I hear it often from business owners, ‘I tell them what we need (or what to do), but it never gets done or done right.’ Sound familiar? Despite what many think, most employees want to do a good job and make a contribution to the business. So what’s the problem?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Do they know what you actually want – not just hear what you say or ask?
- Do they know how to do what you want or ask? Is it clear and concise or vague and left to interpretation?
- Do they understand why the task or behavior is important to customers, the business or other team members?
So what’s the solution? Systematize. That’s right, your people and your business will benefit from taking the time to document critical processes and procedures in your daily operations. From answering the phone and handling problems to billing and collecting money from customers, simple how-to steps, with supporting forms, templates and documents, make it easy for people to deliver what you want and need – consistently and profitably.
How To Make Better Systems
Keep them simple. Effective processes are typically 1-2 pages long with 8-10 specific steps. If your procedures are too long, consider breaking them into smaller tasks. For example, instead of one process for all front desk/receptionist tasks such as answering the phone, handling the mail, scheduling appointments, etc – break them into individual processes.
Include basic scripting or supporting forms. If a process includes the use of a specific form(s), include a sample with the process and reference it. Add scripting where appropriate and don’t overlook frequently asked questions (with answers or actions).
Link processes to goals. Every process should have a purpose and be linked to goals such as creating a positive buying experience, growing sales, delivering consistent service, improving productivity, etc. It’s important that your people understand the purpose or goal and recognize how they contribute to making it happen.
Look for ways to improve. Systems will change over time as the business grows and technology changes. Encourage people to always look for better ways to do things. Get them engaged and create a continuous improvement attitude. You will be amazed at what you all can accomplish together!
It’s not enough to simply document procedures. The payoff comes when they are used effectively and consistently. So get others engaged. When it comes to getting the most from your people, consider the old Chinese proverb, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”
Leverage Your Business With Systems
If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, the check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.