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SOP Creation: Getting Started with Your Documentation Journey

SOP Creation: Getting Started with Your Documentation Journey

September 30, 2021

Whether you’re just setting up your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), or your current documentation isn’t gaining enough airtime, getting SOP creation right can make all the difference.

Problem is, it’s harder than it sounds.

In fact, disorganized processes are one of the top 10 employee pain points, leading to around one-third of US employees looking for new roles. Not the kind of problem a growing business needs.

But what if you could create SOPs that help strengthen employee relationships, rather than break them? (Hint: You can.)

From digitizing processes to creating an SOP inventory, there are simple actions you can take to leave employees feeling more capable, productive and secure in their roles.

So, how do you focus on great SOP creation from day one? What does a killer process look like? And how can you refresh outdated SOPs so they’re easier to use?

In this beginner’s guide to SOP creation, we’ll explain the ins-and-outs of processes that teams actually want to use, and show you how to create an SOP strategy to get you started.

Ready to boost productivity and save time with a smart SOP creation strategy? Get in touch for a free Whale demo today!

Table of contents

  • Why getting SOP creation right is worth the effort
  • SOP creation tip #1: Go digital
  • How to create an SOP strategy for ultimate employee engagement
  • Show employees you care with a smart SOP creation strategy

Why getting SOP creation right is worth the effort

Imagine a world where all your processes run in exactly the same format every. single. time. No matter who’s in charge, your employees know what to do and how to do it — and they enjoy the process.

Unfortunately, for many companies that perfect world is a long way off.

But by streamlining your SOP creation now, you can step closer to your ultimate goal (no matter where you currently are in your documentation journey).

Here are a few reasons why it’s worth investing the time in a killer SOP creation strategy:

  • Teams are more likely to use SOPs if you’ve made an effort: These days, rushing to jot down your procedures in a clunky word document just won’t cut it. If you make the effort to create SOPs that are fun to use, your teams will thank you for it.
  • Save time in the long-run: Okay, so building an SOP creation process will take time initially. But in the long-run? You’re guaranteed to save time via automated processes and training opportunities.
  • Boost employee engagement: With great procedures comes great job roles — and the more enjoyable your employees find their roles, the more likely they are to stick around for the long-haul.
  • Never lose knowledge: When employees leave, they take 42% of their role knowledge with them, leaving new hires having to relearn it all from scratch. Write the processes down before they leave, and the problem disappears.
  • Spot opportunities for improvement: Putting SOPs into an easily accessible format will help you spot bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Simple.
  • Keep updates minimal: If you take the time to create killer SOPs from day one, you’ll have less backtracking to do later — meaning minimal updates and maximum productivity.
Ready to create smart SOPs your employees will love? Get in touch for a free Whale demo today!
SOP creation: Go digital

SOP creation tip #1: Go digital

It’s official. The world’s gone digital — and to stay in the game, your company has to as well.

As millennial and Gen Z employees take over the workplace, they’re driving faster technology adoption — and these tech-savvy generations expect easy-to-access tools that make their lives (and jobs) easier.

When it comes to SOP creation, that means investing in a tool that leverages your documentation and makes it fun to use.

Here’s how to use tech to prove your SOP credentials:

  • Invest in a smart knowledge sharing tool: If you want to ace your documentation journey, it’s time to seriously consider using a smart knowledge sharing platform. The right tool will help manage all your documentation from one central hub and keep your employees involved every step of the way.
  • Make documentation accessible: The days of 1000-page paper manuals are over. These days, documentation is all about engagement — so make sure your SOPs are bite-sized, accessible and jargon-free with easy-to-use editing tools.
  • Focus on visual SOPs: Your employees are used to being entertained at home, so why not entertain them at work too? Add images, videos and gifs to your docs to keep employees interested at every turn.

How to create an SOP strategy for ultimate employee engagement

Once you’ve chosen your ideal knowledge sharing platform, it’s time to hone in on your SOP creation strategy.

From setting goals to making a process inventory, there are several key steps to creating a killer strategy that will make a tangible difference to your business.

Ready to create an strategy to get your teams excited about business processes? Let’s go:

  • Set your goals: To get started with smart SOP creation, you need to set some realistic goals. Think about what you want to achieve by documenting your processes, why it’s important, and what the desired results are — and remember to cross check them with your wider company goals for maximum impact.
  • Identify core processes: Once you know your goals, focus on one department at a time to pinpoint the key processes for each one. (Think: HR, marketing, sales, operations, accounting and customer retention.)
  • Track key activities: Next, track all the activities your business runs in one week. If your company has any unused activities, add these at the end of your list and ask yourself why they weren’t used. This will highlight which are the most important and which can be dropped or simplified.
  • Make a process inventory: Once you know your most (and least) important activities, it’s time to file them into a process inventory. Name each one, give it a brief description, check in with managers for accuracy, and delegate each process to an owner.
  • Set targets: Now you have your process inventory on paper, estimate the time it takes to document each process, then set some deadlines and block out time to work on each one.
  • Prioritize: SOP creation can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially for small- or medium-sized businesses. To beat the overwhelm, try focusing on low hanging fruit with the 20:80 approach — pick out 20% of the major steps that get you 80% of the results.
  • Start documenting: Now you’ve aced the legwork, it’s time to start documenting your processes. Start with rough drafts, add images and other details later, and use templates to create consistency across the board.

👉 Want more top tips to help you through your documentation journey? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Process and SOP Documentation.

Show employees you care with a smart SOP creation strategy

SOPs are the glue that holds a company together — which is why getting your SOP creation right should be top of every business leader’s agenda.

With the right approach and smart tools, you can help employees feel capable and productive from day one.

Show employees you care by giving them accessible, visual SOPs — and before you know it, they’ll be happier and more determined to work for your company than ever before.

Ready for a digital SOP strategy your teams will love? Get in touch for a free Whale demo today!

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