Procedure Documentation



Why Document Your Processes and Procedures?

There are some very common reasons why an organization should document it’s processes.  Most of the time, the business waits until there is a compelling reason to spend the time and effort to create the documents.  Here’s the most common reasons:

Regulatory Requirements.  A law changes, some rule is going to be enforced or a new law/regulation is enacted.  Some examples of regulatory requirements include HIPPA, Sarbanes Oxley, and recent credit card security changes.  If your industry is regulated or you have applied for some quality standard, you have documentation requirements that must be met.

Financial Event or Commitment.  Perhaps you have recently purchased new software or you are planning to upgrade your current system, the changes to your current procedures most likely will change.  It’s common for organizations to spend money on a new system but not take the time to document how the new system will affect how the work is done.  So many times companies spend money on a new system that is never fully utilized because there is no training or documentation to help users understand the system.

Cataclysmic Event.  A common cataclysmic event is when a key employee leaves, becomes ill or decides to retire.  If you have not documented what that person does on a given day, you risk losing intellectual property and ultimately customers.  As the manager, you may not even be aware of everything a long-term employee does to get the job done or to meet customer expectations.  Documenting and cross-training are important business activities that need to be accomplished.

Improvement Initiatives.  The organization is doing well but you know you could be doing better so you implement an improvement project.  This could be a Lean or Six Sigma project, or simply looking at your current value stream to make improvements.  Without understanding your current state processes, you can’t effectively improve them.  Documenting your current processes and procedures is often the first step in any improvement initiative.

Impending Event.  It’s possible that a key employee will be retiring, the organization is going to merge with another or you are considering a major reorganization of the company.  Any of these events should trigger the need to understand how the organization functions and will require new or revised process/procedure documentation.

Employee Retention and Engagement.  Hiring and keeping great employees requires that the organization to provide training to its employees.  Whether it’s on-the-job training, classroom style training or online (elearning) training, employees expect to receive training to do their job effectively and to move up in the organization.  Training fails frequently when the processes and procedures are not documented.

There are other reasons to document your processes and procedures but these are the very foundation.  Consider this list.  Do these situations sound familiar to you?  If you need assistance with any level of procedure documentation, we are here to help whether it’s working with your employees to learn the best way to document the process or to actually do it for you.  Give us a call or drop us an email for more information.