What makes your business stand out is the way you do things. Whether it’s your strategy for beating your competitors or how you carry out your day-to-day organizational processes. Optimizing these procedures early on lay the foundation for your business to succeed
Company processes are important because they show how members of an organization contribute to fulfilling a company's objectives. However, they can't stand alone, so there's a need for laid-down procedures.
Some of these procedures are carried out better than the others, others need to be strictly adhered to while some come with a level of flexibility. This depends on the priority level for each procedure and the overall outcome for the business.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What are business procedures?
- Importance of business procedures
- Type/examples of business procedures
- How to strengthen your business procedures
What is a business procedure?
A business procedure is a standardized way of completing a specific action/task and consists of a sequence of steps to be followed in carryinging out a business process. It details how you manage every single activity important for the growth of your business.
Business procedures ensure an organization runs appropriately and does well for its patrons, employees, directors, and shareholders.
In simpler terms, a business procedure is a road map for how company operations are executed.
Importance of having business procedures
Having procedures in place help demonstrate that your business is professional and efficient. Without adequate and well-developed business processes and procedures, there are no rules. And unfortunately, where there are no defined rules, people tend to create their own.
Managers can uphold the workplace culture and acceptable behaviors easily. The absence of written policies results in unnecessary time and effort spent trying to agree on a course of action. This is rarely the case in situations where things are clearly spelt out and managers are able to easily enforce company procedures for widespread adoption.
Business procedures ensure employees understand what is expected of them in certain situations and operations go on as expected. This automatically allows for hiccups and errors to be addressed as soon as they are identified.
Well-defined procedures save you from trouble with law enforcement by encouraging compliance and making sure your organization keeps up with both International and local regulations. Depending on the industry, violations or deviations might attract severe consequences.
Business procedures ensure consistency in your internal process. They determine whether the quality of customer service/product experience in a branch of your business in one state tallies with that of a separate state/location. This consistency gives your organization a healthy reputation, especially regarding employee touchpoints with customers.
Resource management is probably one of the best parts of having business procedures in effect. Procedures help the head of operations know how to allocate and prioritize company expenses, saving many costs that arise from having no procedure.
For example, an organization with no procedure for taking account of sales, profits, and company expenses is bound to go bankrupt eventually
Implementing workplace safety procedures helps you guide against preventable accidents at work. In the case they happen, they lay out a guideline for addressing the situation. Doing so removes workplace neglect. You are also better prepared for incidents like lawsuits, malware, and other incidents that can threaten the integrity of your organization.
Examples & types of business procedures
Procedures vary from industry to industry depending on factors like location, type of business, employee strength and finances but regardless of all these factors, some procedures are pretty standardized and carried out in the same if not very similar ways across the world. To help you get a picture of business procedures and activities you need to create guidelines for, we will share some examples.
Procedures for customer relations
Most organizations look out for a great relationship with their customers, and to have this; some procedures have to be enforced, such as:
- Procedures for handling customer questions/returns/purchases. Some businesses have it done instantly, others give a response timeline.
- Procedures for handling customer complaints or grievances.
Procedures for remote working
If your company is remote work compliant, you want to look at establishing remote-work-friendly procedures that enable employees to meet up with deliverables like:
- Procedures for tracking daily work hours.
- Procedures for getting work devices.
- Procedures for maintaining effective work communication.
These vary from business to business, but these are duplicative steps, and the structure usually looks like this:
Business finance procedures
Money keeps the business running, but it's beyond just having money to spend; financial procedures ensure the money keeps coming in and is allocated as required.
Some examples of financial procedures for business include:
- Monthly team budget procedures.
- Tax payment procedures.
- Employee paycheck procedure.
- Employee expense reimbursement procedure.
- Financial audit procedures.
Human resource procedures
An organization is only as good as those who work there. Hence the need for procedures on a range of employee activities and conduct.
- Procedures for employees' disciplinary action for sanctioning an erring staff member.
- Procedures for sick leaves, paid time off, employee onboarding, employee recruitment, procedures for performance management, and employee appraisals.
- Procedures on using company properties
- Employee engagement procedures.
- Workplace safety and compliance procedures
How to strengthen your business procedures
Business processes and procedures can be hard to effectively implement and if you struggle with them, first understand that it's ok to have shaky beginnings; even some of the biggest companies in the world today had to reevaluate their business procedures and processes from the start.
Secondly, take advantage of all the tips below to strengthen your procedures. Remember it's a continuous process and keep repeating.
1. Document every procedure
Without proper documentation, you can easily forget things, lose track and become inefficient but with an effective way to document your procedures, you simply replicate what is working over and over again.
Not only does it allow for a smooth handover, but it also encourages continuity of all your procedures, and as your team grows, you will find that this is essential for the sustained growth of your business.
2. Share company vision in procedures & keep track
Make sure Your business procedures align with your business goals and values. Employees are more likely to adapt to company procedures when they understand the reason for them. A well-done set of workplace procedures can play an essential role in protecting the organization’s interests while creating a positive work environment for employees.
Have all employees read and understand documented company procedures and sign it as proof that they are onboard with the direction. Tracking procedures holds everyone accountable and eliminates the need to micromanage anyone.
3. Host employee training sessions
As an Organization, you must adequately explain company policies & procedures to employees. Create new training sessions to help staff get acquainted with new procedures but don’t stop there. Document it so it’s easy to onboard and train new employees afterwards.
You can use a tool like Scribe for this. Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that writes your process documentation for you. Like this:
With Scribe and Scribe Pages you can create as many documentations as you want for a procedure and have it shared to everyone wherever they are.
4. Lead by example
Procedures are strengthened when everyone sticks to them. It can’t work if it only applies to a set of people and others can act as they want. From the top hierarchy to the lower members of staff, everyone plays a role in maintaining routine business procedures are carried out as ought
5. Have regular reviews & updates
Stay updated with new rules in your industry for compliance sake. Some industries are heavily regulated like the health industry and so procedures need to be reviewed frequently to ensure they are up to required standards. Procedure reviews are also essential when there's an increase in business losses, workplace accidents, feeling of confusion or motivation amongst staff or when you introduce a new work tool or software
6. Automate your procedures
Use technology to your advantage.
Today’s technology has simplified many business procedures, and you have to find one that fits your goals to save time and energy in implementing your procedures. Some of these tools help you track, document and better manage your procedures. For example, customer relations can be better managed with CRM tools, and business process documentation can be done instantly with tools like Scribe.
Inside Scribe’s gallery, there are a bunch of step-by-step guide templates you can select to replicate a procedure documentation. These templates would help you save time getting started with creating better documentations.
Here's a Scribe that shows how you can update vacation mode in Slack.
And with Scribe Pages, you can combine your guides with video, images and more to create extensive, visual procedures.
Imagine all the other little procedures you can easily document and collate like this that would help make your employees' lives easier and ensure they regard business procedures, creating a streamlined way of operations.
Why use Scribe?
Workplace procedures are known for oftentimes being long and voluminous. And to be honest, nobody is trying to go through a lengthy document of how-tos and how not to— maybe they might if it’s compulsory.
Still, in hindsight, many people would prefer a much more fun and exciting way to learn about company procedures. And that’s why you should use Scribe.
Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that turns any workflow into written instructions — and with Scribe pages, you can create multiple scribes in one place. Add videos, images, and more to give an engaging visual feel to your procedure documentation.
Ready to up your documentation style? Create your first Scribe here. It's free.