Tips for Standard Operation Procedures (SOP)：
- Only relying on a few well performing employees or business owners to boost sales and productivity in an organization is unhealthy.
- The management and employees should move towards the same goal and direction together.
- SOPs will not work in the organization without proper implementation and review as needed.
Some of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may already have noticed and are following the market trend to set up Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for their businesses. However, they usually do not really understand the real purpose of SOP or just simply abandon it.
The SOPs will only be helpful if you implement and use it in the organization, or else it would be useless.
SOP is fundamental and essential for a business and organization. It does not require any requirements to set up SOP so do not worry about your business size, sales performance, etc.
Based on our experiences in the field for years, if this kind of issue happens in the business frequently, the business owners should start to look into SOPs for your businesses or review it immediately if you already have them in place.
- Hiring a ‘good employee’ is enough for business to grow?
Many companies are actually very lucky because they managed to hire ‘good employees’ that are productive and could lessen their burden.
For example, there is a company that operates multiple branches that has hired a market development specialist. This specialist is a well experienced and knowledgeable employee who left a multinational company due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The business owner appreciates the employee a lot and will always look for him to manage all kinds of business operations regardless of his work scope, and the employee does not mind being asked as well.
But after a few months later, rumors began to spread within the company, saying that this employee is the ‘second boss’, and some employees even started to ostracize him and lead to greater risks in the company.
As we know when human beings grow older, the work ability could be lower, or even fall sick or encounter accidents, etc. which are beyond our control. Have you ever thought about the risks that may be happening if the business owner only fully relies on the employee continuously?
The reason why an established organization could stay firm regardless of any personnel issues is that they have proper planning and management for it, which includes developing and implementing effective SOPs for the company.
- Employees have nothing to do at work, but bosses are constantly busy?
“I have a lot of work now, I will do it later.” Some bosses often get this response from their employees whenever a new task is assigned but they could not understand what makes the workers so busy at work.
We believe this is a common challenge for most of the bosses out there and may think that the business is good since the workers are always busy without realizing they are actually underperforming at work.
According to the cases we dealt with over the past years, most of the companies have a flat organizational structure, with relatively few or no levels of middle management between the management executives and the frontline employees, and that is why the multi-tasking bosses are always busy.
To clarify, being constantly busy for business development and daily operations are totally different work scope for the management as they are overqualified from the perspective of productivity.
- Communication breakdown between the top and bottom level
The bosses often complain that the employees are underperforming but the employees complain about having demanding and indecisive bosses as well.
It is agreeable that everyone in the organization from top management to the bottom level should support and work together if the company needs to expand and develop steadily, or else, not only the employees have to bear unnecessary pressure that affects their physical and mental health, but the bosses are also facing the same challenges.
The above mentioned are the common problems encountered in businesses and organizations based on our past experiences for years. If your company is facing one of the issues or more, it is time to explore and develop SOPs that fit your organization as soon as possible!
- Important reminder: Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) is not a panacea for all issues. It should be reviewed and revised as when required!
Setting up SOPs are essential for an organization to form standardized work processes and business solutions to deliver quality results consistently without interruption and are completed on a prescribed schedule.
However, it is not a panacea for all kinds of issues especially when:-
1. The management is being indecisive or changes frequently. For example, the company announced Plan A today but changed to Plan B tomorrow, then changed to Plan C later. Although SOPs could help standardize and regulate operating procedures, if you have a fickle boss, the quality of SOPs and work processes may be affected. The employees will need to complete their tasks in their own way. That is why ‘good employees’ are needed in such organizations because they will handle their job on their own.
2. The SOPs have not been revised for many years and could not fit into the latest business needs.
3. Being a sole proprietorship, or partnering with a spouse to operate business. The SOPs may not function because your business does not need it.
People know SOPs are essential, yet they do not want to use them because they are not helpful, or view SOPs as optional because they do not see the value in using it.