Documentation of policies and processes is often seen as low priority by busy company leaders and as a task to be completed when time is available. The company is often very busy doing work, resulting in little available time to determine how that work should be done. However, change is inevitable. Key team members may leave, creating a gap in knowledge of how work has been completed. The company may expand, yet have no clear processes to train their new staff and ensure they are completing their work consistent with the company expectations.
Often company leaders believe that process documentation exists. However, deeper investigation reveals that it does not. In other cases, the procedures do exist but are outdated and have limited connection to what is actually occurring in the business. Just because it is written, doesn’t mean it is followed.
Scaling a business requires a business environment with repeatable processes and procedures that can be shared with new team members. Business must avoid the loss of knowledge that may occur when someone leaves. Policies must be documented to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretation of company expectations. Process is essential to success.
Regular evaluation of the process creates an environment of continual improvement to drive towards increased success – whether that be increased profit, faster results, or better service. When the business is experiencing process challenges, such as delays or bottlenecks, the process should be used as a guide to evaluate where the breakdown is occurring. Metrics provide a tool to evaluate the success of the complete process and each stage of the process.
Business leaders should be challenged to evaluate the accuracy and completeness of process documentation. The time invested to document business policies and procedures provides a long term business benefit by allowing the business to scale and to create an environment of continuous improvement.
Do you have your processes and policies documented?