A Standard Operating Procedure or commonly known as SOP in the corporate structure is a set of instructions or guidelines gathered or compiled by an organization to help the workforce in carrying out their operations.
These procedures are specific to the operations performed to complete the given tasks. SOPs are one of the main reasons for uninterrupted continuity of a business, as it is a collection of all the instructions and guidelines for the working of an organization.
Every Organization has a different set of rules and regulations and SOPs are set and structured in accordance with the policies of the organization. Not every business will have SOPs, but no business can organize & scale up without SOPs.
Why develop SOPs for your Business?
The simple answer to it is the concrete proof which is readily available. We see how legitimate businesses have been well established and have stood the testament of time and advancement of technology following the proven and recorded, successful implementation of work procedures. Among the many advantages of developing SOPs main advantage is the amount of transparency it brings in the working environment of an organization.
In most cases, enterprises face cultural as well as working concerns in their organization, like the few mentioned below.
Blame Game: Blame game between the employees, where & when a mistake is committed. With a well-structured SOP, an organization can clearly identify when and who have committed the mistake as the instructions are clearly set for every role and every work assigned to an employee. This eliminates the Blame Game between the employees as the employer can easily check the root cause of the mistake.
Lack of Responsibility: As mentioned above mistakes are very common in a work environment and usually, these mistakes begin with the employee not taking responsibility for the assigned work. A well-documented SOP for a given role ensures the organization to identify and pinpoint the reason why the work would be pending and who is not completing his/her responsible work. With SOPs, the “KRA” i.e. Key Responsibility Areas of every profile is well defined.
Lack of Authority: As the roles & responsibilities are not clearly defined, authority of getting a particular task done or taking a particular decision is not clear. An employer might have not given the authorities of taking important decisions to any of his team members, until SOP is defined. SOP eliminates such decision-making problems, as the work is only assigned to a person as per his qualifying role.
Delays in work completion: SOPs when created not only have the instructions on how to complete the work but also have a timeline on the number of minutes, hours or even days to complete the work. This ensures the workforce required to complete the task within the set amount of time and avoid delays in completion of work. These procedures can ensure that the client will have a smooth experience in communications.
Task Management: SOP helps in regulating tasks assigned to the team. Though strong IT Integration in SOPs, we can monitor the number of tasks assigned, number of tasks completed and can eventually gauge the performance of the team.
System-Dependent Organization: An employee might not always be available to complete the tasks or duties due to a possibility of sickness or an extended absence. A written SOP makes it easy for transfer of the assigned work to another employee. By outlining how a task or project should be done, SOP makes sure that the work gets executed as mentioned in SOPs and the even if the person is not in place, the work shall not stop. This makes the organization system-dependent & not people-dependent. The same goes for new employees/fresher’s joining the company as this exponentially reduces the cost of training.
These are just the tip of an SOP iceberg when it comes to advantages. Hence SOPs are an indispensable part of any organization. Storing this information helps reduce the learning curve of team members (especially on-boarding of new team members). Following the SOP creates a healthy and safe work environment, which boosts the workplace acceptance of the company, which in turn helps to maintain more FOCUS on work and help to reduce the time taken to complete an activity/task. Maintaining and following well documented SOPs will help improvise overall work culture, as it creates more transparency in work and reduces parity in work, keeping the team well organized as well as motivated. As a result, team members will maintain a very result-oriented work culture where everyone is aware of their roles & responsibilities to ensure the competition of work. SOPs will help boost work ethics within an organization.