situation in your company. The purpose of the SOP is that to give clear instructions and consistent results. An SOP may be created for the entire company or separate manuals may exist for each department. An SOP for each department maybe a little over the top for small companies but a process review will always add value.
One thing that companies don’t do very well is invest in creating either a fully documented process flow or SOP and then keep it updated. As with any company documentation, it needs to be reviewed regularly and updated to make sure it reflects the current processes. Don’t let it become ‘Shelfware’ by which I mean it is created and it never sees the light of day again!
During the development process of your Standard Operating Procedures, the best approach is to look for the ‘marginal gains’ that will bring out efficiencies within the final result. If you can break a whole process down into its component parts and make a marginal gain of 1% improvement in 3 of the component parts then the gain will be 3% as a whole. The point is that you should be looking for the easier wins rather than trying for the larger end goal.
This leads nicely onto implementing technology to help automate a process. Over my career I have heard many times the statement ‘We need a new system to do…….’ The first thing I always ask is ‘Well what is the problem you are trying to solve?’
Technology isn’t always the answer to a problem. The problem could be a broken or inefficient processes that could be resolved without throwing time and money at it. Also, a degree of caution is advised to not ‘bend’ your processes too far to meet the system you are wanting to implement.
Any computer application cannot be configured correctly without knowing the inputs into it and outputs you expect from it so it goes back to my first point above about actually spending time documenting how you work and the processes you have in your company.
It is always a useful exercise to take a step back and review what you do and how you do it.
It will surprise you how much you do undertake on a regular basis.
Contact Green Giant Consulting today on 01159 648 218 or visit www.greengiantconsulting.co.uk to book your free initial consultation to help you ‘be surprised’.