Improving your business: Tips for keeping your processes and procedures valuable

Once your business has its processes up and running, how do you keep them relevant? How do you ensure they continue contributing to productivity and security? With a set-and-forget mindset, how do you prevent technologies from becoming productivity or security risk factors? Merely creating a process is not enough. It takes constant diligence, evaluation, and incremental improvements for them to continue providing value to your business.

Continue reading for tips and technical tools that will keep your processes relevant, valuable, secure, and operating at maximum efficiency.

Build a culture that maintains procedures

A business thrives on tried-and-true procedures, not by having each employee improvise the best course of action from moment to moment – avoid whenever possible an ad hoc approach. Instead, for each of your processes,  create Standard Operating Procedures that every team member can follow, and keep these SOPs up-to-date. As soon as you have an “oh, we don’t do that anymore” moment, update the SOP. Just like your business itself, each process SOP document should be in constant evolution.

To make sure procedures stay current, assign a middle manager to own each SOP and be responsible for all updates.

Recommended tools

SharePoint: Think of SharePoint as a repository—a secure online place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. Once you’ve developed a procedure and laid it all out in an SOP document, add the document to SharePoint, so any team member can access it whenever they have a question. 

Teams: MS Teams is a chat-based workspace for Microsoft’s cloud platforms. Use it to communicate efficiently, with just a few colleagues or your whole workforce, via video and phone calls as well as online chat. If an employee has any questions about a specific procedure, or you’ve got any important updates, both can be shared in Teams so that everyone is immediately on the same page. 

Train your team and new employees on all processes

Train your team using your official procedure documents. A procedure’s no good if your team doesn’t know how to implement it. Take the time to train your team and each new employee on new and old processes to avoid confusion and build cohesion. It is essential that new hires understand what your procedures are and where they can find your SOP documents. Take the time early on to ensure anyone new has the resources they need to avoid problems later.

Recommended tools

Stream: Microsoft Stream is a corporate video service that allows you to upload, view, and share videos securely within your organization, like an internal Youtube or Vimeo.. Use it as a procedure training tool for current and new team members. You can record a video showing your team exactly how to follow any procedure, with step-by-step instructions.

Manage team members and their expectations

It’s a lot easier to manage expectations and eliminate confusion when a procedure is written down and available to all team members. Without set procedures, clarified in SOPs, team members may become lost and make mistakes, or find their own solutions that don’t match your business’s values or ideal methods. Don’t leave any ambiguity about your processes. Writing a detailed, step-by-step procedure and making it available to every employee eliminates any confusion and helps build a cohesive team where every member is on the same page. 

Once a procedure is written down, ask your team about it. Are the steps clear? Are there any areas that are still confusing? Take the time to clarify and edit the SOP until everyone understands it, and then train your team on it consistently. 

Recommended tools

Yammer: Yammer is an enterprise social network designed for private communication within organizations. With it, you can start a conversation thread about any procedure—add updates, ask questions, and allow any team members to leave a comment or seek clarity. It is a much more engaging format than one-way email announcements. Manage expectations by making all conversations about procedures available to every employee. 

Build measurements and metrics

You can’t improve what you don’t track. Measuring will show you where your inefficiencies are and where you need to make improvements.

A few important metrics to track:

  • Call volume
  • Time worked
  • Number of calls/deliverables
  • Expectations for client satisfaction

Measure your success and add the results to your company dashboard. Store your business data and metrics in a secure online location that can be shared within your organization so that every team member knows where they are succeeding and where they can improve. 

Recommended tools

Microsoft Power BI: Business Intelligence helps businesses securely discover, store, and share meaningful insights. Power BI provides data visualization, seamless Excel integration, pre-built and custom data connectors, and built-in AI capabilities that allow every team member to measure the success of your procedures. It’s great for team building and motivation. 

Brightgauge: Use this tool to track your progress, calculate metrics, and view each separate metric together on one big dashboard.

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