Established rules and guidelines are crucial for any business, no matter your size or revenue.
An effective operations manual has the power to boost morale, create a clear hierarchy and enable your team to perform.
Here are some tips for creating an efficient operations manual.
What is an operations manual?
An operations manual is a virtual or paper-based system that educates employees on how to perform workplace tasks productively and safely.
Most organizations have an operations manual to explain how they do things.
It's important to understand these processes to meet business goals and responsibilities — and top companies have detailed manuals that cover all aspects of work.
Most of all, your operations manual should be clear and comprehensive, but here are some other things to think about when creating your own.
Components of an operations manual
When focusing on how to create an operations manual, it is vital to have a checklist of all the essential components of your manual. Though your firm's focus areas can vary depending on the field of work or the scale, the basic framework of an operations manual would remain the same. The critical components of a default manual should include the following.
- Documented processes.
- Hierarchy of the company.
- Job descriptions.
- Safety instructions.
- Emergency guidelines.
- Important contacts.
- Company history and timeline.
- Products and services offered.
- Statements regarding position.
It is also crucial to understand that an operations manual is not considered an alternative or replacement for the classical training process.
Instead, they serve as assistive tools for previously trained people as a reference for better acclimation to the company's SOPs.
How to write an operations manual
To write a useful operations manual for employees, focus on:
- The most relevant information.
- Easy accessibility.
- Ample resources.
This isn't a solo job; Constructing a fully self-sustaining manual requires dedication and hard work, emphasizing efficient teamwork and collaboration throughout the organization.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to manage your operations manual.
1. Process documentation
Since you will have to cover a wide range of processes and tasks undertaken by your firm, you must create a detailed overview of them.
Visually oriented processes, like process maps, diagrams, and flowcharts, often communicate the idea more simply and precisely while not compromising on the content per se.
This makes it several times easier to understand, regardless of the level of expertise of the viewer.
2. Business Policies
Reference your business playbook about to identify your goals, objectives and basic policies, procedures and principles. Hence, after forming a documented system of the processes, the next step is to try and fit these policies within the processes.
The business policies serve as a baseline or a limit within which decisions must be made, along with resource and company goals.
As we discussed earlier, most focus aspects differ according to the company or business. However, an ideal operations manual should include the following:
- General rules on behavior and conduct of personnel.
- Internet and technological guidelines.
- Standard regulations regarding purchases, traveling and other expenses.
- Legal information.
- Compliance with government legislation.
- Work standards and safety.
🎓 Related Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Documentation in Business
3. Define roles & hierarchy
If you want to give good advice and keep things running smoothly, you need to know where people stand in the system.
The best way to create a clear picture of your firm’s hierarchy is through an organizational chart that also defines the relationship between different roles in the company.
💡 Scribe Tip: Add additional functionality to the hierarchy chart by including contact details. This makes the pieces more practically helpful to the workers.
4. Clarify emergency response plans
It is crucial to include emergency guidelines in your operations manual. These should cover all potential adversities and emergencies.
The emergency instructions should cover all the dimensions of the issue, along with detailed step-by-step procedures.
Framing the emergency guidelines must be done under the supervision of expert committee members while gathering input from specialized personnel in the HR and safety committee.
This adds to the benefits of having a plan ready. Everyone is fully aware of the possible hazards and how to fully address them.
Simultaneously, being fully prepared for such causes can help protect your company, employees and property from extensive damage.
5. Identify the format & tools
After figuring out what type of manual you want to build and which aspects of your business to include, you can choose your outline.
Don't worry, you don't have to start from scratch. Several sites and tools offer various operation manual template options to help you get started.
Often, these templates help you frame an excellent operational plan highlighting all your work's core concepts.
Also, it is crucial to keep your manual both informative and interesting.
Instead of loading it with paragraphs of lumpy texts, improve readability with diagrams, flowcharts and appropriate paragraph breaks.
Make sure you have a well-organized layout and consistent design throughout the manual.
Properly arranged guides are often easier to read and will keep the reader's attention.
💡Scribe Tip: Use Scribe — an AI-powered process documentation tool — to write your entire manual for you!
6. Ask for feedback
Once you've come up with the appropriate design and layout for your operations manual, double-check your script's efficiency with your company's go-to person.
Apart from this, being directly involved with the activity, you should also consider the criticism of professionals from other branches and departments of your company.
It's important to get feedback from different areas to fix any issues in the manual. Keep track of process documentation; paired with your manual, you can easily keep your business up and running like a well-oiled machine, maintaining productivity at its best.
An operations manual can be exceedingly helpful in times of crisis. While determining what to include in the manual, experts often add clauses to help workers deal with adverse situations, depending on their work and job title.
Either way, it serves as a safety net to rely on at times of emergency.
It's also easier to refer recruits to the instructions when they ask questions or make mistakes.
Use an AI-powered tool like Scribe to build your manual quickly and easily.
A practical operations manual goes a long way to positively changing your business's functions. It can significantly impact the overall efficiency and profitability of your work.
Hence, it is recommended by experts worldwide for all leading businesses to build an informative manual that enables your teams. This will save you time, minimize mistakes and keep everyone moving in the same direction.