One of the key things that you will find with many large companies is that there are a lot of positions that can be filled just by teaching a new hire how to do the job. This is something that is also seen quite often within Franchises. The whole idea is to create procedures that can be easily followed, by anyone that comes into the business.
There are a number of reason why this can be done. The first is scale, the more time that can be taken away from training in favor of easy to follow procedures the more costs are saved in putting new people into existing positions. Additionally this also helps with the the management side of the business especially in franchises. If there are a group management tools that allow for many of the management tasks to be delegated to others it can take many of these tasks away from owners and managers in favor of other tasks that better use their time.
WHAT SHOULD A PROCEDURE BE LIKE
In reality there is no defined set way to create or set out procedures. There are however a couple of guides that may give you a good place to start at.
- Try and keep the wording to easy to understand terms. While there may be some industry specific terms, or jargon which may not be common. The less there is the better. This will help in new people reading the procedure to understand what is actually required quicker.
- Try to define the steps. Each line or point should be for a single step in the procedure. Which means there should be few joining words, such as next or then. This will help to break down the process more.
- Look to getting a single procedure on a single page. The longer something is often the more time it will take to learn. So for procedures that do take many steps to get from start to end, you should be looking for the key points where there is an actual change. For example one task may require the use of a computer, then setting up a machine and then putting together what the machine has created. This could be broken down into three procedures. What needs to be done on the computer, What nerds to be done on the machine, and what needs to be done to complete. This allows for new staff to learn in chunks.
One thing that does not really matter is the way that the document is laid out. It could one step per line, it could be numbered, have bullet points, or even be just a blurb. The important part of this is that the document is easy to follow.
Once you have compiled procedures for your business, there is no point in hiding them away. You should look to make them available so that all staff can easily and readily have access to them. This could be either through creating a manual, in a book or binder form. Alternatively you could create a web based form that is available through an Intranet, this option is especially good if you have multiple sites that may want or need to be able to access these procedures.
There is a second benefit from procedures besides making it easier to train new staff. Depending on how many of the tasks that you fulfill you created procedures for it becomes easier to delegate tasks to other staff. For example you may currently do all the ordering for the business yourself. You can create a set of procedures that cover the majority of what this procedure entails. With the procedure and a little direction, you could then potentially delegate this task to another employee. Freeing your time to work on more valuable tasks.
Something you may have noticed in the last example is that i mention the need for some direction. This is something that you need to remember and is not always a bad thing. Procedures should not be an absolute replacement for hands on training. You should not need to spend as much time in the training as previously, however you will still need to give some time for direction and answering any questions that may be presented.
Additionally take into account how people learn. Different people do learn different ways, some learn by reading, some visually and some by just doing. While you create procedures on paper you still need to be willing and prepared to just get in an show someone or just basic verbal directions, as an alternative. Often the people that learn better by seeing or doing something will learn quicker anyway. However still nothing should be taken for granted.
Procedures are a great way to grow your business, should cutting out some of the time that can be spent training, additionally throught the ability to delegate tasks off to others. Taking the time to create procedures, can greatly increase the value in your business along with the ability to replicate your business as needed.