If you have read our past articles, you will see a pattern. We consistently discuss establishing internal business systems to create consistency and ease of operation within your company. However, what happens when you – the business owner – painstakingly document processes and procedures, and no one pays attention?
There are two common scenarios that we run across when consulting with business owners.
1. The business owner has documented no to few existing systems and doesn’t know where to begin.
2. The business owner has spent time, energy, and money creating excellent processes and procedures – but no employees follow them.
Let’s take a look at how you can resolve both of these scenarios.
No or few existing systems
When you are at the beginning of documenting your processes and procedures, the tasks ahead can look quite daunting. That’s why we break it down into a process of its own, enabling business owners to see each step as he or she moves forward.
Here is a general overview of how you can both document and develop systems – while also getting buy-in from employees and ensuring they will use them.
– Select the first area to systemize. This is usually sales or production.
– Survey the employees. What would make their jobs easier? How would they like to be involved in development? What kind of say do they need to have in the final product?
This survey will both help you take the next step and provide you with the information you need to get employees to buy-in to the process.
– Establish your team. This should include vital employees who will be able to provide helpful feedback.
– Create processes and procedures that document what is already working and adds additional steps only where needed. This is important. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here.
– Do a dummy run with employees who will be using the processes and procedures. This is a great time to collect feedback. If you reinvented a process for someone, it must work both in theory and real life. If they cannot use the system, they will invent their own. So, be sure that your employees have an open line for feedback throughout this process.
– Revise the system as needed. When revising, make sure to consider the employee(s) that will be using the system. What did they want to accomplish with this? How can this system help them to simplify and streamline their job?
– Make the process or procedure accessible so that it can be used at a moment’s notice.
These very basic steps give you a good overview of how you can establish new processes and procedures – while also garnering employee buy-in. Employees must USE these systems for them to be effective, and the above steps are vital in ensuring compliance.
Existing systems that no one follows
The team at Business Success Consulting Group are process experts. We work with business owners to establish organizational structures and systems which increase efficiency and improve company longevity.
We have decades of experience in helping companies become more organized and efficient. With that in mind, we cannot tell you the number of times we have been hired to help a business, only to find that they have a great number of excellent processes and procedures which, with a little revision, could streamline the entire company. The catch is – no one uses them.
When we find these, the business owner often tells us that those are the “old processes” that “don’t work.” Sometimes this is the case. Other times, these systems could save the company, but they are not used.
Here are the three reasons we have found over the years:
1. The employees don’t know about them.
2. When written, no one took a moment to find out how the processes or procedures could improve the employee’s workdays.
3. The systems are inaccessible or hard to find.
Or some combination of the above.
How to get employees to use existing systems
The above issues are simple to resolve but require involvement and feedback from employees – not just writing down systems and telling them, “this is how we do things now.”
In fact, one can follow many of the steps in the “establishing systems” process above, skipping the hard work of documenting and developing processes and procedures.
– Survey the employees.
Find out what your employees need to make their jobs easier. Ask them – why aren’t they using the existing systems? Ensure you are open to feedback.
– Establish your team.
Get an implementation team together to discuss employee feedback and to do the following steps.
– Do a dummy run.
This is where you share with employees how these systems can help them achieve their goals. Ask them for feedback and have team members watch the process in action so that you can do the next step.
– Revise the systems.
In most cases, a system that has languished, unused, needs revision. It may be in an unusable format, steps could be missing, or an end goal may be lacking. Revise the system and run through it again, resolving any other bugs with additional revision.
– Make sure they are accessible.
Often, well-devised processes and procedures sit in a binder on some supervisor’s desk. This isn’t useful for anyone. Ensure that the systems you are establishing are accessible within 30 seconds or less for all of your employees. That could mean putting it on the intranet, creating a checklist, or devising another way of making it user-friendly.
Company growth doesn’t mean scrapping every existing system and starting over. Rather, it’s vital to use and improve on what you have established so your company can move forward.
If you are ready to create or revise your systems into something employees can and will use, contact the experts at Business Success Consulting Group today!